If you are a regular reader of Beyond Lean, you may know that I am a very big supporter of U.S. manufacturing. I believe it is the foundation for economic prosperity for our country or any country for that matter. Lean thinking and principles can help guide any business to success and overcome many economic and governmental situations.
Recently, the Harvard Business Review Blog has had posts talking about much of the same. Here are a few of the posts.
The authors break jobs into two categories.
But we were able to classify all jobs as either creativity-oriented or routine-oriented. And within the routine-oriented classification, there are three distinct types: routine-physical (e.g. an auto assembly plant worker); routine-service (e.g. an accounts payable clerk); and routine-resource (e.g. a coal miner).
The authors explain that creative-oriented jobs pay more and pose a great question.
…the real challenge for the U.S. economy is what to do with routine-oriented jobs in dispersed industries.
And their response to this:
There is no quick fix for this problem. But my view (and Richard’s) is that we have to rethink how we utilize workers in our advanced economy.
…But I believe that America can influence the slope of the line of increasing creativity-oriented jobs by leaning toward creativity; giving workers the encouragement and space to innovate; utilizing the most of their brain, not the least of it. That would be the grass-roots way out of America’s economic doldrums that everyone is looking for.
I interpret this as engaging everyone in the organization, even those doing what is considered a routine-oriented job, in innovating the business. Innovating is also about how to change the process to be better. Engage the minds and hearts of the employees not just the hands and feet.
The U.S. competitiveness debate too often devolves into a cry for more Apples and more Ciscos on American shores, when what the country really needs is more Hospiras.
Hospira is an advanced contract manufacturer.
The author talks about the importance of manufacturing for innovation. Something I believe to be true and how we must open our mind to what the definition of innovation can mean.
In the U.S., “innovation” typically means just one thing to people: novel gadgets. Few policy makers realize that much of the innovation that has propelled China’s economy, for example, is of the incremental or process type. Many of us admire Apple for its originality but tend to forget the importance of its power-supply innovations, all of which were done in China by a Taiwanese company.
When it comes to process improvements, American companies are stagnating at best, and in many cases slipping backward. Policy makers need to appreciate the value of keeping incremental and process innovation in the United States.
I don’t agree that the U.S. needs policy makers to give tax breaks and help U.S. companies realize the importance of manufacturing to all types of innovation. There are U.S. companies that have realized that on their own. I’m sure even Apple has realized the importance of the innovations from their suppliers. It is the companies that need to realize the benefits of this and make the effort to change their thinking around this.
A growing number of executives of U.S.-based companies are repatriating their manufacturing capabilities — moving some production operations back from overseas.
Many companies have been moving manufacturing back to the U.S. In fact, enough have done it the movement has a name…reshoring or onshoring.
The post talks about governmental help to support this movement. While, the governmental help would be nice it is not necessary. There are plenty of companies that have made the move without help from the government.
Here are three bullet points the author says the governmental help recognizes:
- Companies compete on cost and responsiveness, and this balance shifts dramatically when labor costs rise and the locus of demand shifts.
Labor cost has nothing to do with responsiveness. Quick lead times and location has to do with this. When total cost is looked at from end-to-end companies usually find that cheap labor really isn’t lowering their cost either.
- Local talent and skills are essential to productivity and innovation. Long-term depletion of manufacturing skills will make it hard to reverse the trend.
I think this is right on. It will be hard to reverse the trend but I think with more companies bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. this is helping to keep the skills from depleting.
- Research and development incentives provided by the U.S. government must be tied to manufacturing operations. Otherwise, whatever is developed with taxpayer money could easily be moved to other regions associated with low-cost manufacturing.
I don’t agree with this. This comes down to a company’s morals and beliefs. If they want to move some innovation out of the country they will do it. Their are companies innovating and manufacturing in the U.S. It just may not be the high profile company like Apple.
It is great to see more and more discussion about the importance of manufacturing in the U.S. That was not the case just a couple of years ago. Especially on a high profile site like HBR. The authors there are still spouting off too much about how the government needs to change regulations. They need to start asking how all the companies that have already moved manufacturing back to the U.S. did it. If they did, they might start writing more about Lean and end-to-end value stream thinking.
I have had Beyond Lean up and running for a year and a half now. I have learned a lot over that time about blogging and running the site. It has been a great experience. As with anything else, Beyond Lean can not stay stagnant. The blog must improve and continue to deliver value to the readers that visit as well as draw in new readers.
With this in mind, I have decided to add a new author and contributor to Beyond Lean. Please welcome Joe Wilson to Beyond Lean. He has been a guest blogger over the last year and now he will be a full time contributor. Joe has written some great posts and brings a perspective that challenges my thinking and I hope he will do the same for you. Below are a few of the posts from Joe this past year.
This can give you a taste of what Joe will bring to Beyond Lean. You can click on the tag Joe Wilson below to see all of his guest posts.
Tomorrow will be Joe’s first post at Beyond Lean as a full time contributor. I, for one, am looking forward to it.
Tim has been a great supporter of Beyond Lean over the last year and has helped to expose us to new and different groups of people. Yesterday, Tim reviewed Beyond Lean for the 2011 Curious Cat Annual Management Blog Carnival.
I encourage you to take a look at Tim’s blog. He is reviewing other great blog sites over the next few days.
Final review is the blog Lean Reflections. Karen Wilhelm is the author of the blog. Karen and I met last year during the Blog Carnival roundup. It was her roundup post last year that encouraged me to try new blogs this year. That led to me discovering Squawk Point and All Things Workplace. Thanks, Karen!
Karen’s post are thought provoking. Here Karen raises the question of understanding the brain more might help lead us to understand why people resist change and lean.
This post talks about Temple Grandin and her ability to use visual thinking to see the improvements that are needed in the process flow of the livestock industry. It stresses the point that we need to pretend we are the product moving through a process. Be the thing in order to better understand what is happening to the thing.
Karen’s blog is a great read.
Don’t forget to look for more reviews from other bloggers during the Blog Carnival Annual Roundup.
- Squawk Point by James Lawther
The blog isn’t necessarily about lean, but Steve talks about many things lean thinkers struggle with. One of Steve’s most recent post talks about ways to be coachable. He talks about the characteristics of someone who is coachable. It is a great insight to understand the roadblocks you may have in coaching someone or shine a light on why you may not be receiving coaching very well.
Lean implementers are leaders of change. We struggle with change management and the human factor involved in wanting to change to new way to do something. Here Steve talks about how to prepare people for change.
A characteristic of a good lean leader is the ability to keep learning. In this post, Steve suggests that smart people are people that keep learning that is why they can do so many things.
I encourage you to read Steve’s blog. There are a lot of subjects related to lean and leadership there.
I want to say a special thank to all the readers of my blog. I appreciate your comments and your time. I know your time is valuable and knowing you take a few minutes each week to read what I have posted means a lot. I hope to continue to add value and post topics and viewpoints that you enjoy reading.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!
The post talks about how a true supplier relationship is built on trust and integrity. If you want a true partnership and collaboration with your suppliers you can’t be looking to ditch them at the first sight of saving a penny. Working with the suppliers during bad times to help them get better is a great way to build the trust and shows integrity on your behalf.
Today’s post is from a friend I have met through starting Beyond Lean and a fellow Purdue Boilermaker. Christian Paulsen helps companies optimize performance. He is a Lean – TPM facilitator and adds value to organizations by driving continuous process improvements and bottom line cost savings. Christian is a Consultant who brings 20 years of manufacturing leadership experience and Lean Manufacturing expertise. He authors Lean Leadership and is a regular contributor to the Consumer Goods blog.
Theodore Roosevelt was born in New York City and graduated from Harvard. He studied law at Columbia but dropped out when asked to run for public office. Roosevelt was a NY State Assemblyman, a Dakota Cowboy, New York City Police Commissioner, and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He left the Navy at the beginning of the Spanish-American War. Colonel Roosevelt found volunteers among cowboys from the West and Ivy Leaguers. He led these Rough Riders into history and won the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Colonel served as Governor of New York, Vice-President of the United States, leader of the Republican Party and founder of the Bull Moose Party. He also served as the 26th President of the United States, survived an assassination attempt and won the Nobel Peace Prize. Roosevelt led an African safari and South American Expedition as a former President.
Roosevelt’s success was not dependant upon favorable circumstances or the right culture. Nor was it not limited to a particular organization or field of expertise. He was successful in an amazing variety of roles because he was an exceptional leader. Roosevelt is just one of the historic leaders that Doug Moran draws on in “If You Will Lead: Enduring Wisdom for 21st Century Leaders.“
Jen Weigel brings out 4 leadership tips from the book in the Chicago Tribune. Lean leaders can learn from these lessons as well:
1. Know yourself – Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt both had the ability to be authentic in all situations. Lean leaders need to be authentic and straightforward with your team. You won’t be successful in the long run if people don’t trust you.
2. Know what you want – Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. knew what they wanted. Dr. King crafted precise language to convey his vision. Lean leaders need to convey their message frequently while catering the terminology to the audience.
3. Make yourself someone that others want to follow – Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa had such winsome faith and passion that others wanted to follow them. Lean leaders need to show their faith on the process with their actions.
4. Earn the privilege to lead daily – George Washington got people excited about following him yet he was also able to keep them following without overreacting when disasters hit. Lean leaders need to celebrate success and be the stabilizing force when things go wrong.
Have you seen leaders who have executed any of these well? What was the result? Which of these principles would help you on your lean journey? What will you do differently today?
At the end of the post, Karen pointed out, with a fantastic graphic, how much the lean community is circling back around and reviewing itself over and over again.
I was part of Jamie Flinchbaugh’s Blog Carnival for John’s site and I am very appreciative. I had been blogging for less then a year and it gave Beyond Lean some more exposure. But, Karen’s post got me thinking about the blogs I read (and still do) and learning. If I wanted to expand my learning circle I needed to read some blogs that weren’t lean related.
I found some about business and leadership and decided to give them a try. A few blogs I didn’t find all that interesting so I moved on to others. I thought I would share some of the blogs with my readers. If you want to give them a try…great. If not, no problem.
All Things Workplace by Steve Roesler – A great blog from an executive management consultant. There are a lot of posts that relate to the respect for people part of lean. Practical advice for different situations.
My Flexible Pencil by David Kasprzak – His blog tag line is “Observations of workplace behavior with an eye for waste and value….and anything else that comes to mind.” David mentions waste and value which lean readers are all over but the blog isn’t about lean. It is great observations of people and behaviors. David does a great job of giving examples for his personal life to bring the ideas to life and make them hit home.
SmartBlog on Leadership – The posts are from various people on different aspects of leadership and culture. The site also posts survey results to some interesting questions like “Does your organization have good alignment?”. There are some interviews with leaders from companies from time to time also.
Some of these may strike a cord with you or they might not. It can’t hurt to try new blogs and see what learnings we can get from someone else.
A couple of months ago, I had a post about changing the look of the blog site. I finally got around to making some changes. I figured there was no better time than the 1st anniversary of the site, which was last Friday.
I am limited in my resources and know how but I knew that I wanted it to be more readable. I felt the font on the previous layout was small. This design has a font that is easier to read and the space for the body of the post is wider.
You can still connect to me via RSS or Twitter. The half hidden icons in the upper right corner are quick easy ways to do it. I am still working on a LinkedIn connection. You can still have an email subscription which is on the right sidebar.
My favorite feature is on the sidebar. Under the email subscription is a feature to search for posts in different ways.
- Green Folder – Shows the categories the posts are under. The number of posts for the category is in parenthesis.
- Blue Tag – Shows the most commonly used takes. The larger the font the more times the tag has been used.
- Grey Clock – Shows the Archive of the posts by month. The number of posts for the month is in parenthesis.
- Orange Star – Displays the top ten blog posts by the number of comments. The parenthesis show the number comments for the post.
- Orange Comment Bubble – Displays the last eight comments made on the site.
There still may be some more tweaks to come, but over all this is the major change. I hope everyone likes it.