Some 70 percent of U.S. manufacturing output currently faces direct foreign competition. While American firms understand the individual components of their manufacturing processes, they must begin to work with manufacturing systems to develop world-class capabilities. This new book identifies principles--termed foundations--that have proved effective in improving manufacturing systems. Authored by an expert panel, including manufacturing executives, the book provides recommendations for manufacturers, leading to specific action in three areas: * Management philosophy and practice. * Methods used to measure and predict the performance of systems. * Organizational learning and improving system performance through technology. The volume includes in-depth studies of several key issues in manufacturing, including employee involvement and empowerment, using learning curves to improve quality, measuring performance against that of the competition, focusing on customer satisfaction, and factory modernization. It includes a unique paper on jazz music as a metaphor for participative manufacturing management.Executives, managers, engineers, researchers, faculty, and students will find this book an essential tool for guiding this nation's businesses toward developing more competitive manufacturing systems.