Restoring the Competitive Edge in U.S. Manufacturing

by Steven Wheelwright



The article discusses several issues related to manufacturing industries in the United States. If one had surveyed U.S. practitioners and students of management in 1983 as to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing firms, there is little doubt that the majority would have responded that the United States was in serious trouble in several major industries. By mid-1984, with the economic recovery gaining steam, a similar survey would have found a much smaller group responding in like fashion, and most respondents would point to the increasing profitability of many companies, even in such industries as automotive products, as a sign of good health. The speed with which perceptions change is just one of the challenges associated with addressing the topic of a competitive edge in a manufacturing-based enterprise. The purpose of this article is not to focus on whether or to what extent U.S. manufacturing has slipped in its worldwide competitiveness, but rather to describe what's possible if U.S. manufacturing firms are to secure a competitive edge in today's environment.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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