Craig Shular has been the chief executive officer of Parma-based GrafTech International since 2003 and has built a team credited with taking the company from the brink of bankruptcy to profitability and growth.

With 11 state-of-the-art factories on four continents, GrafTech manufactures graphite industrial products — everything from multi-ton electrodes for steel making to fuel cell components to paper-thin heat dissipaters for smart phones.

The Question: Toyota took U.S. Lean manufacturing techniques — the just-in-time production — and improved it. What is Lean?

The Answer: It’s not just for production facilities. It’s for accounting, for human resources, the legal department, research and development, for every department.

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