February 2015

How to Leverage Opinion Leaders to Implement Change in Manufacturing

In every organization, there are people who have formal and informal authority. The folks with formal authority are fairly easy to spot. They usually have the biggest office, fanciest clothes, and sit at the head of the table. Spotting the ones with informal authority can be a little trickier. Sometimes they are more vocal and aggressive. Other times they are silently controlling the tides from behind the scenes in your organization. Either way, it's one of your key responsibilities as a change agent to identify these people and leverage their influence to drive change.

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Manufacturing Execution Strategy: Technique vs Speed

In manufacturing, there is an optimal point where you have achieved the ideal balance between technique and speed for a process. The trick is knowing when you have struck that balance; and the answer may not be what you think.

Value-based Compensation for Continuous Improvement in Manufacturing

This is a great post. You're gonna love this. It will challenge the very paradigm of how we run our factories from a standpoint of performance management and improvement. The concepts presented here are, by design, controversial, breakthrough, and disruptive.

Plant Profits: The Whole that is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts

In a healthy product-driven business environment, value is created in the manufacturing process. In fact, the entire value chain lives within the manufacturing (and supply chain) process. Case in point, if you take the of raw materials, conversion (labor utilities, maintenance, etc.), and overhead and total that all up for one unit; then compare that value to the market price for one unit, the difference is the amount of value created. Now some of that value is real and some of it is perceived which is created by dynamics in the market such as scarcity and other factors.

Measuring Plant Performance by the Common Denominator in Business

For the sake of its own survival, a business must make money. And it must make more money than it spends. A business that spends more money than it makes is cannibalizing itself – and if not corrected will eventually fail. This is not controversial; it is a fact of reality for all commercial entities. Because of this fact, the default “language” of any business is cash. Sure there are many aspects that all make up the DNA of a business such as company culture, employee safety, product quality, and so forth.

Put Your Money Where Your Machine Is: Intro to Continuous Improvement Finance Strategy

Go into the factory and pick an operator at random. Then ask them how profitable the factory was last year, last month, last week, or even yesterday. You are likely to get a blank stare and possibly some raised eyebrows followed by: "what the hell are you talking about?" In most American manufacturing companies the typical operator has no concept of plant financials and how what he or she does on a daily basis impacts the company's financial position. Yet every operator deals with money on a daily basis (at least their own money).

fOS Part IV - Management Systems: Exactly How Good Are you? And What Are You Going to Do About It?

You may not be at all surprised by this, but I'd like to begin this post with my top five quotes about management:

5) "The secret to winning is constant, consistent management." - Tom Landry

4) “The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30.” - Lorne Michaels

3) “Unfortunately it's also true to say that good management is a bit like oxygen - it's invisible and you don't notice its presence until it's gone, and then you're sorry.” - Charles Stross

2) "What's measured improves." - Peter Drucker

fOS Part III - Just Do It? The Framework of Manufacturing Execution

Before we begin, my top five quotes about execution:

5) "It is no use saying, We are doing our best. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary." - Winston Churchill

4) "Ideas are easy. It's the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats." - Sue Grafton

3) “A really great talent finds its happiness in execution.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

2) "A culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness." — Jim Collins

Breaking Out of the Death Spiral of Manufacturing Inefficiency

Ready...Fire...Aim.

No Wait that's not right, Aim...Fire...Ready.

Wait wait, one more time. Fire...Ready...Aim. Why is this so difficult?

THE PROBLEM