A Better Idea (Magill Book Reviews)
Ford Motor Company experienced a dramatic turnaround during the 1980’s, a decade in which Petersen served first as president and chief operating officer, then as chairman and CEO. A BETTER IDEA distills the lessons learned into a six-stage process, described in “The Transformation,” the first part of the book.
Part 2, “The New Philosophy,” puts the philosophy behind Ford’s transformation into more general terms, discussing leadership, respecting and empowering all of a company’s employees, and the changing nature of quality. “Pockets of Progress” deals with applying the principles to nonmanufacturing organizations (from service businesses to the U.S. military), and a brief final section focuses on Petersen’s concerns about Japan and American competitiveness.
Ford’s management acknowledged that their problems were too serious to be solved by incremental improvements: Major changes in operations were required, and quality had to become every employee’s goal. A number of specific techniques were employed—statistical process control, employee involvement, participative management, and worker empowerment—the thrust being to work together as a team, committed to continuous quality improvement. Despite Petersen’s assertion that this is not the Ford story, most of his real world examples are drawn from Ford experience (especially the chapters in the first two parts), and it is these “war stories” that give the book...
(The entire section is 305 words.)
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