TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Disgruntled players, managers and even the very umpires in charge of calling balls and strikes say Major League Baseball has a problem defining the strike zone.

Not so for Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.

Because its global sales are surging by veritable leaps and bounds, Nissan is getting down to the nitty gritty of improving its already industry-leading efficiency, says Hidetoshi Imazu, Nissan’s senior vice president-Manufacturing & Industrial Engineering.

That includes a new measure of worker ergonomic perfection Nissan has dubbed the “strike zone,” which Imazu says is a precisely defined body-movement area where a worker most efficiently can complete a given task with the least amount of strain.

Unlike Major League Baseball, Imazu jokes, “our idea of the strike zone is very tight.”

Imazu says his company’s manufacturing engineers now are attempting to have every assembly line task performed in the strike zone, which not only eases effort but, ultimately, aids efficiency.

The strike-zone concept is proving particularly helpful in Japan, whose workforce is aging, and at newer Nissan plants that are employing less-experienced workers, he says.