Learn what the World Class Manufacturing methodology is, its principles and techniques!


After the Industrial Revolution, we can observe how the development of management techniques and methods took place that helps in the process of control and progress of organizations.

There are some classic examples such as the model developed by Talylor, better known as Taylorism and also Fordism. Currently, one of the most sought-after management models within organizations is World Class Manufacturing.

If you are an assiduous reader of our page, you should already be familiar with the concept of World Class Manufacturing and understand all the benefits that your management can bring to a company or organization in general.

What is WCM?

WCM, World Class Manufacturing, is a set of management principles and techniques. Based on some pillars that will be presented later, this methodology focuses on best practices for management with zero waste. If this sounds familiar, it’s because WCM shares countless similarities with Lean philosophy.

In the mid-1980s, when Toyota increasingly stood out from other companies for its Toyota Production System (from where World Class Manufacturing originated), Western companies needed to find a way to become competitive.

Thus, the concept of “world-class” was emerging, that is, competing for primacy, for market leadership. It was a matter of time before World Class Manufacturing emerged, having been applied systematically and successfully by FIAT in 2009, saving Chrysler from bankruptcy.

WCM can thus be seen as an adaptation of Lean Manufacturing aimed at meeting some cultural characteristics of the West, such as anxiety for more immediate results.

Pillars of the WCM

The 10 technical pillars of World Class Manufacturing are:

  1. Safety
  2. Cost Deployment
  3. Focused improvement
  4. Autonomous maintenance and workplace organization
  5. Professional maintenance
  6. Quality control
  7. Logistics & Customer service
  8. Early equipment management
  9. People development
  10. Environment

The 10 managerial pillars of World Class Manufacturing are:

  1. Management Commitment
  2. Clarity of Objectives
  3. Route map to WCM
  4. Allocation of Highly Qualified People to Model Areas
  5. Commitment of the Organization
  6. Competence of Organization towards Improvement
  7. Time and Budget
  8. Level of Detail
  9. Level of Expansion
  10. Motivation of Operators

The managerial pillars create a foundation for technical ones. It is not possible to achieve WCM using only one of those sets of pillars.

How can I start deploying WCM?

Looking at these 20 pillars presented, the question arises: how am I going to put this into practice? After all, a company is composed of several different sectors, and deploying WCM in all is a great challenge.

This challenge is because it is not enough to put into practice the tools and techniques involved in the WCM. After all, if we do this, we will have a poorly done optimization, which will always depend on someone supervising and driving the team to follow the established standards.

It is necessary to make a change in the company’s culture, in everyone’s way of thinking, without exception. Starting with senior management, not the operational base, as is usually done wrongly in many Western companies.

Once this immersion is done in the philosophy of not generating waste, it’s time to implement it. But as has already been said, doing this throughout the organization at once is a great challenge. Therefore, it is better to choose a model area for the first structuring of the methodology.

For this, you usually choose the area with the worst performance, as it is the one that offers the greatest opportunity for improvement. Thus, following the pillars, highly qualified professionals should be allocated to this area, who will apply the methods and principles of the WCM.

Thus, because we are dealing with only one area of the company, it is possible to have greater control over the process, ensuring the expected result.

So, after applying WCM to an area, we can apply it to the rest of the company, taking the lessons learned, thus knowing more accurately what should and should not be done.

WCM audit system

WCM has an audit system that measures the level of implementation of the program in a company, uniting all systems and programs of an organization into a complete unit.

In the evaluation, the level of expansion, depth, and maturity of all WCM pillars is quantified, and based on the level of development of the system, the organization receives a certification, which has three levels of performance.

Bronze-level factory

1. It has well-implemented bases, such as 5S, autonomous maintenance, and visual management

2. The bronze level requires some strategy techniques, so a company that is at this level has business excellence in the area of expertise

3. In the management system, a bronze-level company by WCM focuses only on the priority pillars for its business.

Silver level factory

1. The level of excellence is now expanded to all sectors of the company, no longer only in strategic areas

2. achieve a level of global excellence in the area of expertise

3. At this level, the company implements all the pillars of WCM.

State of the art – this is a utopian level for many organizations because it requires a very high dedication to process improvement.

However, some companies have managed to reach the gold level and today are a reference in the implementation of integrated management and cost reduction.

WCM certifications

In addition to the certifications that can be won by the company, the program has personal certifications, which serve as a motivation to qualify a professional who knows the methods and tools of the program.

Certifications have categories equal to Six Sigma, but their functions are a little different because they consider the knowledge of WCM tools. They are:

White Belt (WB): professionals who demonstrate an understanding of the theory, of WCM tools. He is an active member of the team and is training with the main basic tools of the program, such as Kaizen and 5 whys. In addition, the professional needs to know how to apply them autonomously.