Tag Archive: prioritize

Should We Prioritize or Deprioritize Innovation & Technology During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

April 3rd, 2020

What is the first thing that happens when a client is shutdown due to the coronavirus? Cut all unnecessary spending. Certainly, I agree with this approach in most situations. If you cannot pay for your employees, you shouldn’t pay for unnecessary expenses! However, if the situation isn’t dire, it might just be an opportunity to refocus on innovation and technology.

There are well-regarded statistics about the Depression and the Great Recession that those companies that invested while everyone else cut back were significantly more successful following the recession. Of course, it depends on whether you are investing in what will be needed as the lockdown ends or if you just continue with your prior plans because they were well-thought out previously. All bets are off! You must re-review your strategies, business plans and associated investments with the ‘new world’ in mind. Ask your executive team and key partners questions:

  1. What will have changed as we emerge from lockdown?
  2. What opportunities will it present for your customers?
  3. What new roadblocks will exist for your customers?
  4. Is there an opportunity for new customers?
  5. Do you have an opportunity to expand to new markets?
  6. What products and services will be needed?
  7. Can you get ahead of the competition so you’ll be out of the gate at 200 mph instead of crawling at a turtle’s pace?
  8. Will you need to re-tool?
  9. What skills will you need?
  10. What technology will you need?

Challenging times can create opportunity with innovation and creativity. Innovation will fast-track growth and profits. When has there been a better time to innovate? Although we started our innovation series a while back and have always been involved with encouraging innovation (such as the Manufacturers Innovation Awards), we are going to start adding content to encourage clients to focus on innovation since we think this is a critical time to ramp up your focus on innovation.

Innovation doesn’t have to involve technology as it could simply involve repurposing, repackaging, or repositioning. In fact, there is very little that is truly ‘new’. How often does a client invent something new like the sticky note? Certainly we hope a new vaccine will be developed rapidly, but many industries will simply come up with new ways of doing things and that type of innovation will fast-track growth and profits. The only precursor is whether you have an innovative culture. Now that is something we can control, and it doesn’t have to require capital or cash.

Why not put your top talent on an innovation project while under lockdown/ social distancing? There is plenty that can be accomplished via Zoom, and you might just be thrilled with the results. From all accounts, it appears as though the recession will be short-lived and in a V shape with a rapid recovery. Will you be ready to take advantage of the opportunities?

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Manufacturing Summit Recap: Innovation & Top Talent

Systems Pragmatist



Taos & Unplugging from Technologhy

November 4th, 2019

I went with my mom and aunt to visit my aunt (mom’s best friend) and her sister in New Mexico. First, it is interesting all of the things we assume and take for granted as a frequent traveler (a note for another day!).

Next, we drove to Taos, New Mexico for two nights. It is an interesting mountain art town with one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the U.S. (the Pueblo). Although this Native American tribe of Puebloan people have members who live with modern amenities outside of the Pueblo, there are several families still living there without water and electricity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our way to the Pueblo, our phones went out because the cell tower went down. Since almost everyone used Verizon or services that went through Verizon, we were out of touch with the world.  And, service finally came back up (hotel included) the next day. It is amazing the number of items we use our cell phones to look up (symptoms of altitude sickness for one of my aunts, a decent place for lunch, directions to the Pueblo, a call to my mom’s other sister to see how a procedure went and a call to a client)! Odd timing perhaps that we were left on our own devices (except for my mom’s “old person phone” that my brother gave her which worked on T-mobile from time to time) as we visited an ancient pueblo. I had to text by clicking multiple times on numbers to try to reach my cousin and client. What a great story… you couldn’t plan this if you tried!

Have you thought about unplugging?

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Although I do not wish to lose technology again anytime soon, it certainly makes you think and prioritize who you are going to text (as it might take at least 20 times longer), what you need to know and how else you might find the answer and more. I barely recall when I first started working and would pull over to use a pay phone to return a call from my beeper to the plant about what to do about a scheduling issue. Can you imagine?!

Losing technology makes you think, observe and prioritize. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to prioritize how we spend our time anyway? At the airport in Albuquerque on the way home, I sat at the bar with my laptop (as it was the only place that had a plug), and the guy next to me was complaining about a couple who sat near us who apparently had been staring at their phones and not talking the entire time he was there. Have we forgotten how to talk? I can definitely say that our clients experience communication challenges from time to time. Actually, don’t we all? Perhaps we should practice more often!

Why not put technology aside for a few hours and observe and listen? You might experience an entirely different situation than you ever have before!

 

 



Kaizens & the Importance of Metrics

December 20th, 2017

My colleague and I led a Kaizen workshop on metrics last week with a process manufacturing client.  It is always interesting to brainstorm which metrics are the most relevant in tracking a company’s success.  They are NOT always the same.  Companies are in different industries; they are different sizes; the profit drivers of the business are different; executives’ focus is different…..and the list goes on.   

However, every business should take a few minutes to strategize on metrics.  Do you know what you are doing AND whether the metrics you are tracking are relevant to your success?

One tip to implement this week:
As we said in kicking off the metrics Kaizen, it can be a great place to start by taking stock.  What are you tracking already?  Why?  Do you make decisions based on the metrics you track?  If not, why not?  In essence, take a pulse.  Next, it can be quite valuable to gain feedback on what should be tracked.  Have you asked the people talking with customers on a daily basis?  How about those producing and shipping to your customers?  I bet they will have something to say!  Certainly, executives always have a wish list for metrics.  Do you know which metrics are on the list?  

Although you might be tempted to jump on the long list you are likely to generate in talking with all the stakeholders in the organization, don’t do it!  Make sure to understand the impact.  Which will lead to decisions that will impact customers?  Which are likely to drive profitability?  Start with a small number.  Prioritize and start using for decision-making before you move on.