Optical fiber is the plumbing of the Internet age. And Corning is the world's biggest plumbing supply house, holding about 40 percent of the market for optical fiber. During the past five years, it has mounted a successful campaign to revamp its standard fiber products, descendants of the first commercial light pipes patented by the company about 30 years ago.
Despite the encomiums of New Economy proselytizers about radical change, Corning achieved this goal of making premium fiber by streamlining traditional management techniques, using structured product-development formulas that would be recognizable to Frederick Taylor, the 19th-century father of management science.
This article was originally published with the title Builders of Light Pipes.