Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tom Papas & Andy Saito - Ten Years Later

By Pascal Dennis

About ten years ago I had an idea for a novel.

I envisioned an auto plant manager whose life was in shambles, and a damaged ex-Toyota executive.

A deshi and sensei coming together in an unlikely friendship, and helping to heal one another thereby.

I saw a New Jersey auto plant in a death spiral, full of tension, despair and waste, unable to right itself despite the best of intentions.

These images became Andy & Me, whose characters and factory came to life for me.

Andy & Me was awarded the Shingo Prize and was commercial & critical success.

I was a bit shocked. Didn't think anybody would care for a 'factory novel.'

The characters, Tom & Andy, seemed to strike a chord. I'm been humbled by the personal feedback I've received.

I remember a young engineer who told me she cried when Andy revealed his 'secret' to Tom.

(Was it that bad, I wondered? Then I realized she had been moved in a good way!)

Tom & Andy's adventures continue in The Remedy - Bringing Lean Out of the Factory...

Tom & Andy take on not just a factory, but an entire automotive platform.

I wanted to express what I've learned working upstream & downstream of the factory.

The economic chaos of 2008 and 2009 informs The Remedy.

How could the splendid, historic Detroit auto companies have fallen so far, I wondered?

In fact, Tom & Andy seek the remedy to Big Company Disease.

Again, your response has been very kind. (Thank you.)

Where will Tom & Andy go next?

Not sure -- but they're up to something...



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