Down-to-earth guidance on the possibility of achieving order-of-magnitude improvement in production operations of almost any kind, from an authority who knows his way around a factory floor. Disarmingly, consultant Schonberger concedes that world-class manufacturing (WCM) sounds like hype. The term does, however, capture the depth and breadth of fundamental changes taking place at many large industrial enterprises seeking to remain competitive in global markets. WCM has mainly to do with cutting lead times at every step of the production process to irreducible minimums and maximizing flexibility while making zero-defect quality control an integral part of the overall program. There are few if any tricks of the trade; the system demands a significant top-to-bottom organizational commitment. Schonberger, though, urges caution in introducing WCM. To illustrate, massive investments should not be made in, say, automated assembly equipment unless or until experience shows it can be used to good advantage. Nor does the author hold any brief for advanced procedures like computer modeling that won't provide a commensurate payoff. Too, he advises adding new capacity on an incremental basis with carefully planned fallback positions in case demand does not reach anticipated levels. His general role: ""Buy for performance, not for volume."" The text offers equally realistic ideas on plant layouts, which Schonberger observes might be made more productive or adapted to new uses merely by putting casters on parts bins. In like vein, while he applauds the notion of making quality everyone's job, he points out that designers can make the biggest difference, e.g., by scaling down component counts or emphasizing modularity. Nuts-and-bolts counsel from a pro.