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WCM is a production system created by Professor Yamashina. Developed as a result of successful business studies, WCM is based on 10 pillars of development.


The term World Class Manufacturing was introduced in 1984 1 by American industry strategists. They have developed a model based on the study of Japanese, German and American companies that have achieved performance levels beyond the known standards in their sector. 

Following these studies, a model for deployment of problem-solving tools, maintenance improvements, etc. was created. It is the teacher YAMASHINA who defined this model, WCM.

WCM is a comprehensible system to improve productivity, reduce outages and increase quality by involving all teams in lost time and resources caused by non-compliance. reliability of standards and performance of the production system. The power of WCM comes from improving the involvement of teams. In order to produce good products, we must have good people and involve them in continuous improvement.  “Hajime YAMASHINA 

In terms of tools, Professor YAMASHINA describes the WCM :

« WCM requires TQM as the brain, JIT as the nervous system and the TPM as the muscles. »


A history of strategy

These authors developed a 4-step strategy to achieve a World Class level by assessing the contribution of manufacturing activities to the competitiveness of the organization.2 :

  1. Minimize the negative production potential control the measurement of performance indicators and achieve flexible and responsive production.  Reaching Competitor Level  Identifying and monitoring the level of competition is part of the investment strategy. 
  2. Provide credible support for achieving the strategy   a long term policy is implemented and resources are allocated accordingly. 
  3. Pursue the goal that production is a competitive advantage  efforts are directed to anticipate technological change, production is at  same  Level that marketing / design and long-term programs are set to keep ahead.

A first deployment model

Beyond the explanation of why to arrive at a World Class level, it will be another author who will first establish a deployment model to reach the World Class level.

Source : Schoenberger R.J.(1986) – World class manufacturing: the lessons of simplicity applied

The current model

It will be Professor Yamashina, who from 1995 3 , then through various works, especially at Fiat 4 will develop the current recognized model of the WCM system. It consists of 10   technical pillars and 10 managerial criteria represented as a house.

The 10 technical pillars

1 – Safety and health

This first pillar aims to reduce accidents at work, develop a culture of prevention, improve working conditions and improve ergonomics.

2 – Cost Deployment

Cost control is a priority in the WCM system :

  • Identify the causes of the losses. 
  • Quantifying the potential benefits to save money.
  • Put in place the necessary resources by the management. 

In general, it’s about having a real control of the losses of the company. 

It’s a synergistic work between financial services and production.

3 – Focused improvement

Reduce the most important losses, eliminate the non-value added, develop the skills and culture of the problem solving are the major axes of this pillar.

4 – Autonomous activities

This pillar brings together the activities of autonomous maintenance and improvement of the workspace. The challenge is to improve performance, increase staff skills and involve them in the process.

5 – Professional maintenance

The goal of professional maintenance is to increase machine efficiency by using technical fault analysis. It also aims to facilitate cooperation between operators and maintenance to achieve the “ zero fault”“.

6 – Quality Control

Quality control is a pillar whose objective is to reduce nonconformities, increase the skills and culture of employees with respect to quality.

7 – Logistics

Logistics is also part of the WCM system. Its goal is to reduce stock levels and minimize the amount of material handling from supplier to delivery.

8 – Early Equipment management

We saw it in the Hayes and Wheelwright model: staying ahead of new technologies and anticipating problems are key points for a World Class company. The objectives of this pillar are :

  • Respect the schedules for setting up new equipment
  • Ensure a fast and stable start 
  • Reduce the cost life cycle
  • Design equipment that is easy to maintain and inspect 
  • Design easy to produce products

9 -People development

Presented several times on the other pillars, the increase of skills is a key focus of the WCM. It’s about structuring a training system and define the roles of everyone in the system.

10 – Environment 

Respect environmental standards, develop a culture of cost reduction and energy losses.


The 10 management criteria

Management commitment

Commitment of management is an essential element to the success of such an approach. Without this commitment, the project is doomed to failure.

Clarity of objectives and KPIs

Each individual must be informed of the company’s ambitions to understand their position, their role and thus achieve their objectives.

Route map to WCM

The deployment plan must be built to make a clear link between the company’s objectives and the actions on the ground. This is communicated and monitored by the management.

Allocation of highly qualified people to model areas

Each pillar has a leader and a team dedicated to its implementation. These people are in charge of creating and sharing know-how.

Commitment of the Organization’s

Management and all staff must be involved in the process. They must “ wish ” to see the problems and solve them.

Competences of the organization

Des training plans must be deployed for all, including new and temporary staff. The best methods are spread horizontally.

Time and budgets

Projects must be masterfully controlled. The WCM activity is controlled by Top Management through routines.

Level of detail

quipment of control and data recording are set up to facilitate the resolution of problems and the management of the company. Data is reliable and easily recorded.

Level of expansion

The WCM system must be deployed through a program where the priority of the actions is a function of the  equipment criticality and results of the pillar cost deployment“.

Motivation of operators

Staff must be convinced of the process and get involved. Autonomy, the will of the teams to solve the problems and to continually improve constitute the basis of measurement of this motivation.

The 7 steps of the deployment of the pillars

Professor YAMASHINA has developed a methodology in 7 stages divided into 3 subgroups for the deployment of each of the technical pillars. In detail, each step is different depending on the pillar deployed but in principle, the process remains the same.


Step 1

Identify what is the problem we need to deal with.

EStep 2

Detect where it appears.

Step 3

Prioritize problems based on the costs of corrective actions.


Step 4

Analyze solutions and estimate costs.

Step 5

Choose the best method to avoid recurrence of known problems.


Step 6

Implement solutions rigorously, evaluate results and compare them to initial objectives.

Step 7

Set up preventative actions to avoid the emergence of new problems in based on a risk analysis.

Source : H. Yamashina (1995) – Japanese manufacturing strategy and the role of total productive Maintenance


It should be noted that all the stages of the deployment are based, as for Lean 6 Sigma, on the attitude Gemba, who as part of the WCM is called 5G.

Step 1 to 3 – Reactivity

As soon as the problem appears, corrective measures are implemented.

Step 4 to 5 – Prevention

With the experience gained, corrective actions are put in place to prevent the problem reappearing.

Etape 6 to 7 – Proactivity

Through risk analysis, appropriate actions are applied to continually improve standards and avoid new problems.

The key indicator of the WCM : VALUE RATIO ADDED


1 – R. H. Hayes, S.C. Wheelright (1984) – Restoring our competitive edge

2 – R. H. Hayes, S.C. Wheelright (1985) – Competing throw manufacturing

3 – H. Yamashina (1995) – Japanese manufacturing strategy and the role of total productive maintenance

4 – F.D. Felice, A. Petrillo, S. Monfreda (2013) – Improving Operations Performance with World Class Manufacturing Technique: A Case in Automotive Industry

S. Arsovski, I. Dokic, S. Pesic Dokic (2011) – Quality in World Class Manufacturing

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