It took 12 years of dogged pursuit of lean manufacturing methods, but all the hard work has paid off for Joseph Day, chairman and chief executive officer of Freudenberg-NOK General Partnership.

Mr. Day humbly accepts the prestigious Manufacturing Leadership Award from the Shien-Ming Wu Foundation on behalf of his employees worldwide who have carried out a remarkable 15,000 kaizens for continuous improvement in manufacturing. Mr. Day was the driving force that introduced Freudenberg-NOK to its first kaizen in September 1992.

This year, the company will conduct 1,200 such sessions worldwide. This is the second year the Wu award has been presented at the U-M Management Briefing Seminars. Last year's recipient was Robert Lutz, chairman, president and CEO of Exide Corp. and former vice chairman of Chrysler Corp. The Shien-Ming Wu Foundation was formed in 1993 in memory of the late Professor S.M. Wu, considered a pioneer in manufacturing science and engineering.