This piece contains questions that were posed by Kronos Incorporated to Robert Parker, group vice president at IDC Manufacturing Insights, on behalf of Kronos' manufacturing customers.

Analyst Connection: Lean Techniques Pervade the Organization

The manufacturing industry invented and then lived on the productivity benefits of lean manufacturing. In today's uncertain economic environment, the need for continuous improvement has never been more critical, not only to increase productivity but also to provide the ability to react quickly to changes in supply and demand. In fact, manufacturing firms are continuing to expand their use of lean manufacturing, sometimes in ways that are counterintuitive.