In 1950, Japanese businessmen turned to an obscure American from Wyoming to help them rebuild an economy shattered in World War II. That industrial expert, W. Edwards Deming, taught Japan's manufacturers how to produce top quality products economically. The Japanese used that knowledge to turn the global economy on its head and beat U.S. industry at its own game.

Companies such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Corp. adopted Deming's concepts and became world-class producers in their fields, helping Japan become one of the planet's dominant economic powers. Japan's rise was the start of a regional metamorphosis. Asia eventually became a manufacturing giant. Although American companies could have learned from Deming, most ignored him for decades even as Asian competitors gobbled away at Americans' customer base and profits.

Published in biography

The year 1924—at a factory in Cicero, Illinois—saw the start of two of the most important developments ever in managerial thinking. In May that year Walter Shewhart described the first control chart which launched statistical process control and quality improvement. In November of that year there began a series of research projects which came to be known as the Hawthorne studies. This body of work was central to the creation of the fields of the sociology, social psychology, and anthropology of the work place. Although these events occurred at the same place and in the same year, there has been remarkably little cross fertilization of ideas between them.

Published in biography

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