Bill Aulet

Culture eats strategy for breakfast, operational excellence for lunch, and everything else for dinner.

Marc Onetto

Humans are extremely creative and flexible. The challenge of course is that sometimes they are tired or angry, and they make mistakes. From a Six Sigma perspective, all humans are considered to be at about a Three Sigma level, meaning that they perform a task with about 93 percent accuracy and 7 percent defects. Autonomation helps human beings perform tasks in a defect-free and safe … [ Read more ]

Marc de Jong, Nathan Marston, Erik Roth

Some ideas, such as luxury goods and many smartphone apps, are destined for niche markets. Others, like social networks, work at global scale. Explicitly considering the appropriate magnitude and reach of a given idea is important to ensuring that the right resources and risks are involved in pursuing it. The seemingly safer option of scaling up over time can be a death sentence. Resources and … [ Read more ]

Pascal Visée

Functional silos almost assure suboptimal outcomes. Most business processes cross functional boundaries. One example is order to cash: sales receives an order, logistics undertakes fulfillment, and finance handles invoicing and cash. Managing a process through separate silos almost guarantees complexity. It creates internal inconsistencies and punishes the customer with foreseeable mistakes. There are exceptions, of course. One is the supply chain, which in many multinational … [ Read more ]

More from Less: Making Resources More Productive

For industrial manufacturers, resources remain a huge financial and managerial cost. A change in perspective can lead to real breakthroughs in reducing resource consumption.

Weak Links in the Chain

Flexible, adaptive supply chain management is an overlooked but vital component of a company’s overall innovation strategy.

When Toyota Met E-Commerce: Lean at Amazon

Amazon’s former head of global operations explains why the company was a natural place to apply lean principles, how they’ve worked in practice, and where the future could lead.

What Really Happens When Companies Nix Performance Ratings

An ever-growing number of companies continue to discover that de-emphasizing ratings in favor of ongoing quality conversations that support employee development is showing itself to be a viable option. At the NeuroLeadership Institute, we’ve conducted in-depth research with 33 of these 52 companies to find out what really happens when companies remove performance ratings. Here are some of our high-level findings.

Chief Executive Magazine

Breaking operations into four parts—problem-solving, daily management, strategic alignment and people development—and fine-tuning them both individually and in concert can help ensure better performance.

Productivity Unveiled

One oft-cited source of productivity is learning by doing, which is the ability of workers to raise productivity through experience. In fact, economists have credited the Horndal effect to learning by doing. The longer workers do the same type of job the better they get. The result is higher production without having to put in new machines or hire more workers.

Several studies have looked into … [ Read more ]

Maximizing the Make-or-Buy Advantage: A Scenario-Based Approach to Increasing Resilience and Value

The context for make-or-buy decisions has become more dynamic, as manufacturers face dramatic swings in demand and the relative costs of sourcing locations. To maximize their resilience and value creation, leading manufacturers use a scenario-based approach to assess the implications of a broad array of sourcing decisions simultaneously.

Zeynep Ton

Great performance, whether in customer service or the quality of manufacturing, requires operational excellence. Operational excellence requires a great operational design and great people to carry it out. Neither can make up for the lack of the other.

Zeynep Ton

Good service rests on a foundation of good operations. But good operations rest on a foundation of skilled and motivated employees.

The Answer Is 9,142: Understanding the Influence of Disruption Risk on Inventory Decision Making

The question was how many units of inventory a manager should order when faced with a possible disruption in supply. The correct answer is not guesswork, but based on 150 years of theory and practice. We examine individual choices made in this critical situation—and the results are not encouraging.

How to Find a Manufacturer in China

You have a product idea and you want a manufacturer to produce it for you. But you’re on a limited budget so sourcing in China seems like a good idea. You know that China has many low-cost manufacturers. But how do you find the right one?

The Human Factor: What Sets Quality Leaders in Manufacturing Apart

A wide-ranging study of best practices in quality management highlights the importance of human and cultural factors and shows how manufacturers can improve their performance—and gain the competitive edge enjoyed by quality leaders in an age of increasingly complex products and rising customer expectations.

From Risk to Resilience: Using Analytics and Visualization to Reduce Supply Chain Vulnerability

Complex supply chains require sophisticated, connected tools to monitor risks, predict disruptions, and support rapid recovery as part of an overall resilience strategy. For leading companies, this line of thinking has led to an increase in adoption of advanced tools grounded in analytics and visualization.

Building a World-Class Global Procurement Organization

Companies have set aggressive targets to squeeze cost savings from procurement, but meeting those goals often requires a new approach.

Jim Clemmer

If you put a good person into a bad system the system will win. This has been proven so often that it has become a truism in the quality improvement field called the “85/15 Rule”. The 85/15 Rule shows that if you trace errors or service complaints back to the root cause, about 85% of the time the fault lays in the system, processes, structure, … [ Read more ]