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Driving a Winning Culture? – Don’t Forget Your Suppliers

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Often, when companies talk about “cultural change”, they are referring to changes in the internal culture of their own enterprise; i.e. empowering its employees to make decisions related to problem solving and process improvement, using the formal system in place of its informal systems, or an un-relenting commitment to quality. But what about the external culture? Your supply chain is an integral part of your operation. It does little good to change internal culture if you don’t address your external culture at the same time. In the end, you are only as successful as your suppliers are. In the pursuit…
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Crisis Brings Real Change

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The current recession has thrust many companies and individuals into crisis – at a minimum, plans have been put on hold, and in many cases, it has been the worst crisis experienced since the Great Depression (if the company has been around since then). This crisis has caused many companies and individuals to do the previously unthinkable. The “unthinkable” is significantly different from person to person and company to company; however, it is equally worrisome. Naturally, stress is at an all-time high. So, what can we do productively to deal with crisis? It brings me back to my HR mentor’s…
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Implementing a New System in a Recovering Economy

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In preparing for recovery, companies need to start to look at implementing new business systems. But, with limited resources and capital, many companies may decide to defer this decision to a time when “things are better”. What these companies fail to recognize is that there may be no better time than right now to start the project. It has been estimated that a major Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system implementation will cost as much as 3% of annual sales and will take 12 to 18 months to complete. Therefore, it is critical, especially in a recovering economy, that a company…
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How to Support Change Management

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Successful change management begins with the understanding that first we must manage change effectively. The Change model below lists the five things that any organization must have in place order to effectively manage complex change. Complex, because there are no two identical situations and there are a myriad of inputs depending on your company’s business sector and input variables. (Above: Without the proper Vision there’s confusion, without Skills there’s anxiety, etc.) Vision Management must provide a specific vision or purpose of what they want the organization to look like down the line. This vision must be specific, and employee buy-in…
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How To Improve Productivity

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Seven Skills of a Highly Productive Workforce By Doug Howardell Customers in the global economy are more demanding than ever before. They can be; there is more competition than ever before. Customers take it for granted that you will deliver a low cost and high quality product or service. Now on top of that, they demand it faster and customized to their individual needs. To be a survivor in the marketplace today you must produce world class quality products and services, designed to meet the specific customer’s needs, deliver them quickly anywhere in the world and at a competitive price.…
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How To Improve Customer Service

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Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Your CEO or some other top management type addresses the troops in an attempt to rally them to do better. “Our customers are revolting! They are demanding more for less. They want world class products and services. They want it all and they want it now. If we can’t provide what they want, they will find some one who can. Customer loyalty is a myth formed in the mist of our distant past. We must be closer to our customers then ever. We must provide great customer service.” I’d bet some version of…
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Crisis Brings About Real Change – A Case for In-Sourcing

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For the past decade companies have spent considerable time and resources on strategically outsourcing their products and services. But maybe now, while our economy is in a real crunch, is the time to reconsider this strategy and put people back to work in this country. According to the APICS Dictionary, 12th edition, in-sourcing is “using a firm’s internal resources to provide goods and services”. The opposite is out-sourcing; “the process of having suppliers provide goods and services that were previously provided internally”. In the old days we called this a “make or buy” decision and out-sourcing was called sub-contracting. The…
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Hoshin Kanri

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Most companies that I have worked at lack a centralized company-wide Quality Assurance, metrics and delivery strategy. They simply seem to be going through the motions, sometimes very destructive motions based on one or two individuals “running the show.” This can be a very dangerous long-term proposition. With this in mind then, we introduce the concept of Hoshin Kanri, or Policy Deployment. Hoshin Kanri is a company-wide quality system that creates constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service and adapting a philosophy that does not tolerate lack of quality, defects, antiquated training methods, (or management’s styles). Hoshin helps…
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Activity Based Costing in the Information Age

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I. Traditional costing today Despite the fact that it is over 75 years old, most companies still use standard cost systems both to value inventory for financial statement purposes and for many other management purposes as well. While it has some advantages for financial statement purposes (simplicity, consistency, well understood by auditors), it is, at best, meaningless and, at worst, misleading as a tool to assist in making effective management decisions. Why is this true? It’s because the business case for which it is being used today is not the business case for which it was designed. Standard cost accounting…
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6-S A System for Quality, Productivity, Housekeeping and Workplace Organization

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Does your place of work have materials and WIP all over the place, are tools constantly missing? Are their stacks of unread magazines or financial statements in boxes on the floor? Does everybody put things wherever they want to? If this sounds like your place of work, then the 6-S system is a way to get in control and stay in control of workplace housekeeping and organization. The 6-S System increases workplace efficiency and employee productivity by involving everyone in the improvement process. At the heart of 6-S is controlling and creating strict standards in order to control and improve…
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