Volume 1, Number 1 - November 4, 2003

At the recent APICS international conference, Larry Ellison of Oracle asked a basic question about the information age. Are you in it?

You walk in to a mom-and-pop store in a small town in Spain. You see something you want to buy, hand them your credit card, and within a few minutes, are on your way with your new item of joy in hand. The credit information system supplies current information on millions of potential buyers around the world to millions of vendors around the world for use in deciding to issue or deny credit. And it is available
in seconds.

You are carried into an emergency room, doctors about to make life-and-death decisions about you. Your allergy records are one place, your medical history in several others, your x-rays and MRIs are somewhere, but none of it is in the Emergency Room. The doctors have to make critical decisions with very limited information, not because the information doesn’t exist, but because they cannot see it organized and quickly.

Look at your own company’s decision-making. Do your employees have the information they need at the time they need it to make good decisions. Whether you invest heavily in computers, or rely on visual systems, you must ask yourself – am I putting my employees, and my company, in a position to succeed? Good decision-making is hard enough WITH the facts. Without timely and accurate information, it is relegated to luck. And no company can succeed over time on luck.

A Fulcrum ConsultingWorks Inc. client, Neighborhood Manufacturing, was recently awarded “Best Practices Winner” by the Akron Business Conference (ABC), which celebrates excellence in NorthEast Ohio companies. ABC considers applications from companies that have successfully implemented ideas other businesses could easily afford and implement with a minimal amount of time and effort, and awards only the best. They won for their business strategy to locate in inner city neighborhoods and hire local employees with a need for flexible hours, for their incentive plan, and for their Lean Manufacturing implementation. Congratulations to Chuck Mintz, Howard Garfinkle and all the employees of Neighborhood Manufacturing, a division of
Superior Tool.

For many of you, it’s that dreaded time to put together your best estimates of how much revenue you will bring in and how much money you will spend next year. Make sure any planned capital expenditures fit in with your overall operations strategy. To make widgets faster so they can pile up in front of the next machine may not be the best use of your money. Look at how the capital equipment fits in to the overall operation before approving the plan.

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