Now Akira Yeiri Really Has To Burn Rubber

Akira Yeiri loves lean, swift management--and loathes obstructions. One detested formality is the hanko, or personal seal, stamped on documents as a sign of approval. When he became president of Japan's huge Bridgestone Corp., some documents had to be reviewed and stamped by 20 executives. "It held everything up," grumbles Yeiri. He cut the maximum number to three and began preaching a philosophy known as genbutsu-genba, aimed at making on-the-spot solutions. "He's obsessed with it," says Nobumichi Takizawa, general manager of a Bridgestone quality-control group.

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