Rethinking Your Company’s Purpose Benefits the Bottom Line

PointThe traditional management model has existed for more than a hundred years and the basic tenants are still fundamental to how businesses are managed. Concepts such as hierarchy, standardization, specialization, goal alignment and the use of extrinsic rewards to motivate behavior are key components. Above all, efficiency and financial performance are emphasized. If you ask most CEO’s, presidents or owners of companies what’s the “purpose” of their business, they might look at you with a confused expression, and simply say “we are in business to make a profit”. But is that really true? Are there other reasons for a business to exist and by rethinking your company’s purpose, can you achieve stronger and more sustainable financial success?  Continue reading

Aligning Manufacturing and R&D in New Product Development (NPD)

New product development (NPD) is about creating knowledge resulting in new products that drive revenue and earnings growth. It is arguably the most important business process and one of the most difficult to manage (1). Why? Because it encompasses a series of workflow, information and decision flow across the entire organization. It is unique as well since every other process in the business can be driven to maximum efficiency. NPD is not just about efficiency, which often is the focus.  The real concern should be how to make it more effective.  Continue reading

Disrupting the Management Model

Long Term SuccessDo you expect your company to prosper for the next year, five years and well into the future? For any CEO or business owner, that question is always on your mind. So, how exactly are you going to adapt to your changing environment and re-invent your company multiple times to stay ahead of the competition? That question cuts to the core of your culture and how the business is managed. It’s the essence of your management model.  Continue reading

Abusing Lean Methodologies

Lean-PrinciplesLean methodologies emerged in manufacturing and have now been applied to many business processes including innovation management (1). It is the latest “best practice” in manufacturing for process improvement alongside Six Sigma and Theory of Constraints (TOC). But if you are relying solely on the lean methodologies to provide a silver bullet for long term financial success, you are unfortunately fooling yourself. Continue reading

Understanding Risk in Medical Device New Product Development (NPD)

risk_managementNew product development (NPD) consists of workflow, decision and information flow across multiple functions in an organization. Managing and mitigating risk for each project and the entire portfolio of projects is an essential management activity during NPD. A company’s ability to understand and manage risk can mean the difference between financial success and disaster. In developing products for the medical device industry, meeting FDA requirements presents an additional risk factor not found in other industries. This article will address three important sources of risk in developing products for the medical device industry and suggestions on how to manage. There will also be an opportunity to register for an upcoming free webinar that will provide additional information. Continue reading

Leadership Failure at Volkswagen

The revelations that Volkswagen diesel engines were designed to meet emission regulations only during emission testing with special software offers important lessons for the leader of any size business. I certainly have no inside knowledge of the crisis, but clearly it points to deep-seated cultural problems in how VW is managed. If you are an owner, president or CEO of a business, are you fostering a similar culture?  Continue reading

What’s the Next Big Thing in Innovation Management?

big thingA colleague of mine, Robert Brands of Brands & Company (1), recently posed a question. He asked, “…so what do you think is the next big thing in innovation management?” For instance, there are concepts such as “blue ocean strategy”, “open innovation”, “lean start-up strategy” and even “big data” that have occupied much of the innovation management press. Countless books and articles tout the latest “best practice”. What will be next, Robert asked?  Continue reading

Online Portfolio Management Tool: A Case Study

LogoFor any size business that undertakes multiple simultaneous projects, the ability to manage the project portfolio is a constant struggle (1). Think about what happens at most companies, large and small: over time, more projects get started before existing projects are complete, and new ideas become higher priority. Engineers are expected to work on not just one or two projects, which is ideal, but now must multi-task across multiple projects. On top of that, important customers demand new software features or enhancements to existing products or services, further diluting the focus on current projects. Statements like “every project seems to be late, never early”, “we always underestimate project cycle time” and “we constantly pull team members from a project to fix high priority customer requests” are common, especially in small to mid-sized firms. There are simply too many projects for too few resources, and the system grinds to halt. This article will describe a simple-to-use, cost effective online portfolio management tool.  Continue reading

Innovate Your Innovation Process

innovateAre you a small to mid-sized (SME) manufacturing company with a singular focus on understanding your customer needs, providing superior products to meet those needs and growing your revenue and earnings? It goes without saying that for every company, these goals should and do consume significant management bandwidth. The problem is that most organizations become too inwardly focused (1). They do not consider what might be happening outside their company, and even beyond their industry, and leverage that knowledge to create new customer value. This has driven the popularity of the concept of “open innovation”. Maybe we should extend the concept of open innovation to other important aspects of a business such as the innovation management process. Why not, in other words, “innovate your innovation process” by learning from others? Continue reading