01

Jun 2014

On the road again….

The blog has moved! You can find it now at: http://www.mfg-leadership.com/ If it is easier you might want to follow me on Twitter – MFGWaddell. I will tweet to let you know where and when I have posted something. Thanks for the support! Bill


27

May 2014

Taking lean to the highest level

For those who don’t know my consulting practice for the last few years has been dedicated almost exclusively to working with companies ready to go beyond lean tools and take the plunge – formally structuring their organization and management processes around their core value streams.  It is a fairly elite group of companies; not for those still wavering in their commitment to lean, but the…

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23

May 2014

The root of all evil

Functional silos – the idea that all engineers have to work in an engineering department, all sales people have to work in a sales department and all procurement people have to work in a purchasing department – represent the over-arching deficiency in just about all companies.  They are at the root of enormous amounts of wasted time and money and they are at the root…

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22

May 2014

Whose history are we hanging onto?

This morning I find myself in the rare position of agreeing with just about everything in an article written by an academic in the Harvard Business Review blog.  Vijay Govindarajan, a professor from Dartmouth wrote a piece titled “Strategy’s No Good Unless You End Up Somewhere New”, the essence of which is that innovation isn’t a strategy by itself, but strategy must include an element…

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21

May 2014

And they think inventory is an asset …

Two stories from the auto industry in recent days: IN the first, we learn more about GM’s rapidly unfolding quality debacle:  “General Motors is recalling another 2.4 million cars and trucks, the embattled automaker announced Tuesday, bringing the number of vehicles called in to repair defects this year to a record 13.6 million in the United States.” In the second we learn that the auto…

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19

May 2014

Working smarter … and harder

One of the most often repeated, and silliest, mantras spouted by lean advocates is that it is about working smarter, rather than working harder.  In fact, working harder is right at the core of success – lean or otherwise.  Elon Musk (he of Paypal and Tesla fame), speaking to the graduates of USC said they should, “Surround yourself with good people”. He advised them to,…

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15

May 2014

Looking great from one angle anyway

Comedian Tim Allen once said that the reason women take so much longer than men to get ready to go out is because women will take the time to look at themselves in the mirror from every possible angle and make sure things are right, while men are content if they can find just one angle from which they look good.  Humorous … but probably…

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14

May 2014

Why Public Companies Can’t Be Lean

There is an article written by Sally Blount, the Dean of Northwestern’s business school, in BusinessWeek that is curiously circular in its logic, but really gets to the heart of why publicly traded companies rarely realize the potential lean principles and philosophy has to offer; and why the few that do rarely sustain. On the one hand Ms. Blount argues that the world needs more…

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13

May 2014

The GM Toyota Rating Scale

In a survey of suppliers on their working relationships with the six major U.S. auto makers – Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, Chrysler and GM – GM scored the worst.  But of course they did.  They are GM and we can always count on such results from them.  And, of course, they will continue to do so as long as accounting is the dominant force in…

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09

May 2014

Ford will be just fine

Mark Fields is replacing Alan Mulally as the head of Ford in a couple of months and I have heard some concern about that.  Lean folks predict gloom and doom as a result of a hard core manufacturing guy like Mulally turning the reins over to a sales guy with a Harvard background – Fields.  I don’t share that pessimism because of one incident at…

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