Volume 14 Number 7 - July 12, 2016


Bill Gates famously predicted a computer in every home, much to the amusement of then-current-day business gurus. His vision of the inevitable was clear. And accurate.

In 1985 Steve Jobs said that the internet, then in its infancy, was the reason people would buy computers — to connect with others. Jobs' Apple subsequently changed the product model from desktop computers to phones and tablets.

Simultaneously machine designers began to build in automation and information systems. ERP systems grew from basic MRP programs, based on the premise that more information faster is better. Now we see the availability and potential of Big Data, with the Internet of Things fast approaching.

IT expertise has become a required competency for every manufacturer, regardless of size or industry. The essential proficiencies are increasingly diverse. The expert who can protect your systems from hackers is unlikely to adroitly provide application expertise. It is improbable that professional can write software to control your equipment and determine when and what to communicate.

Information prowess is fast becoming an additional prerequisite to operating a successful manufacturing business. What data is worth having? How is the data most effectively analyzed to move the company forward quickly? Those dreaded statistics courses in college are now a basic requirement in leveraging Big Data or Internet of Things (IoT). Data is useless; the right information at the right time is priceless.

We worry about the shortage of experienced equipment operators. We lament the lack of experienced warehousemen. Those skills we know how to train. Providing the technology development and information selection and analysis skills that are demanded is a different story.

Like it or not, every manufacturer — even the small ones — are in the technology and communication business. Every manufacturer is in the rapid prototyping and quick learning cycle business. iPads on the shop floor with are common. Current information. Now. Where I need it.

Manufacturing and technology are married; there will be no divorce. Each is growing quickly, and often in different directions. The relationship can be rocky. Independent decision-making, outside of strategy, will only make it worse. Many will need caring counseling, discovering where each aspect must prosper and where each is committed to excess. While to some it may feel like an arranged marriage, we must learn to make it work.

Organizational Speed Kills!

The Starting Pistol

Friedrich Nietzsche:
"Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.”

The Tape

Rebecca Morgan:
"...which explains why so few are exceptionally successful."

July 28, 2016: Columbus, OH: Abbott Nutrition Supply Chain recognized a very difficult challenge three years ago at their Columbus manufacturing location: achieving effective alignment, communication and sustainability throughout the organization Since then, the fundamental principles of strategy deployment and a lean management system supported by leader standard work have made significant improvements in how the plant operates and have driven sustainable improvement in operational performance.

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.

Image Map