Volume 10 Number 11 - November 6, 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


New products currently hitting the market shine a light on both Boeing and Apple. Boeing is perceived as old, plodding, and bureaucratic, while Apple is perceived as young, cutting edge, and agile. Both have stumbled mightily in their outsourcing activities.

This week the Boeing Dreamliner 787 begins long-awaited commercial flight in the United States. About a year ago All Nippon Airways received the first commercial 787, 3 years later than promised.

The plane incorporates new technologies and materials, and also represents the shifting of Boeing from a manufacturer to an assembly and design firm. The confusion among suppliers, the multiple delays, the mid-process redesign of many manufacturing and assembly processes make a pretty clear case that successful outsourcing requires a heck of a lot more than issuing PO's. Project management, communication, coordination, and even design skills much greater than Boeing could demonstrate were required. Nonetheless, Boeing enjoys a significant backlog of 787 orders that will take almost 8 years to fill.

Turning to Apple, once again lines formed as faithful customers couldn't wait to purchase the iPad mini, the iPhone 5, and the unexpected new iPad. The outsourced manufacturing and assembly challenges of Apple, best known through the multiple suicides at it's Chinese subcontractor Foxconn, received massive publicity in the United States, but somehow seems lost in the excitement of actually holding and using the new equipment.

For Boeing, the delays meant lost millions, if not billions, of dollars resulting from the incompetence of their Dreamliner outsourcing efforts. But if the plane operates as efficiently as promised, the already significant backlog will likely increase further. For Apple, except for some temporary bad publicity, the behavior of one of its primary subcontractors has left it relatively unscathed, with no real harm to sales or profits.

Unless you have their bank accounts and either Boeing's barriers to entry or Apple's fanatical customer base, your company would not likely be so lucky. Learn from the experiences of both as you outsource, or insource, key aspects of your business.


As millions of Americans choose their President for the next four years, it's worth taking a minute to ask yourself if your constituents would vote for you, given a choice.

What is your platform? What are your priorities? Are they understood? If all your constituents had an equal vote, would you be elected to lead them for the next four years?


Download the AME 2012 conference value stream presentations at:
ame2012.conferencespot.org Username: Chicago2012. Password: excellence
Keynotes and special interest sessions are not available.


The Starting Pistol
John Fitzgerald Kennedy:
"Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction."

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"...and the leader must make both purpose and direction clear."


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