Management Article

Paula Oddy’s picture

By: Paula Oddy

Changes to the global economy during the last two decades have dramatically altered the landscape of business and industry. Globalization has enabled an ever-lengthening supply chain, which confers greater complexity and risk to every step of the process, whether for material goods or for services. Manufacturers are long familiar with this equation, but companies in the service and transactional sectors must now be mindful of the increased risk that comes from outsourcing and offshoring.

The recently released ISO 9001:2015 quality management system (QMS) standard will provide better insight into the nature of risk and how it can best be ameliorated, as well as moving preventive tools upstream to better manage risk.

Joby George’s picture

By: Joby George

Having difficulty managing quality and quality-related data? You’re not alone. Many manufacturers struggle with this these issues due to paper-based or other disparate systems being used to track, manage, and report on quality events. Walk about a production room floor, and there’s a good chance you’ll see a few three-ring binders or folders stuffed with handwritten, quality-related worksheets and forms.

Some manufacturing companies may also use email, spreadsheets, or homegrown software systems to capture quality events. But even then, gathering and consolidating information for audits and reporting can be a nightmare. And the problem is exacerbated by the number of external partners, regulatory bodies, and diverse reporting requirements from country to country.

But beyond the inefficiencies, there are some serious risks associated with these manual and paper-based methods of managing quality, for companies and consumers alike. A lack of visibility into quality events could mean a harmful product makes it out to market, leaving manufacturers to deal with product recalls, and risk to brand reputation and stock price value.

Timothy Woodcome’s picture

By: Timothy Woodcome

An integrated management system (IMS) combines multiple management system standards to which an organization is registered. The management systems are developed, implemented, and maintained via one system with processes that cover each standard’s requirements.

For example, the processes required in each standard for document control, internal audits, dealing with nonconformities, corrective actions, or management review can be shared so that the requirements of each standard are met without duplicating effort. An example of an integrated management system is one that simultaneously handles the requirements of ISO 9001, the quality management system standard; and ISO 14001, the environmental management system standard, both from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO); and OHSAS 18001, the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Specification.

Planning and developing an IMS must include identifying risks and opportunities that could affect the organization, including its business and quality risks, in addition to those relating to health and safety and environmental obligations. Some areas may integrate more easily than others, and as such, systems may end up being fully integrated or partially integrated.

Eston Martz’s picture

By: Eston Martz

If you were among the 300 people who attended the first-ever Minitab Insights conference last month, you already know how powerful it was. Attendees learned how practitioners from a wide range of industries use data analysis to address a variety of problems, find solutions, and improve business practices. For those who weren’t there, here are five helpful, challenging, and thought-provoking ideas and suggestions that we heard during the event.

By: L.E.K. Consulting

Industrial companies are facing critical challenges rooted in slow growth, globalization, the effect of disruptive technologies, and unforeseen competitive threats. A new report from global management consulting firm, L.E.K. Consulting, reveals how those companies are responding—and what the response will mean for the future of companies around the globe in a range of manufacturing sectors.

A series of in-depth interviews with CEOs and senior executives at 17 major global industrial firms spotlight emerging trends that include new sales models and organizational structures, a sharper focus on high-yield parts of the value chain, adoption of disruptive technologies, and shifts toward fast-cycle R&D. The findings are presented in the report, “New Imperatives: Why Global Industrials Must Shift Strategic Priorities.”

Dave Page’s picture

By: Dave Page

Digital technologies have reached a tipping point. Enterprises are moving from a focus on process automation to entire business models built on and driven by digital technologies. The development and convergence of myriad digital technologies such as the internet, cloud, mobile, big data, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the internet of things (IoT) is changing the way people live and the world works.

People are becoming digital consumers. They are spending ever-more time online and on mobile devices—socializing, gaming, and consuming digital entertainment, but also managing almost every aspect of their lives. Consumers are spending more money online, and this is more than a bit of online shopping. It’s hard to think of any area of our daily lives that doesn’t involve a digital experience.

Business is also being transformed by digital technologies. More B2B sales are being made on digital platforms. New digital business models are disrupting entire industries and changing the way we work. In every sector, there are technology startups plotting the way to become the next Airbnb, Uber, or Amazon. The potential for business transformation can’t be overstated.

Peter Bussey’s picture

By: Peter Bussey

Operational risk management (ORM) centers on environmental, health, and safety (EHS) risks that can cause accidents or incidents anywhere that work takes place, whether it’s a manufacturing plant, an offshore drilling platform, a mine, or a marine terminal. This article will discuss why and how operational risks need to be managed effectively, the three essential ORM process capabilities, and considerations for implementation.

Operational risks are defined by their ability to lead to adverse events anywhere in an organization’s sphere of operations. The term ORM was first used widely in the financial services sector and then popularized starting about 2009 to describe the set of risks in industrial operations that could harm people, production, or the environment.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Manufacturers’ waste-reduction initiatives are rarely as effective as they could be. When reducing waste, inventory is often the main target. But how do you right-size inventory in an environment of constant variability? In a word: kanban.

Electronic kanban signals keep product moving throughout the manufacturing organization and its extended supply chain. These systems operate in real time to optimize inventory levels by instantly tracking lead and replenishment times.

Dynisco, a Roper Industries company in the plastics industry, was on a mission to enhance performance. This manufacturer of materials-testing solutions and extrusion-control instrumentation was ready to embark on a continuous improvement journey that would address operations in its Franklin, Massachusetts, facility, as well as in its subsidiaries Viatran, Alpha Technologies, DJ Instruments, and DVI. The program would include related regional and international facilities.

Festo Didactic’s picture

By: Festo Didactic

Manufacturing in the United States and Canada is marked by negative stereotypes left behind from 1955. Repetitive and simplistic duties in grimy workplaces, without a chance to change or advance a career, are the images most people see when they imagine what it means to work in a factory. But, a new future for manufacturing is here: It’s called Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0, or the smart factory, represents a paradigm shift from the assembly lines popularized by the U.S. automotive industry. Whereas the values typified by those initial factories prioritized profitability over people and safety standards, modern manufacturing has evolved to place an equally high value on clean technology, renewable energy, robotics, and on-demand yet affordable customization. What this means for manufacturing is not only a new way of production, but also new skill requirements for workers.

GBMP’s picture


Ellis Medicine is a 438-bed community and teaching healthcare system serving New York’s capital region. With four main campuses, five additional service locations, more than 3,300 employees, and more than 700 medical staff, Ellis Medicine offers an extensive array of inpatient and outpatient services. In 2013 Ellis made a commitment to change the way things get done at the century-old institution.

The main goal was to improve quality of care and financial strength by identifying more efficient processes and cost savings. Kristin May, director of organizational performance and innovation, leads the project and focused her attention first on building an internal team to apply principles from lean management and Six Sigma.

From dynamite to Dyno-mite

The first move was to send a couple of bright, young lean leaders to a public Six Sigma course at a dynamite facility in Connecticut to learn about the methodology. It didn’t take Angelo Paglialonga and Christine Waghorn long to bridge the gap between explosives and healthcare, and complete a project on laboratory blood-specimen turnaround time (TAT) at Ellis Hospital with savings estimated over $600K annually.

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