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Fast Cycle Time

Fast Cycle Time

How to Align Purpose, Strategy, and Structure for Speed

Today, tens of thousands of companies are struggling to become "time-based" competitors, inspired by such corporations as Motorola, General Electric, Citicorp, and a myriad of others who have cut production time in half—or more. But until now, the literature has focused on the theory and philosophy of fast cycle time, rather than the tools and techniques for implementing it. Here, for the first time, Christopher Meyer, an internationally recognized expert in cycle time reduction, presents a step-by-step blueprint for transforming traditional companies into fast cycle competitors.

Meyer argues that fast cycle time is achieved not by working faster, but by aligning the organization's purpose, strategy and structure. He demonstrates how the product development cycle must become a learning laboratory in which the four continuous elements "Design, Fabricate, Assemble, and Test" are analyzed with the intent to improve strategy in the next business cycle. Analyzing strategy and core processes enables management to detect and correct problems earlier, and leverage knowledge for improved innovation and increased value for customers.

Employing an ongoing case study, Core Products, Inc., throughout the text, Meyer shows how to redesign the organization for manufacturability and assembly, how to implement multifunctional teams that work, how to analyze and map critical cycle time interdependencies such as "co-location," and how to measure the impact of cycle time on business performance. Meyer's practical approach provides a simple methodology for organizations to deliver products to customers rapidly, accurately, and reliably.

"Chris Meyer interrelates many pieces that we have all read about in different places into a coherent guide to making it happen. Ironically, as Meyer shows, implementing fast cycle time means almost the opposite of what most American managers are inclined to do...Many years of practical experience have shown Meyer and his colleagues the wisdom of a paradox—that to speed up you often have to slow down."

—From the Foreword by Peter M. Senge
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  • Free Press | 
  • 292 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416576242 | 
  • September 2007
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Implementing Fast Cycle Time

The Simultaneous Act of Letting Go and Adding On

This book is a pragmatic guide for implementing a fast cycle time strategy (FCT). Authors such as Stalk and Hout provide the basic rationale for a fast cycle time strategy and demonstrate the dimensions of success possible. Yet they say relatively little about how to put their ideas into practice. Regrettably, far too many implementation efforts begin and end with an externally driven, expert analysis that identifies cycle time barriers and bottlenecks. The experts identify the problems but don't specifically define how to design and... see more

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