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Respecting Your Extended Network of Supplier

By Drive, Inc. on Thursday 15 August 2013.

Healthy supplier relationships are central to building a superior product portfolio and driving business growth. Many companies tout their top-quality supplier relations without recognizing that their primary interest really lies in gaining the best price and little more. We must have respect for our suppliers and treat them as an extension of our business.

VAVE and Thinking outside the Box

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 16 July 2013.

Recently, we had the pleasure of facilitating a Value Analysis / Value Engineering (VAVE) event for a client. It was a highly successful event where we identified design changes that will result in a 10% reduction in COGS. What continually amazes me is the power generated by the dedication of time to an event such as this in which all functions are integrated to accomplish an objective. Interestingly, a majority of the ideas for improvement came from the client. Cost reduction had been a business objective for them for a very long time, so why didn’t these ideas surface before? I believe three reasons exist for why these ideas never surfaced before: the lack of an excellent creative process, failure to dedicate the time necessary to accomplish the goal, and little to no cross-functional alignment.

Question Everything

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 15 June 2013.

It always amazes me how some of the most impactful solutions are uncovered when we ask the simplest of questions. Asking questions is the cheapest way to find improvement ideas. The key is to invite others with differing views and experiences into your organization and give them the opportunity to ask those questions. After all, the simplest of all problem solving tools is the question “Why?” and the most effective method of teaching is the Socratic Method which is based on asking questions.

Master Manually Before Automating

By Drive, Inc. on Wednesday 15 May 2013.

For decades now, we have been operating by the principle of mastering a process manually before automating it. We have shared this principle with many clients, and to my amazement, we get more pushback on this one principle than any other.

The Elements of Change Part 4 – Cultural & Leadership

By Drive, Inc. on Friday 15 March 2013.

We have discussed ideas associated with the change process and how it involves technical work. We also discussed the organizational ramifications associated with this process. However, in the case of the deployment of lean and other world class manufacturing elements, we regularly claim that we need to change the culture for these initiatives to be successful.

The Elements of Change Part 3 – Technical Work

By Drive, Inc. on Friday 15 February 2013.

I am often asked, “What are the easiest attributes to instill into a world class organization? What are the most difficult?” After conferring with many colleagues on this perplexing question, my stock answer is simply, “The easiest part is the technical work. The most difficult is changing leadership behavior and culture.” The most understated or executed part is clearly the organizational effort necessary to deploy new practices and leadership behavior. Additionally, the question, “What does one mean by ‘technical work’?” has a bit of a more lengthy answer, as one’s view of technical work tends to be very narrow.

The New Year Resolution Phenomenon

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 15 January 2013.

Why do we set resolutions to begin on the first of January? Better yet, why do we set them year after year knowing that we stop somewhere into the month of January never having made a lasting change? Isn’t a resolution simply admitting that we don’t continually identify our shortcomings and consistently counteract them with self-discipline?


By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 15 December 2012.

“If you want something to look spontaneous, organize it!” – Rolf Harris Nothing in the old slapstick Three Stooges or Charlie Chaplin movies was ever off the cuff. It was all carefully planned and choreographed, in other words, carefully organized. And so it should be with attempting to change the culture of an organization.


By Drive, Inc. on Thursday 15 November 2012.

In the post‐World War 2 era, the conversation around how to become the world’s best, and sustain competitive advantage, has raised the topic of organizational culture. The introduction of the elements of World Class Manufacturing (WCM) to the United States via Toyota has raised the performance bar for all of global manufacturing. However, few truly understand it and the results of efforts tend to fall far short of the depth of what Toyota has achieved. Jeffery Liker, in the first chapter of his book, The Toyota Way, bemoans this fact. Adapting to the ever‐changing dynamic of the competitive world requires a different way of thinking about the management of a business.


By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 16 October 2012.

Often in conversations with plant managers of unionized plants, the union is identified as a barrier to continuous improvement and world‐class performance. In fact, early in their “Lean Journey,” after many false starts in their own operations, one US automaker made the decision to focus on deploying Lean in their supply chain instead of their own plants, citing the union as the reason for the change in strategy.

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