In a rapidly changing business environment, it’s sometimes hard just to keep up with everyday demands—never mind having time to develop new and better approaches to changing requirements, needs, or markets. Staying ahead of the curve sounds as if it might demand working longer hours, hiring more people, or cloning oneself, none of which seem likely in the short term. So how does one manage to innovate in this environment?
The word “innovation” itself summons images of new products, or dramatically new approaches to customer needs, or a new version of a product or a new application of technology. Per Byland in Entrepreneur asserts that innovations often involve simply rethinking supply chains or factory operations, even in small ways that improve processes. With respect to Henry Ford’s car and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon, “the factor that made these companies great wasn’t primarily technology; it was organization.”
By developing a mindset that continually asks, “How can this process be better?” organizations will find that innovation comes naturally. Fostering such a mindset lies at the heart of improvement as well as innovation.
It may be time to recall W. Edwards Deming and his 14 Points for Management that he outlined in chapter two of Out of the Crisis (MIT Press, 2000). Generally seen as keys to product and process improvement, they also reflect the process for innovation. Perhaps we can see these tried-and-true management principles in a new light.
In this month’s column, David Schwinn comments on Robert Reich’s book, Saving Capitalism, and makes a call to action. Do you agree? Join the conversation!
Winners of last month’s quiz and a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1 are Adam Haviland (Burr Oak Tool & Gauge Co, MI); Joe Sheline (Swihart Industries, OH); and Steve Black (QEP, TN). Congratulations! For this month’s quiz, and a chance to win a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1, submit your response by August 31.
Friday marked the beginning of the 31st Summer Olympic Games. More than 11,000 athletes from 204 nations will compete in 302 events to prove that they are the best in the world at their sports and to represent their nations on the world stage. Though every country has its strengths, only a handful of countries are repeatedly on top of the medal count boards. The countries that have dominated medal counts over the past five Summer Games (and almost all others) are: The United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, and France. We charted the total percent of medals won by each of these countries over the last five Summer Games to see just how these perennial powerhouses have done.
China, Russia, and the United States are consistently in the top three in all categories. These countries combined accounted for 38 percent of medals earned at the 2012 games, a whopping 369 out of 961 medals! Great Britain has shown constant improvement over the past five games, earning 5 percent more medals in 2012 than in 1996. Another thing to note is how well the host countries do. The United States hosted the games in 1996 and not only led in total medals earned, but also led in bronze, silver, and gold medals won. China hosted the 2008 games and won about 17 percent of gold medals, leading by a large margin. In 2012 Great Britain continued a steady improvement in medals earned after hosting the games in London. The home court advantage still seems to apply, even during the Olympics!
Drew Leisen is a technical support intern at PQ Systems. He is a senior at Wright State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in MIS.
Baseball generates what may be the greatest array of statistics of all sports. Aficionados love comparing records of home runs, hits, runs, doubles, triples, errors, batting averages, and other performance details, not only for individual players and teams, but also against historic records, sometimes collecting ammunition for a discussion with their brothers-in-law about who’s the best player or team, and how that player or team compares to record-breaking plays and players.
As with all statistics, sports statistics can be painfully distorted or innocently quoted to “prove” a point about a player or team. But statistics being statistics, they demand that any use of data respond to an appropriate question. Stats can be specious if the wrong question is being answered. Let’s see how this works. Can you answer this simple baseball question? (Feel free to look up statistics to support your response.)
PQ Systems will be exhibiting at IMPACT Manufacturing Summit, October 23-25, 2016 in Chicago. Register today and receive a complimentary VIP pass.
Tomorrow’s leaders: Young manufacturing leaders are recognized by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
Recalled products: Information about all product recalls and alerts, from food to boats is available from government agencies.
Recycling packages: Consumers increasingly consider the environmental impact of food and drink packaging.
Ethical companies: The Ethisphere Institute’s list of World’s Most Ethical Companies includes Baldrige winners.
Winners of last month’s quiz and a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1 are Beverly Angus (Charleston Area Medical Center, WV); Cindy Chronister (Sam Dong, OH); and Brian Gordon (Touchstone Research Lab, WV). Congratulations! For this month’s quiz, and a chance to win a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1, submit your response by July 29.
To celebrate the life and work of Professor Cleary, we are featuring a classic quiz from our archives.
Wrestling with the ability to trace specific devices back to her gage management system, a customer called to ask about the best way to manage this process.
Gages require identification, of course, in order to be traced. The details of this identification include the gage number or ID, last calibration date, and next due date. Having this information and rendering it easy to access can be vital to maintaining a healthy measurement system. Applying labels that can then be scanned and information recorded offers the most efficient and accurate approach to managing this kind of accountability. GAGEpack can print these labels.
Barcodes, as well as both temporary and permanent labels, may be among preferred label choices, and GAGEpack can print these labels from a variety of label tape printers, including Brothers Pt, Dymo, and Zebra.
Some tips to get the most out of GAGEpack in producing labels:
- Determine what type of label you require: These may be temporary or permanent, or may be barcode ID.
- Identify printer capability: Printers that will work with GAGEpack include Brothers PT, Dymo, Zebra, and others.
- Getting the most out of GAGEpack in producing labels: Selection of ad hoc labels, system labels (after calibration event, inventory label).
In the end, accurate labels on gages can save users and technicians valuable time by rendering critical information to them at a glance.
With countless numbers of processes and interminable amounts of data to consider, managers can often lose sight of critical information, including management of measurement devices and the records of calibration and maintenance. A Dashboard feature in GAGEpack by PQ Systems puts this essential information at their fingertips, offering a quick overview of the ways in which the process is being managed.
Poring over lists of data related to records of calibration events, gage replacements, and maintenance records is enough to have a soporific effect on the most diligent manager. On the other hand, a quick look at a Dashboard will provide genuine information rather than simply individual data points. For example, examine the following list of calibration equipment:
Calibrations due today: 8
Calibrations due this week: 29
Calibrations due this month: 58
14 Calibrations are overdue at the moment
From now till June 19th there are 132 calibrations, 39 maintenance events, and 9 MSA studies.
This is a great deal of information to wade through to determine your overall workload, and requires further research to determine which calibrations apply to each category:
Contrast the accessibility of this list with the following Dashboard that summarizes the data in an easy-to-access and highly understandable form:
David Schwinn sees that personal transformation is fundamental to transformation in organizations, with authenticity critical to this transformation.