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23.Oct, 2016 0

Bill Belichick Rejects Tablet Technology

The NFL entered into an agreement with Microsoft to provide Surface tablets to all NFL teams. The idea is that photos traditionally printed out on the sidelines showing what occurred during plays could be better accommodated by tablets. The NFL provides each team with the tablets a few hours before each game and collects them immediately following the game. Teams don’t have access to the technology outside of actual games. Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, is giving up on this technology. It’s not working reliably enough to satisfy his needs. Bill is an “unhappy stakeholder.” He is…

16.Oct, 2016 0

A Great Client And Friend Passes

Duane Powell, President of Powell Fabrication and Manufacturing, died this month at the age of 68 of lung cancer. He never smoked. Powell Fab called me back in 2000 and asked me if I could help. I suggested we spend a day together to find out more about their challenges and agreed to write a proposal if it made sense. At the time, Powell Fab had about 45 employees. It was headquartered in a town of about 5,000 people: St. Louis, Michigan. St. Louis was the antithesis of Silicon Valley. I had to adapt my way of working with clients…

9.Oct, 2016 0

Who Inspires You Most?

My wife asked me “who inspires me most” this weekend. My answer: my wife. Why, she asked? I told her she always does her best to support me, to not let me live in denial about reality, to encourage me to let go of unimportant matters, and, more. She said, “You’ve never said that in the 13 years we’ve been together.” “Really?,” I said. Who inspires you most? Have you told this person? Have you expressed gratitude to this person? Thought for the week: “We postpone doing what matters most until sometime in the future when we hope it will…

2.Oct, 2016 0

Meeting Customer Expectations

“We’ll get back to you tomorrow.” They don’t. “We’ll confirm an appointment within 24 hours.” They don’t. “I’ll share your feedback with management and get back to you in 7 days.” They don’t. “Our review process takes 30 days.” It doesn’t. 30 days later, “Our review process takes 60 days.” Really? Do organizations think their customers aren’t listening? Do they not realize that a poor customer experience undermines customer loyalty? No one is accountable for failing to meeting expectations their own organizations set. It’s just part of business. Delighting customers isn’t that difficult. Do what you say you are going…

25.Sep, 2016 0

Anticipating Customer Demand For Configured Products

Mass production is predicated on building to a forecast and selling through a retail channel. Autos go to auto dealers who then sell to customers Big box stores sell mass-produced goods to retail customers etc. Under mass production, when things don’t sell, they are offered at a steep discount by the retailer or scrapped. A build-to-forecast/assemble-to-order manufacturer of disk storage systems announced a disk drive that was 300% larger than any disk drive ever offered in the marketplace. Knowing it was contrary to our process and practices, the VP of Operations begged me to give him a single part number…

18.Sep, 2016 2

5,300 Employees Go Rogue

Yes, my friends…you read that right. 5,300 employees at Wells Fargo Bank had to be terminated for going rogue and signing up over 1.5 million customers for credit cards and other accounts that customers had not requested. “Going rogue?” That would have to be the case given no managers or senior leaders were aware of or held accountable for this. It’s the most profound example of “going rogue” I’ve ever witnessed. The top executive in charge is going to retire with a package of $125,000,000. Nice work if you can get it! Wells Fargo was fined $185 million which amounts…

11.Sep, 2016 0

The 15th Anniversary of 9/11

I remember 9/11 it like it was yesterday. 10 months after the horror of 9/11, I joined E-ONE, a fire/rescue vehicle manufacturer in Ocala, Florida, to help them implement mass customization. We had fire/rescue vehicles on backorder for the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) as a consequence of that fateful event. Most of that backlog was for our Saulsbury brand of stainless steel heavy rescue trucks then manufactured in Preble, New York, just outside Syracuse, NY. 343 firefighters died that day and about 80 fire/rescue vehicles were destroyed when the Twin Towers collapsed. That’s a staggering number of people…

4.Sep, 2016 0

The Man Behind The Boeing 747

You likely don’t know of Joe Sutter. Here’s what you need to know from his obituary this past week: Joe Sutter, 95, whose team of 4,500 engineers took just 29 months to design and build the first jumbo Boeing 747 jetliner, creating a gleaming late-20th-century airborne answer to the luxury ocean liner, died of pneumonia Tuesday in Bremerton, Wash. The plane, introduced in 1968, would transform commercial aviation and shrink the world for millions of passengers by traveling faster and farther than other, conventional jetliners, without having to refuel. What an achievement, particularly given the era in which the 747…

28.Aug, 2016 0

More Joy In Our Lives

I’ve made a decision to seek out things that bring me more joy. I need to be more intentional about seeking joy and believe my readers should consider this as well. As many of you know, I used to play trumpet professionally. Most of my paid work was playing jazz in my quartet, quintet and octet (the later of which played a lot of Blood, Sweat and Tears and Chicago music as well as James Brown and other artists). I also played in a number of big band jazz groups playing the music of Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman,…

22.Aug, 2016 0

Jazz Harmonica–Toots Thielemans

Toots Thielemans passed at age of 94 today.  He was a giant in the jazz world. This Belgian-American played with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman. I want to share four joyous minutes of Toot’s performance of Bluesette with you. You may not recognize the name, but I’m sure you’ll recognize the tune. If you’ve got them, put on your headphones and crank up the sound–that’s what I did. What a sweet sound. R.I.P. Toots!