Reviews

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Review #1 from amazon.com

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Review #2 by Bob Marshall, P. Eng., Ontario Center of Excellence, March 18, 2005.

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"I have been using Dr. John Miltenburg's work for the better part of two decades. I was delighted when he first assembled his material into a text, and am equally pleased to see a Second Edition. This new book cycles between the macro and the micro. It provides an excellent overview of manufacturing in the current global business context. It then dips into detail and walks you through the tools to build a sensible, winning manufacturing strategy for your business in its own unique context. John has added material to cover strategy for your company's international network of factories. He has retained his Manufacturing Strategy Worksheet which enables your marketing people to understand the manufacturing reality (and vice versa!) on a single page. A clearly-written book for those who want to see the whole as well as the parts of manufacturing strategy."

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Review #3 by Michael J. Martin, Michigan State University, Product Innovation Management, 13, 2, 180-181, March 1996.

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"My initial impression was, too simple, too basic. Then I saw the value of the straightforward approach to assessing manufacturing operations and formulating plans for improvement. Manufacturing Strategy provides a methodology to identify conditions for change, generate options, and also provides a common language in which to communicate and implement these options. Its stated purpose is to develop a precise framework for manufacturing decisions. Not production level and inventory control decisions or which product to make where, but the decisions that determine the best manufacturing organization to exceed customer expectations and overwhelm competition. Manufacturing Strategy accomplishes that goal.

"Manufacturing Strategy could be used as a basic text in a manufacturing management course or as a planning guide for small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises. It is focused on manufacturing with a limited discussion on other business planning techniques and on the influence of product life cycle on manufacturing. The analysis and planning tools would be helpful for manufacturing assistance providers.

"John Miltenburg does not candy coat his mechanistic approach to analysis and planning. Whenever he identifies a series of traits to be measured, they are broken down to the precise number of levels-no more, no less. He has designed a series of worksheets that include the matrix of manufacturing operation or concerns: outputs (delivery, cost, quality, performance, flexibility, innovativeness); competitive analysis (attributes, company current market, strong competitor, company target, market qualifying, or order winning); products and volumes (many products-few of each, many products-low volume, many products-medium volume, several products-high volume, one product-high volume); layout and material flow (functional, cellular, line flow-operator paced, line flow-equipment paced, continuous); production systems (job shop, batch flow, operator-paced line flow, equipment-paced line flow, continuous flow, just-in-time, flexible manufacturing systems); manufacturing levers (human resources, organization structure, production planning and controls, sourcing, process technology, facilities); and level of manufacturing capability (infant, industry average, adult, world class). Miltenburg discusses the degree of granularity needed and why other systems are too general or too specific.

"The merit of his book and worksheet is that they are simple, easy to use, and will communicate to manufacturers. Numerous cases are used to demonstrate applications. I could see how a small to medium-sized enterprise would derive real value in determining where it is; where it wants to be; and what are the best options to move it there. I know a number of other tools that are too complex, too lengthy, and thus are not used.

"Manufacturing Strategy is a solid analysis and planning guide for the manufacturing system. It combines both internal and external analysis. The author provides lists of suggested changes … from benchmarking to agile manufacturing. He also describes the value of soft technology (e.g., concurrent engineering) and hard technology (e.g., computer-aided design and manufacturing). He does not set the stage for the revolutionary change in manufacturing-movement into the knowledge-based economy. His approach is appropriate for the majority of manufacturers. However, it does not provide an appropriate planning tool or construct for those moving from a commodity-based competition to a knowledge-based competitive environment.

"Miltenburg rarely shows the integration of manufacturing into the enterprise, treating it as a separate function-within its own silo. Periodically he does discuss other approaches to business planning and has a limited theoretical discussion on the influence of product life cycle manufacturing. An expansion of his model to the enterprise would be of value. Whereas most planning texts are paeans to the concept of planning or diatribes on the virtues of a humanistic approach to business, Manufacturing Strategy offers a solid, no-nonsense series of tools for analysis, examining options, selecting pathways for change, and implementation. Manufacturing Strategy is a basic and simple approach for the manufacturing system to an often obfuscated management tool-strategic planning."

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Review #4 by James W. Marcum, National Productivity Review, 118-119, Spring 1996.

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"This is a handbook that should reside on every manufacturer's book-shelf. The author-a professor at McMaster University in Canada with GM experience--offers no single-method promotion, but rather a comprehensive overview of the strategies, systems, and capabilities of manufacturing. The design and implementation of manufacturing strategies are made easy with clear figures and charts that are rendered even more useful by the large format of this well-produced book.

"After an eight-chapter introductory section comes a treatment of various techniques currently in use to improve manufacturing. These include TQM, reengineering, kaizen, agile manufacturing, soft and hard technologies, learning, product life cycle, and investment evaluation. The final section provides a chapter each on the seven production systems: job shop, batch flow, flexible manufacturing, operator-paced line flow, just-in-time, equipment-paced line flow, and the continuous flow production system.

"Many chapters conclude with reading lists. The illustrations are drawn from real-life manufacturing experiences, many observed by the author in his research and consulting work. Productivity Press has delivered an excellent resource at a price that makes it a real bargain."

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