Management Article

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

So many companies are shifting their employees to working from home to address the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Yet they’re not considering the potential quality disasters that can occur as a result of this transition.

An example of this is what one of my coaching clients experienced more than a year before the pandemic hit. Myron is the risk and quality management executive in a medical services company with about 600 employees. He was one of the leaders tasked by his company’s senior management team with shifting the company’s employees to a work-from-home setup, due to rising rents on their office building.

Specifically, Myron led the team that managed risk and quality issues associated with the transition for all 600 employees to telework, due to his previous experience in helping small teams of three to six people in the company transition to working from home in the past. The much larger number of people who had many more diverse roles they had to assist now was proving to be a challenge. So was the short amount of time available to this project, which was only four weeks, and resulted from a failure in negotiation with the landlord of the office building.

Celia Paulsen’s picture

By: Celia Paulsen

Nobody likes business to be slow. If you’re in a fast-paced world like manufacturing, seeing your machines or employees idle can drive a person insane. If you’re used to your production line working to capacity and suddenly business slows down, it can be a frustrating time.

When I was in the U.S. Army, we used our downtime to train and clean. On one occasion, we spent nearly two weeks waiting for a change of orders. By the end of the first week, every weapon, every desk, and every blade of grass was spotless. There was nothing left to clean, so we cleaned it all over again!

Over time, I learned that downtime can actually provide a good opportunity to refocus before driving forward again. It offers time to take inventory, get a little creative, and do some renovation, literally and figuratively. My personal downtime to-do list includes organizing my papers, redesigning my closet, playing with my 3D printer, replacing my stair treads, fixing that one light switch, learning something I’ll soon forget, and though you may laugh, improving my cybersecurity posture.

It’s true; I’m a cybersecurity geek. I’ve been a cybersecurity researcher at NIST since 2011 and am now detailed to NIST MEP as the cybersecurity services specialist.

Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

Long stretches of empty supermarket shelves and shortages of essential supplies are only the visible impacts to consumers of the global supply-chain disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Unseen are the production stoppages in locations across China and other countries and the shortages of raw materials, subassemblies, and finished goods that make up the backstory of the impact.

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak is unprecedented in its scale and severity for humans and supply chains, not to mention medical professionals and governments scrambling to contain it.

Businesses dependent on global sourcing are facing hard choices in crisis management amid the supply chain disruptions. But in planning to mitigate the risks of similar disruptions in future, they confront other questions that have no easy answers: Should they broaden their supplier choices, or do more local or near-shore sourcing? How much inventory of raw materials, subassemblies, and finished products should they stock to tide over the crisis?

Cheryl Carleton’s picture

By: Cheryl Carleton

The labor market is changing rapidly with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many organizations are laying off almost all of their workers, while others are considering which workers to lay off, which to furlough, and which to keep. Alternatively, some are expanding their labor forces.

When the economy starts to open up again, employers will need to consider rehiring or replacing workers, or hiring workers with a different mix of skills. The cost of replacing an employee is high for employers, and being out of work is harmful for workers, who may be replaced with artificial intelligence or contractors and risk losing their skills.

Julius DeSilva’s picture

By: Julius DeSilva

ISO 9001 certifications have seen a decline during the past two years, per data from ISO. Some say the standard has gotten too complicated with the introduction of organizational context, risk-based thinking, and the removal of mandatory documented procedures. Even a few of QMII’s clients have considered letting their certification lapse because conformity to the new standard was perceived as too complex.

To certify or not

Let’s begin by looking at the purpose of ISO 9001. The standard provides a framework for organizations looking to put in place a system that will enable them to consistently deliver products or services that meet their customers’ requirements and enhance their satisfaction. ISO 9001 certification is external validation that the system meets the requirements of ISO 9001. However, ISO 9001 allows organizations to use the standard and self-declare conformity without incurring the cost of certification. Many argue that there is no value in doing this. This is probably correct if you are implementing a system to meet a contractual or customer requirement. In these cases, certification is a requirement.

Kathleen Wybourn’s picture

By: Kathleen Wybourn

Business continuity is a relatively simple idea. Plan ahead so you can keep your business successful during times of difficulty. Key management transitions, loss of a major customer, the impact of a lawsuit, perhaps a fire or an earthquake. But what if that “difficulty” is a global public health pandemic? An infectious disease that stops the world economic system in its tracks? That triggers something akin to Marshall law, isolates workers in their homes, and forces the shutdown of most businesses, including yours?

How do you keep your business viable if there is no business?

Welcome to Covid-19.

On one handit’s a shocking game changer. A completely unexpected attack on public health and on all forms of economic activity. In this regard, Covid-19 is unlike anything we’ve ever faced. At one point in time all but four states had shut down everything but essential business. Social distancing is the new normal. By mid-April, more than 30 million Americans had filed for unemployment. This respiratory disease that has spread all around the world is a challenge so epic no business continuity plan could have effectively anticipated it.

Multiple Authors
By: Donald J. Wheeler, Al Pfadt

Each day we receive data that seek to quantify the Covid-19 pandemic. These daily values tell us how things have changed from yesterday, and give us the current totals, but they are difficult to understand simply because they are only a small piece of the puzzle. And like pieces of a puzzle, data only begin to make sense when they are placed in context. And the best way to place data in context is with an appropriate graph.

When using epidemiological models to evaluate different scenarios it is common to see graphs that portray the number of new cases, or the demand for services, each day.1 Typically, these graphs look something like the curves in figure 1.


Figure 1: Epidemiological models produce curves of new cases under different scenarios in order to compare peak demands over time. (Click image for larger view.)

Stanislav Shekshnia’s picture

By: Stanislav Shekshnia

Corporate boards across Europe are reacting to the coronavirus pandemic in three ways. For some, it’s business as usual. “Crisis is the business of the CEO; the board does not need to adjust its workings,” the chair of one such board told me. Other boards are going in the opposite direction, becoming very engaged, involving themselves in operations and even making key executive decisions. In the words of the leader of such a board: “When the crisis of this scale strikes—we all become executives.”

I am glad that the most widespread reaction is of a third and healthier variety: Boards adapt their routines to reflect the new reality of extreme uncertainty, increase the frequency of meetings, and change their agendas—but stay away from executive functions. The chair of one such board said: “The essence of our work has not changed—we look after the company’s sustainability, we protect shareholders’ value, we provide oversight to management. At the same time, the intensity and formats of our interactions have been adjusted dramatically.”

What exactly do effective boards need to do to navigate the current crisis? My recent interviews with chairs and directors turned up seven questions that could serve as a guide.

William A. Levinson’s picture

By: William A. Levinson

The phrase “flatten the curve” means to slow the transmission of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in order to spread the total number of cases out over a longer period of time. This will avoid overwhelming the healthcare system.1 The model is accurate as presented throughout the internet, but it also overlooks terrible dangers and enormous opportunities.

Multiple Authors
By: David Dubois, Joanna Teoh

From AI-enabled chatbots to ads based on individuals’ search or social media activities, digital data offer novel ways to connect with customers. These connections can develop into intimate customer relationships that boost satisfaction, engagement, and ultimately, loyalty. Consider Netflix’s recent personalization strategy, which enabled viewers of its series Bandersnatch to choose the main character’s actions throughout the episode, leading to five unique endings.

But there is a point where customer intimacy and invasion of privacy blurs. For instance, as early as 2012, Target predicted a teenage customer’s pregnancy through her historical purchase pattern data and sent her baby-related coupons, to the surprise of her parents.

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