Slick, sunny-side-up profiles of 50 flourishing industrial enterprises. Some brief connective commentary apart, Jasinowski (president of the National Association of Manufacturers) and Hamrin (a freelance economic consultant) rely on anecdotal evidence to make their principal point: that American manufacturing has staged a remarkable, competitive comeback from its near-death experience during the 1980s. In addition, the achievements of every organization in their 50-company sample are attributed to one of ten paths to success: employee empowerment; training and retraining of workers; rewarding performance; exceeding customer expectations; envisioning new products and markets; going global; total quality management; achieving environmental excellence; speed and agility; and shaking up the organization. While the authors round up many of the usual world-class suspects as exemplars of latter-day excellence (Chrysler, Emerson Electric, Ford Motor, Intel, Motorola, Searle, and Xerox, to name but a few), they have showcased some less familiar outfits as well. Cases in point range from Great Plains Software through Johnsonville Foods, Kingston Technology, Remmele Engineering, Thermo Electron, and Wadia Digital. On the minus side of the ledger, the relatively rigid format Jasinowski and Hamrin use to present their summary case studies soon grows tiresome. Nor could all selections pass a cognitive-dissonance test. By way of example, the authors include happy-talk rundowns on USX-US Steel as well as three of the nimbler rivals (Chaparral, Nucor, Oregon Steel) that have poached on its traditional preserves in recent years. Although Jasinowski and Hamrin cover a handful of corporations that have made a virtue of environmental necessity, moreover, they stand mute on the score of those that may have overcome less edifying problems with product recalls, racial discrimination, or sexual harassment. The bottom line: These relentlessly upbeat vignettes of US business are to management guides what fast food is to haute cuisine.
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