Volume 14 Number 8 - August 2, 2016


All of you are doing several things well in your businesses. All of you are likely also tripping more than you'd like. Here are a few things I've seen manufacturers of all sizes and industries trip over, and what to do about it:

  1. Hiring cheap
    1. Just as you don't want your customers looking for lowest price to obtain the real value you offer, neither should you look for the cheapest person you can find.
    2. Paying someone reliable and energetic a dollar per hour more costs you $2,000 over the course of a year. Consider what it saves you. Paying $10,000 per year more to someone smart and eager to learn and contribute can have a return on investment of just a few months. Don't be afraid to hire the characteristics you actually need. And don't pay more to get the available body instead of those characteristics.
  2. Hire for today instead of tomorrow
    1. Tasks listed on a job description may well be irrelevant in the near term, or drastically changed. Selecting a candidate who can perform those duties, but not see the need to eliminate them through improvements, creates a problem that could have been prevented. For example, three-way-matching is a waste. Focus on the few suppliers who create the problems and get it fixed. Then audit as needed. Does you're A/P staff see that potential?
    2. The role of a plant manager in a $50MM operation is very different from that of a plant manager in a $100MM operation. If you plan to grow, hire those who can help make it happen. Hire those who can make sure the organization is better then than it is now.
  3. Apply "good enough" where it doesn't belong.
    1. We all understand the math of improving by 1% each day to accomplish significant results. But no one I know actually improves 1% each day.
    2. Intimidated by 1% each day, many choose to accept where they are. The best aim for 30% improvement — often called breakthrough — in a defined period of time. Need to reduce costs? Yes, nibbling will help. Stepping back to figure out how to reduce costs by 30% within 2 years helps more. There's no magic to 30%, but there is a disappearing act that follows "good enough" you don't want to experience.
  4. Believe "we're unique" and "that doesn't apply here."
    1. Yes, every company is unique. But that 80/20 thing is usually true. Failure to learn how others have mastered the 80% you share is failure to learn. No company is that unique.
    2. Patients are not cars, yet hospitals have utilized lean concepts to reduce errors and streamline operations. Very few successes can be replicated by copy/paste, but most can be understood conceptually and creatively applied to advance any manufacturer.

A little self-reflection, coupled with learning from the mistakes of others, can move every organization forward. Including mine. And yours.

Hire For Experience, Or Potential?

The Starting Pistol

George Bernard Shaw:
"Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

The Tape

Rebecca Morgan:
"...future success requires willingness to change minds — starting with our own."

August 10-11, 2016: Seattle, WA: In this 2-day workshop, Virginia Mason will take a hands-on approach to teaching the tried and true Moonshine Method. You will actively participate in following a specific problem from identification through prototyping. The Moonshine Method uses innovation techniques to unlock ideas and develops those ideas into functional attributes that will build the foundation of your prototype.

September 25-27, 2016: Washington DC. The annual APICS conference is in DC this year, bringing with it presentations, keynotes, and workshops. Join more than 2,000 people from around the globe as you earn recertification points and learn!

October 24-28, 2016: Dallas, TX: The annual AME conference will be in Dallas this year. As always, great plant tours, keynotes, practitioner presentations, workshops, and small group conversations on issues of importance to YOU.

Check out the Events page on our webiste for more information.

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