Tom Taormina’s picture

By: Tom Taormina

Chipmunks live in wooded areas, scurrying around outside and feeding on nature. Mice burrow into walls and attics, looking for nesting material and food. They’re considered pests because they leave their nasty droppings where we live. So for many of us, chipmunks are cute but mice are repulsive. On the other hand, there’s probably an equal number of people who keep mice (and chipmunks) as pets. It’s all a matter of perception and personal choice.

In the business world, however, perception is 90 percent of reality—not a matter of personal choice.

You get only one chance to make a first impression. I certainly have my own proclivities that cause me to categorize people based on a first impression, whether it’s based on looks, their voices, or the words they use. These filters come from a lifetime of meeting individuals and evaluating whether my first impressions were validated over time. I’m sensitive to my own prejudices and try to avoid using first impressions as a filter for whether to continue an exchange with someone.

OpusWorks’s picture

By: OpusWorks

Over two days, engage in eight unique best practice sessions with 11 process improvement and thought leaders at S.O.A.R. 2022, OpusWorks’ annual virtual conference.

Designed to present highly actionable information and game-changing strategies from highly experienced and inspiring human beings, S.O.A.R. will enable you to better lead your organization-wide transformation by showing you how to:

Systematize processes
Operationalize excellence
Accelerate scaling
Resolve to innovate

Day One Agenda, Wednesday, September 28, 2022

10:00: Rapid Scaling with OpusWorks in 2022

Rob Stewart, OpusWorks CEO
Dan Rice, OpusWorks COO
Vickie Kamataris, Chief Content and Delivery, MBB,  OpusWorks Institute (OWI)

After Rob kicks off S.O.A.R. 22, Dan and Vickie will provide their perspectives about the OpusWorks solution set in the context of today’s challenges. They will also update attendees on what’s new from OpusWorks since S.O.A.R. 2021:

Theodore Kinni’s picture

By: Theodore Kinni

Conventional wisdom holds that disruptive innovation is beyond the ken of large, incumbent companies. But then there are companies like Microsoft, which transformed its ubiquitous Office software suite into the Office 365 subscription service.

“If Microsoft had done that as a startup, it would be a multi-unicorn,” says Andrew Binns, a founder and director of the strategic innovation consultancy Change Logic. “Office 365 is a whole new business model, but nobody talks about it as disruptive innovation.”

Binns—along with Charles O’Reilly, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Michael Tushman of Harvard Business School—finds that more established companies are overcoming the obstacles to innovation with the help of what they call corporate explorers. Corporate explorers are managers who build new and disruptive businesses inside their companies. Sometimes with a formal mandate, sometimes not, they use corporate assets to support and accelerate the development of these new ventures.

Harish Jose’s picture

By: Harish Jose

In today’s column, I’m looking at the Ohno Circle in light of German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s ideas. I’ll try to stay away from the neologisms used by Heidegger and will only scratch the surface of his deep insights.

One of the best explanations of the Ohno Circle comes from one of Taiichi Ohno’s students, Teruyuki Minoura, the past president and CEO of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America. He had firsthand experience of it. Minoura noted: “Mr. Ohno often would draw a circle on the floor in the middle of a bottleneck area, and he would make us stand in that circle all day long and watch the process. He wanted us to watch and ask “Why?” over and over.

“You may have heard about the five ‘whys’ in TPS. Mr. Ohno felt that if we stood in that circle, watching and asking why, better ideas would come to us. He realized that new thoughts and new technologies don’t come out of the blue—they come from a true understanding of the process.

Bryan Christiansen’s picture

By: Bryan Christiansen

CNC (for computer numerical control) machines have made manufacturing easier, faster, and more precise. Supported by the development of IoT technology, the CNC machine market is set to experience significant growth. With that in mind, this seems like a great time to discuss the intricacies of CNC maintenance.

Read on as we discuss the importance of proactive CNC machine maintenance, list common challenges you’ll need to watch out for, and share our best tips for staying on top of CNC machine maintenance.

We’ll round things up with a periodic maintenance checklist for those who want to put the advice into action ASAP.

The importance of proactive CNC machine maintenance

CNC machines are a critical piece of equipment in many manufacturing facilities. When a CNC machine breaks down or has a severe fault, the whole manufacturing process must halt until the problem is rectified. Unexpected manufacturing downtime reduces productive output, leads to excessive idle time, and causes bottlenecks in the supply chain.

Kate Zabriskie’s picture

By: Kate Zabriskie

Despite our best efforts, it’s not as easy as it looks to get the job training equation right.

“I learned so much during orientation. It’s too bad I won’t use most of it for six months. I took some notes, but I’m sure I won’t remember half of what they told me to do.”

“I’m overwhelmed. I learned a new piece of equipment today. The person showing me what to do knew everything. The problem I had was the deep dives. He spent so much time on troubleshooting techniques. It was just too much for my first day.”

“I can follow the steps, but I have no idea why I’m doing what I’m doing. I sort of feel like a trained monkey. I hope nothing goes wrong because I will have no clue how to fix it if something does.”

These are just a few comments you might hear after someone's first week on the job.

We train too early, we train too much, or we make a host of other errors. Although some of us learn from our mistakes, many of us practice a cycle of rinse and repeat as we make the same blunders year after year. It doesn’t have to be this way. With some careful planning and follow-through, you can avoid problems many people will encounter again and again.

Strategy 1: Keep training relevant and immediately applicable

Jeff Dewar’s picture

By: Jeff Dewar

This is the second installment of a five-part series. 

Some weeks ago,  I attended ASQ’s 2022 World Conference on Quality and Improvement (WCQI) with Quality Digest’s editor in chief, Dirk Dusharme, in Anaheim, California. It was the first in-person conference since Covid hit the world, and attendance was just over 1,000, about a third of what had been the norm. 

ASQ made its leadership available for wide-ranging video interviews covering everything from the future of the quality profession to the society’s new legal structure. Quality Digest appreciates their efforts to help us provide valuable reporting to our readers. 

In all, we conducted five interviews with:
• ASQ’s CEO Ann Jordan
• ASQ’s board of directors
• ASQE’s (ASQ Excellence) CEO Jim Templin
• ASQE’s board of directors
• Both CEOs together, talking about their “connected journey”

Sara Harrison’s picture

By: Sara Harrison

Have you ever had a really bad boss? Think Alec Baldwin as Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross, who announces that “coffee’s for closers only” and then threatens the salesmen he supervises with a number of choice terms not suitable to repeat here. Few leaders use quite so much verbal abuse, profanity, and fear to motivate employees. But plenty of leaders use similar, if less extreme, tactics. Deborah Gruenfeld would like to know why so many people put up with them.

Gruenfeld, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business and an expert on the psychology of power, is interested in “dominant actors” like Blake: leaders who assert power by being the most competitive, most aggressive, and most controlling person in the room.

“There is this tendency for people to allow others to assert dominance without resisting,” she says. “People who behave this way tend to be very successful even though people really don’t like or respect them very much.”

Donald J. Wheeler’s picture

By: Donald J. Wheeler

Many people have been taught that capability indexes only apply to “normally distributed data.” This article will consider the various components of this idea to shed some light on what has, all too often, been based on superstition.

Capability indexes are statistics

Capability and performance indexes are arithmetic functions of the data. They are no different from an average or a range, just slightly more complex. The four basic indexes are the following:

The capability ratio, Cp, is an index number that compares the [space available within the specifications] with the [generic space required for any predictable process].

The performance ratio, Pp, is another index number that compares the [space available within specifications] with the [estimated space used by process in the past].

Del Williams’s picture

By: Del Williams

In industry, gas-fired boilers have been the standard for decades to produce steam and heat process water. However, not all boilers are created equal in terms of safety. By definition, combustion-fueled boilers can emit harmful vapors, leak gas, and even cause explosions and fires.

In a recent example, a natural gas boiler was cited as the cause of a massive explosion and fire at a food processing plant in eastern Oregon that injured six and caused severe damage to the facility’s main building. Given the risks, many processors are turning to a new generation of electric boilers to dramatically reduce these hazards.

“With gas-burning boilers, any gas leak can increase the risk of an explosion wherever there are fuel lines, fumes, flames, or storage tanks,” says Robert Presser, vice president of Acme Engineering Products. “So, gas units must be continually monitored or periodically inspected.” Presser notes that state and municipal safety guidelines vary depending on boiler type and the expected frequency of inspection.

Acme Engineering is a North American manufacturer of boilers for large industrial and commercial applications. The company is an ISO 9001:2015-certified manufacturer of environmental controls and systems with integrated mechanical, electrical, and electronic capabilities.

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