Management Article

ISO’s picture

By: ISO

Innovation isn’t just about having a few bright ideas. It’s about creating value and helping organizations continuously adapt and evolve. ISO is developing a new series of International Standards on innovation management, the third of which has just been published.

Innovation is an increasingly important contributor to the success of an organization, enhancing its ability to adapt in a changing world. Novel and innovative ideas give rise to better ways of working, as well as new solutions for generating revenue and improving sustainability. It is closely linked to an organization’s resilience, in that it helps stakeholders understand and respond to challenging contexts, and seize the opportunities that might bring and leverage the creativity of both its own people and those it deals with.

Ultimately, big ideas and new inventions are often the result of a long series of little thoughts and changes, all captured and directed in the most effective way. One of the most efficient ways of doing just that is through implementing an innovation management system.

Nick Castellina’s picture

By: Nick Castellina

Manufacturers often have a love-hate relationship with technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI) and other solutions that have the potential to affect jobs. On one side, companies need every tool available to help bolster efficiency and cost-effectiveness. On the other, the workforce fears loss of jobs. Predictions for lights-out factories, run by robots, may even make jobs in manufacturing seem destined for obsolescence, scaring away new recruits.

A more logical view, though, sees advanced technologies as a workforce power tool equipping the enterprise with enhanced insights and speed. Freed from manual, tedious tasks, humans can focus on their unique abilities: innovating, problem-solving, and relating to customers.

Zara Brunner’s picture

By: Zara Brunner

Recently, I got the chance to travel to Youngstown, Ohio. As I came into town, it struck me that Youngstown was like many other cities across America, including my hometown of Buffalo, New York. In its heyday, Youngstown was a center of manufacturing and steel production—industries that employed thousands of people and formed the backbone of the community. However, this area took it particularly hard when the economy changed and traditional factories closed, and it is still fighting to transform. 

Sunni Massey’s picture

By: Sunni Massey

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey: First Quarter 2019, found that 71.3 percent of the U.S. manufacturers surveyed cited the inability to attract and retain skilled workers as their top concern for the sixth consecutive survey. Analysts have called it a “full-blown workforce crisis.”

I recently had the privilege of attending a meeting hosted by Catalyst Connection, part of the Pennsylvania MEP and the MEP National Network, on opportunities to expand diversity and inclusion in manufacturing while simultaneously addressing the lack of skilled workers. Catalyst Connection, inspired by its move to the neighborhood of Hazelwood in Pittsburgh, brought together some of Southwest Pennsylvania’s economic development, workforce development, and educational powerhouses along with local advanced manufacturers to discuss the pockets of poverty that persist despite the area’s booming manufacturing industry.

Venkatesh Shankar’s picture

By: Venkatesh Shankar

A quarter of a century ago, on July 5, 1994, a company that shared a name with the world’s largest river was incorporated. It sold books to customers who got to its website through a dial-up modem.

It wasn’t the first bookstore to sell online. (Books.com launched in 1992.) But it behaved like a local store, whose shopkeeper knew customers by name; a bell even rang in the company’s Seattle headquarters every time an order was placed.

Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, set his sights on making it an “everything store.” The company would go on to become not just an everything store, but an “everything company.”

Today, 25 years later, Amazon has reshaped retailing permanently. It is one of the top three most valuable companies in the world, with a market capitalization hovering around $1 trillion, greater than the GDP of nearly 200 countries.

If you had bought $100 worth of its IPO shares in 1997, it would be worth about $120,000 today.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

Industrial Custom Products (ICP) is a world leader in prototyping, developing, and manufacturing high-quality OEM and custom thermoformed and vacuum formed plastic components, as well as die cut and dieless knife-cut parts. What makes ICP unique among its competitors is its award-winning quality, on-time delivery rate of 99.5 percent, and a dazzling 22 ppm reject rate.

As an ISO 9001:2015 registered company, ICP is serious about quality. In fact, ICP has been awarded the Polaris Industries Award of Excellence a whopping eight times in a row. How does this company do it? One contributing factor is investing in appropriate technology and infrastructure to reduce bottlenecks that increase the cost of quality and reduce profitability.

Investing in infrastructure

“We recently invested in a new quality room located right off of the production floor,” says Adam Lunde, vice president of sales and marketing at ICP. “This has given us more space to bring in large parts for 3D scanning without interrupting progress on the production floor.”

Even before the infrastructure upgrade, the ICP team’s inspection solutions included FARO products.

Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

A recent family biking vacation in the Dolomites region of Italy had my family and I all swept up in the charms of Northern Italy. Snow-capped peaks near the Austrian border, endless apple orchards, award-winning Chenin Blanc, and quaint Italian villages with healthy doses of affogato (strong espresso coffee meeting with gelato is sheer genius) made the 250 km fly by.

By the time we ended our trip in Riva del Garda, we were mentally separated from the harsh Minnesota winter and ready for the summer. We couldn’t stop talking about the outfitter (Scottsdale, Arizona-based Pure Adventures) that arranged this active vacation. However, when my wife got an email with a $500 referral incentive from them, she was reluctant to exercise it, despite many colleagues expressly asking us about the company that arranged this trip. She did not feel comfortable getting a substantial reward for something her friend or colleague did.

Therein, lies the conundrum of getting referral marketing to work. To be clear, Pure Adventures had the right idea to try to use existing, ostensibly delighted, customers to acquire new customers. The nuance lies in how to activate and even accelerate this process using financial incentives, when at its core, it is primarily an intrinsically motivated action.

Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

For decades, relatively easy access to space and the big profits to go with it have dangled elusively just over the horizon. With a little more R&D money and a few more advances in the technology, the thinking went, space would be ours.

Are we there yet? More than a few signs are pointing in the direction of a robust, varied space age of viable commercialization—as well as more audacious goals than we’ve seen in generations.

On the practical side, advances in reusable rockets, lowered per-launch costs, and miniaturization of satellites are opening up business opportunities well beyond aerospace and defense, and into IT hardware and telecom, according to Morgan Stanley. The global space industry is expected to generate revenue of $1.1 trillion or more in 2040, up from the current $350 billion, according to a recent report by the firm.

On the dream side, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently outlined a long-term vision for putting a trillion people in space colonies with one small step coming soon: an infrastructure starting with lunar lander Blue Moon. “We are going to build a road to space,” Bezos said at a May unveiling of his plans, “and then amazing things will happen.”

Victor Prince’s picture

By: Victor Prince

If you work long enough, you will have a micro-managing boss or two. These bosses think they know your job better than you do. Maybe they had your job before they got promoted to management. They focus on how you do your job instead of on the results you produce. They think that because you are doing your job differently than they would, you must be doing it incorrectly. Micro-management is a big driver of dissatisfaction and attrition in the workplace.

Seven strategies to manage a micromanaging manager

Diagnose the situation. Is your boss micro-managing others or just you? It is important to understand whether you are being singled out, or if you are just one of many victims. If he micro-manages others, too, it’s probably him, not you. But if you are the only one being micro-managed, it might be you, and it is worth figuring out why. Perhaps your boss is just more interested in your job than others. Or perhaps he thinks you need closer scrutiny. If your boss’s micro-management is due to problems with your performance, you need to surface that discussion and address it head on.

Barrett Thompson’s picture

By: Barrett Thompson

A hot topic of conversation for many B2B industrial companies is the talent and skills gap due to the generational shift in the workforce from baby boomers to millennials. According to Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, “Too many employers are sleepwalking toward a significant skills problem that risks derailing their business strategy if not addressed. Not enough organizations are thinking strategically about workforce planning or even enough about the make-up of their workforce.”

Generational skills gap causing a quality gap

Recruiting and retaining millennials for sales teams is often cited as a primary concern. As baby boomers retire and exit the workforce, decades of quality experience, product, and market knowledge leave as well. Loss of quality is often the impact of this workforce transition on sales teams.

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