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By: knowledge.smu.edu.sg

In the world of marketing and branding, sticking out like a sore thumb isn’t necessarily bad, advised brand innovation specialist Chandran Dharmarajan, a co-founder of I-morph, a marketing innovation consultancy based in Singapore. Dharmarajan, who worked for more than a decade with Unilever in India and Thailand followed by a stint with Kraft Foods Asia Pacific, spoke at a seminar, “Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable”, organized by the UOB-SMU Alliance Centre of the Singapore Management University.

The seminar also featured guest speakers Ting Choon Meng, chairman and CEO of HealthSTATS International and president of the Fellowship of Inventors; and Donald Dalderup, managing director and innovation catalyst of the New Business Development Academy (NBDA).

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By: knowledge.emory.edu

Harley-Davidson knows how to build ownership. For decades, the motorcycle company has attracted and retained a client base that shows no signs of waning. People purchase its products without solicitation, and collectively they gladly spend millions of dollars to wear its advertising on clothes, attend national and international H.O.G. rallies, and even tattoo the Harley-Davidson logo on their bodies. As the tagline goes, Harley owners “live by it.”

For decades, Harley-Davidson has been “engineering” customer expectations, says Lou Carbone, founder and chief experience officer of Experience Engineering, a Minneapolis-based consulting firm. Carbone recently presented “Clued In: Managing Experience as the Value Proposition” to members and friends of The Emory Marketing Institute (EMI). EMI is based in the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

What Harley-Davidson gets—as do Starbucks and Disney—is that it’s selling more than motorcycles (or coffee or entertainment). “It is all about understanding the psychology of the customers,” Carbone begins, launching into an entertaining and informative spiel. “It requires getting into the minds and hearts and heads of customers,” and ultimately, discovering the clues that make them loyal, sometimes irrationally so, to a brand.

Mike Thelen’s picture

By: Mike Thelen

I received an interesting piece of junk mail recently. What caught my attention and provoked me to open it was simply that it was from an overseas automobile manufacturer and my lean obsessiveness engaged.

I know this manufacturer isn’t necessarily using the Toyota production system, but I understand that they have their own system based on similar principles. Correct or not, that belief was the motivation that kept me from simply discarding the mail unopened. Upon opening the envelope (aside from noting that it had a fancy matte finish that added no value to the customer but surely cost more), I was immensely disappointed.

Let me provide some background information. I live on a farm in South Dakota. It’s 20 miles to the nearest population center worth noting (24,000 people). It’s 180 miles to any city with more than 100,000 people. The vast majority of people in this region of the United States share the same scenario. This is also the heart of 4x4 country, and it is October—fewer than 30 days from our first expected snowfall.

With this in mind, I was expecting a lean-thinking organization to focus its marketing campaign (based on the customer, right?) for this region on either trucks and SUVs or on the excellent gas mileage of its cars.

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By: Niraj Goyal

           

Abbreviations

t

Thickness of stack of product

T

Batch average of t sampled in the hour

Ta

Average if batch averages T

Tp

Population average of T

Tst

Desired value of T (and Tp)

Akhilesh Gulati’s picture

By: Akhilesh Gulati

A recent conversation with the general manager of a manufacturer that was in the process of implementing lean methodologies provided insights as to their ongoing results. He was excited about what was happening in his company. Initiatives in the past had not been successful, and he now understood why, as well as why the employees and management blamed each other for the failures.

The difference was not in the content of the program, he stressed, but the implementation of it and the associated transformation of his company’s culture. Although the content of the training was rich, and the speeches from the CEO inspirational, the employees were excited only when they were able to work together on meaningful projects. While projects required as part of the initiative helped them get started on this path, the CEO’s display of commitment, support for ongoing improvement projects, and recognition of performance made all the motivational difference. It improved communication among management, employees, and customers. It reconnected the organization!

Based on the initial momentum, successes, and sense of ownership from the employees, the general manager began other efforts focused on communication that supplemented the initiative:

Peter Sanderson’s picture

By: Peter Sanderson

Have you ever sat in a meeting room continually looking at your watch and counting the minutes left before the meeting ends? Have you wondered why—after 20 years of manufacturing similar products—you’re still discussing the same issues that reduce your profits and stunt your growth? Did you conclude that there’s no hope left and that no change will work—not ISO 9001, not a new quality manager, and certainly not more meetings?

You aren’t alone—thousands of managers around the world are counting their own minutes and daydreaming with you. In fact, my colleagues and I were there ourselves many years ago. That’s why we decided to make a change in how we do business. Like many others, we had read all about the horrors and ineffectiveness of ISO 9001. We read about hiring consultants and receiving newly created procedures in conformance with ISO 9001 and then receiving implementation training. We read about how in many instances no measurable change to the product quality or delivery was achieved. We read the entire ISO 9001 standard and attended many seminars.

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By: Thomas R. Cutler

The price of petroleum fuels has affected attendance at regional manufacturing expos by quality professionals. Gasoline pump prices are past $4 per gallon, and national trade shows are feeling the effect. Conferences, seminars, and national trade shows aren’t necessarily deficient, but quality professionals return to local events with clear benefits because they are hands on, one-on-one experiences, concentrated interaction, and exchanges of ideas between the contract manufacturers and the quality professional.

Regulatory standards and compliance requirements are increasingly focused on chain of custody; chain of custody refers to the chronological documentation and/or paper trail, showing the seizure, custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of physical or electronic evidence. Managing these data is best handled at local or regional events.

There are interesting reasons that quality professionals are showing up with engineering staff at local manufacturing trade shows and expositions. As valued members of the lean team, the managers of quality control/quality assurance have been assuming a different role in the past 24 months.

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By: Allen Huffman

To be a good leader, you must develop people who can function without you looking over their shoulder. There’s no greater satisfaction than mentoring someone who turns out to be a great leader. In war, a leader must develop capable people to carry out orders, and to succeed in business you must as a leader develop strong independent lieutenants. The question is how? The answer is to develop the ability of your people to make decisions without fear, and this is a very scary proposition to some managers.

I once worked for a manager who wouldn’t let me send a memo to our corporate offices unless he revised it first. I’ve sat in lengthy staff meetings with college-educated men and women arguing over sentence structure in a procedure. One boss became so frustrated that he declared himself the word master, the final authority in what words were to be used.

Why do so many managers have such trouble delegating responsibility? If you can’t trust your people to make decisions, then you’ve failed as a leader. It’s your job to help your people grow and learn, and they cannot do that without some freedom and authority.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

Are great leaders born or made? I believe leadership is a trait that can be learned. To be a leader you must have followers and you must develop people that can go out and function without you looking over their shoulder. I believe there’s no greater satisfaction than to be able to mentor someone that turns out to be a great leader. In war, a leader must develop capable people to carry out their orders. Business is certainly not war, but to succeed in business you must as a leader develop strong independent lieutenants. The question is how? The answer is to develop the ability of your people to make decisions without fear. This is a very scary proposition to some managers.

I once worked for a manager who wouldn’t let me send a memo to our corporate offices unless he read it and changed words. I’ve sat in lengthy staff meetings with college-educated men and women arguing over sentence structure in a procedure. One boss became so frustrated that he declared himself the word master, the final authority in what words were to be used.

Why do so many managers have such trouble delegating responsibility? If you can’t trust your people to make decisions, then you’ve failed as a leader. It’s your job to help your people grow and learn, and they cannot do that without some freedom and authority.

Peter J. Sherman’s picture

By: Peter J. Sherman

In September 2007 at the QuEST Forum I had the privilege of presenting an AT&T in-house Six Sigma process-improvement success story, “Reducing Non-Billed Inside Wire Dispatches,” which was selected as a best practice in the Six Sigma category. (QuEST—Quality Excellence for Suppliers of Telecommunications—is an international group with more than 150 members, including AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Corning, Fujitsu, Motorola, Nortel, Sun Microsystems, and Tellabs. The QuEST Forum was established in 1996 to bring together service providers and suppliers to create a consistent set of quality system requirements for the global telecommunications industry.)

While listening to the various other presentations, I caught a glimpse into what’s happening with U.S. manufacturing in the telecommunications industry, arguably one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in America. I witnessed two dramatically different views toward manufacturing: outsourced manufacturing vs. in-house manufacturing.

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