The authors are dyed-in-the-wool manufacturing people. Two long-standing, paid-up members of the Institution of Production Engineers and one statistician. We love the sound of metal on metal, the smell of 'suds', and the feeling of the carpet clicking when you get home at night with swarf stuck in your shoes. Sad, but true. So, if there are biases in this paper, at least we cannot be accused of trying to conceal them. Our bias, if such it is, is our starting point. A belief that, for all the good theory, many British manufacturers could do better at putting common sense into common practice on the factory floor. The last few years have given us an opportunity to test this notion, and to begin to work out what to do about it.