Management Article

Amitava Chattopadhyay’s picture

By: Amitava Chattopadhyay

For conventional, profit-seeking companies, moving into social impact carries huge contradictions. An ad hoc, small-scale initiative is an inexpensive way to do a bit of good and receive a nice warm glow in the process. But any attempt to achieve more serious impact through scaling the initiative will likely trigger awkward discussions about how much that warm glow is worth to the firm.

Thus, the ceiling remains low on social impact unless it can be justified in “win-win” terms. Needless to say, this is no easy feat.

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

Does the phrase “garbage in—garbage out” (GIGO) ring a bell? That’s the idea that if you use flawed, low-quality information to inform your decisions and actions, you’ll end up with a rubbish outcome. Yet despite the popularity of the phrase, we see such bad outcomes informed by poor data all the time.

In one of the worst recent business disasters, two crashes of Boeing’s 737 Max airplane killed 346 people and led to Boeing losing more than $25 billion in market capitalization as well as more than $5 billion in direct revenue. We know from internal Boeing emails that many Boeing employees in production and testing knew about the quality problems with the design of the 737 Max; a number communicated these problems to the senior leadership.

However, as evidenced by the terrible outcome, the data collection and dissemination process at Boeing failed to take in such information effectively. The leadership instead relied on falsely optimistic evidence of the safety of the 737 Max in their rush to compete with the Airbus A320 model, which was increasingly outcompeting Boeing’s offerings.

Hamza Mudassir’s picture

By: Hamza Mudassir

Disney has announced a significant restructuring of its media and entertainment business, boldly placing most of its growth ambitions and investments into its recently launched streaming service, Disney+. The 97-year-old media conglomerate is now more like Netflix than ever before.

What this means is that Disney will be reducing its focus from (and potentially the investments routed to) theme parks, cruises, cinema releases, and cable TV. As CEO Bob Chapek says: “Given the incredible success of Disney+ and our plans to accelerate our direct-to-consumer business, we are strategically positioning our company to more effectively support our growth strategy and increase shareholder value.”

Steve McCarthy’s picture

By: Steve McCarthy

The ideal of proactive quality has been the holy grail of chief quality officers in the life sciences industry for at least five years, but few, if any, have realized the vision. Industry has since set out a clear definition of the milestones a medical product manufacturer would need to meet in order to achieve proactive quality as a differentiator. Many of those are cultural, but the majority require quality technology and innovation to reach the disruptive levels they have today.

Quality 4.0 is defined as the application of Industry 4.0’s advanced digital technologies to enhance traditional best practices in quality management. With the advent of such innovations as AI and IoT in the quality management ecosystem, the promise of proactive quality is finally a reality. Today the industry faces unprecedented challenges but also opportunities to serve patients like never before; both require innovation in business and product as well as in how companies approach quality.

This article highlights just one of these key challenges and opportunities: the increasing complexity and diversity of the supply chain itself. It emphasizes the reasons why recognizing and embracing bimodality is so vitally important, and how quality technology is a critical enabler for life sciences companies under these unique pressures.

Sue Via’s picture

By: Sue Via

Research has shown that during economic uncertainty, companies that find a balance between reducing resources to survive and investing in key areas for growth will fare better through the recession and beyond. It’s a nuanced approach to playing offense and defense at the same time.

But many small and medium-sized manufacturers that have been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic find themselves with what seem to be few options. They have reduced resources to the point that they have no time for anything beyond operations. When they do have time, it’s from a decrease in business, which means they do not have money to invest.

As a result, they may have become risk-averse, hesitant to upgrade machinery, or hire before business returns. But opportunity involves risk. Hunkering down to wait out economic uncertainty is typically not a path for future stability, growth, or even change.

A key for getting out of risk-aversion mode is creating a culture that encourages ideas and is willing to question if there might be a better way to do something. Continuous improvement starts with a mindset. But it also depends on a methodology or systems so that activities become part of routines and are measured and reviewed.

Multiple Authors
By: Jason Davis, Thomas Mannarelli

In 2017, Indonesian state-owned giant Pertamina had two ambitious strategic objectives: Transition from oil and gas to a more diverse portfolio, including renewables; and entrench itself deeper in the global market.

But there was a problem. Thanks to a remarkably low retirement age of 56 for Indonesian state-owned enterprise (SOEs), the organization—one of the nation’s largest, with more than 31,000 employees—would be losing nearly all its top leaders within a few years. Worse still, a past hiring freeze that lasted more than a decade had left a plunging experience gap between the highest-ranking company directors and their appointed successors.

In order to meet its audacious goals for the future, Pertamina would have to prepare hundreds of second-tier leaders to assume command before the retirement window closed. That meant cramming up to 15 years of missing experience into a two- to three-year time frame. For SOEs, which are not known for their agility, this was a tall order to say the least.

Suneel Kumar’s picture

By: Suneel Kumar

Remote auditing (RA) has become a norm during the Covid-19 pandemic. Remote auditing is one of the audit methods prescribed in ISO 19011:2018—“Guidelines for Auditing Management Systems.” Although RA has surged due to pandemic constraints, this method of operation will surely gain ground as a routine audit technique.

During a remote audit, auditors engage with a company via technology to assess its QMS as per ISO 9001:2015. The audit covers the usual steps, including a documented information review, interviews, and presentation of the findings, by using various information and communications technology (ICT) platforms.

Remote audits can be divided into:
• Fully off-site remote audit
• Partial off-site remote audit
• Onsite remote audit

In the case of a fully off-site remote audit, the assessment audit is carried out completely away from the site. Partial off-site audits are conducted through a combination of remote and onsite checks to verify compliance. For onsite remote audits, the audit is carried out at the site but through synchronous ICT platforms.

K. C. Morris’s picture

By: K. C. Morris

The Covid pandemic has highlighted the role that manufacturing plays in our society. Manufacturing is important not only for improving our quality of life but also for the necessities of life, from food to toilet paper to transportation and safe and secure housing.  As our society has evolved, we have learned better ways to manufacture and are able to create an amazing variety of products. But providing these goods is not without side effects to the environment, and care is needed to manage the impacts of our production systems.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), sustainable manufacturing refers to the ability to manage manufacturing operations “in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.” Standards and programs of various kinds have formed around this idea, but many only scratch the surface of what could be accomplished if we had better measurement science to really evaluate the trade offs that manufacturers must make every day to be sustainable.

Talmage Wagstaff’s picture

By: Talmage Wagstaff

Preventive maintenance, specifically in production and manufacturing industries, has been a fundamental part of product consistency for years. It is well known that without product consistency, customer complaints and rework will soon be the result. What does preventive maintenance do to directly assist in product consistency? Well, a whole lot.

Manufacturers specifications

When manufacturers of a piece of equipment used in the manufacturing process sell their equipment, they include a manual that lists the specifications at which the machine must run to produce the optimum product. As the machine operates during the normal course of production, it begins to “walk out of spec,” or develop minute changes in the products that are further and further away from optimum products. This is inevitable when manufacturing a particular product, and it is usually undetectable to the naked eye.

Sarah Burlingame’s picture

By: Sarah Burlingame

There is more to lean manufacturing than improving a few processes. Sustainable lean success requires a companywide culture of daily continuous improvement. Companies that develop their people to think scientifically, using facts and data to drive their decisions, are often the ones that achieve their goals most successfully. Practicing kata promotes this way of thinking, which can help companies become more nimble and competitive not only to survive, but also thrive in the current pandemic crisis.

Kata is a Japanese word that refers to a structured way of doing things or pattern of behavior. As senior project manager for TDO (Train Develop Optimize), part of the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center and the MEP National Network, I work with small and medium-sized manufacturers to practice kata, or behaviors, and apply additional lean manufacturing tools and techniques to solve business challenges. This gives them a competitive advantage.

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