Many will not forget the sights of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. These natural disasters tested Japan and the manufacturing prowess upon which the country had been built. Unfortunately, the manufacturing methods that led to glorious growth in post-war Japan are what led to post-tsunami crippling.
Lean manufacturing - established as the gold standard by Toyota and other Japanese manufacturers - relies on the knowledge that processes and conditions will stay the same day after day. Harnessing this predictability and empirically analyzing results have allowed our global economy to become what it is today.
Yet the very nature of our global economy makes "leaning out" difficult. Disasters can halt production for weeks. War and social struggle put business on the back burner. And the default on sovereign debts threatens to rip apart the supply chain one link at a time.
However, fast-forward four months after the destruction of the March tsunami began, and select Japanese manufactures have not only begun to rebuild, but emphatically rally back. So, who are these all-stars, and how did they do it?
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.