1st Edition

The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence
A Lean Leader's Guide to Achieving and Sustaining Excellence, Second Edition

ISBN 9781498730914
Published September 24, 2015 by Productivity Press
274 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations

USD $45.95

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Book Description

Following in the tradition of its bestselling predecessor, The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence: A Lean Leader's Guide to Achieving and Sustaining Excellence, Second Edition outlines a comprehensive, proven process for delivering world-class performance while also cultivating the right culture through leadership, mentoring, and hourly associate involvement.

While most books on continuous improvement focus on specific tools and methods, this book details a top-down strategy and process that Lean leaders can use to implement and sustain manufacturing excellence. It outlines a clear pathway to excellence via the 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence and provides a method for tracking progress—plant by plant and function by function.

This updated edition includes a new chapter on real stories about poor leadership at the top. Also featured are new and updated figures and exhibits. It contains chapters devoted to each principle of manufacturing excellence along with a chapter on each leader's role. Illustrating the importance of using Lean and Six Sigma tools to improve your business, the book:

  • Details a comprehensive approach for achieving and sustaining excellence—from board room strategy to shop floor execution
  • Integrates strategy and leadership development
  • Paves a path for culture change that prepares hourly employees to take control of their processes and prepares management to enable them to do it
  • Details an audit process for identifying priorities for improvement and tracking progress and ensuring sustainability

Tapping into more than four decades of leadership experience, 35 years of it in the manufacturing industry, Larry Fast explains how to achieve both vertical and horizontal alignment across your organization. Like the previous edition, the book includes a CD with color versions of the images in the book, a manufacturing excellence reading list, and formulas for selected metrics.

The CD also includes a sample manufacturing excellence audit (a powerful tool to achieve and sustain the journey), a sample communications plan, a sample communications plan calendar, a sample training plan, and a new Project Prioritization worksheet—all of which can be easily customized to meet your organization’s specific needs.

Table of Contents

Leading the RevolutionFrom the Top
Examples from the Arena
It’s Not a Flavor of the Month—It’s Continuous Improvement
An Example of Great CEO Leadership
Who’s Running the Business?
Shop Floor: What Impact Do Senior Leaders Have?
Three Biggest Barriers
For Success: Two Senior Leaders That Must Be in Place


The Manufacturing Excellence Strategy
The Next Epiphany
Origin of the 12 Manufacturing Principles
The Manufacturing Excellence Strategy
Common Metrics
Manufacturing Excellence Audit

Manufacturing Principle 1: Safety
Plant Champion for Principle 1
Stage Summary

Manufacturing Principle 2: Good Housekeeping and Organization
Stage Summary

Manufacturing Principle 3: Authorized Formal Systems
Stage Summary

Manufacturing Principle 4: Preventive/Predictive Maintenance
Stage Summary

Manufacturing Principle 5: Process Capability
Short-Term Actions
Longer-Term Actions
Stage Summary

Manufacturing Principle 6: Product Quality
Quality Systems Expertise
Standard Work
Stage Summary

Manufacturing Principle 7: Delivery Performance
Stage Summary

Manufacturing Principle 8: Visual Management
Why Visual Management?
How Do You Know if Visual Management Is Effective?
Visual Management Pictures
Stage Summary

Manufacturing Principle 9: Continuous Improvement
The Playing Field Isn’t Level—Get Over It!
Sample Questions When Touring a Plant for the First Time
What about Benchmarking?
Stage Summary

Manufacturing Principle 10: Communication
Why Aren’t Our Communications Effective?
The Power of Communicating the Vision
Stage Summary

Manufacturing Principle 11: Training
Management Has to Take Away the Excuses
Find Out How Local Leadership Thinks and Acts
Stage Summary


Manufacturing Principle 12: Operator-Led Process Control
The Day OLPC Was Born in My Mind
Stage Summary

Plant Manager’s Role
Other Things Good Plant Managers Expect
Timely Communications
Feed Your Own Monkeys
Develop Your Own Organization
Properly Administer Company Policies
Make the Numbers

Manufacturing Managers Role
Have a Presence on the Shop Floor
A Key Administrator of Company and Plant Policies
Key Relationships with Peer Group
The Manufacturing Manager Helps Set the Expectation for No Compromise to Quality Standards
Interactions with Peer Group
Responsibilities and Expectations

Materials Manager’s Role
Production Control Office
Sales and Operations Planning Process
Purchasing or Sourcing
Supplier Advisory Council
Formal Systems Zealot
Lean Zealot
A Word about Cycle Times and Lead Times

Process Engineering Manager’s Role
Engineering Staff
Capital Appropriations
Systems Infrastructure
Process Engineer: A Key Team Member

Maintenance Manager’s Role
Preventive Maintenance
Rolling 3-Year Facility Maintenance Plan
Maintenance Staffing

Quality Manager’s Role
Technical Expert on Quality Improvement Tools
Lead the Change from Firefighting to Fire Prevention
Customer Advocate on Product Quality

Human Resources Manager’s Role
Hourly Associate’s Voice
Service-Oriented Staff of Experts
Plant Manager’s Confidant
Policy Administration
Environmental Health and Safety
Culture Change Zealot

Sustaining Manufacturing Excellence
A Belden Plant Update
Belden Lessons Learned in Retrospect
About the Manufacturing Excellence Audit
The Rest of the Story

The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence
Manufacturing Excellence Audit
Manufacturing Excellence Reading List, 1986–2010
Formulas for Selected Metrics
Example of a Communications Plan Calendar
Example of a Training Plan

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Larry E. Fast is a veteran of 35 years in the wire and cable industry, 27 of those in senior management roles at Belden for 25 years and General Cable for 10. As Belden’s VP of Manufacturing he led a transformation of plants in the late 80s and early 90s that included cellularizing about 80% of the equipment around common products and routings (known today as value streams) and the use of what we now know as Lean and Six Sigma tools.

In 1997, he joined General Cable Corporation (GCC), one of the world’s largest wire and cable companies. As the Senior Vice President of Operations, Fast launched a manufacturing excellence strategy in 1999 that became an enterprise-wide priority in 2001. After a 1999 acquisition he had 28 plants reporting to him as well as Corporate Sourcing, Quality, Manufacturing Systems and Advanced Manufacturing Engineering. Later as plants were consolidated to less than 20, he was given expanded responsibility for the North American Supply Chain. Since the launch of the Manufacturing Excellence strategy at GCC in 1999, there have been 34 Industry Week "Best Plants Finalists including 12 "Best Plants" winners since 2001.

His book, The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence—A Lean Leader’s Guide to Achieving and Sustaining Excellence, 2nd. Edition, was released September, 2015 by CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, as a Productivity Press book. The original book, a best seller, was published in October, 2011.

Fast holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Administration from Indiana University. He also is a graduate of Earlham College’s Institute for Executive Growth and successfully completed the thirteen week "Program for Management Development" at the Harvard University School of Business.

Fast is a long-time member of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) and a Director for the Southeast Region since 2009. He has served on university advisory boards including the School of Applied Sciences, Miami University and the Industry Advisory Board of the Tauber Manufacturing Institute, University of Michigan. He became a judge for Industry Week (IW) magazine’s "Best Plants in North America" competition in 2009. Since 2013 he writes a column for the IW online magazine under the byline of "Ask the Expert—Lean Leadership and Continuous Improvement". In 2014 he joined the GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group) as a consultant/advisor for their manufacturing clients. He also occasionally writes as a guest columnist for other organizations and publications.

In 2007 Fast’s company, Pathways to Manufacturing Excellence, LLC, was established. In addition to his writing, he continues to consult, train and coach for companies who seek to achieve and sustain manufacturing excellence but need help to start the journey; to recover and restart a faltering initiative; or require assistance developing their Continuous Improvement strategy. He can be contacted at his website: www.pathwaysllc.net

Featured Author Profiles

Author - Larry E. Fast

Larry E. Fast

GA, Pathways to Manufacturing Excellence, LLC; Association for Manufacturing Excellence;
Gainesville, GA, USA

Learn more about Larry E. Fast »


"Must read for any plant manager that wants to take their organization to the highest level. Larry in his 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence provides a roadmap and gives sound practical advise that will focus any manufacturing organization." - James L. Odom, President, Breakthrough Strategies, LLC

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