John Hunter
Photo of John Hunter at Arches National Park
    • Trust: Respect for People - A bit different than laying off tens of thousands of workers and then taking huge bonuses. And in case you don’t know, I think Toyota’s approach is more honorable and what should be aimed for.   more
    • Keeping manufacturing jobs - If countries want to keep manufacturing jobs they are going to have to do lots of things right. No country has such an advantage they can expect to rely on their country being more innovative (or offering cheaper labor or their citizens working harder or...) than everybody else.   more
    • Our Policy is to Stick Our Heads in the Sand - Most companies would benefit from just adapting to the changing world without elaborate innovation plans. Innovation is great, but challenging. Don't ignore the possible improvements short of innovation.   more
    • Innovation Example, Farecast is a cool internet application, and one that might actual save you money to buy, say a digital camera.
      Farecast provides data and analysis to those looking to purchase airplane tickets. The graph above shows ticket prices for tickets between Boston and Washington DC over the last 60 days.   (more)
    • Freely available scientific research - For public funded research this open access expectation seems obvious. For private foundations in most cases I would think open access publication makes sense also. What business model is used to allow open access is not important, in my opinion.   more
    • Brainstorming Under Attack - Brainstorming is about creating an opportunity to bring new ideas the forefront.
      There are other useful tools such as the affinity diagram which can serve as another option (or can serve as a tool to work with the results of brainstorming).   continued
    • Engineering Education: Can India overtake China? - China and India are producing a significantly increasing proportion of the world’s engineers. Duke’s study indicate the comparison numbers are exaggerated, but the underlying trend is still strong and real. more
    • Lean, Mean, Six Sigma Machines - just because you cannot accurately measure something does not mean you cannot manage it (or learn from it to help you improve your management).   more
    • Signs You Have a Great Job... or Not - managers need to look to provide opportunities for the people that work with you. They need to make time for doing so (because it is something that often is neglected). If someone doesn’t want new opportunities, that is fine, but don’t accept that as a permanent state.   more
    • Improving Engineering Education - This requires radically changing the normal university education model. To me this is definitely a different versus better (see last post) improvement effort. It will be interesting to see the success they achieve going forward. It almost makes me want to go back to school.   continued
    • Better and Different - The answer, as I see it, is to be better and different (when necessary). In Seth’s post he talks about challenging people to find not just better solutions but different solutions. That is fine, as long as people don’t lose focus on being better. Neither one alone is adequate   more
    • Forget Targets - Systems thinking is important when using targets. As is an understanding of psychology (given the tendency to manage to what is measured the system can often be distorted to achieve a target).   continued
    • The Customer Knows Best? - Customer focus is important but at times management must ignore the claims of customers. One of the jobs of management is to know which is needed at a given point.   more
    • Shigeo Shingo's Influence on TPS - A very interesting article by Art Smalley based on an interview with Mr. Isao Kato: Shigeo Shingo's Influence on TPS. For those interested in the history of the Toyota Production System this article provides some excellent information.   more
    • Respect for People - Without respect one way to communicate content without making people feel they are not respected is to avoid any difficult areas and avoid being critical. Avoid confrontation. Speak in the passive voice and act as though difficult decisions are not choices but things imposed on us. It can see that there is respect because no disrespect is verbalized but in truth avoiding criticism is not the same thing as respect.   more
    • Find the Root Cause Instead of the Person to Blame - If you find yourself thinking a problem or defect is the fault of a person try asking why a couple more times and see if you can find a system improvement that would eliminate or mitigate such problems in the future.   continued
    • America’s Technology Advantage Slipping - So the USA had close to 20% of the participants and only 1 of the top 38 teams (Canada had at least 4 in the top 38)... if there was any field that Americans felt they still felt they were dominant in it would likely be computer programing   more
    • Most Meetings are Muda - 43 Folders: "be sure to use a few minutes at the end for him or her to review any major new projects or action items that were generated in the meeting."   more
    • Stop Demotivating Employees - Clear, simple and right. Douglas McGregor explored this topic well in 1960. He explained theory X management (managers believe the workers will do only what they are forced, coerced into doing) and theory Y management (managers believe the workers want to do a good job and the managers job is to help them do so) in his excellent book: The Human Side Of Enterprise.   read more
    • China's Manufacturing Economy - The constant mention of the eroding manufacturing sector on the USA I believe leads many to think it is shrinking and small. Yet output continues to increase and the share of worldwide manufacturing output is holding steady. China is gaining substantial ground but the Chinese increase has largely come from Japan and Europe.   continued
    • PBS Documentary: Improving Hospitals - a surprising solution to escalating costs, unnecessary deaths and waste in America's hospitals. Doctors and nurses tell how they did their best, working overtime, while hospital conditions worsened. They were delighted to learn a new way to improve patient care dramatically: read more about lean management for health care
    • Manufacturing Jobs Data: USA, China and worldwide, 10-20% of manufacturing jobs disappeared worldwide from 1995 to 2002. China lost between 17% and 34% of their manufacturing jobs; the US lost 11.4% of their manufacturing jobs.

  • Country
  • 1990
  • 2004
  • 1992-2003 productivity growth
  • 1992-2003 change in manufacturing jobs
  • United States
  • 18.0%
  • 11.8%
  • 57%*
  • -13.6
  • Japan
  • 24.3%
  • 18.3%
  • 54.3%
  • -25.7%
  • China (estimates - see paper)
   
  • 60.0%
  • -18.0%
  • Germany
  • 31.6%
  • 22.7%
  • 35.1%
  • -21%
  • United Kingdom
  • 22.3%
  • 14.9%
  • 35.9%
  • -18.1%
  • France
  • 21.0%
  • 16.3%
  • 58.0%
  • -10.9%
  • Seduce Them With Six Sigma Success - This is the way to get management improvement to take hold. Use successes to create a desire to improve. more
  • Lean Manufacturing Success - Not only is this a nice story but it is one small example of the good people working at GM and Ford. The problem is not the individual workers it is the management system. It is too bad that those companies, that did take great strides in the 1980 and early 1990s to improve (starting with Deming's Management ideas) let those efforts fade away.   continued
  • People: Team Members or Costs - Trying to become more efficient by engaging everyone in the effort is a part of the system of management at Toyota. The current Toyota employees are an important part of the system and are not viewed as a cost to eliminate. The management used by many other companies seems to view employees as just a marginal costs to be eliminated whenever possible.   more

   

 

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