The purpose of the paper is to present the author’s reflections on the origin and popularity of various approaches to maintenance and improvement of production processes, their terminological consistency, understanding, and practical application of their principles. The author’s reflections are based on his observations made over his many years of activity as a lecturer and consultant in the area of production engineering and management. It was shown that there is a need to make scientists and practitioners aware of the relatively large degree of freedom in defining the scope and way of application of strategies of continuous improvement. The author’s proposal is to refer to all approaches to maintenance and improvement of production processes with the title “Strategies of Efficient Action” and all supporting methods as “Practices of Efficient Action”. Considerations presented in the paper can be useful in more and more efficiently applying the power of TQM, Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing and other strategies of processes maintenance and improvement in the daily activities of companies.
The article presents tools, methods and systems used in mechanical engineering that in combination with information technologies create the grounds of Industry 4.0. The authors emphasize that mechanical engineering has always been the foundation of industrial activity, while information technology, the essential part of Industry 4.0, is its main source of innovation. The article discusses issues concerning product design, machining tools, machine tools and measurement systems.