Content By Ryan E. Day

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

“We don’t have any binder full of best practices for you. You are it. If you don’t want to change the world—go home.”
—Brett Wheatly of Ford Motor Co., to the first candidates for coaches of the fledgling Consumer Experience Movement (CEM) program

When Chris Hunsicker, potential coach to Ford dealerships, heard those words from Wheatly, his surprise was understandable. After three days of CEM orientation in Dearborn, Michigan, Hunsicker looked around at his colleagues and confessed, “I’ve waited 20 years for this level of work!” What follows is a remarkable “bet the house” tale that began at the highest corporate echelons and managed to beat the odds by surviving the translation from mantra to frontline operation.

In the beginning: Corporate-level enthusiasm

More than a few organizations have penned a mission statement which begat a slogan that was hailed by corporate as a mantra, presented to all stores and staff as their new guiding principle, but was then summarily ignored by employees and eventually forgotten.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

It was just an email invitation to a public relations event in the Mission District of San Francisco, but it started a long string of adjectives like: brief, cryptic, amusing, exciting, breathtaking, scary, and… well, stinky.

All those adjectives collided last week to provide an almost surreal setting for a formally informal announcement and unveiling by execs from Samsung SDI, Ford Motor Co., and Lockheed-Martin.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

Last month I, along with millions of other people around the world, celebrated Easter. For myself, a religious observance, for others a celebration of seasonal renewal. I think for most people, Easter is a time that elicits reflection on what matters most in the world. The state of the global economy is rarely at the top of anyone’s list.

In an interview on Quality Digest LIVE! Andrew McKeon, director of operations for Markit Environmental Registry said “The global economy is a subsystem of the Earth and the biosphere... Not the other way around.” So, if the global economy is not the end-all-be-all, then what is? In a nutshell, these three areas trump the global economy every which way to, well, Easter Sunday:

Natural resources

  1. Energy
  2. Land/Food
  3. Water
  4. Materials

Environment

  1. Clean air/water/land
  2. Plentiful habitat for all creatures

Human resources

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

And so the debate rages on about whether the wildly popular Flappy Bird app is actually a tool for teaching lean or teaching theory of constraints. Really? No, not really. But at least I’m not the only one thinking about it.

Actually, it was Jens Woinowski’s article “What You Can Learn about Lean from the Game ‘Flappy Birds?’” that got me to see the avian app in the light of a process tool. Woinowski poses several points to consider.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

After so many decades of quality assessment, process-improvement initiation, statistical analysis, and general discussion, one would think the question, “What is quality?” has been answered and closed. One would be wrong.

When defining quality...

There is certainly no shortage of material and insight to draw on when diving into the world of quality and quality improvement. Shewhart, Deming, Ford, Shingo. These stalwarts introduced the world to brilliant concepts, and their teachings continue today as the bedrock of modern quality.

“In other words, the fact that the criterion we happen to use has a fine ancestry of highbrow statistical theorems does not justify its use. Such justification must come from empirical evidence that it works.” —Walter A. Shewhart

“The supposition is prevalent the world over that there would be no problems in production or service if only our production workers would do their jobs in the way that they we taught. Pleasant dreams. The workers are handicapped by the system, and the system belongs to the management.” —W. Edwards Deming

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

Is it Scrum or kanban? Yes, er, no. Well, it depends. Sometimes the road to process development takes a few unexpected turns.

In general terms, Scrum is a process framework for managing complex product development and typically associated with code development, while kanban, a pull-based scheduling system, is associated with manufacturing. But many work sectors use both of these methods successfully by adapting the tools to their particular company’s workflow. The media industry is no different.

The media industry is in as much turmoil as other business sectors, and the fairly recent transition from print to digital has all too often reduced best practices and process control to nothing short of triage. What to do then when your team gels enough to create the means and space for real improvement? For us at Quality Digest Daily (QDD), it has meant a redoubled effort at process development.

Our publication transitioned from print to digital in a two-step process that took a full year to implement, but managing the difference in workflow, content creation, and advertising was by far more challenging than mastering a new form of content delivery.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

For the dreamer, high-tech enthusiast, and entrepreneur, 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, seems to embody the promise of what could be. Forward-thinking companies like Ford Motor Co., GE, and Mattel have been using 3D printing for R&D since the 1980s. However, the caveats about material restrictions, poor resolution, and lack of user-friendly input tools, have relegated the technology as pie-in-the-sky manufacturing. No more.

Economical 3D printing for consumer products became a reality on Dec. 2, 2013, as 3D Systems unveiled several innovative products at EuroMold 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany.

“Leapfrogging from monochrome to full-color functional plastics redefines ‘the possible’ for designers, engineers, architects, marketers, and artists,” says Buddy Byrum, vice president of product and channel management for 3D Systems. “For the first time ever, users can get directly out of a 3D printer real-use parts, vibrant models, and functional prototypes in full color, quickly, accurately, and affordably.”

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

It’s a funny spot I find myself in. I’ve been very vocal within Quality Digest about the need for, and virtues of, innovation as it pertains to our company. Very vocal. So much so, that the bosses have put me in a position to cash the checks my mouth has been writing.

I’ve written about innovation. I’ve reported on innovation. Looks like I may have that opportunity again at Ford Motor Co.’s “New Technology and Products for 2014” event in December. I’m all about “evolve or die.” But when I ran across Phil Wiseman’s blog post, “Business Lessons from a Marine Boot Camp Graduation,” which gave props to tradition and standardization, I found it made a great deal of sense.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

‘We call them unscheduled (vs. surprise) audits, in that they are not part of the originally planned, annual first-party audit plan.”

“We sometimes need to have unscheduled audits, but they are normally not intended as surprise audits. The auditor may agree with the auditee on an unscheduled audit if the circumstances so warrant. It is to be viewed as a contingency plan when the audit findings necessitate it. We even have that in third-party audits, and they are normally called ‘special audits.’”

“There are formal and informal audits... I prefer the word ‘random’ rather than ‘surprise’ and as a courtesy try to minimize disruption and schedules.”

I came across these statements in an ongoing discussion thread in a LinkedIn group titled “Can We Have Surprise Audits in Addition to the Planned Internal Audits?” A fascinating discussion on several levels, not the least of which was a lack of consensus on the definitions used to describe internal audit types. Judging by the experience, position, and general demeanor of the participants, I figure them to be an intelligent crowd. So how do five professionals come up with five different terms to denote the same activity?

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

‘This 3/8-in. corded drill/driver features a 4.5-amp motor that offers up to 1,500 rpm for powerful drilling and driving in a variety of materials. The variable-speed trigger helps you match the speed to the application, while the lock-on feature enables continuous drilling and helps to reduce operator fatigue during long drilling times. The ergonomic handle includes a GripZone for comfort during use.” Sold! I need to drill holes, and that drill is exactly what I want.

“Our Industrial Plasma Cutter is a lightweight unit that features powerful inverter technology for smooth cutting. Handles almost any project you can throw at it, from mild steel to copper, brass, stainless, and aluminum up to 3/8 in. Cuts faster and more precisely with a thinner kerf and less slag than cutting with oxy fuel. A smaller heat-affected zone also causes less warping. No gas pressure settings, flame tuning, metal preheating, or gas cylinders or refills to worry about, ever.”

Hold the phone. Forget the 3/8-in. drill; the plasma cutter is waaaay better! That’s what I want.