Management Article

Steven Brand’s picture

By: Steven Brand

Conferences are a great way for you and your team to network with others, demo exciting new technologies, learn about topics that interest you, and gain valuable insights from industry experts. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of events happening in 2020. Here are 29 conferences happening in California and throughout North America that you can attend.

Nine manufacturing conferences in California

Pacific Design & Manufacturing
Feb. 11–13, 2020: Anaheim, CA
Join 20,000 manufacturing professionals and 1,900 suppliers in Anaheim for this large–scale event. You’ll meet leaders in contract design and manufacturing, and gain insights during educational sessions at the “Design Dome” and the six–track conference on 3D printing, smart manufacturing, and MedTech.

Travis Carlton’s picture

By: Travis Carlton

Whether we’re talking to a front-line operator, a plant manager, or CEO, people’s reactions to being assigned a new recurring task are remarkably similar: “Oh great—more to do.” Sound familiar?

It’s a reaction that’s common in organizations transitioning from paper-based to an automated digital process for layered process audits (LPAs), even though the end result may be a sharp reduction in defects and simpler audit processes. Although there are numerous benefits to moving from a paper-based to a mobile digital platform for your LPA program, the focus of this article is how to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Layered process audits focus on quick, straightforward elements of process inputs, helping ensure process standardization and reduce defects upstream from the point of manufacture. Automating LPAs can involve a transition process, one made easier by adopting a pilot program to help you learn as you go. Here we discuss different types of pilot programs, as well as some best practices to ensure success.

Different types of pilot programs

Most commonly, manufacturers will roll out automated LPAs on a site-by-site basis. The first acts as a test site, with the goal of bringing on additional sites once the team has refined the process.

Tom Taormina’s picture

By: Tom Taormina

In 1989, I was handed a copy of ISO 9001:1987 by my employer with the direction to find out what it was all about. Our company was headquartered in Europe, and we would be compelled to implement the standard straightaway.

My first reaction was that I wished it had been published 20 years earlier when I was operating under the burdensome military specification MIL-Q-9858A. ISO 9001 was very straightforward and written so that virtually any organization could use is as the foundation for an effective quality management system.

The local ASQ section was abuzz about the new standard and eager to “interpret” the requirements. Those who were in quality management were excited to present the standard to senior management as the new solution for lowering defects and scrap rates.

Early adopters were classically trained quality professionals. ISO 9001:1987 was titled “Quality systems—Model for quality assurance in design/development, production, installation, and servicing.” This standard had the potential, we hoped, to inculcate the tenets of quality management into an entire organization. And the quality managers saw it was good.

Dave Coffaro’s picture

By: Dave Coffaro

One of the greatest responsibilities of leadership is driving continual evolution of the organization toward a well-defined future state. Implied in this role is the need to lead change. Easily said, complex in practice.

Navigating change has been prevalent in management literature for decades. Notwithstanding the books, articles, consultants, and experts, change efforts generally produce moderate success at best. Why? In the words of a long-time colleague, “Change would be easy if it didn’t involve people.”

Human beings are wired for free will. Change requires us to alter established, and perhaps comfortable, behavior patterns. With self-imposed change, redesigning our patterns is challenging enough. There can be an additional layer of resistance in an organizational setting, where change is triggered by someone or something outside ourselves, because the motivation stimulating behavioral pattern redefinition is not our own.

The term “reactance” refers to a feeling that our behavioral freedoms or choices are being taken away. As leaders, we must attune to the emotional side of change that takes place within the people being asked to refine their activities.

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

In the context of our increasingly disrupted, globalizing, and multicultural world, quality leaders greatly appreciate the security and comfort of clear-cut strategic plans for the future. After all, following our in-the-moment intuitions frequently leads to business disasters, and strategic plans help prevent such problems.

Tragically, popular strategic analyses meant to address the weaknesses of human thinking are deeply flawed. They give a false sense of comfort and security to quality professionals who use them, leading them into the exact business disasters that they seek to avoid.

Take one of the most popular of them, the SWOT analysis, where you try to figure out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing your business. SWOT doesn’t account for the dangerous errors of judgement revealed by recent research in behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience, what scholars call cognitive biases.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

With more than 300 employees headquartered in a modern 150,000+ sq ft facility, Plasser American Corp. (PAC) manufactures top-quality, heavy railway construction and maintenance equipment for customers in North America. To stay competitive with international competition, PAC continually looks for ways to improve its processes and best practices.

“We made a goal to drastically reduce welding rework in the assembly area, so that all the welding of individual component parts on our frames would be done in the frame shop during initial welding,” explains Joe Stark vice president of operations and production. “At that time, we were laying out each machine we built by hand using tape measures and soap stones. Our machine-to-machine consistency just wasn’t where it needed to be which meant too much rework having to be done in the main assembly areas. We knew we needed to develop some standardization and best practices to accomplish our goals.”

Challenge

The PAC team assessed the possibility of their engineering department creating models detailing every tab, bracket, plate, etc. The idea was rejected due to the tremendous amount of engineering time that would be necessary to keep the models 100-percent accurate.

Multiple Authors
By: Nadia Naffi, Ann-Louise Davidson, Houda Jawhar

Today, the survival of many organizations depends on their plans to leverage cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to transform their workplaces into augmented environments.

A recent IBM study found that, as a result of AI and intelligent automation, 120 million workers will need to develop new skills or even be transitioned out of companies to different jobs during the next three years. Half of the surveyed organizations had done little to rethink their training strategies to respond to this urgency.

For that digital transformation to happen, organizations must avoid the costly “buy, not build” talent strategy that involves opting for expensive new hires instead of retraining their current employees.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

“Before I do the things I do, people call them ‘impossible.’ After I’m done, they call them ‘crazy.’ I call them ‘world records.’”
—Jason Caldwell, author of Navigating the Impossible

Books on leadership can be dry or boring. Not so with Navigating the Impossible: Build Extraordinary Teams and Shatter Expectations, by Jason Caldwell (Berrett-Koehler, 2019). Caldwell, a self-proclaimed “professional jock,” is president and owner of Latitude 35 Leadership, which uses experiential training to explore the fine art of leading and maintaining high-performance teams.

Navigating the Impossible is anchored around Caldwell’s record-setting run at rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, the Atlantic Ocean. Thirty-five days, 14 hours, and three minutes. That’s how long it took Jason Caldwell and the crew of the American Spirit to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean during the perilous 2016 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge—or, as it’s known to those who attempt it, “The World’s Toughest Row.”

Anton Ovchinnikov’s picture

By: Anton Ovchinnikov

Left to their own devices, humans tend to fall prey to biases that make them poor decision makers. For instance, among other foibles, most purchasing managers routinely under-order. In fact, past research has shown that managers are typically 10 to 20 percent off the mark when it comes to ordering the optimal quantity of products.

However, somewhat surprising, the same research has also shown that this suboptimal ordering only results in a 1 to 5 percent loss in expected profit. This conundrum has left many an executive with a dilemma. As the CEO of a medium-sized online florist shop told me: “I cannot micro-manage all my people. Before I go and intervene, I need to know the impact on my business.”

Fair point. Managers who base purchasing decisions on their gut feelings—either because they have never devised a rational ordering policy or regularly choose to override it—make a lot of mistakes. But if it only costs the firm about 1 percent of extra profit, executives may be reluctant to stir the pot. In most SMEs, a CEO’s path is strewn with seemingly juicier projects in terms of ROI.

Harry Hertz’s picture

By: Harry Hertz

‘I have been offered a significant increase in salary by another employer and am giving my two-week notice.”

My guess is that this is the most common reason given when employees quit their current job. But is salary the real reason most employees quit? I have always suspected and believed that, given a fair salary, people do not quit their jobs for money. So why do they leave?

I was recently drawn to explore this topic a little more deeply after reading an article about IBM Watson’s latest feat. A new, proprietary IBM AI algorithm can predict with 95-percent accuracy which workers are about to quit their jobs. The algorithm has been successfully deployed to predict IBM employees who are a flight risk and then to propose actions to managers to engage and retain those employees. Exploring a little further the topic of employees quitting, I discovered a recent Harvard Business Review blog by Jon Christiansen. Through looking at 15 years of data, Christiansen identified eight reasons he believes employees quit.

Syndicate content