Keywords: lean manufacturing, cellular manufacturing, pull production, one-piece flow, aerospace, joint venture, globalisation, China, Chengdu Engine Company, Pratt &, Whitney
World-class manufacturing in Chengdu: a case study on China's first aviation joint venture
This paper describes the economic conditions in China that contributed to a joint venture between United Technologies' Pratt & Whitney and Chengdu Engine Company. It discusses the elements of world-class manufacturing that Pratt & Whitney brings to the Sino-American venture. The paper examines Chinese cultural attributes and management practices that may conflict with the philosophies of world-class manufacturing. It presents a case study on how Pratt & Whitney and some other global companies are confronting and minimising such conflicts. It argues that China can, and does, successfully adopt world-class management practices when the global partner is sensitive to the legacy of central planning. It concludes with some lessons learned by Pratt & Whitney and others that may be of value to business leaders who are contemplating joint ventures with Chinese partners.