Management Article

Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

Nearly everyone finds it tough keeping the boss happy sometimes. But what if you had a steady stream of conflicting requests and competing deadlines coming simultaneously from two bosses or more? An increasing number of workers are finding themselves reporting to multiple bosses, experts say, and figuring out how to manage those who manage you comes with its own special set of demands—and opportunities.

“You are seeing now a lot more project- and team-based organization, which in some ways is a variance on the matrix organization,” says Wharton associate management professor Matthew Bidwell. “You might have a boss in one department, but you get stationed on these teams that each have their own goal.... I think we have a lot of lightweight matrices, where there is a clear line of authority along one dimension but strong coordination along the way. You know one person is your boss, and you know you will get a lot of requests from another person. And you have to do your best to accommodate them.”

Timothy Lozier’s picture

By: Timothy Lozier

Current management regulations and standards stress the importance of making quality management a higher priority throughout all areas of operation. At Verse Solutions, we wanted to find out how quality managers are adjusting to that new mindset, and how they are using quality-based technology to achieve it. We surveyed more than 150 quality professionals to figure out just what they are—or aren’t—doing to better manage quality. Some of the results were surprising.

Although quality is a growing investment and priority as a general trend, implementing quality management software is lagging behind. By looking closely at the data, we can uncover the reasons why, and help quality managers overcome the obstacles that prevent them from taking advantage of the tools available to them.

Here are three of the key takeaways we learned from our survey and the insights they bring into the challenges—and opportunities—surrounding quality management.

By: Ken Chrisman

It’s no surprise to many consumers that some retailers and brands think that packaging—although necessary—isn’t really something to invest a lot of time, money, or effort in.

Consider the box. Many would look at it as an inconsequential container. It’s the thing you must rip, cut, tear, or surmount to get to what really matters—the item inside.

Well, I’m here to tell you that consumers do care about packaging. They care a lot more than you might think, particularly when it comes to attitudes on sustainability. Of course, I’m biased. My company, Sealed Air, built a more than 50­-­year-­old business on selling packaging, so of course we believe that it matters.

Swapnil Srivastav’s picture

By: Swapnil Srivastav

Mandatory reporting requirements for regulations such as Europe’s REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals) and RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) legislation have increased the focus on environmental compliance and ethical sourcing across the globe. Meanwhile, new regulations such as the European Union’s proposed conflict minerals framework, and China’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains continue to proliferate in various geographies at a rapid pace.

Scott A. Hindle’s picture

By: Scott A. Hindle

Part two of this four-part series on process capability concluded with Alan just about to meet Sarah for a second time. He thought he was making good progress with his analysis of Product 874 data until he was asked to assess process capability, even though it can’t be assessed for an unstable process.

Making sense of the XmR chart

Alan thanked Sarah for the two articles she’d given him. He said that, guided by the second article by Donald Wheeler, he’d created his first XmR chart (figure 1 below), which he interpreted to mean that the process data represented an unstable or not-in-control process. Wheeler’s article noted that it was more important to find the cause of process changes rather than computing statistics.

British Assessment Bureau BAB’s picture

By: British Assessment Bureau BAB

There are hundreds of security breaches that happen every day but in the end, they fall into three main groups: malicious, intentional, or criminal; system glitches; and human error.

The IBM “2015 Cost of Security Breach Survey” conducted by Ponemon Research, catalogs 49 percent of the breaches as malicious activity, 23 percent as system glitches. and the remaining 28 percent as human error.

Malicious, intentional, or criminal

Just like the old-fashioned theft of physical goods, these attacks are usually well planned, targeted, and for the most part have a negative impact on the business being targeted.

Common security breaches include phishing, scams, hacking, fraud, cybercrime, theft of intellectual property, and diversion of funds. Introducing viruses and system infections is common, too. As businesses work hard to prevent data theft by implementing more sophisticated systems, the perpetrators are working just as hard to always stay one step ahead.

E-commerce trading operations regularly undergo penetration testing and STAR (simulated targeted attack response) testing to make sure their sites are secure and can continue to trade safely.

Scott A. Hindle’s picture

By: Scott A. Hindle

In part one of this four-part series, we considered the basics of process capability, as witnessed through the learning curve of Alan in his quest to determine the product characteristics of the powder, Product 874. We pick up with Alan here as he prepares for his second meeting with his colleague Sarah, to discuss his preliminary results.

The second article Sarah had given Alan was titled “Individual Charts Done Right and Wrong,” by Donald J. Wheeler. It helped him to move in a different direction with the data he received to assess process capability. He recalled having been briefly exposed to Shewhart-type control charts, the subject of the paper, during a training class some time back, but he didn’t remember much about them.

By: Janet Pogue McLaurin

Gensler’s U.S. Workplace Survey 2016 is the latest in a series that builds on more than a decade of research. The company, an integrated architecture, design, planning and consulting firm, started that journey in 2005 by uncovering a link between a better-designed work environment and performance.

In every subsequent survey, we’ve tried to peel back the layers of comprehension—to understand why, and how, the workplace makes an impact. Through the years, we’ve uncovered how people work, and we’ve found that effective workplace design links to higher business performance.

In our 2013 survey, we discovered that choice drives performance and innovation. That finding really intrigued us and led to this year’s research question: How can the physical workplace environment impact innovation?

Scott A. Hindle’s picture

By: Scott A. Hindle

In my August 2015 article, “Process Capability: How Many Data?” I discussed whether 30 data were the “right” number in an analysis of process capability. In this four-part series, the focus is on understanding what process capability is and the pitfalls associated with it, along with how it can help manufacturers develop process knowledge, reach better decisions, and take better actions.

Product 874: What is process capability?

The story starts with Alan, a relative novice in the field of process capability, who was assigned the task of writing a report on the process capability for a key product characteristic of Product 874, a powder product. The 56 data values he received are found in figure 1. Alan’s brief was to use these data to write a report covering:
• The process capability results for the characteristic under study
• An interpretation of the results
• An appendix of all calculations in Excel for traceability purposes

Peter J. Sherman’s picture

By: Peter J. Sherman

As organizations become successful and grow, uncertainty is generally the enemy. Thriving organizations seek to eliminate variation and increase efficiency. They identify best practices and policies, and design standard operating procedures. Such efforts can make a business wildly efficient at what it does, but they can have a serious downside as well: a dearth of variation, creativity, and innovation.

As a lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt working for several large and medium-sized organizations, I’ve always been taught to strive for efficiency, standardization, and predictability. These were my guiding principles, and it made perfectly good sense to follow them in that environment. But now that I’ve started my own process improvement consulting practice, I find these principles don’t readily apply. Instead of seeking stable, predictable processes, I’m actually embracing the uncertainty that’s required in a startup. How ironic! The ability to create, improvise, adapt, and innovate is proving to be my best ally. I’m learning to embrace uncertainty in terms of how I develop my service offerings and grow the business.

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