From Mass Production to the Lean Six Sigma

  • Andrea Chiarini
Part of the Perspectives in Business Culture book series (PEPIBC, volume 3)


In the first years of the twentieth century the famous entrepreneur Henry Ford used to say, half serious, half joking, that “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black” and “What doesn’t exist cannot break” (referring to a car’s optional features). Considering the interruption of the markets development due to the two world wars, in 1960s and 1970s companies all over the world found themselves doing business in a sort of calm sea where the route wasn’t difficult to choose. The consumers requested products they did not have which could significantly improve their daily lives and for marketing managers it was relatively simple to satisfy their needs. The post-war generation, for example, used the moped as means of transport, but for obvious reasons desired a car. As soon as they managed to buy one, it became a Sunday morning ritual to tinker away in ones garage, trying to repair and maintain the product, as it was replacing the broken vacuum valve of the black and white television. The washing machine, the television, the fridge, the dishwasher and other objects that we now take for granted, often remained dreams for years for families in the post-war era. As soon as the financial status allowed it the purchase was automatic, without many demands regarding the quality of the product, from those few companies whose main goal was satisfying a rather large local request. In fact, only very few companies tried expanding to foreign markets due to trade protection and communication barriers. Today every company uses the Internet to complete transactions, but to those times even fax did not yet exist. So the consumer bought a product/service that he had never had before, having to choose between a few competing companies; and this product will have definitely changed his lifestyle. In this context it was quite difficult to obtain personalized products, long-term guarantee, immediate delivery and other services that nowadays are ever-present. The production for this market was concentrated on products that scarcely varied, produced by few companies that relied on little competition and relatively low-priced raw materials.


Marketing Manager Green Belt Personalized Product Bretton Wood System Material Requirement Planning 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Chiarini
    • 1
  1. 1.Chiarini & AssociatesBolognaItaly

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