Management Article

Paavo Käkelä’s picture

By: Paavo Käkelä

After two decades of offshore productions in low-cost countries, manufacturers are now struggling with the rapidly growing salaries and countereffects of cheap production. The question that industries are asking today is: Do we continue offshoring, or should we consider reshoring?

The right answer, according to Paavo Kakela, the CEO of EID Robotics, who provides modular microfactory systems, is that manufacturers should transform their operations to rightshoring.

During the 1990s, U.S. manufacturers were sold by the lower cost of Asian labor. This is how the global offshoring boom started in Asia. By the 2000 millennium, offshoring began to peak; it maintained this growth trend until 2010—the year when U.S. domestic-manufacturing employment rates reached all-time lows.

Jon Speer’s picture

By: Jon Speer

Believe it or not, paper is very expensive. Although the going rate for a ream of standard copy paper is only about 10 bucks, the expense of relying on paper for your medical device quality management system is downright outrageous.

Some medical device manufacturers have recognized how expensive paper really can be and therefore rely on spreadsheets and documents—so-called “digital paper,”—only to realize this variation of paper is just as expensive, if not more so, due to the false sense of security digital file systems can give.

If you’re still relying on these outdated systems, let’s consider three key ways paper ends up costing significantly more than $10 per ream.

Loss of company valuation

We had an eye-opening conversation with Ronny Bracken, executive and principal at Paladin Biomedical Consultants, an accomplished medical device research and development executive with a career spanning more than two decades. In addition to his role helping his clients in all manner of regulatory and engineering services, Bracken invests in early-stage medical device companies.

Anthony Veal’s picture

By: Anthony Veal

When Microsoft gave its 2,300 employees in Japan five Fridays off in a row, it found productivity jumped 40 percent.

When financial services company Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand trialed eight Fridays off in a row, its 240 staff reported feeling more committed, stimulated, and empowered.

Around the world there’s renewed interest in reducing the standard working week. But a question arises: Is instituting the four-day week, while retaining the eight-hour workday, the best way to reduce working hours?


Perpetual Guardian trial outcomes, as measured by researchers from the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology. 4dayweek.com, CC BY-SA

Tom Taormina’s picture

By: Tom Taormina

In part one of this series, I said that I want to help my colleagues use their ISO 9001 implementation as a profit center and to turn risk-based thinking into risk avoidance. To do this I will share a set of tools that help evolve quality management into business management.

These tools include:
• Evolving the requirements of ISO 9001's Section 4 from merely defining the context of the organization to working with senior management to create, implement, and make shared vision, mission, and values a cultural imperative
• Redefining Section 5 to include roles and responsibilities for everyone in the organization that are measurable and inextricably tied to the key business success goals and metrics
• Including in Section 6 the tools and culture of risk avoidance
• Evolving Section 7 from support to an outcome-based, risk-and-reward culture
• Expanding the scope of Section 8 into a holistic business management system
• Redefining Section 9 from performance evaluation to an enterprisewide culture of individual and team accountability
• Expanding Section 10 from continual improvement to business excellence

Phanish Puranam’s picture

By: Phanish Puranam

Machine learning, the latest incarnation of artificial intelligence (AI), works by detecting complex patterns in past data and using them to predict future data. Since almost all business decisions ultimately rely on predictions (about profits, employee performance, costs, regulation, etc.), it would seem obvious that machine learning (ML) could be useful whenever “big” data are available to support business decisions. But that isn’t quite right.

The reality in most organizations is that data may be captured but they are stored haphazardly. Their quality is uneven, and integrating them is problematic because they sit in disparate locations and jurisdictions. But even when data are cleaned up and stored properly, they’re not always appropriate for the questions or decisions that management has in mind. So, how do you know whether applying predictive analytics through AI techniques to a particular business problem is worthwhile? Although every organization and context is different, here are five general principles that should be useful in answering that question.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

Lean: an employee-championed method of waste reduction. Six Sigma: a robust method of defect reduction. Embracing both methods provides organizations with multiple tools for continuous improvement. Developed for manufacturing, lean Six Sigma has now been recognized by government agencies as a practical way to realize their outcome goals.

Improving response time for client services

Expediency is always crucial to the well-being of government services clients. California’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and Washington state’s King County Treasury Operations are two organizations that were motivated to explore more efficient processes to reduce response times for client services.

The improvements these teams sought to bring about would require changes in the way things were done, but change is not always easy, and the way forward can be elusive. New ways of doing things require new methods. For organizations as large and complex as these government agencies to effect positive change, robust tools are needed.

Taran March @ Quality Digest’s picture

By: Taran March @ Quality Digest

At the University of California at San Diego, lean concepts have taken hold. Along with its process improvement curriculum, the university applies what it teaches through initiatives around campus. Projects both complex and simple tackle the snags, waste, and bottlenecks of academic life. Students, as both customers and process output, learn about lean Six Sigma (LSS) tools and use them to improve their college experience. UC San Diego has become, in effect, its own moonshine shop.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for most public schools and colleges elsewhere in the country.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

Lean looks at ways to reduce waste and improve flow. The principles are relevant to virtually every organizational sector and vertical. It’s no surprise, then, that so many organizations tout lean and devote resources to lean initiatives. But, too often, there is a tendency for a company to promote lean initiatives before it has really developed a lean culture. How about yours? Is it truly striving for a lean culture, or just paying lip service?

A lean culture is born when progress is made within four separate dimensions: cultural enablers, enterprise alignment, customer-focused results, and continuous improvement. If you’re not sure where your company stands on the lean continuum, walk through the following exercise and see what you discover.

Read the statements below each category and assess how frequently your organization exhibits these characteristics and behaviors. Respond to the statements with something along the lines of: almost always; sometimes; rarely; and almost never.

Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

Have you heard of a media company called T-Series? Chances are, you probably haven’t. Gulshan Kumar, whose résumé up to 1983 read, “Fruit juice seller, streets of New Delhi,” founded it that year. Since its inception, T-Series has become an unlikely media powerhouse—its YouTube channel has 119 million subscribers. To put that in perspective, The New York Times, which was founded in 1851, has a total subscription base of 4.7 million across print and digital. The T-Series channel also has 90 billion views. That’s the equivalent of every human on the planet, including babies and people with no access to the internet, having watched 13 videos each on this channel.

According to the Nov. 14, 2019, issue of The Economist, media giants in the past five years have been battling for viewers’ attention and have spent $650 billion for acquisitions and content. As The Economist puts it, with wry understatement, “There will be blood.” In this shifting media landscape, how are brands going to win at getting their customers’ attention and emotional engagement? In this opinion piece, we will explore five modern principles for winning brands.

David Isaacson’s picture

By: David Isaacson

During the last decade, product quality has become increasingly important to consumers. In fact, a recent B2C study found that consumers rank quality as the most important component in making a purchase, rather than price. This change in focus can be attributed to several factors but is paced by leading brands that set a high bar for exceptional product experiences which drive customer preference. Take Herschel, for example, which prominently prints the word “quality” on everything it produces—a bold brand promise that is meaningful to consumers.

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