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I can't pretend to understand how much of the criticism aimed at the Eurozone is realistic and how much is ideological propaganda.

I can help a little on this - these are the things I studied in pursuit of a MS in Mfg Systems... but frankly we didn't do a lot of benchmarking against Euro Zone companies... but rather against Asian firms... especially Japan & Toyota.

If I were you... before I got to involved in the minutia... I'd do a little background reading... here are a few I'd start with:

The Machine That Changed the World

And the follow up...

Lean Thinking

And if that isn't enough - go right to the source...

Toyota production System

Once you read some of this then you'll be pretty well inoculated against the propaganda... Otherwise it will be a bit like trying to read a budget without knowing anything about accounting...

BTW - I think Europe could have the most productive labor force in the world with a few minor tweaks... I've even though about relocating over there to be a part of it... that was until the recent bru-ha-ha...

I'll look for you postings as always.

"On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." - Peter Steiner

by dryfly (jjwhodat at hotmail dot com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2005 at 12:47:52 PM EST
What's the key thing I'd learn from those books? The Amazon listings don't make their relevance clear to me, which I assume is due to my cluelessness here.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2005 at 01:08:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'll learn what a modern work force is supposed to look like... how a modern factory is supposed to run.

Toyota revolutionized it 30-40 years ago and now those same principles are EVERYWHERE. That was the basic discovery of 'The Machine That Changed The World'... that the Japanese didn't have a monopoly on good practices... rather they could be found in North America, Europe, Asia... but they all had certain things in common... they coined the term 'lean practices' to describe them. And lean doesn't mean give them the mushroom treatment... keep them in the dark, feed them shit... Many of the 'lean plants' have the highest wages in the manufacturing world... they are so productive they can afford to pay them and still remain profitable... Toyota City in Japan is the poster child for this.

And the principles are spreading into offices too... My wife just went to a seminar on 'lean practices' in the office environment... basically the Toyota system projected into the services side... she isn't big on 'buzz words' but was shocked how much sense it made... almost too much for a large company.

Once you understand what good practices are then looking at regs & policy that 'fix' labor woes makes sense... until then it is like adjusting the thermostat and not being able to feel the temperature.

That was my point.

"On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." - Peter Steiner

by dryfly (jjwhodat at hotmail dot com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2005 at 01:45:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought that was what you were getting at, but I wasn't quite sure.

Thanks.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2005 at 02:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...check this out:

http://www.lean.org/

Read some of their stuff... this is a 'non-profit' founded by the guy who wrote 'The Machine That Changed The World'... to be honest, I think it is a 'pseudo' non-profit... in that while the dot-org makes no money, they do as consultants...

Regardless they describe the basic workings of a modern well run factory & office... and it won't be that hard to get European mfg & workforce up to speed... all the basics are in place... just a little tweaking.

Supposedly one of the guys on their board is from the UK... this guy... I bet he would do an interview... they all love publicity.

Good luck on your effort... I can hardly wait to see the propaganda debunked!

"On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." - Peter Steiner

by dryfly (jjwhodat at hotmail dot com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2005 at 02:24:33 PM EST
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