Volume 10 Number 4 - April 10, 2012


If you know a company — customer, supplier, friend, or your own — that could benefit
from improved operations, let us know.
Your best interest is our best interest.

The Finish Strong® monthly e-newsletter is for business leaders who recognize Operations as a strategic function that creates competitive advantage, profitability and brand loyalty to the marketplace.

These brief articles, list of events, and amended quote will make you think.
Go ahead: test us


There are theories of leadership, of supply chain management, of operations. There are proven methods of identifying personal behavioral and character characteristics. There are problem solving methods proven to reduce reoccurrence and improve quality. TRIZ methodology has helped engineers quickly solve challenges that had consumed resources for years.

Ignorance of important theories is one thing; refusing to consider their value in increasing competitive position is quite another. The first can be be resolved with effort, the second a battle that must be recognized and fought. The word "theory" does not make a concept useless in the "real world." Few argue that the theory of gravity doesn't apply here.

If your organization could benefit from developing all employees to actively help you move towards the company vision, the theories of "Lean management" do apply. If your company couldn't benefit from that, I'm eager to learn how you plan to remain competitive.

If your organization could benefit from an aligned supply chain, from employees that understand how to work effectively with differing communication styles, from...... etc., there is likely a theory from which you can learn.

Your challenges are not different from those of everyone else in the world. While theories can evolve or be proven wrong, there's much to learn now.


We've all heard about the shortage of skilled production workers, but that shortage extends to manufacturing professionals at all levels.

Current examples from four clients include: (1) company looking for CEO-in-development functioning as manufacturing manager the first year, (2) manufacturer seeking replacement materials management professional for the prior one that was recruited away after less than a year, (3) metal working company searching for both production supervisor and maintenance manager to replace disappointing current employees, and (4) fast growing company continues recruiting of distribution/logistics and ERP analyst roles.

In the first two cases, I knew very good candidates no longer working for clients, and both are filled. In the third case, the requirement for high quality people over applicants with years of experience but no demonstrated personal and professional growth is stretching the search for months. In the fourth, candidates accepted the offers, only to leverage them to negotiate higher bids from other companies.

Being competitive requires you hire the right people. Not easy, but worth the wait. When character matters most, personal references from people you trust can be more important than the resume.

Don't just go to work and go home. (1) Actively pursue connections with your peers to identify potential sources, and (2) reach out to them for candidates they would consider hiring.


The Starting Pistol
Billie Holiday:
“If I'm going to sing like someone else, then I don't need to sing at all.”

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"...which is why I've had my own consulting business for over 21 years. Providing off-the-shelf 'solutions' to every customer is akin to assuming everyone likes Billy Ray Cyrus all the time. Provide unique value, or you're just another singer."


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