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Building A Showcase Culture - Book Review

“Building A Showcase Culture - Powerful and Practical Keys For Manufacturing.” USA:Global Manufacturing Services, 2018, 334 pp., ISBN 978-1-7320475-0-1

Manufacturing in the U.S. is a $2.2 trillion industry. Nearly the same number of people (12.84 million) worked in U.S. manufacturing in December of 2018 as did in November of 1949 (12.88 million). Globally, manufacturing is a $12.9 trillion industry.

How has manufacturing been so resilient in America despite lower labor cost offshore? What can manufacturers throughout the world do to raise the bar? Hire leaders like Mark Lado.

Building A Showcase Culture is Lado’s distillation of 30 years of experiences running factories at GE, Jabil Circuit, TRW Automotive (ZF Friedrichshafen AG) and WABCO. Lado provides hundreds of concise, actionable steps that managers can deploy to improve operations.

Building A Showcase Culture starts with directions for getting new hires launched right. Lado lists 66 suggested KPIs to measure performance in 13 key areas:

  • Safety
  • Reliability
  • Operations
  • Morale
  • Launch
  • Supplier Quality
  • Supplier Delivery
  • Cost or Profit
  • Purchasing
  • Inventory
  • Sales
  • Engineering
  • Customer Quality

He provides concise examples of the financial metrics for which manufacturing leaders must be accountable.

Data is the new oil; it can be the foundation for turnarounds and immense value leaps forward, but few know how to collect the right data and how to use data effectively to improve processes. Building a Showcase Culture provides an overview of the data needed for analyzing and taking action to achieve quality enhancements for the manufacturing process and beyond into engineering, finance, HR, logistics, supply chain and sales.

Building A Showcase Culture next provides a straightforward guide to production & shift planning, manufacturing systems architecture, productivity, and quality management. Lado’s instructions are massively informative and step-by-step. Though some readers may wish Lado shared more real-world examples of teams implementing the principles and how the theories evolved through iteration on the shop floor.

The illustration above is one example of the dozens of graphics Lado provides in the book. Lado describes it as a machining process layout with a:

  • 4 shift operation
  • 12 hours each shift, Day shift 08:00-20:00 and Night shift 20:00-08:00
  • 7 days a week production
  • Shift production target is 200 pcs per shift
  • One Direct Labor is responsible for machining a specific part moving from Operation 10 through to Operation 50
  • Direct Labor performs Quality inspection checks, performs Total Preventive Maintenance activities, and performs 5S before, during and after shift activities

As a master CrossFitter, Olympic weightlifter and scuba divemaster, Lado knows about conditioning. In the “Conditioning” section of Building A Showcase Culture, Lado spotlights how to build a strong manufacturing team through disciplined daily effort, with precise audits and analytics on the performance of key systems and people. Lado’s excellent chapters on Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) provide dozens of datapoints to monitor, with the objective of ensuring (in Lado’s words) “the workforce, manufacturing equipment, tools, gauges and infrastructure are always able to perform as intended”.

Robotics, lean manufacturing, IoT, eCommerce and other drivers are making manufacturing’s 4th wave more competitive than ever. Lado correctly writes that many “business books, podcasts, and other media present competitiveness in a generic sense and rarely provide the development and conversion details from a strategy to tactical plans to specific business opportunity assessments.” Lado remedies this in the closing chapters of Building A Showcase Culture with an instructive section on competitiveness.

The competitiveness chapters are rich with recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of strategic planning, improving annual budgeting and new business prospect qualification (market refinement), streamlining the procurement and supply chain effort, and capacity planning.

Lado spent nearly a decade as a productivity and quality turnaround consultant. The insights he gleaned from the dozens of factories he improved are generously shared in Building A Showcase Culture. Reading it and applying its lessons is like having Lado’s strategic mind available whenever needed, at any level of the organization from the production floor to the C suite. The book has all the ingredients for a successful manufacturing process re-engineering initiative.

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