Business Accelerants Blog
For many companies, the IPO is the culmination of years of hard work and low pay. Everything has been risked for this big exit strategy for the early investors and the founders. … But, that’s not what I am talking about. … It’s at the core of what each and every machine or person does on the factory floor, as well as the work that engineering does to move a product or service idea from creation to production.
Why?…Why?…Why?…Why?…Why? Does this sound like a 5 year old child learning the power of the word “Why?” and how it can disarm and upset a grown up? Actually, it’s a powerful business solving technique–5 Whys .. or maybe it should be 5 Whys to be Wise!
Like me, do you have to deal with friction and momentum? There is the scientific, physical friction in machines, electrical circuits and chemical reactions. There is the friction among people working together on a team or in competition with one another. And, friction can be used to describe the difficulty in the Human–Machine Interface (HMI). Sometimes friction is good, such as when we want to stop a truck. Other times, that friction just produces a lot of heat and no measurable results. … How you deal with friction and momentum can make a huge difference in your company.
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?