American Drive: How Manufacturing Will Save Our Country

Richard E. Dauch, with Hank H. Cox. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-01082-7
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Dauch, a self-described “manufacturing missionary,” draws on his achievements and struggles as CEO of American Axle & Manufacturingto discuss the significance of manufacturing to the U.S. economy and offer pro-industrial policies to pursue. He insists that “[t]he importance of manufacturing jobs cannot be overemphasized,” a persuasive message that resonates in today’s jobs-conscious economy. To Dauch, product quality is an absolute necessity achieved only by nonstop determination by workers and management, an insight presented as a contrast to prevailing lethargy and indifference. As a Tier One supplier to the Big Three automakers, his company’s fate largely rested on theirs, despite the quality of his work. Dauch’s managerial sympathies are manifest throughout, and he alternates descriptions of industry decline with tales of his efforts to build up his company by moving to “lean manufacturing,” revamping corporate culture, instilling leadership, and entering worldwide markets. He makes clear that “[t]oday’s industrial environment is not your father’s factory floor”; so while the automobile supplier industry may not provide a reliable litmus test for industry generally, his own battles should furnish useful insights to would-be economic planners. With union influence on the decline nationwide and government bailouts forcing General Motors, Chrysler, and the UAW into a linkage of interests, perhaps Dauch’s account will herald the ending of an outdated model for hostile management-union industry relations. Agent: Robert Wilson, Wilson Media. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/16/2012
Release date: 09/04/2012
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-250-01083-4
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