YOKOHAMA, Japan -- Trevor Mann stacks his canned beans upside down so the beans settle at the top. With one fluid motion, he can pull a can down from the cupboard, peel the pull-tab top and dip into a perfectly mixed puree, as the beans gravitate downward.
That sort of fanatical efficiency has led Mann, over 30 years, from the factory floor at an assembly plant in Britain to his post as Nissan Motor Co.'s chief performance officer, where he leads a drive to improve profit margin and plant productivity.
His drive is paying off.
In the quarter that ended June 30, Mann helped Nissan get within striking range of a long-elusive goal that CEO Carlos Ghosn wants achieved by March 31, 2017: a global operating profit margin of 8 percent.
That goal is enshrined as the second "8" in Ghosn's Power 88 multiyear business plan. The first "8" stands for the goal of an 8 percent global market share.
Thanks to a mix of improved factory utilization levels, higher sales and favorable exchange rates, Nissan's operating margin leapt to 7.0 percent in the April-June fiscal first quarter, up from 5.8 percent a year earlier.