More from Less: Making Resources More Productive

For industrial manufacturers, resources remain a huge financial and managerial cost. A change in perspective can lead to real breakthroughs in reducing resource consumption.

Weak Links in the Chain

Flexible, adaptive supply chain management is an overlooked but vital component of a company’s overall innovation strategy.

What Really Happens When Companies Nix Performance Ratings

An ever-growing number of companies continue to discover that de-emphasizing ratings in favor of ongoing quality conversations that support employee development is showing itself to be a viable option. At the NeuroLeadership Institute, we’ve conducted in-depth research with 33 of these 52 companies to find out what really happens when companies remove performance ratings. Here are some of our high-level findings.

Productivity Unveiled

One oft-cited source of productivity is learning by doing, which is the ability of workers to raise productivity through experience. In fact, economists have credited the Horndal effect to learning by doing. The longer workers do the same type of job the better they get. The result is higher production without having to put in new machines or hire more workers.

Several studies have looked into … [ Read more ]

Maximizing the Make-or-Buy Advantage: A Scenario-Based Approach to Increasing Resilience and Value

The context for make-or-buy decisions has become more dynamic, as manufacturers face dramatic swings in demand and the relative costs of sourcing locations. To maximize their resilience and value creation, leading manufacturers use a scenario-based approach to assess the implications of a broad array of sourcing decisions simultaneously.

The Answer Is 9,142: Understanding the Influence of Disruption Risk on Inventory Decision Making

The question was how many units of inventory a manager should order when faced with a possible disruption in supply. The correct answer is not guesswork, but based on 150 years of theory and practice. We examine individual choices made in this critical situation—and the results are not encouraging.

How to Find a Manufacturer in China

You have a product idea and you want a manufacturer to produce it for you. But you’re on a limited budget so sourcing in China seems like a good idea. You know that China has many low-cost manufacturers. But how do you find the right one?

The Human Factor: What Sets Quality Leaders in Manufacturing Apart

A wide-ranging study of best practices in quality management highlights the importance of human and cultural factors and shows how manufacturers can improve their performance—and gain the competitive edge enjoyed by quality leaders in an age of increasingly complex products and rising customer expectations.

From Risk to Resilience: Using Analytics and Visualization to Reduce Supply Chain Vulnerability

Complex supply chains require sophisticated, connected tools to monitor risks, predict disruptions, and support rapid recovery as part of an overall resilience strategy. For leading companies, this line of thinking has led to an increase in adoption of advanced tools grounded in analytics and visualization.

Building a World-Class Global Procurement Organization

Companies have set aggressive targets to squeeze cost savings from procurement, but meeting those goals often requires a new approach.

Location, Learning, and Logistics: A framework for Managing Trade-Offs in Capacity Location Decisions

Business leaders who misjudge the location of production relative to the location of product and process development resources may adversely impact the company’s long-term competitive position. We explore the link between production location decisions, the nature of the capabilities required to create a product, and the ability of a company to develop the next-generation technologies it may seek.

Link Strategy and Operations to Achieve Strategy Execution Excellence

A brilliant strategy will not produce its intended results if it is not translated into operational terms that define new ways of working. It is one thing to declare important strategic objectives. But to achieve these objectives, managers must link strategy to operations; that is, they must identify the specific work processes and actions needed to reach the strategic objectives the company has defined. Only … [ Read more ]

Better Fostering Innovation: 9 Steps That Improve Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma brings rigor and discipline to project management, but its approach to project selection is lacking. A new approach incorporates a structured, enterprise-level view of metrics to jump-start corporate innovation.

When Product Complexity Hurts True Profitability

Most companies are prolific producers of new products. This can be a good strategy for raising share and accessing new markets, but it can backfire if companies cannot determine which items actually make money. A product complexity management framework can help you determine what to make, what to jettison and how to increase product profitability.

A Fresh Look at Procurement

When supply cost pressures increase, so does the opportunity to gain an important source of untapped margin. By taking a more comprehensive approach to what they buy and how they buy it, companies can free up cash and refocus resources to fund strategic priorities without the pain of layoffs. A comprehensive approach means deploying a broader set of tools to better negotiate prices or becoming … [ Read more ]

Ten Ways to Improve Inventory Management

There’s more to streamlining inventory levels than the standard advice, repeated ad infinitum, of applying “just-in-time” techniques.

Designing the Right Supply Chain

Companies that align their operations to their strategy unleash superior performance.

Managing Risks in the Supply Chain: Reaching New Standards

Supply chain risk is an increasingly common topic and for good reason: Almost any disruption—weather event, supply failure, technology glitch, financial fiasco—can affect a company’s ability to manage its supply chain. Accenture discusses the many forms of risk, surveys risk management technologies and introduces a five-step risk management program.