Mirror, Mirror…Why Improvement Initiatives Often Don’t Succeed

It has been my experience, as both a business leader and an advisor that an initiative undertaken to improve our business performance all too often either fails to meet expectations or simply fails outright. Capital and human resource investments are wasted and the business is no better off than it was at the beginning of

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The Various Faces of Automation: An Uncommon Reason to Invest

At the center of your thinking about what’s next for your company is the topic of automation. Whether it’s your next CNC machine, new engineering software, an ERP system or an Industry 4.0 initiative, automation in one of its variant forms will be a key consideration in your planning and search. Implied or implicit, automation

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Productivity Improvement and I.T. Investment: Is there a link?

As business leaders we know information is the primary drive of our work fulfilling customer orders. Without a doubt, creating and managing information is increasingly moving front and center among our business focuses. Along with it, so is investment in our information systems. The wood products manufacturing industry is spending lots of money on information

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Managing Information: What do we really need?

Next to finding qualified workers for industry businesses, one of the most pressing and persistent challenges owners and operations staff face is creating the information needed for the fulfillment of customer orders. The creation and distribution of product and production information is growing in both its importance as well as in its cost. Yet despite

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Growth: What We Measure…

  In recent months I’ve written a great deal about revenue growth. I have done so largely because it is an area in which industry companies perform poorly compared to other non-wood products manufacturers. It is also an aspect of business for many owners and leaders based largely on hope. Indeed the focus of many

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Revenue Productivity: A different take on an old challenge

Among the many challenges facing small business owners today, growing the revenue line is consistently among the top two or three persistent concerns. Indeed, next to profitability, sales growth is arguably the biggest challenge facing business year-on-year. And it should be. Here’s why. Industry data shows that wood industry companies are, on average, about half

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Does the Nation have the Will to Restore Manufacturing?

Not if we won’t face the facts. It is the eve of the election. Tomorrow the country has a new President. Yet, regardless of the outcome, our economy and its surviving manufacturing companies will continue to face difficult challenges that threaten its growth and ultimately its seemingly inexorable downward journey here in the U.S. For

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The Real Future of Manufacturing

Things we don’t know about the state of manufacturing that are hurting us all. Part Three: value creation, the role of government and uncommon sense  Last time, I focused on our government’s conspicuous contribution to the loss of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. that has occurred over the past 26 years. Regulation, comparatively unfavorable structural

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