With the assistance of Cox (Lincoln and the Sioux Uprising of 1862, 2005, etc.), automotive industry veteran Dauch (Passion for Manufacturing, 1993) provides a unique view of manufacturing and its role in the future of the United States.
In the early 1990s, the author organized teams that built up American Axle and Manufacturing as a world-class competitor out of the relics of some of GM's former parts suppliers. In the ’80s, he had provided the leadership on the factory floor that helped turn Chrysler around. When he took control of American Axle in 1994, the average educational level of the work force was 9th grade. Ten years later, the average worker was a community college sophomore. “You need a strong background in mathematics, science, computers and communications,” he writes. “Modern manufacturing is not your father's factory floor.” Dauch’s quality reputation is built on lean manufacturing and the just-in-time inventory system. He and his teams modified the approach of W. Edwards Deming, who became legendary in the Japanese auto industry in the ’50s. The author describes how he built up quality systems at Chrysler and then American Axle and how the process is organized from the design and engineering phase forward. Sometimes, writes Dauch, the United Auto Workers union would support his efforts, but most often the organization was obstructive. From a base in renovated 100-year-old factories in Detroit, American Axle has become one of the world's premier axle and drivetrain assembly manufacturers. Throughout the book, Dauch discusses his leadership philosophy and argues against the view that foreign competition is undermining American manufacture.
A refreshingly different view of manufacturing that clearly identifies what is necessary to compete globally.