Volume 10 Number 12 - December 11, 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


As business owners look for every advantage in capturing profitable market share, they can't help but hear that innovation is critical. Innovation sounds complex, time-consuming and expensive, but it doesn't have to be.

The CEO of a small tool and die business southeast of Cleveland has been incredibly innovative, simply by using common things to solve problems. She has streamlined her business, ensured consistent information throughout the company, and easily provides the most current information available to those who need it exactly when they need it.


You've no doubt visited Wikipedia. Wiki (short for "what I know is") is a simple easily editable and free software that anyone can use. This small Ohio businesswoman has created a company wiki to house all their standardized information. Procedures, definitions of terms, policies -- all documented and kept current through the wiki. They took something widely available, and figured out how to use it to improve their business.

You've seen QR codes in many places and likely have a reader app on your smartphone. In newspaper ads, in displays in stores, these ink patterns that remind me of Rorschach ink blots are really links to web pages. This CEO put QR codes on each piece of production equipment in the company. Want to know the maintenance records, the manufacturers information, or any other key data about that piece of equipment? Employees use their company-issued iPads to connect directly to the page of current interest.

The company is currently using these innovative ideas internally, but the next logical step is to utilize them to communicate with clients, key suppliers, and remote employees.

Innovation doesn't require new technology, just new thinking. What is right under your nose that you could modify, repurpose, or use as is to make yours a better business?


As we watch two political parties and two branches of federal government play a very dangerous but critical game of chicken, we can learn.

Over the past several decades, we've watched as multiple union/management groups "kicked the can down the road" by reaching agreements that both knew were unsustainable in the long run. Each side asked for the moon, and then under the impending pressure of strikes/lockouts/financial crisis, each would give up something for the sake of agreement. Not for the sake of long term well-being, but for the sake of agreement.

Was the creation of the Miami Heat all-star triumvirate of James, Bosh, and Wade in the best long term interest of the NBA, of the Miami Heat, of those 3 men? Or does the long term matter when the players and the general manager will all be retired inside of a decade?

As your organization makes decisions on agreements with suppliers, with employees, with customers, and with the community, who is responsible for taking a long term view? The long term view on what?

Unless we can find a way to intertwine goals and develop consistent beliefs and values, kick the can down the road may be all we can expect from any of us. But if we are able to find a way, the future is ours.



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
Simon Sinek:
"If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears."

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"This is true for your employees, your suppliers, and your advisors. Leverage your mission, vision and values to get the hearts of those you need."


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