Archive for 2013
I am a big believer in an engineer that can “do it all.” By that, I mean an engineer that understands future technology, today’s technology, what it takes for a user to easily interact with a product and can make it easy to manufacture and service. … Think through what Mom does every holiday to put together a great gathering of family with food, decorations, activities and more. She’s doing the very same things–sometimes with a checklist or two–sometimes all in her head. She is amazing–don’t you think!!!
In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a chance to tour a heavy metal oriented vehicle test facility, a parts assembly operation including wire extrusion, and an assembly area for electron and ion beam microscopes. That certainly is a breadth of types of manufacturing. Yet, they all are benefitting from applying lean management techniques. … Spend a little bit of time this month thinking about what you do regularly and how you can improve it by just 10% … Use the KISS principle — make sure you Keep It Seriously Simple.
As a former intrapreneur in the corporate world, I now enjoy working with entrepreneurs across the country. One of my SCORE clients, LumaGlo, has a Kickstarter campaign going to both test the market and generate funds for the first units. LumaGlo’s Freedom Lights have several improvements over existing LED strip lighting.
When I first became involved with the SCORE organization to help mentor small businesses, my training included learning their mentoring methodology captured on a small, hard plastic business card that I keep nearby. The methodology has broad application to many situations in business, from a personnel complaint to a warranty issue. The acronym is SLATE:
Getting teams of people to work together effectively is always a challenge. Every team goes through these four stages. Even when they reach the performing stage, the slightest change can start the cycle over again.
I recently presented information to a multi-billion dollar Tier 1 automotive company and to engineering managers at the SAE Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress. You can see the latter presentation on the Insights page. I cannot stress enough the need to understand the various customers in the delivery chain, including the end user customer. Too often we focus on the needs of the direct customer, such as a distributor. That’s important, but the product or service must also satisfy the needs of the end user. I’ve spent a good deal of my career in the trucking business, both as a Tier 1 supplier of transmissions and other components, and as a Vehicle OEM. We have dealers, distributors, aftermarket sales groups, remanufacturing operations and more that are all customers of the products. I spoke about the following ten (10) things to keep in mind for fleet customers:
Not Invented Here. So many engineering groups and businesses suffer from this disease. How do you cure it? Better yet, how do you prevent it? How do you keep innovation alive in your organization so that it can grow and prosper?
One of the keys to innovation is taking the ordinary and seeing new potentials. Mirrors are an important part of our everyday world. We have them throughout our homes and attached in strategic places on our vehicles. What If — instead of reflecting the world, the mirror was more like a window that opened us to the world outside? What If — the mirror opened us to the vast expanse of information and entertainment available in the digital world of the internet?
Innovation takes a team of people, working together to find, evaluate, modify and implement disruptive ideas that create growth for either a large corporation or a growth oriented start-up.
“I want to put a ding in the universe.” –- Steve Jobs
“Never innovate to compete, innovate to change the rules of the game.“ — David O. Adeife
“There’s a way to do it better — find it.” — Thomas Edison
“The enterprise that does not innovate ages and declines. And in a period of rapid change such as the present, the decline will be fast.” Peter Drucker.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin
Can a 13-15 year old boy bored in his biology class and upset that an uncle died, find a simple, accurate, cost effective and quick test for prostate cancer? You bet.