The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence: A Leader's Guide to Achieving and Sustaining Excellence

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9781439876046: The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence: A Leader's Guide to Achieving and Sustaining Excellence

Explaining how to implement and sustain a top-down strategy for manufacturing excellence, The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence: A Leader’s Guide to Achieving and Sustaining Excellence provides a comprehensive, proven approach for delivering world-class performance while also cultivating the right culture through leadership and mentoring.

Tapping into four decades of leadership experience, 35 years of it in the manufacturing industry, Larry Fast explains how to achieve vertical and horizontal alignment across your organization. He details 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. Emphasizing the importance of using Lean and Six Sigma tools to improve your business, the book:

  • Integrates strategy and leadership development
  • Paves a path for culture change–Operator-Led Process Control (OLPC)―that prepares hourly employees to take control of their processes and prepares management to enable them to do it
  • Details an audit process for tracking progress and ensuring sustainability
  • Includes a CD with color versions of the images in the book as well as a sample Manufacturing Excellence Audit, a sample Communications Plan, and a sample Training Plan that can all be easily customized for the reader’s use

This resource-rich book will allow you to spell out leadership expectations and provide your employees and associates with a clear understanding of their individual roles. Helping you keep everyone in your organization focused during the quest towards sustainable manufacturing excellence, the accompanying CD supplies the tools you and your team will need to pursue it with passion, confidence, and urgency.

Listen to what Larry Fast has to say about his new book, The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence.

Part One ― Part Two

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About the Author:

Larry E. Fast is a 35 year veteran of the wire and cable industry and held senior management roles for 27 of those years. At Belden, where he spent his first 25 years, he was one of the youngest Plant Managers to ever take the helm at their flagship plant in Richmond, Indiana. At that time the plant employed over 1200 people in a building of nearly 800,000 square feet. In 1982 he became the senior manufacturing leader of the Electronic Division, a position that he held for 12 years. During that time he conceived and implemented a strategy for manufacturing excellence that substantially improved manufacturing quality, service and cost. He is regarded by some as "the father of manufacturing cells" in bulk cable operations in the industry. Prior to 1987, the only known application of cell technology had been in assembly operations such as cord sets and harnesses. He later started up a new cord set division for Belden and served as the General Manager for 4 years. This experience helped to round him into a stronger manufacturing leader where his passion for excellence continued with a strong customer bias.

In 1997, he joined General Cable Corporation to lead North American Operations as a member of the Corporate Leadership Team. At that time General Cable was known more as a "marketing company" that was frequently handicapped by a grossly underperforming group of manufacturing plants. After two years learning his new company’s culture, people, product groups, systems, etc. he was named the Senior Vice President of Operations. After a 1999 aquisition 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. This included the addition of Supply Chain Planning and Logistics and three regional distribution centers in addition to the 18 manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. These plants produce a diverse range of energy, communications, industrial and specialty wire and cable products.

His vision solidified with a strategy for manufacturing excellence that was embraced by General Cable’s Leadership Team and Board of Directors in 1999. By 2001 the first General Cable plant, (Malvern, Arkansas), won Top 25 recognition as an of Industry Week magazine’s finalist for "Best Plants" in North America. By 2009, General Cable manufacturing plants had been recognized for twenty-one awards honoring nine plants―six of which were named winners of the 10 "Best Plants" in North America. Fast’s plants were the first to achieve three Top 25 awards in consecutive years and only the second company to have twice had three Top 25 winners the same year in the 20 year history of the award. As evidence of the sustainability of the process, in 2009 there were three General Cable plants in the Top 20 for the third time. Also, the very first winner, Altoona, PA in 2003, came back in their first year of eligibility to compete and win for a second time! The six "Best Plants" winners represent the successful execution of the strategy in various cultures, union and non-union plants and in all three countries. The winners are: Altoona, PA, USA in 2003; Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada in 2005; Tetla, Tlaxcala, Mexico in 2006, and Indianapolis, IN, USA in 2007. Manchester, NH, USA joined this distinguished list in 2008. Altoona, PA, USA won for the second time in 2009 and Piedras Negras, Mexico joined the list of winners after having been a finalist in two prior attempts. The 2010 final results are not yet known at this writing but two plants have made the "Top 20" finalists list. They are Franklin, MA, USA for the second time and Lawrenceburg, KY, USA for the first time.

Fast holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Administration from Indiana University and is a graduate from Earlham College’s Institute for Executive Growth. He also completed the Program for Management Development at the Harvard University School of Business in 1986.

Fast is a long time member of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), the Wire Association, and is a former member of the American Production and Inventory Control Society and the American Society for Quality. He also has served as a Section Chair for NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association. He has served on university advisory boards including Indiana University/Purdue at the I.U. East campus in Richmond, Indiana and the School of Applied Sciences at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. From 2001 to 2007, he served on the Industry Advisory Board for the Tauber Manufacturing Institute at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 2009 he joined the Board of Directors, SE Region of AME. Since his retirement he has also joined the team of judges for Industry Week magazine’s "Best Plants in North America" competition.

Fast has spoken at various manufacturing excellence events such as Industry Week’s Best Plant’s Conference, Manufacturer "Live", AME Champions meeting and the international conference on Lean Manufacturing sponsored by Reliability World. He has also been published in National Productivity Review magazine for the turnaround story at Belden Wire and Cable and was featured in two October, 2006 articles in The Manufacturer and in Mexico Watch for the outstanding track record leading change at General Cable Corporation. Fast is now Founder & President of Pathways to Manufacturing Excellence, LLC, a consulting company based in Gainesville, GA.


From a professional stand point, The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence: A Leader's Guide to Achieving and Sustaining Excellence is one of the best, most complete and useful professional books that I have read or routinely referenced.

Having been in or directly supported quality assurance and/or manufactuirng operaitons for over 40 years, I personally feel this book ranks up there with some of Crosby's, Deming's, and Juran's work, especially in the areas of understanding fundamental concepts, functional utility and strategic accomplishment. For those who want to drive positive change and increase in QA, operational, and business bottom line contribution, this is a must-have reference.

Larry Fast gets it! The principles discussed and tools incorporated, like the Manufacturing Excellence Audit, will increase organizational critical thinking, enrollment, and achievement.
John M. Scott, Vice President, Food Safety & Quality Assurance, The Cheesecake Factory Manufacturing Division

This book encompasses most if not all of the areas of manufacturing excellence that are important to our business and leadership culture. The simplicity in which these principles are described and the requirements of various management roles in driving excellence through these principles are of great value to any organization that is serious about driving change and improvement.
―John Despins, Director of Continuous Improvement, Global Brass & Copper Inc.

Great template on how to build manufacturing excellence. I can use this with any operation. I already knew most of the tools, but this prescribed approach pulls it all together. ... The 12 Principles are very applicable to all functions. ... an excellent roadmap for developing and running a world-class operation. It will become my model for continuous improvement. ... Larry’s understanding of operations and business management shows well. Clearly he has taken years of valuable experience and pulled it together in a way and format that everyone can use and follow. It’s a great how-to manual.
―Mike Stonecipher, Director of Operational Excellence, Power Partners, Inc.

The Manufacturing Excellence Audit will be a great tool to be used in our organization.
―Jimmy Duncan, Manufacturing Manager, Lincoln Electric

I think I've read at least 100 different books on all the various programs, methods, and techniques that are typically tied to continuous improvement or manufacturing excellence, and yours is the only book that has taken an integrated approach to capture the key principles. I've become a disciple and zealot by reading all those books, attending numerous training seminars and conferences, and being personally involved as a team participant or change agent in many change initiatives. Some very successful, some not so much. Your book has helped validate our own journey within a long standing organization with a history of being very internally focused.
―William (Bill) Fautch, Vice President, Manufacturing, Olin Brass―Mill Products, a Division of Global Brass & Copper, LLC

I just received your book and I am almost through reading it already. Fantastic! It's a must read for anyone in manufacturing.
―Peter Olmsted, Chief Talent Officer, Definity Partners; Former SVP Human Resources, General Cable Corporation

I have read your book, and I should say it was one of the best manufacturing books I have read. I work at the Global Operational Excellence of SAPA Group ... it's about aluminium extrusions, and your book is a mandatory read for what we call Genesis, which is the name of our lean manufacturing system. I have some ideas related with your 12 principles, and during 2014 I would like to dig more into the details and make some proposals to our management. Your book should be a mandatory read for any manufacturing / plant manager.
Pablo Rognone, Director, Global HP Dies Development & Coordination, SAPA AB, Oslo, Norway

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