So much going on ... so little time to write about it ...
Good for People - Good for Business
Great article in the New Zealand Herald about the value of flexible work life. "Findings show that the traditional model is most commonly adopted by businesses globally but is rigid, expensive, and less effective in meeting the needs of stakeholders compared to a more flexible or 'kinetic' approach - which focuses on the dynamic relationship between workers, managers and the office infrastructure," says a guy from an outfit called Advanced Workplace Associates. You don't need their asessment tool or insights to realize the value of flexible work scheduling. Why is it that we insist on 40 hour work weeks for everyone, with everyone starting and stopping at the same time?
It's Gettin' Lean on Rocky Top
"This weekend will see the arrival of over 90 international students to UT's campus in order to learn and practice the tenets of lean manufacturing." You can read about it HERE. A four week program, kids in teams working with local companies as well as in the classroom, focus on "creating more value for consumers while using fewer resources."
"We're working to identify UT as a Lean manufacturing expert globally," says Dr. Rupy Sawhney, department head of industrial and information engineering. Looks like Rupy's off to a great start.
How's the Service Economy Going So Far?
Not so good it seems if you work for Walmart. According to the LA Times, the good old boys from Bentonville (1) outsource warehouse and logistics work, (2) beat on the the contractors to reduce cost, which results in "Allegations that labor contractors and subcontractors responsible for staffing the complex violated state wage and hour laws prompted an inspection by California labor regulators last fall. The state fined labor subcontractors Impact Logistics Inc. and Premier Warehousing Ventures more than $1 million for failing to maintain proper pay records and itemized pay statements for hundreds of temporary workers."
Not so good at Apple either, where you get cult membership in lieu of pay. You need to read the whole article, but I thought this line was a classic: "Mr. Johnson made a videotaped appearance and referred to a wonderful surprise that managers were about to spring on everyone in the room. Free iPads for everyone was the expectation.“Then the lights went down, and we had a party in the store, with games and dancing,” Mr. Zarate said. “And we all got two tacos from a taco truck. That was our surprise. Two tacos.”
"I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here."
Just as Captain Renault was shocked in Casablanca to learn that gambling was taking place at Rick's, I find myself in a similar state when I read that ...
... GM Looks to Cuts to Boost Stock Price. Same old GM - just under new management. Boosting the stock price, and doing so by whacking headcount and "streamlined product development". Cutting value adding work in order to keep Wall Street happy ... isn't that the philosophy that bankrupted them in the first place?
... Consumers are unwilling to pay extra for a picture of a toucan on their cereal box. Imagine that - Malt-O-Meal sells good stuff without all of the brand management hoopla - 87% less in advertising than the big guys - and is making a lot of money while the big guys languish. "At MOM Brands, Neugent runs "a very lean organization," Shea said. "Its strength is on the manufacturing side, not the sales and marketing side."
... Amazing as it seems, "Facebook will pay $US10 million ($NZ 12.6 million) to settle a lawsuit from users who claimed their names, images and other information were improperly used in advertising." Seems as though I heard it somewhere before, but the author of the article makes the shocking assertion, "The company, which launched a massive public offering last month, is under growing scrutiny for its privacy policies. It is also under pressure from investors to find ways to monetise its social network with more than 900 million members."
... and finally, shoe company Vibram USA owner Tony Post said, "Candidly, you have to realise that intellectual property only gets you so far. At the end of the day it's really about your relationship with the consumer." He had the stunning revalation that "the company's failure to keep up with demand had given counterfeiters an opportunity to move into the market." Fancy that - innovation without execution doesn't work so good.
Have a great weekend! As for me,
Wish that I was on ol' Rocky Top
Down in the Tennessee Hills
Rocky Top you'll always be
Home sweet home to me
Good ol'Rocky Top
Rocky Top Tennessee