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Contrary to popular opinion, the secret of Japanese manufacturing success lies not in the use of futuristic techniques but in an emphasis on manufacturing basics. First-hand observation of six Japanese companies reveals that the Japanese direct special attention to several areas: maintenance of an orderly workspace, minimization of inventory, solution of problems before they reach the plant floor, prevention of machine overload, the use of comprehensive equipment monitoring and early warning systems, and creation of a no-crisis atmosphere. Japanese managers achieve high quality by regarding all problems as important. McKinsey Award Winner.