Peter Drucker popularized the phrase “knowledge economy” back in 1969, referring to a new generation of high tech “knowledge workers.” The truth is manufacturing pioneered the knowledge economy decades earlier and has always been highly dependent on knowledge workers. Knowing how to profitably make things that satisfy market demand better than the competition is the lifeblood of industry.
The term “cost” means an expenditure that we pay to move on or to continue business. It will not offer a profitable return. It is money lost. Alternatively, “investment” means money that we set aside or spend now in order to achieve a greater return later. If we look the pursuit of quality correctly, we see it as an investment, not a cost.
Why do we collect and analyze data? I believe that answering this question is critically important each and every time we step into a data analysis exercise. I say that because if we don’t keep our purpose foremost in mind while we are analyzing data, we stand a good chance of interpreting information that may not be real.
Developers and techies alike will pay close attention to how this case resolves. If a judge deems Google Glass to much of a distraction, an array of developers will have to rethink apps they are building for the road.
After decades of outsourcing, the resurgence in domestic manufacturing is now America’s favorite comeback story. Factors that once drove companies overseas — including labor and energy costs — are no longer considered insurmountable obstacles. Yet one troubling trend could signal a major complication for returning manufacturers: our nation’s increasing reliance on unstable supply chains of imported minerals.
Wednesday night, I heard, to my dismay, that the sole manufacturing facility for Sriracha hot sauce, located in Irwindale, Calif., may be shuttered. According to the city, allegations of burning eyes and throats have been rolling in — 30 or so in all, according to the Los Angeles Times — and it’s become enough for the city to declare the plant a “public nuisance” in violation of local ordinances regarding untoward odors.
Roughly a year ago, GE and other thought leaders in the industry — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Alcoa and The Manufacturing Institute — launched the Get Skills to Work initiative, a coalition aimed at closing the skills gap and specifically, to supporting veterans as they transition to careers in advanced manufacturing.
Consider the last time that you were invited or directed to attend training on a method to be applied to your own work. It might have been leadership training, process training, Six Sigma training, a Lean workshop, or training on the use of a new machine. The subject doesn’t matter.
Last Saturday, October 19, was the date of the Second Annual Global Frackdown. In case you didn't hear, the Global Frackdown is an international day of activism on which people who believe that global warming is an oncoming train that's about to knock us silly, gather in groups and protest the oil industry's practice of fracking.
Global shifts in costs, processes and consumer purchasing habits put the U.S. in a position to revitalizing its manufacturing sector and enhance businesses and industry at home. The only thing missing is enough skilled workers to maintain the momentum.
I started using the phrase, “check-the-box phenomenon” years ago when I was redesigning a “phase gate” structured product development process for my then employer. One of the problems we needed to solve with the new process was to reinvigorate our lost focus on doing things right the first time.
Regardless of the industry they serve, most organizations and companies have a highly vested interest in efficiently managing the energy they consume. Effective energy management is essential to helping an organization reduce emissions and conserve resources.
Could 3-D printing, also called additive manufacturing, revolutionize the production industry to the same extent as Ford's assembly line? When Michelangelo was asked how he sculpted the famous David statue, he's reported to have simply replied, "I just chipped away everything that didn't look like David."
That is how science should be done - in the open with all data and methods available for ANYONE to review. You never know who will have a missing piece of data or an insight that will cancel or compliment a published paper. Let anyone who wants to look and comment.
Those businesses or groups or teams that produce the most innovative or daring products and solutions are bold and daring of spirit. That spirit comes from the leaders and mentors that influence or drive the group’s behavior.
It is clear that food manufacturers are finding sustainable ways to dispose of their food waste, with many companies already experiencing success in this area. But there is always room for improvement.
Haven’t we overcome archaic attitudes towards women in the professional world? We certainly can’t blame the unbalance of gender to any sort of biological reasoning. After all, females are not any less scientific or mathematically capable than males.
It seems contrary to modern business practice not to have a sophisticated dashboard of business metrics to communicate and visualize the health of our organization. We especially like to observe that our process improvement programs and methods are paying off.
Unfortunately, because innovative ideas are ones no one else has, we can’t know for certain how successful those ideas will be. Likewise, because they are new and different, the development expense of innovative ideas is often high. The bottom line is that the risk of new and different ideas is great.
Making best use of resources is good, but figuring out how isn’t necessarily a Lean Event. Five-S is a good practice, but declaring an emergency just to clean up appearances for a visitor completely misses the intent. Quotas of activity do not necessarily beget improved performance.