Management Article

Richard Fendler’s picture

By: Richard Fendler

Job satisfaction is important to most people, and yet this can be a fairly nebulous concept that is tricky to achieve and also tough to measure in a meaningful way.

Luckily a number of software platforms designed to manage employee recognition have emerged in recent years, as outlined in this comparison list. The upshot is that it is not just easier for businesses to keep their workers content, but also to track satisfaction and thus extrapolate the morale trajectory for the entire organization.

Here is a look at how these platforms work, why they are useful for keeping team members happy, and how analyzing employee contentment benefits the business as a whole.

The basics

Although they vary in terms of features and functions, all employee-recognition software solutions share the same purpose, which is to codify and unify the way that appreciation for people in a workplace is demonstrated by management.

Jason Chester’s picture

By: Jason Chester

For manufacturers—as for all of us—the past few months have been a blur of fast adaptations and long periods of waiting. At the start of the pandemic, many manufacturers did what they have always done in the face of disruption: adapt and find the fastest workaround for the challenge at hand.

Manufacturers already know that rapid adaptation is an accepted cost of doing business. Uncertainty, risk, and volatility are not new for these seasoned organizations. However, the universal nature of this crisis, and the fact that it’s far from over, have highlighted areas in which complex quality management systems and procedures stand in the way of agile responses and effective operational optimization.

Many manufacturers have taken advantage of the opportunity to examine their operations with a fresh perspective, seeking proactive changes that will pave the way forward in a post-Covid-19 world.

Denrie Caila Perez’s picture

By: Denrie Caila Perez

With most industries shifting to remote work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, companies are looking at how they can innovate the work-from-home experience. Toyota’s Ann Harbor, Michigan, research and development team was set to complete the automaker’s newest generation of the Sienna in March 2020. However, after the state went under lockdown, the team was forced to complete the minivan from home.

According to the team, they were still able to see a production trial of the latest Sienna at Toyota’s Indiana plant prior to the lockdown. This gave the team enough ideas on what kind of changes they needed to make to the vehicle. The real challenge was how they were going to do it from home. Toyota Chief Engineer Monte Khaer shared that the later phase involved what they call “fit-and-finish optimization,” which can be difficult to accomplish by just relying on CAD.


Toyota Engineer Kyle Steinkamp works on the new Sienna minivan with his own tools from home. (Image courtesy of Toyota)

Multiple Authors
By: Antoine Tirard, Claire Harbour

As clients clamor for speedy results and headhunters increasingly rely on the latest data analytic tools, there is a danger of dull, predictable candidates being churned out for results that serve but do not shine.

At a recent panel on careers, a prominent headhunter said: “Search consultants, however naturally creative, find themselves stuck in a position of risk mitigation on behalf of their clients. More often than not, they end up placing the candidate who is the closest to being the carbon copy of the predecessor—minus whatever faults they were deemed to have.”

This damning statement did not sit well with us, however close it may be to reality. Although we don’t deny the importance of hiring based on skills and experience, we also believe that the potential and personality of candidates should greatly weigh on recruitment decisions. So we set out to identify audacious headhunters who have successfully advocated for outlier candidates. We hope these stories will inspire recruiters and companies alike. (Candidates’ and recruiters’ names are disguised.)

Joerg Niessing’s picture

By: Joerg Niessing

Since Covid-19’s arrival, digital resilience increasingly refers to the strategic use of digital technologies in delivering customer value and business growth despite adversities. Indeed, some industries—such as hospitality, higher education, or traditional retail—were hit more than others because they did not embed digital technologies and analytics early or strongly enough.

In building resilience, the customer-centric perspective is critical. Only companies that leverage digital technologies and data to engage with customers more effectively, enrich customer experiences, or offer innovative customer-centric business models will create long-term growth.

INSEAD’s upcoming case study on Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), the Middle East’s leading shopping mall, retail, and leisure pioneer, explores this issue further. Despite Covid-19’s impact on many of MAF’s industries, like shopping malls, entertainment, and grocery retail, the conglomerate’s digital readiness, which had been ramping up for years prior to the pandemic, significantly limited the pandemic’s negative effects.

Tom Taormina’s picture

By: Tom Taormina

Each article in this series presents new tools for increasing return on investment (ROI), enhancing customer satisfaction, creating process excellence, and driving risk from an ISO 9001:2015-based quality management system (QMS). They will help implementers evolve quality management to overall business management. In this article we look at the clauses and subclauses of Section 9 of the standard.

Clause 9—Performance evaluation

Clause 9 is the part of the standard that we can use to truly quantify business excellence and risk avoidance. I will propose paradigm shifts that will make the outputs of this clause more informative for senior management and will include actionable recommendations that can contribute to the success factors that are immediately palatable and implementable for the leadership.

9.1.1 Monitoring, measurement, analysis, and evaluation—General

9.1.1 and excellence
This subclause requires that the organization must establish what needs to be monitored, measured, analyzed, and evaluated.

Ted Theyerl’s picture

By: Ted Theyerl

‘Forward!” It’s the state motto of Wisconsin, where I work to help manufacturing companies improve their operations and processes. It’s one simple word that holds a lot of meaning and relevance. It’s what I want companies I work with to embrace, practice, and execute. Forward is a word that helps summarize an entire scope of improvement practices, and it’s a word that has become even more relevant in these times of uncertainty. This motto and mindset can help your company serve everyone—your owners, employees, and customers—even better in the future. Forward!

When the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic hit hard in mid-March 2020, the entire business and economic landscape shifted, almost instantly. Manufacturing companies had no option but to adapt rapidly to change or suffer the consequences—which could be immediate or long lasting.

How well did you do? If you adjusted quickly and smoothly, that’s a good sign you have solid improvement practices in place. If it was a struggle or worse, a threat to your business, that is a signal you need to get better at getting better—rapidly. How can you improve your ability to adapt rapidly?

Ann Clark’s picture

By: Ann Clark

Reshoring is the trend of bringing manufacturing from overseas back to its local origin—to here, the United States. The tariffs on Chinese, Canadian, and European imports were levied both to level the global-trade playing field and incentivize U.S. companies to bring manufacturing back to America. Now it seems that the Covid-19 pandemic may have accelerated this trend.

Supply-continuity risk, rapid innovation, responsiveness, and technological collaboration are now critical considerations for sourcing, as are costs, quality, and lead time. Changing consumer behaviors demand rapid and iterative innovation, which can be more effectively achieved by shortening supply chains and bringing producers closer to final consumers.

U.S. companies like Franklin Bronze offer speed to market and close collaboration—an advantage for those looking to reshore. Automation and in-house processes, from tooling to machining, allows Franklin Bronze to deliver parts quickly. Same-shore manufacturers and customers are able to partner for joint design development and can customize projects to meet specific needs. Franklin Bronze also leverages 3D printing for rapid innovation and small-lot production.

Farhana Ahmad’s default image

By: Farhana Ahmad

When Intelex developed its return-to-work program, we decided the best approach would be a phased one. Similar to the concept of continuous deployment, breaking down the plan to allow individuals to quickly process, adapt, and execute practices and procedures makes it more manageable for employers and employees alike.

To summarize each phase and their objectives:
1. Respond: involves the immediate steps taken during the initial outbreak
2. Return: introduces short-term changes implemented to address all the newly discovered issues
3. Reimagine: implements long-term policies, procedures, and best practices to create an agile and resilient workforce

Our role in the Safe Actions for Employee Returns (SAFER) initiative

On top of our internal developments, we’ve joined the National Safety Council’s Safe Actions for Employee Returns (SAFER) initiative. With the aim of delivering a framework designed to ensure an effective and seamless transition back to the workplace, we have joined the ranks of more than 100 experts across 50 leading organizations.

Davis Balestracci’s picture

By: Davis Balestracci

“With data from an epidemic there is no question of whether a change has occurred. Change is everywhere. The question is whether we are getting better or worse. So while the process behavior chart may be the Swiss army knife of statistical techniques, there are times when we need to leave the knife in our pocket, plot the data, and then listen to them as they tell their story.”
Dr. Donald J. Wheeler

I agree with Dr. Wheeler’s comment about process control charts. Yet, I’m seeing far too many of them being inappropriately used as naïve attempts to interpret the mountains of questionable Covid-19 data being produced. I’ve done a few charts myself out of curiosity but none that I feel are worth sharing. Dr. Wheeler’s two recent, excellent Quality Digest articles have been the sanest things written—with nary a control chart in sight.

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