Volume 1, Number 2 - December 2, 2003

First we moved operations from the “rust belt” to southern states. Then we moved them to Mexico.
And now we move them to China. All in search of the grail of cheap labor. Unless the United States becomes a 3rd world country, there will ALWAYS be cheaper labor somewhere. There will always be customers demanding more than they used to. They’re unlikely to apologize for all the demands they’ve been making and tell us to take the next year off from quality improvements and cost reductions. There will always be competitors trying to take our market share. There will always be urgent orders and human beings (a.k.a., employees, customers, and suppliers) making mistakes.

Our challenge is to succeed despite all this.

Does your operations strategy support your business and marketing strategies? Do your employees understand the strategy and how they support its implementation? Do they understand how the strategy works to ensure ongoing success despite the obstacles? Do your actions consistently enforce the strategy? The answer to each of these should be a resounding “Yes.” It is hard enough to succeed in today’s environment with a good operations strategy, almost impossible without. In many industries, there is too much competition for a fire-fighting reactionary company to succeed over time.

Walking the talk has never been more important. Whatever your strategy, making sure it is coherent, consistent, documented, and understood is a critical first step. Then execute it.

Kinetico, Inc., a Fulcrum ConsultingWorks client located in Newbury Ohio, has been a “Northcoast ‘99” award winner, given to the best 99 companies to work for in NE Ohio, for 5 straight years- every
year the award has been in existence. And now in line with its “make the world a better place” philosophy, Kinetico has introduced a new product that removes pathogens that can harm immune compromised people. It is the only drinking water system that surpasses the stringent U.S.E.P.A. Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Purifiers to earn its exclusive certification as a multi-barrier purifier.

While everyone is vulnerable to infection from waterborne pathogens, people with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk. About 25 percent of the U.S. and Canadian population is considered immune compromised including people with cancer, diabetes, asthma, kidney problems, AIDS, transplant recipients as well as infants, young children, pregnant women and the elderly.

Deer hunting season, holidays, increased absenteeism. The last 6 weeks of the year can easily see an expensive fall-off in productivity. Combined with the common end-of-year push to hit the numbers, conflict, confusion, apathy, and expenses can grow. Providing a fun place to work, with a focus on safety, quality, delivery, and cost performance should be a year-round venture. Take the opportunity of these next few weeks to work with your employees to begin to institutionalize both fun and success. “Job” does not have to equal “misery,” and “fun” does not have to equal “costly.” You can have a pleasant work environment as well as a profitable one. You owe it to yourself and your employees to make sure you do.

Fulcrum ConsultingWorks, Inc. All rights reserved.
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