Volume 6 Number 5 - May 6, 2008

Our source of new business is referrals from friends and clients. If you know a company -- customer, supplier, friend, or even your own -- that could benefit from improved operations, please forward this e-newsletter to them using the “forward” button at the bottom, or ask us to contact them directly. Your best interest is our best interest.

The Finish Strong�monthly e-newsletter helps business leaders examine issues important to taking operational performance to world-class levels. Do your Operations deliver your company’s espoused brand promise to every client on every order?

Finish Strong� is about developing an appropriate Operations strategy, and effective execution, dotting operational i’s and crossing operational t’s as you go.

Your company cannot afford to be sloppy if you want it to be great.


With five domestic airlines going out of business so far this year, others merging, and two others hovering around breakeven, the passenger airline industry might seem a strange place to go for lessons. Remember: smart people learn from their own mistakes; wise ones from those of others.

Southwest Airlines has been the most profitable of the domestic carriers the past several years for many reasons, one of the most significant being the decision several years ago to pay for the right to buy fuel in future years at specified prices. That decision has saved them hundreds of millions of dollars compared to their competitors.

  • What can you do to limit the impact on your business of a doubling or tripling of the price of your most significant resource?

Several airlines have found that by flying slightly slower, and taking 3-5 minutes longer on a 2-hour flight, they can save hundreds of dollars per flight. Hundreds may not sound like much, but I’d pick it up off the ground. Wouldn’t you?

  • Is your organization slowly bleeding money that attention to detail could identify and prevent?

Several airlines have quit providing beverages or snacks during flights. Those and others have started charging for more than one checked bag. Cutting back on things the customer notices and charging for things that were previously included in the price are business options.

  • Do you know which services you could eliminate that your customers wouldn’t notice or don’t care about? Do you know what your customers would be willing to pay more for because of the value they perceive?

Successful leadership requires strategic analysis and preparation, disciplined attention to detail, and laser focus on the value your company provides to the market. Don’t wait for red ink or crisis before providing that leadership.


Fulcrum ConsultingWorks, Inc. client IMM is celebrating its 20th year as a design and build mold shop committed to delivering quality tools to manufacturers utilizing plastic injection and blow molding technologies. Working hard to keep tool and die making a viable US industry, IMM has reduced lead times and further improved quality while maintaining competitive pricing. Congratulations to the entire team!


In many companies, I run across some employees who convey that they don’t really want to participate in any improvement activities, even simple ones that directly impact what they do all day. They say, “I just want to come to work and do my job.”

That comment typically reflects more on management systems than it does the employee. After all, if employees don’t believe that improvement is part of their job, how did that expectation become unclear? If employment applications and hiring processes specifically address that aspect, if personnel reviews and compensation structures clearly value willing participation in making improvements, how can an employee be so far off?

Fulcrum ConsultingWorks, Inc. All rights reserved.
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