Blog Archives

Shout Out to Fellow Bloggers

I wanted to give a shout out to some fellow bloggers today.  Normally, when I give a shout out it has to do with reading something by another blogger that influences me to go and change my work.

Not this time.  I have to give credit to some fellow bloggers that have the will to continually read articles and blogs that those in the lean world, like myself, find to be ridiculous.

Bill Waddell, Kevin Meyer, Mark Graban and others continue to read material by others that is so rooted in traditional mindsets that it can be appalling.  Yet they do this and provide perspective to the rest of us so we don’t have to waste our time reading it.

I say THANK YOU!

It is always good to read and learn about “the other side.”  It helps to combat the myths and misunderstandings of lean.

I have tried this and from time to time can read the other material but I struggle.  Knowing that mindset is still so rooted and these “experts” are continuing to think this way can drive me absolutely BONKERS!!!  And that is the medial term.

So to Bill, Kevin, Mark and others…Thank you for helping to keep me informed.  By doing so, you help to keep my sanity.

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Bill Waddell Highlights the Importance of Quick Changeovers

Recently, Bill Waddell published a great blog post highlighting the benefits of reducing changeover time.  The post was about reducing the manufacturing cycle which is the time it takes to produce every product.  Bill used an actual story from a client of his.

To be sure there were other inputs to the improvement – a simple demand pull method and more statistically valid methods of determining the inventory needed to cover the cycle, but set-up reduction was at the heart of it, and the improvements there translated into significantly less inventory, better on time delivery and lower costs.

Hearing stories like the one Bill wrote about just reaffirms the importance of reducing changeover time.  It is something that companies take for granted.  Most companies don’t see it as critical to achieving the business needs and goals.

Bill gives two great examples of where changeovers have been deemed to critical or their business would die.

I recently saw a cruise ship go through the change-over process and it is really quite similar.  Dock and disembark some 3,000 passengers and their luggage and take on 3,000 new ones, restock tons of food and supplies, perform necessary maintenance to the ship, then sail again all in the course of a few hours.  They have all sorts of specially designed devices and a very well trained crew of folks to do it … but they have to.  That turnaround is the key to their success.  In that regard they are a lot like the NASCAR or Indy cars – change-over fast or die.

Manufacturing companies don’t take this view.  My question is “Why not?”

If results like the company Bill talks about receives such incredible benefit that help them stay viable and profitable, why aren’t more companies doing it?  What other evidence is needed?

Does your company consider quick changeover critical to it’s success?

Twinkies GONE!!

Hostess is filing for bankruptcy and going out of business.  There will be no more Twinkies.  I know this news is over a week old now.  I am behind.

My first thought when hearing the news was, “No Twinkies! No Cupcakes! No Ding Dongs! Ahhhhhhhhhh!”  I absolutely love all of those.  My daughter was distraught because the mini-donuts are a staple for our family as we travel on vacation.

I will miss those snacks.  I’m sure someone will buy the rights to the recipes and the brand names.  All will be good probably sometime next year.

My second thought was, “That company must have been horribly mismanaged!”

The Hostess brand of snacks were consistently much more expensive in the grocery store than comparable snacks.  Yet, people bought them up…me included.  Every time I went to the cash register to pay for some Twinkies I thought, “Wow!  They have got to be making a ton of money.”  Then to find out they aren’t.  What a shame!

With the brand recognition and the price they charged, how could you not make money.  I was going to dig into it a little bit but before I could I read Anatomy of a Twinkie by Bill Waddell over on Evolving Excellence.  It was a great post and answered a lot of questions.

From the post:

  • 57% of their costs: Administrative, Overhead, Selling, Distribution, Depreciation, Other
  • 28% of their costs: Ingredients, Packaging
  • 15% of their costs: Factory Labor

I think that answers all the questions about mismanagement.  It is a shame.  Cut out the waste and leave what only adds value for the consumer and I bet they would have made a ton of money.  I bet whoever buys the recipes will be more efficient and make a great profit from Hostess’ demise.

Article Roundup

In the spirit of other blog sites, especially the Management Carnival, I thought I would share some links to a few blogs that found very interesting over the last month or so.  I hope you enjoy them.

A Tough Obituary to Write by Bill Waddell – This is a different perspective on the passing of Steve Jobs.  This is a point of view I had thought about writing but Bill beat me to the punch and I didn’t want to redo something he had written so well.

Building Your Personal Value Proposition by Bill Barnett – A great post about understanding yourself and what you are interested in.  Use that knowledge to know where you fit in a company and build your personal value.

Encourage Talent If You Want It To Grow by Steve Roesler – Steve hits on some great points to help grow talent through encouragement.  Even when you feel an employee is doing what they should be doing it is good to encourage them.

Building Manager Standard Work by Jamie Flinchbaugh – This blog will link to his full article at Industry Week.  Don’t but a process in place for something that already has a process like check email every day at lunch.

Planning On Not Knowing by David Kasprzak – We won’t always know what do to next but that shouldn’t stop us from planning.  Plan in spots to review and determine what to do next.

Manufacturing Skills Gap or Management Skills Gap by John Hunter – If the people don’t have the manufacturing skills they need is that their fault?  Or do we have a gap in our management skills?

Assembly Mag Thinks Whirlpool is Lean. Really. by Kevin Meyer – This is about Whirlpool and the fake lean.  It hit home because I grew up in Evansville and watch the decline of Whirpool.

Manufacturing Week in America

Last week Bill Waddell posted a blog about over at Evolving Excellence about a “grass roots” movement to help raise awareness about manufacturing and it’s importance to America.  There will be a American Manufacturing Week.  It is the week of October 2-9.  I encourage everyone to take a look at Bill’s blog about it.

This is a subject that I have great passion around and will be blogging more about in the future.  I believe that manufacturing is the foundation that our country was built on and it is the foundation needed to keep this country strong.  We can’t lose sight of that.

I will pass along more information about American Manufacturing Week as I learn more.

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