Mark Schissel’s picture

By: Mark Schissel

Increasingly, consumers, investors, and other stakeholders are looking to companies big and small to do what’s right for people and our planet. To meet the demands of these stakeholders, transparency is key. In fact, an Innova Consumer Survey in 2020 revealed that six in 10 global consumers are interested in learning about where their food comes from and its impact, including on human and animal welfare, supply chain transparency, plant-powered nutrition, and sustainable sourcing.

The environmental and social governance (ESG) movement has given companies a platform, a common language, and key metrics to articulate their strategies and their progress, making it easier for stakeholders to make purchase and investment decisions. What’s really exciting is how this is fundamentally changing the way companies think about and operate throughout the supply chain. It is now incumbent on research and development, sourcing, manufacturing, planning, distribution, and other functions to consider factors that impact ESG in key investment decisions and day-to-day operations.

Jason V. Barger’s picture

By: Jason V. Barger

We’re experiencing rapid change, political and economic uncertainty, employee shifts and a war for talent, and the still-evolving “future of work.” A lot seems out of our control. However, even in the midst of all that is swirling around us, there is so much that every leader, team, and organization has right in front of them that is fully within their control.

Most teams and companies just need to step back and acknowledge it. In fact, one of the greatest mental exercises for all of us these days is to recognize and name all the things that are within our control. When we can’t control the weather, the economy, or the latest media scandal, we still have a decision about what we will choose to give our energy to. There’s always a response or action that is within our control. Every time we shift our thinking—from reactionary finger-pointing, excuse making, or feeling sorry for ourselves—and direct our focus and energy to solutions, gratitude, and ownership of our next actions, positive ripples are felt by all around us. It models a different spirit for the path forward.

The best leaders and teams on the planet understand their role is to help positively influence the mindsets of their people in ways that give energy, hope, and clarity to the path forward.

Kate Zabriskie’s picture

By: Kate Zabriskie

From time to time we all have to send our suppliers or customers packing. Does the following client relationship sound familiar? About 100 of her clients use her services once a year. They expect champagne service on a beer budget, and they pull her attention away from the people she works with regularly. This group is weighing her down, and after some soul searching, she’s decided they’ve got to go. Her business is running her, and it’s not working.

Or how about these?

• Plain and simple, he doesn’t like working with them. They pay late, they always look for extras, and they’re generally unpleasant. Life’s too short, he doesn’t need the work, and today is the day he’s pulling the plug.

• They pay their bills on time, they’re as regular as clockwork, but they’re no longer profitable. They’ve been great clients, and she dreads having to tell them they’re no longer a fit. Nevertheless, due to resource constraints, it’s got to be done.

From time to time and for myriad reasons, service providers need to let a client or class of clients go. As with any other difficult conversation, there’s a right way and a wrong way to make the decision and break the news.

Step one: Be methodical when making the decision

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

It’s too bad that so many rely on their intuition for their decision-making process. From former President Donald Trump, to Steve Jobs, and even allegedly Mark Twain, gut reactions are viewed as something almost magical, acquired either by hard-earned experience or possessed by a select few young genius CEOs who deserve a top-notch pay package. Top gurus reinforce such beliefs with their advice.

Yet research in behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience shows that even one training session can significantly improve the quality of one’s decision-making ability.

Ramesh Sunder’s picture

By: Ramesh Sunder

Imagine you’re on the road on a cold night. You stop at a coffee shop to get a latte to keep you awake. You come out, and your car doesn’t start. You call your roadside assistance company, which promptly dispatches a technician, only to find out that the car’s alternator needs a replacement, and he doesn’t have the specific one for your car.

We often find ourselves in similar situations with repair services for appliances, electronics, plumbing, air conditioners, heaters, and Wi-Fi service. Too often, the technician leaves without solving the problem because of missing supplies or necessary tools. It’s maddening when we have to wait for the repair person to arrive and then learn the service will be delayed because of poor planning by the service provider.

Donald J. Wheeler’s picture

By: Donald J. Wheeler

One of the most common questions about any production process is, “What is the fraction nonconforming?” Many different approaches have been used to answer this question. This article will compare the two most widely used approaches and define the essential uncertainty inherent for all of these approaches.

In order to make the following discussion concrete we will need an example. Here we shall use a collection of 100 observations obtained from a predictable process. These values are the lengths of pieces of wire with a spade connector on each end. These wires were used to connect the horn button on a steering wheel assembly. For purposes of our discussion let us assume the upper specification for this length is 113 mm.

Figure 1: Histogram of 100 wire lengths
Figure 1: Histogram of 100 wire lengths

Alaina Love’s picture

By: Alaina Love

‘Sometimes she just came to my office to meet, but she really hadn’t identified anything she needed my help with. It felt awkward and like a waste of time.”

Those were the words of a leader in my client’s organization who had participated in a mentoring program with a previous employer. Jessica was describing her frustration with how poorly she felt her mentee had made use of the years of experience and the insight that she had to offer.

We were discussing this as Jessica’s company was about to begin a new, yearlong mentoring program. Jessica wanted to support this effort, but she worried that it was headed down the same unsatisfying path. What would make serving as a mentor in this company different and more productive than the last time around, she wondered?

I explained to Jessica that mentoring programs work best when everyone (mentee, mentor, and the entire organization) derives a benefit. Clearly, in her previous company, that hadn’t been the case. To create a difference-making, transformative experience for Jessica and others, we established the following criteria.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

‘By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 3301, 3302, and 7301 of title 5, United States Code, it is hereby ordered as follows....”

Why do these words make me cringe? Well, because when presidential ink hits paper, all the ramifications get real. All the things that make for healthy debate become regulations that impact our businesses on a daily basis—and in a big way. Today, I’m talking about President Biden’s vaccine mandates or executive orders.

It’s already well known that President Biden’s “Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors,” aka Executive Order 14043, requires all “federal workforce and individuals interacting with the federal workforce” to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, 2021. This is the first of two executive orders (EO) signed on Sept. 9, 2021.

Jon Picoult’s picture

By: Jon Picoult

In 1978, inventor Thomas Jake Lunsford patented a new form of plastic packaging and unknowingly triggered the ire of hundreds of millions of consumers.

His invention was the “clamshell”—a type of packaging that envelops a product in two form-fitting, sealed plastic shells. The public frustration that Lunsford’s creation ultimately triggered was so widespread and long-lasting that an entirely new term was coined to describe it: wrap rage.

If you’re not familiar with that term, here’s how Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s founder and former CEO) defines it: “Wrap rage is the frustration we humans feel when trying to free a product from a nearly impenetrable package.”

Surely you know the frustration and aggravation of wrap rage, even if you didn’t realize there was a term for it. As any consumer can attest, clamshell packages are notoriously difficult to open, particularly given the razor-sharp edges that get exposed when cutting or ripping the plastic container.

Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest’s picture

By: Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

For most of 2021, roughly 4 percent of the retail workforce has quit every month; in June alone 632,000 workers quit their retail job. Even though retail workers are quitting at a record pace, more new stores are opening than expected and looking to hire new employees. So how can retail chains retain and make sure they are prioritizing their employee base?

Cloud-based solutions can empower chain operators with the technology to simplify business operations and improve workflow, which leads to better customer service, employee management, and day-to-day functions. Businesses across industries including food and beverage, grocery, and fashion can simplify store management operations across multiple locations, with one seamless hub to provide real-time analytics to managers and operators.

But retail in particular is often resistant to change. Small and medium-sized businesses, often focused on short-term profitability, don’t see a financial advantage to implementing tech solutions. In addition retail has been managed a certain way for so long that store owners and managers are reluctant to look at changing the “way things have always been.”

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