The Quest For Quality In U.S. Goods: Making It Better

In U.S. Goods Making It Better Rising to Japan's challenge, many American companies are toiling zealously to improve the design and craftsmanship of their products

Less than a decade ago, Xerox was in serious trouble. The company whose name is synonymous with copying machines was steadily losing customers. As Japan's Ricoh, Canon and other new competitors muscled onto Xerox's turf, the company slumped from an 86% share of the world market for basic copiers in 1974 to just 16.6% by 1984. When a shaken Xerox finally studied its competitors more closely, the company discovered their secret weapon: the Japanese firms hewed to rigorous quality standards. Taking a hard-eyed look at its operations, Xerox discovered that it was slowly destroying itself with sloppiness and inefficiency at almost...

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