Future vs. Past
Leaders with a
vision need support from those who are willing to change. Forgetting
the past, they want subordinate leaders who will press on to a
higher level of achievement. Creativity is approaching a need, task,
or idea from a new perspective. Initiative is recognizing a need and
developing a strategy before someone asks. This is at the heart of
employee empowerment and continual improvement.
APICS leaders can
inadvertently fall into the same trap as others within the
organization. It is the "that is the way we have always done it"
trap. There are various forms that this trap takes. When business is
booming, changes like setup reduction or cross-training can wait. We
are too busy making parts. In bad times we are too busy jettisoning
our most valuable resource for improvement, namely our experienced
people, because we failed to provide funds to guide us through these
inevitable market fluctuations.
There is an
inherent reluctance to change. We will go to many extremes to keep
the status quo. Benchmarking in some situations becomes a rationale
to stand still. If I compare my delivery to my competitors and I
offer assemble-to-order in three days instead of their three weeks,
am I motivated to develop a strategy of same-day assemble-to-order?
If I become complacent, I am only asking for trouble.
Loyalty vs. Own
Loyalty is using
difficult or challenging times to confirm my commitment to those
leaders and ultimately the customers that I am called to serve.
Corporate leaders want us to advance strategies such as kaizen and
SMED. Both have a proven positive impact upon profit and customer
cannot be said for all popular APICS strategies. ISO 9000 is a prime
example. Why did you achieve ISO 9000 certification? Did the
certification improve the quality of your product and total service
to the customer? Or did the process only serve to qualify you as a
quality guru? To merely document what we are doing without
endeavoring to improve is to demonstrate a lack of loyalty to our
leaders and our customers.
"I WILLS" FOR THE
There are five "I
Wills" that will produce positive actions. These "I Wills" will
enable APICS leaders to develop, hone, and maintain the necessary
focus. These simple and yet profound "I Wills" are
1. I will
diligently evaluate every decision and action according to its
impact on profit. To accomplish this goal, I must know the intimate
details of a "manufacturing process" that transcends the four walls
of my factory. I must make my evaluations based upon the total
supply chain, from raw materials to the customers' use of my output
for its intended purposes. My vision must also encompass the total
product life cycle.
2. I will commit to
remain alert to every opportunity to effect positive change.
Continual improvement of each stage of the manufacturing
process must become my only constant. The guiding principles, as
passed down from my leaders, will keep my improvement efforts
focused on the right target.
3. I will become a
leader who has earned trust. This trust will come from accurately
reporting facts and living up to all my commitments. This trust is
also earned by knowing and doing what will make both my leaders and
the customer successful.
4. I will remember
that true leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If
I can only possess one, I will choose character.
5. I will continue
to develop my skills. This will enable me to keep abreast of the
latest hardware, software, and systems tools.
The challenge is
embodied in answering the following questions both for myself and my
• Will I adopt the
"F-O-C-U-S" of profit that is necessary for success?
• Will I acquire the hard skills necessary to execute this focus?
• Will I build into my own life the character qualities required to
energize and sustain this focus?
To answer yes to
each of these questions will send us on an exciting, challenging,
and ultimately successful journey into the next millennium.
Assuming we accept the challenge to take the critical first step, it
is not so much what you and I do immediately upon our return from
this conference that will make the difference. What will we do on
the third and fourth tries? That is the key.
You and I have the
choice to make. It is our move! What will your answer be?