Management Article

Enterprise Minnesota’s picture

By: Enterprise Minnesota

Based in Winona, Minnesota, Alliant Castings is a foundry manufacturing abrasion and impact-resistant castings for a variety of heavy-duty industries. Utilizing the latest technologies, they create custom, proprietary materials to meet their clients' needs for demanding and extreme performance. In addition, Alliant Castings is focused on giving back to and being involved in the local community, with executive participation in several nonprofit organizations, area schools, and other community groups.

Company president Tom Renk wanted to develop a road map for employee progression and saw an opportunity to produce not just better employees but also better people by providing educational and personal enrichment opportunities. The leadership team needed guidance on developing training materials, curriculum, and ways to assess employee competencies to ensure company success.

Nathan Furr’s picture

By: Nathan Furr

As soon as South Korea confirmed its first case of Covid-19 on January 20, 2020, the government set in motion a disease control protocol that was to become the envy of other developed nations. By the end of March 2020, South Korea had done more than 300,000 tests, more than 40 times higher per capita than the United States, which confirmed its first infection on nearly the same day. A year later, South Korea, a country of 51 million, has some 123,000 cases and 1,800 deaths. The United States, with a population more than six times as large, has breached 32 million cases and 579,000 deaths.

Don Cox’s picture

By: Don Cox

Despite the high ratio of intelligent work-from-home (WFH) business professionals, the current cybersecurity landscape for that work model could best be described as disorganized and dysfunctional. Hackers have been busy exploiting these cyber risks, as evidenced from the reported 300-percent increase in cybercrimes in just the first quarter of 2020.

In the more than 791,790 cybercrimes reported throughout 2020, the total losses exceed $4.1 billion. For small or family-owned businesses, losses from a cyberattack could be unrecoverable and have ripple effects for years to come. The swift shift to remote work at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic only exacerbated flawed and often stop-gap cybersecurity plans. Now, more than a year into virtual work for many Americans, it’s clear businesses can’t wait any longer to fully invest in cybersecurity for team members, programs, and education as WFH is here to stay.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

Writing a press release is easy. Writing a great press release takes some thought. And great press releases can draw more potential customers into your sphere of influence. Fortunately, writing great marketing copy isn’t all that complicated. Include these three elements and you’re well on your way to writing a great press release.

What is it?

Identify what is the one product, service, event, or piece of information you are sharing. Write down what that one thing is, and then whittle away anything that isn’t necessary. Your headline is often the “what” of your press release. (See figure 1.)

In order to be great:
Make it brief. Stay away from extraneous adjectives and adverbs. Just say what it is. Nobody takes your “awesome” and “the best” seriously in any case.
Make it clear. Don’t leave any question what the “it” is that this press release is promoting. Stay away from obscure or proprietary acronyms. If you must use an acronym, be sure to also spell it out. (See figure 2.)
Make it first. Do not bury that one thing with your company spiel or this year’s tagline.

Vincent Dominé’s picture

By: Vincent Dominé

Remember the last time you tried to change your habits in a big way? Perhaps you made a vow to eat healthier, or to listen more actively during meetings. Whatever it was, whether you ultimately succeeded or succumbed to the force of old habits, you almost certainly struggled. You may have done well early on, only to find that following through was more difficult than you expected. It’s the classic “New Year’s resolution” syndrome.

If sustaining individual commitment to change is a challenge, collective commitment in a business context is even more apt to flag over time. Every team member brings in his own story, adding to the complexity of creating effective group dynamics.

To overcome these obstacles, workplace teams need a performance culture, i.e., an embedded knack for learning and adapting. This is especially important given the growing emphasis on networked teams in today’s companies. As teams have become more central to firm activity, they’ve proliferated to the point that an increasing number of employees belong to several teams at once.

Nate Burke’s picture

By: Nate Burke

Search engine optimization (SEO) has come a long way, with continued developments, advancements, and algorithm tweaks giving business owners, brand agencies, and marketing gurus more than just a digital headache.

But traditionally, SEO has been a numbers game, with ranking positions the all-important deciding factor. However, with the purpose of the activity to reflect and cater to user behaviors, can SEO really be simplified to numerical values?

For any business operating online, SEO is an essential element of the digital marketing mix. Forming the foundation of website designs and content output, SEO helps businesses build an online presence by increasing the chances of web pages and products appearing in visible positions on search-engine results pages.

Over the years, the activity has advanced significantly. Of course, it has come a long way since the early days of cramming as many keywords as possible into text or using spam websites to back-link to yours in an attempt to gain authority.

Henrich Greve’s picture

By: Henrich Greve

In March 2001, publishing executive Ann Godoff—then in her third year as president, publisher, and editor-in-chief of Random House Trade Publishing Group (RHTPG)—was the subject of a gushing profile in New York Magazine. Laced with tributes from authors and peers (“She’s the real deal,” rhapsodized one Random House colleague), the article certified Godoff’s iconic status as an industry taste maker.

Less than two years later, those glowing quotes gave way to expressions of shock and surprise when Peter Olson, CEO of Random House, summarily fired Godoff. Upon hearing the news, one astonished editor could only utter, “Holy shit! Holy shit!” Olson’s reason for the termination was financial. As his announcement explained, Godoff’s unit was “the only Random House Inc. division to consistently fall short of their annual profitability targets.”

Multiple Authors
By: Janet Woodcock, Judy McMeekin

During the past year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approach to foreign and domestic inspections for food and medical products has been both risk-based and deliberate. The Covid-19 pandemic required us to rework our business operations so that we could carry out our public health mission while protecting our workforce and the workforces of those we regulate.

Food and medical-product manufacturers of FDA-regulated products generally are required to have a quality management system in place—known in the food industry as preventive controls systems for food safety plans—to ensure that their products are suitable for the U.S. consumer. The FDA conducts inspections to verify that these quality management systems are in place and operating as required, and to note and mandate corrections when they are not functioning appropriately. While onsite inspections represent a key tool, they are one part among multiple components of a comprehensive approach to the oversight of FDA-regulated products.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

The demand for quality assurance and quality control managers in the manufacturing sector has never been stronger, according to Patrick O’Rahilly, founder of FactoryFix. This online platform matches vetted manufacturing workers with companies seeking specific skill sets. They set a new quality standard in how small to midsize manufacturers are hiring talent across the United States.

This solution is not another job board that simply posts quality positions and candidates. Rather, it’s a cost-effective subscription service that uniquely aligns QA/QC professionals with ideal skill sets. Small manufacturers are deeply reliant on quality team members; they are directly responsible for product conformity and oversee inspection and material review board departments. They also rely on the QA manager, who is responsible for the overall quality system.

A person working in a factory  Description automatically generated with low confidence
Patrick O’Rahilly,
founder of FactoryFix

Edmund Andrews’s picture

By: Edmund Andrews

Seems everybody has a horror story about health insurance: Kafkaesque debates with robotic agents about what is and isn’t covered. Huge bills from a doctor you didn’t know was “out of network.” Reimbursements that take months to process.

It’s no secret that healthcare in the United States is tangled in wasteful red tape. A study in 2019 estimated that administrative complexity was the single biggest source of waste in healthcare—bigger even than fraud or over-pricing—and imposes an annual cost of $265 billion.

The true extent of that waste, according to a new study led by Jeffrey Pfeffer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, is even more shocking. Pfeffer and his colleagues found that administrative “sludge” in healthcare insurance costs employers and the economy billions of dollars in squandered work time, employee stress, absenteeism, and reduced productivity.

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