Let’s face it — the state of costing in almost all U.S. companies today is atrocious. It has not kept pace with advancements in technology or manufacturing.
Examine a few disasters of recent or historical note. Colorado Springs has faced a terrible threat and much damage with astounding efficiency, in my opinion and observation, and without injury. Clearly, they have learned to improve communication and coordination between various public service agencies since 9/11 when we learned just how unprepared we were in the U. S. to deal with catastrophe.
The city where I live has been assaulted by wildfire. It was been a busy week helping friends, strangers, and firefighters in the miniscule ways I can and still trying to keep up with business as usual or unusual. So, I confess that local events that dominate my attention inspire the thoughts that I would share. The fire about which I speak is named the Waldo Canyon fire, outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
No two disturbances are the same, and the increased complexity of these disturbances has proven to be catastrophic to the lifespan and reliability of medical equipment.
When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a proposal to ban the sale of large sodas at restaurants and theaters, the reaction of disbelief from the public was predictable. Incredibly, a few days later Bloomberg’s health advisory board began considering an expansion to rope in milk-based drinks and popcorn. It’s not surprising that they want to control more food choices. What’s astounding is that they were so honest, so quickly.
“The New New Thing” is out there waiting to be developed, deployed, and utilized. Microsoft isn’t waiting to stumble upon it.
I soon realized that Mark had a different understanding. As he sat at his desk and logged into his computer, I repeated that we should go to the floor first. To my surprise, he responded, “Yes, we’ll ‘be there’ in a second.” I realized, at that moment, that there might be a generational communication barrier. I asked hesitantly, “Did you use your computer to ‘go to the floor for last three weeks’?”
At issue is a compensation practice known as “gang time,” which the plaintiffs allege violates the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The gang time practice, as used by Creekstone, pays employees only for time when the production line is moving, plus 10 minutes for putting on and removing protective gear. It's a complex issue that has judges and courtrooms debating over what qualifies as "work."
Upon the initial release of Facewatch, London’s latest initiative to invite the community to police itself, I was troubled. This world doesn’t need an app that allows a gang of Joe Mercs to police the streets and rid the fair city of all its petty thieves. According to the website, Facewatch is “an online crime reporting system for businesses to report crime, providing the full evidential package required by the police.”
If you are one of 190 million U.S. adults studied by an obscure company in Little Rock, Arkansas called Acxiom, they have the digital equivalent of what used to be known in spy circles as a dossier on you. In the bad old days of the Soviet Union, secret police maintained files on millions of ordinary citizens, consisting of allegations (many by friends and neighbors) of suspicious or subversive activities.
It’s been awhile since I’ve had the time to sit down with friends and family to play an old-fashioned game of Monopoly. I generally trust them not to pocket cash from the bank, bheft in the manufacturing sector, where trusted employees are stealing from companies they’ve been with for a number of years. Quite a bit more damaging than a few lost plastic houses, fraud in manufacturing companies seems to be becoming more and more common.
A friend and colleague asked me a difficult question: “What do you think the future of Six Sigma and Design for Six Sigma will be? Will it continue, or is it a dying idea?” While trying to answer him, I was forced to consider the successes and the challenges of various business improvement and process improvement programs in a way that forced me to think not only about where they are, but what I thought they should be. It was a good exercise.
Livestock operations and animal rights organizations naturally hold opposing views, so when the speaker mentioned the necessity for animal producers to work with animal rights organizations, I could feel the tension in the room. But for the meat and poultry industries to continue to succeed, an effort to improve relations with animal rights groups is needed. Steps to engage the HSUS in more dialogue already have been taken by some industry groups.
Every supply chain professional knows it’s a dangerous world out there, full of highly volatile and unpredictable elements that can grind production to a halt, all in the time it takes for a crack of thunder to rumble across the skies. However, it might surprise you that risk management is not just a defensive way of reducing the negative impact of unexpected or unwelcome events - it’s also a way to proactively boost business.
There is lot of buzz about the importance of education and secondary education in our nation these days. It can’t be denied that the majority of education promotes better paying jobs and career opportunities for students. As college is becoming more and more common, many people are second-guessing the value of an education beyond high school. There has been an emergence of a new type of education: Technical Education High Schools (TEHS).
With the announcement that China GDP has slowed sharply in the first three months of the year, the unbridled demand for labor will also cool off, as its previous strategy of pushing hard on the gas pedal to grow GDP at any cost won’t work any longer. China is now driving with two feet. One foot is tapping the brakes (by curtailing construction) and one foot is gently pressing the gas pedal (through the loosening of credit by banks).
Marketing is a powerful tool. Many consumers know not to believe everything they read, hear or see. Yet, especially when it comes to medicines and foods, consumers want to trust that they are being protected. Few people run home to research the benefits of pomegranate juice before they pick up a bottle of POM. The benefits are listed right on the bottle, and hasn’t someone checked to make sure that these claims are true?
By now, I am sure that most of you have been exposed to the Open Innovation (OI) movement. Somewhere in your company, some poor minion has been told to see what all the fuss is about. If you are in a big organization, someone will have been ordered to gather a committee, do homework and, explain to management how OI can be implemented, thereby increasing profits to shareholders, reducing bottlenecks and reducing payroll.
Prototyping was expensive and the engineer in Crump was looking for a better (and cheaper) way.
If there are so many job opportunities in manufacturing (a report from NAM forsees increasing labor shortages ahead), why don’t we just announce the opportunity to parents, community colleges, universities, high schools, and grade schools? Then get industry and the government to support a massive education and training initiative – much like putting a man on the moon.