Shows evidence of two types of manufacturing firm: traditional (low performing plants) and enlightened (high performing plants), and makes the case that the distinction in quality is not so much between Japanese versus Western, as it is between traditional and enlightened approaches to quality. The enlightened firms have the following characteristics. First, they see quality as an ongoing, never‐ending pursuit of customer satisfaction, rather than as a managerial fad which might be replaced by subsequent “management‐guru” terms. Second, they have senior manufacturing personnel committed to quality. Third, they have manufacturing strategies which help to translate external customer requirements into internal operational approaches. The differences in capability of quality levels between traditional and enlightened manufacturers are both intriguing and, for the traditional group, alarming. Clearly, the enlightened firms recognize the enormous benefits of, and remain committed to, TQM and they offer an approach which sets them apart from the traditional group.
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