Welcome to Blue Heron Journal, on-line resource for business thought-leaders and decision-makers.
We've got predictions, Paging Dr. Lean(sm), links to Industry Week and AME Target On-line features, Executive Interviews, and pictures. Over eleven thousand new business books are published per year, and Blue Heron reviews the ones we love and find useful.
We’re looking at critical business areas and the human side of business, what happens when we assemble human beings hard-wired for corporate warfare into organizations designed to produce. Traditional management approaches don’t always work, or often they only work for a few years, and Blue Heron will offer you some new tools and resources to go beyond the cookbooks.
Patricia E. Moody, Publisher
Mr. Mookah comes to you courtesy of buytruckload.com.
When Dick Morley and I sat down to write The Technology Machine: How Manufacturing Will Work in the Year 2020, we were 15 years out from the end date... we envisioned an enterprise connected machine to machine, sensor to sensor, with discrete information flows clicking along with minimum human tweaking...design and customer orders would drive the machines nearly simultaneously...one giant step for mankind...humans not be removed from the picture, but rather empowered by the technology.
But not everybody buys into it...
Book buddy Dick Morley, winner of the Prometheus Award and inventor of some 30 devices, including the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), warns The Mill Girl that what we are looking for is not an "Obamacare of IT" to run the manufacturing enterprise. "Don't go that big," he says.
Praise from Art Byrne, former President, The Wiremold Company: "The new bible to improve any manufacturing company..."The best 4P Design for LeanSigma project The Mill Girl ever saw was at the Pella plant in Iowa ... annual productivity gains of 15 percent to 20 percent. EXCERPT FROM THE PERFECT ENGINE. TO ORDER HARDCOVER CLICK BOOKSTORE; PAPERBACK
St. Martins Press 2013
AUTHOR STEPHEN COONTS, creator of the unstoppable warriors Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini, talking with The Mill Girl about his latest, PIRATE ALLEY ! MORE
Rick Blasgen, CSCMP head, talks with The Mill Girl about the next 50 years! Executive Interview HERE
Ken McGuire, AME Icon, Responds to Blue Heron Journal On Kaizen -
The creator of pioneering Japan Study Missions looks back to ask, “What’s next?” and like The Mill Girl, McGuire objects to “all lean, all the time” MORE: Made in The Americas (sm): The Kaizen Blitzers and A Reader's Response
Copyright Patricia E. Moody 2017, All Rights Reserved
Firstronic wins Industry Week Best Plants Award. Congrats again to this BLUE HERON JOURNAL "MADE IN THE AMERICAS" company. Plus Firstronic sweeps Circuits Assembly magazine service excellence award.
Patricia E. Moody's Blue Heron Journal features in Industry Week and AME's Target magazine on this award-winning American company:
Firstronic: Tackling Workforce Challenges;
The Hardest Part of Outsourcing is Reversing It;
What I LearnedFrom Taking the Pre-hiring Survey - It's All in The Wiring;
Workforce and Lean Strategies Help Keep Manufacturer in the US;
Leveraging IT for Competitive US Production
More features from The Mill Girl at Blue Heron Journal:
Industry Week two-part feature series - collaborative kinesthetically programmed (in 15 minutes!) robots lead the Fifth Industrial Revolution. Up in Minnesota, Donnelly Custom Manufacturing opened the door for new tasks for its human employees by bringing in collaborative robots. To meet Baxter, the smiling robot and his fellow workers at Donnelly Custom Manufacturing in Minnesota, CLICK HERE.
Intelligent Automation, Collaborative Robots Can Solve a Big Challenge
When companies bring products back from offshored manufacturing operations, the processes cannot be simply dropped back into place and reconfigured with the same machines and process flows from 20 years back. Robots offer the tremendous competitive advantage. CLICK HERE.
AME TARGET FEATURES:
Tackling Workforce Challenges, A Made-In-The-Americas feature, Target Fall issue, available on-line 9/29/16 - CLICK HERE. (Non-AME members may need to sign up for free account.)
The answer isn't always bring on the robots - three things Firstronic tackled that improved performance, including cutting turnover from 30% down to 5%.
How Auto Supplier Magneti Marelli tackled this big packaging cost challenge:
North American packaging industry projected to grow 1.4% annually to $186B by 2017, according to Packaging Digest!
GOT CARDBOARD? PLASTIC? FOAM? THERE ARE HUGE COST SAVINGS IN PACKAGING AND LOGISTICS -
HOW THIS TIER ONE AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLIER CONQUERS WASTE!
Randy Hill, Magneti Marelli packaging engineer, says there is a better way... click here for the story.
Twenty years ago out-of-the box Kaizen Blitz results were huge, but inevitably the numbers came down, normalized. Twenty years since the invasion of the kaizen blitzers, it's time for manufacturing to fix systems architecture, integrate disparate IT systems, and move to collaborative robots.
Twenty years ago we looked at paybacks for kaizen blitz projects, and we published the results in The Kaizen Blitz (Laraia, Moody and Hall, Wiley 1999) . The energy was there, and initial paybacks were exciting:
Paybacks are significant, with a range of performance data depending on the level of expertise of team members and degree of difficulty of the project. However, Kaizen Blitz experts generally track big paybacks in the following areas:
KAIZEN BLITZ PAYBACKS:
Set-up time reduction 70 -90%
Productivity improvement 20-60%
Process time reduction 40-80%
Inventory reduction 30-70%
Walking distance reduction 40-90%
These results were compiled from more than fifty Kaizen Blitz companies, including Critikon (a Johnson and Johnson Company), Hamilton Standard, Jacobs Manufacturing, Pratt & Whitney, Wiremold, Microtouch, Nypro, Boston Scientific, US Robotics, and Rockwell Automation.
Source; The Kaizen Blitz, Laraia, Moody and Hall, Wiley & Sons 1999
For reshoring to work, manufacturers like Arnold Kamler of Kent Bikes, and Ric Cabot of Darn Tough Socks, and John Sammut of Grand Rapids Firstronics, know that selective automation and high performance workforce training and retention are the ONLY way. Anything less is not enough!
CLICK HERE FOR MORE.
:MORE MADE IN THE AMERICAS STORIES - from INDUSTRY WEEK
SOUTH CAROLINA'S GOVERNOR NIKKI HALEY SPEAKS ABOUT ABOUT THEIR PRO-BUSINESS APPROACH...
South Carolina has been on a roll, attracting and retaining manufacturing companies, including BMW, Continental Tire and Kent International, Inc., among others.
We spoke with the state's Governor, Nikki Haley, about what role government plays in making it all work. And with unemployment down to 6.7% from a previous high of 15%, they must be doing something right... MORE
KENT INTERATIONAL'S RESHORING JOURNEY - They're bringing bike manufacturing back to the US!
"Nobody ever outsourced anything for quality. Since 1978, still Made in VERMONT, USA."
-- Quote on the wall of the Darn Tough factory.
Mar 9, 2015
Publisher, Blue Heron Journal
Marc and Ric Cabot
When the last giant textile mills along the Merrimac River in New England shut down, hosiery was not far behind. The death of brick factories with names like Appleton, Lawrence, Coolidge and Cabot -– remember that name, Cabot -- marked the end of a one-hundred-fifty-year run of seemingly limitless U.S. innovation and profit dominance.
The human cost of lost livelihoods and hollowed-out towns was a pain suffered in city after city as first labor, wage and speed-up conflicts, followed by outsourcing, gouged big holes in the U.S.’ industrial fabric -- and forever changed the formula for success.
Earlier, the 1814 Boston Manufacturing Company’s prototype Waltham, Mass., mill, engineered by Frances Cabot Lowell and Paul Moody, succeeded on the strength of scale -– deeper waterfalls, more Yankee mill girls, then more workers from Ireland and Europe, more machines, bigger factories and, finally, complete process integration. The stockholders at the time were ecstatic as they, like the mill owners, saw cash endlessly pouring off rows of looms.
Small and, later, big brick mills provided local work for small towns and enormous profits for stockholders, but like so many other victims of outsourcing, hosiery manufacturing in the U.S. couldn’t keep up.
Like the textile mills before them, more and faster machines, economies of scale, fewer workers and home-grown innovation were just not enough to stem the outflow of this U.S. high-volume, low-margin business to cheap labor areas, first to the American South, then the Far East.
Like so many other U.S. manufacturers, Vermont’s Cabot Mills fell victim to the outsourcing craze.
Enter Ric Cabot, an ex-Manhattan publishing and advertising worker and a third-generation inheritor of what was -– at least at first -– a unique opportunity. This seemingly unlikely entrepreneur took over an operation that was busy shipping private-label socks to big-name retailers like J Crew, GAP, Banana Republic and Old Navy from an ancient mill in Northfield, Vt.
Most of all, the name 'Darn Tough' came to signify not just the socks themselves – guaranteed for life, knitted with small gauge, smoothly fitted New Zealand merino – but the company’s come-back strategy.
Ric’s grandfather had owned hosiery factories in New Hampshire and North Carolina and, in 1978, his father Marc acquired the Northfield site and switched from textile sales to running a mill.
“Dad decided on the Vermont location -– he had contacts here," Ric Cabot explained. "It was an industry in decline, but there was still manufacturing."
"We had 20,000 square feet in the old mill in town. We had the old fashioned belt-driven knitting machines, and we were beginning the changeover to computer-controlled machines, but the old mill burned down. In 1995, we completed this current 20,000 square foot factory, enlarged it to 56,000 square feet, and now we’re expanding it again."
The business prospered. In 1989, when Ric had joined his dad at the mill, the “great quality at the right price” formula worked -- that is until, like textiles before them, high-volume U.S. hosiery manufacturers could no longer guarantee endless profits, especially for a small, first-tier supplier like Cabot Mills.
For ten years the Cabots had watched their business grow, until “it” -– outsourcing and extreme price competition –- happened. One by one, they lost their private-label customers. The results were predictably catastrophic for Cabot as the company defaulted on loans and sank deep into debt -– millions of dollars worth -- to Chittenden Bank.
Ric remembers that whole fearful period with great pain. In 2004, the bankers appeared for a meeting. “Anyone you owe money to doesn’t want the debtor to go bankrupt. That day the bankers backed out the door at the end of the meeting," Cabot recalled. "Instead of turning and leaving, they looked back at us and said ‘No surprises.’ If they had just walked straight out, that morning wouldn’t have been seared on my memory."
AME Target On-line Feature:
The hardest part of outsourcing is reversing it
Patricia E. Moody
You can feel the momentum as automotive assembly plant suppliers, for example, talk about increased demand and new plants in the United States’ new South and Mexico. The pressure to perform is higher than it has ever been. Whether cheap money or heightened interest in reshoring and rebuilding American manufacturing capabilities are the cause, everyone — CEOs, investors, politicos, consultants and, most especially, producers themselves — senses opportunities and great challenges here.
Manufacturing, being a maker, is suddenly popular...The hardest part of outsourcing is reversing it
Patricia E. Moody
You can ignore that cold draft sneaking in under the winter door, and just cram a rolled bath towel against the opening. You can ignore the slight hesitation every time you press down on the accelerator; that is until your gas mileage drops to 9 miles per gallon and climbing into third gear hurts. You can ignore the dulled talk radio chatter in your neighbor’s cubicle until your callers wonder just what in the heck is going on there behind the phone.
But like drafty doors and leaky cylinders, there are some things that
won’t be ignored. My old friend at Honda, Rick Mayo, told me one of
his favorite stories: “The Rock and The Shoe.” MORE The Rock and The Shoe
It was the year 2000, and we three manufacturing geeks -- we called ourselves the "White Socks Guys" -- were the skunks at the garden party, an Aspen futurist gathering of experts drawn from politics, the media and technology assembled to talk about trends and, in particular, the U.S.’s New Economy.
Madeleine Albright was there, and Bill Clinton flew in to deliver a high-ticket speech. The hot topic was globalization... We were outnumbered.
Click Industry WeekHERE for Predictions from Microsoft's Mike Opal, packaging guru Kevin Howard, MIT's Simchi-Levi, SAP CEO McDermott, Baxter the Robot and his Humanoid Jim Lawton, analytics guru David Armstrong, and Cloud expert Thomas Trappler
Paging Dr. Lean for Solutions
DESIGNING FROM THE OUTSIDE IN
According to packaging guru Professor Diana Twede at Michigan State, packaging engineer Kevin Howard earned a bucket of gold stars when in a breakthrough creativity moment he dreamed up a new way for HP to ship Deskjet printers — pallet-less. Not only did his concept reduce the weight, and therefore shipping costs for HP and its customers, but it took logistics and packaging on a whole new path toward “self-packing” designs. MORE DESIGNING FROM THE OUTSIDE IN
Beach: We use the FedEx model.
Seattle Children’s Hospital used classic supply management, Japanese shop floor methods and 4P to save money, free up clinicians for more bedside care and build its new, smaller facility. That’s right, they got better and smaller!
Greg Beach, senior director of supply chain at Seattle Children’s Hospital, is one of those rare health care transformation executives whose best friends are doctors and nurses and whose culture change work hasn’t gotten him fired....MORESeattle Children's
INDUSTRY WEEK FEATURE:
When Bill McDermott’s little brother Kevin, 6 feet tall and 225 pounds, hefted the 6-foot, 2-inch, 165-pound Bill, outfitted in one of his two $99 suits, and carried him through 4 feet of flood water to their Dad, who was waiting to drive the future CEO to the train, it was all part of the promise, part of the dream.
“When did you first make this dream your goal?” I asked McDermott, now CEO of SAP, the world’s third largest software company. “It was on the train ride in,” he explained. “I wanted to be the next David Kearns (Xerox’ CEO 1982 to 1990).”But it wasn’t just that train ride. McDermott, as you’ll learn in his book, Winners Dream, A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office, had prepped his whole life for that first big Xerox dream, and the next and the next... MORE
The Mill Girl Returns to Briggs & Stratton Thirty Years After America's First JIT Pilot..
Industry Week 3-part series on the transformation of a century-old American icon:
When Stephen Foster Briggs and Harold Mead Stratton partnered to mass produce their first product, a two-cycle six cylinder auto engine in 1908, they launched a journey that took this American icon through generations of manufacturing in the heartland, heartbreak and hope, big technology, and workforce challenges, until, over one hundred years and several transformations later, a new company emerged. CLICK: http://www.industryweek.com/change-management/trnsformation-century-old-us-manufacturing-company
“Gemba is a gold mine,” Teruyuki Maruo
If you were led blindfolded onto a working production floor, would you be able to sniff out the problem areas? Could you immediately pinpoint the exact causes of bad quality and late shipments with your eyes closed?When Teruyuki Maruo launched Honda’s production system, there was great pressure to immediately achieve high performance in supplier quality and deliveries from the company’s new North American supply base. MORE
Need a break from the blue screen of death? CLICK A DOSE OF POSITIVITYNESS
How Christie Clinic cut complexity and saved money without ticking off the docs
Jason Hirsbrunner: Just one more battle in the “this is the way we have been doing it” campaign.
I can think of two big health care institutions where the doctors fought the elimination of their favorite — but redundant — supplies, and in the battle for freedom of choice over dictated spend reduction, guess who won? Do You Prefer The Purple or the Blue Gloves?
MADE IN THE US - AND 75% OF THIS ELECTRONICS COMPANY OUTPUT SHIPS TO THE FAR EAST!!! FAR OUT!!!
Firstronic CEO John Sammut explains his strategy for building an electronics company that manufactures in the U.S. -- near ailing Detroit, no less! -- and exports to Korea, China, Mexico and India. Three-part Industry Week Online series - http://www.industryweek.com/growth-strategies/who-says-you-cant-manufacture-electronics-us
Part 2: Workforce, How Firstronic Grows Its Ownhttp://www.industryweek.com/leadership/workforce-and-lean-strategies-help-keep-manufacturer-us
Part 3: Leveraging IT for Competitive US Production http://www.industryweek.com/companies-executives/leveraging-it-competitive-us-production***
why not bring in the robots, sit back and let the machines do all the work?
The numbers are in, and they are shocking — 14,135 robots valued at $788 million, or $55,000 per robot, were ordered from North American robot producers in the first half of 2014, an increase in sales that smashed the previous record and raises new questions for manufacturers.Money is cheap and companies are sitting on a lot of it. So why not bring in the robots, sit back and let the machines do all the work? Dick Morley, serial entrepreneur and creator of the programmable logic controller (PLC) said.. MORE
"Let the data lead you..."
Shewhart Award winner and Rath and Strong guru Dorian Shainin pounded it into us.... and that's the way we like to look at how well companies are running their operations. We love these numbers! Net profit tells us so much about systems, leadership, strategies and managing costs, especially purchasing spend. With the exception of GM and Ford, each company showed Gross Profit Margins of approximately 20%, so the differences in Net Profit Margins say much about efficiencies and systems. "Let the data lead you..."
Dec. 2013 March 2014 June 2014 Sept 2014 Dec 2015
Honda 5.32% 5.51 4.90 4.71 3.43
Toyota 7.98 4.52 9.20 8.22 8.56
Nissan 3.75 4.1 6.25 4.89 4.23
Volkswagen 4.58 5.01 4.72 6.87 (3.36) Sept
Ford 8.21 2.76 3.50 2.39 6.60
GM 2.57 0.57 .70 3.75 15.81
Tesla (8.77) (26.4)
Honda Production System/BP sensei Teruyuki Maruo on Leadership:
Being a leader is very difficult. The leader has to have teaching abilities. If he is not able to teach the leaders of his team, they are not going to be able to trust him. The leader needs to have confidence in evaluating members of his team, and he needs to provide them with direction.
James Womack, President, Lean Enterprise Institute, co-author Lean Thinking and The Machine That Changed the World. CLICK Powered by Honda, Developing Excellence in the Global Enterprise
Paging Dr. Lean for Solutions
Training and Development for The Fourth Industrial Revolution
Who's gonna run the machines that make the machines?
What Kind of Learner Are You? Is on-line digital or human contact - or a mix - the answer?
We all love TED talks (see How to Deliver a TED Talk), Netflix and YouTube, and the list of online communities grows every day. But for the kind of training and workforce development the U.S. really needs as we bring back manufacturing and scale-up to fill those vacant 600,000 manufacturing jobs, what’s the most effective way to deliver just the right amount of just the right topics to a diverse workforce? ...MORE
Editor's Note: On May 1st, Buyers Meeting Point issued an Open Call
for predictions about the future of procurement as part of the
#FutureBuy project I am working on with Jon Hansen (Procurement Insights,
PI Window on the World). We welcome all predictions, either as comments
to our posts on the subject, guest submissions, or posts on Twitter
flagged with our #FutureBuy hashtag. Kelly Barner, Buyers Meeting Point
The New Monroe Doctrine: The US and Mexico reach a new geopolitical arrangement, beyond Nafta, beyond immigration, that leverages the resources of Mexico - workforce, manufacturing centers, oil, and in combination with Canada's oil, redefines and strengthens The Americas' global trade powerhouse. Other American countries follow. ... FOR MORE FUTURE FLASHES CLICK ON GUEST POSTS ABOVE
Paging Dr. Lean for Healthcare Solutions
Christie Clinic CEO Alan Gleghorn spoke with Blue Heron Journal about what he views as the three biggest health care challenges... "My grandfather, Henry Gleghorn, was passionate about fruit trees," he said. "Grandpa lived in Seymour, TX, not the best place to grow fruit." But Gleghorn thought about his Grandpa and how he planted and cared for his orchard, and when the younger Gleghorn was faced with instituting continuous improvement and culture change at Christie Clinic, he remembered what Grandpa said...CLICK Show Me Your Orchard
Honorary Doctorate Commencement Address
A Mother's Day Remembrance, and a message for the graduating class...it's that time of year again... milestones
And thank you to some other people whom you will never meet:
Japanese flowering quince in
First of all to my mother. Thank you Mumma. My mother had an 8th grade education. She worked in a shoe shop for 7 years until she married – she picked up a heel, brushed cement on it, and tapped it in place. Pick up a heel, slather on some cement and tap in in place. Pick up a heel….for 7 years. She knew education was going to be important for me. She didn’t understand the how or the specifics, but she knew it was for survival.
You see, I have a hard time learning new things... I always fail in my first attempt – my first pass at Dick and Jane, my first driver’s test, my first accounting exam, my first typing test, my first marriage, my first attempt to learn tennis, my first book – it’s a long list, and we only have 15 minutes. MORE
CLICK Re-shoring/in-shoring New Challenges
Paging Dr. Lean for Technology Tools
Isn’t there a better way?
By Patricia E. Moody
We’re seeing an explosion of powerful technology tools,
from dashboards, to Cloud services and real-time network algorithms. But are they doable and do they make a
difference? The answer is yes to both
questions, but for supply management and manufacturing, new tools, like
optimization, require newer, better decisions.
AND SAMELSON'S ANSWER TO A FOLLOW-UP QUESTION FROM SUBHAJIT G. VIA LINKEDIN:
On 03/23/14 9:47 PM, Subhajit G. wrote:
Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me
Four tech leaders predict the future of high-tech manufacturing, innovation and the road back to success
... all across the manufacturing landscape, people feel they have "been down so long it looks like up to me" – shell-shocked by off-shoring, down-sizing and bad government moves, their eyes clouded over and they lost their vision.
And that's a shame, because they are missing the good news all around them: low inflation, cheap money, even cheaper technology, a steady stream of tech and machine innovation, U.S. companies taking back manufacturing and exporting a bigger share of product, an oil boom right here in the Americas.
It's enough to make a Mill Girl jump up at her machine and cheer. Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me
So you're thinking of
writing a book.... Great idea! But....
Healthcare Predictions for 2014 -
It’s been a long year, and we’ve all had enough pain to last us through “The Next Healthcare Revolution.” But at 17 percent of the U.S. GDP, one third of which is administrative costs, it gets personal — real personal. Even as the principles of lean manufacturing are applied to healthcare throughput, paperwork and facility design, progress has been too slow... there is truly much good data out there..we could use a little vision, some wisdom and some wild and crazy prognostications to comfort us.
First, good news for those of us who need organs and joints
refreshed, just in time...Andy Coutu, President of R & D Technologies
Inc., said that the next three to five years will see producers perfect
their 3D Additive Manufacturing skills... “Within the next
three to five years, the industry predicts the percentage will increase
to 27 percent. Companies such as Stratasys will hit the $1 billion
mark, and the street predicts that 3D printing companies’ (Stratasys and
3D Systems) stock will remain on the buy list.” Good news for
healthcare, where hopeful rumblings about replacement organs and joints
have the market’s attention. “It will be awhile before the FDA approves
these printed body parts, but right now they are jetting out human
tissue through 3D printers. With stem cell, fatty tissue and DNA, who
knows where this will go?” CLICK HERE FOR MORE Healthcare Predictions for 2014
Wow, two years later, 2016, I have to say it wasn't over but at least I'm walking. I'll explain later...
2014, THE FIRST DAY, IT'S GOING TO BE A BETTER YEAR, A GOOD YEAR... fried egg with ham and a little cheddar on raisin bagel with latte, and Jimi Hendrix "Let me stand next to your fire." It was a longggg year and it's over... it's over. Made all my deadlines, did the RailTrail (no cars) on hybrid, almost never walk like a penguin, doctor died, got a trainer and PT coach, December saw NY Polyphony, my goal since last Christmas, with my family in a snowstorm at Columbia with new titanium-tipped walking stick- DON'T YOU JUST LOVE THAT TITANIUM! A Mill Girl at Blue Heron Journal
Microsoft Cloud Visionary Mike Opal asks
Paging Dr. Lean is brought to you by Patricia E. Moody, The Mill Girl at Blue Heron Journal. Submit your Paging Dr. Lean questions to email@example.com. Stay tuned as more lean experts answer your questions.
Copyright Patricia E. Moody (firstname.lastname@example.org) 2016, All rights reserved.