Posts by Patricia Linn

Transformation is change, and change is hard. People resist change. Even if today’s situation is terrible, change is still uncomfortable and scary – a case of the devil you know vs. the devil you don’t. People must become committed to the desired transformation, and this requires communication AND training. Communication lets people understand the vision, the desired outcome of the transformation. Training gives them the skills they will need in order to successfully contribute and therefore become committed. This kickoff training gives people the skills they need to become effective problem solvers, tools based on the “observation, then deduction” method of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes would look for clues at a crime scene, things that were out of place or different. Workers are trained to observe their own operations, to look at conditions when it performs brilliantly and when it performs terribly. They learn tools that search for the Consistent Differences…
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Andy Goldstrom
When I was 30, I was extended an offer to serve as an Account Director at a small, start-up company.  The CEO and Founder created a unique and accountable culture from the day he opened for business.  The offer contained all the requisite language about the responsibilities and rewards, but what was most impactful was the last paragraph before the signature block, which said: “This employment offer is based on Andy’s commitment to USI’s standard Business Practices and Operating Philosophy, including: Making commitments and keeping them Providing total quality in everything you do Being a team player Holding yourself accountable to the USI team and Holding the USI team accountable to you” The company had a strong value proposition, but what was just as important was the culture.  Healthy and competitive peer pressure emanated throughout the organization.  When one person succeeded, the entire team succeeded.  When one person failed, the…
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Bob Flynn
Private equity portfolio companies face aggressive goals when they try to expand their business in short-time frames. With acquisitions thrown into the mix, there is added complexity and risk. The projects to accomplish these growth and integration initiatives require dedicated resources and your best resources who are already spread too thin end up being over-utilized. The best strategy is to find experienced, specialized, interim resources that you can rely on, and have them available on demand. A key area of focus is to have a strong Project Management Office with enough project management talent and project management professionals, and a great process to drive your strategic initiatives. Plan ahead, form these relationships now with strategic staffing and talent companies. Make sure these companies and their team can deliver the breadth and depth of talent required, especially in terms of industry expertise and functional knowledge. Oftentimes, it takes weeks to find…
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Karl Rickman
Most companies don’t understand the effort that it takes to become a Lean company. They all want to be world class but they all want somebody to do it for them, not with them. I constantly get “that doesn’t work for me” or “We don’t have deep pockets like Toyota”. They want to do the same things but expect different results. I’ve heard a million time, “Karl that doesn’t work for me, I tried that!” It amazes me how many of my foreign customers with limited budgets roll up their sleeves, works hard and just “Do It!” It has to start from the top, to get results it’s all about who participates and holds their management accountable. Important things to understand: 1) You have to grasp the situation. 2) You need a clearly communicated vision and targets. It is best for management to be part of setting these targets. 3)…
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Chuck Intrieri
Set high-performance expectation goals & pace of daily support of the new manner of work Engage & empower your people to solve problems Create an organizational structure with readily identified team leaders to allow continuous change to happen Form core teams with strong leader and team members along the path of workflow Breakdown barriers between artificial silos of control so improvements can occur horizontally Foster regular communication within and between workstations within your control as well as outside your department (customer-supplier relationships) Drive reduction in variability by standardizing the work activities, connections, and pathways Implement visual management, with posted daily metrics of value for each work unit reflecting opportunities for change or stability of process Stabilize processes through a continuous focus on waste reduction Move to continuous flow, innovate triggers to ‘pull’ work Identify opportunities for front loading and work simplification Continually push to reduce time waste daily Increase Throughput…
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Doug Sartain
It’s important to keep your drivers happy and your fleet happy as this infographic about the high cost of employing (and losing) a truck driver shows. Here’s how I help fleets perform and maintain loyalty: Make the driver part of the solution, and not part of the problem. I ask drivers for their input on what the company can do better. When they have an idea, I run with it as long as it does not negatively affect a customer, company policy, cost control, safety etc. I always say, “I will let a driver win a battle as long as the company wins the war”. So even if I do not agree with the idea, I will implement it as long as it is not detrimental. If the idea works, I let everyone know which driver thought of it. You can never take credit for an idea that is not…
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Hands of a formally dressed man chained together
The biggest challenge I encounter in achieving supply chain excellence is that many organizations believe they are powerless when it comes to working with their suppliers.  The typical beliefs I encounter are: “we aren’t big enough to have any leverage”, “we can’t control what our suppliers do”, and “implementing a Lean supply chain will increase our costs”.  Interestingly, most organizations feel the same way toward managing their customers as well.  It is this victim mentality that prevents many companies from achieving operational excellence. The root cause of these limiting beliefs usually comes down to two critical factors: 1) not fully understanding what a Lean supply chain actually is, and 2) not understanding how to “sell it”, in other words, how to demonstrate how it will help the supplier to be more competitive and then use that as part of the negotiating process. To overcome these limiting beliefs, I focus on…
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businessman writing Supply Chain and drawing some sketches
My perspective is that obstacles to supply chain operational excellence occur in business when there is a lack of alignment between people’s measure of success.  In most organizations communication is a fundamental area that almost always requires work and improvement. In those undergoing significant change this comes to light and is amplified, creating confusion and other feelings that often get in the way of the improvement process.  Ensuring that the entire value stream is aligned and that ownership is established with a minimum of silos is critical to success in achieving operational excellence, not just improvements. I like to refer to what we most often experience in this regard as “islands of success in a sea of waste”.  Unless there is alignment which is often associated with Hoshin Kanri or Strategy Deployment, there will be a lot of good work that can go to waste because of the communication and…
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7 Stages of Becoming a Disruptor
The word disruption is so overused in business it threatens to become jargon which is never a positive fate for a term as important as this one. The people overusing the word and jargonizing it are usually using it wrong. If you understand what it means precisely, takes the following six points seriously to heart and do what you do best — much more aggressively — you can transform your organization into a disruptor. The Actual Definition of Disruption Disruption: something that changes the game entirely. In business, it’s a product or service that has a staggering effect on events, activities, processes, and people in a marketplace. It’s what happened to the world when regular people could buy cars, radios, televisions, VHS players, cell phones — commodities that changed the way we live our lives, and that we had never had before. It’s what happened when we could go online…
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Supply chain workers
Achieving supply chain operational excellence is not an easy target, you need to combine a variety of different factors together; attitudes and competencies, robust processes, and the right technology are just the minimum requirements. The most difficult obstacles I come across are related to the partial achievement of these three aspects, the most common relating to people, their attitudes, and competencies. How to improve the competency of your staff? Measure their progress and motivate their behavior toward excellent performance. Many programs and tools exist: skill matrix, gap analysis, focused training programs for competence upgrade, and so on. The measurement of a higher set of competencies must then be correlated to the superior process performance in terms of output and throughput. A systemic approach helps to reach excellence, a set of proven tools and methods – with the right commitment of top management and superior consultancy performance – are the key…
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