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Top-down Production Management: A Recent Trend in the Japanese Productivity-enhancement Movement

W. Mark Fruin and Masao Nakamura ()
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W. Mark Fruin: Michigan Business School, University of Michigan, USA, Postal: Michigan Business School, University of Michigan, USA

Managerial and Decision Economics, 1997, vol. 18, issue 2, 131-139

Abstract: It is well known that many of the manufacturing practices advanced in Japan in the 1970s and 1980s emphasize bottom-up decision processes characterized by teams, the empowerment of multi-skilled workers on the shopfloor, demand-pull and horizontal decision mechanisms. These practices include Just-in-Time (JIT) and quality management practices such as quality circles (QC) and total quality management (TQM). While these practices continue to be effective under appropriate circumstances, the drastic appreciation of the Japanese yen that has taken place since the mid-1980s and the prolonged recession following the burst of the bubble have forced many Japanese manufacturers to adopt new methods to improve their production efficiency. In this paper we discuss one of such methods called Total Productivity Management (TPM). Unlike JIT or TQM, implementing TPM requires a top-down approach. TPM provides direct connections between corporate-wide objectives such as the overall cost reduction and shopfloor practices. It is possible that TPM has contributed significantly to Japanese manufacturers' recent success in reducing their cost of operation. © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Date: 1997
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