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WE MUST BE CONSCIOUS OF CHANGING ENVIRONMENTAL AND REGULATORY ISSUES

The environment today plays a more important role in every organiza­tion. The introduction of new standards and regulations for handling, recycling, and disposal of materials will have a dramatic effect on all companies that deliver a product to a consumer. The advent of ISO 14000 will force many manufacturers to think about and deal with the disposal of their product after the consumer has finished with it. In addition to new worldwide standards of environmental protection, new regulations will continue to be adopted, forcing changes in business practices to meet new community and stakeholder requirements. Man­aged health care is an example in which the voice of the customer is having a huge impact on the suppliers of medical products and ser­vices. The enforced reduction in packaging materials is another area of huge potential impact on all organizations.

WE MUST USE ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES FOR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

The rapid onslaught of technology has had a dramatic impact on many organizations. Companies that are created today are no longer constrained by geographical proximity the way that existing organizations were when they were first started. Today it is possible to set up an organization at home and advertise products and services worldwide through the World Wide Web—organizational size is irrelevant. Companies that are ham­pered by old process and information technology will be at a serious competitive disadvantage. More and more we are in the information age. Information is a commodity that can be traded just like everything else. There are three levels of informational value in this new age: raw trans-actional data itself, which has the lowest level of value, information that has been extracted from the raw transactional data, which has a higher level of value, and intelligence, which is extremely valuable because it represents information that has a distinct competitive advantage.

WE HAVE TO GET OUR TEAMS TO WORK EFFECTIVELY

Practically everyone you talk to today is talking about teams. They have become the established way of doing work. Every new problem requires the creation of a cross-functional team. The problem with this is that the teams are still representatives, as opposed to team players. With a constituency-based organizational team, you breed conflict and compromise instead of consensus and action. In many organizations teams are set up without a lot of planning or preparation. Team build­ing is not done, missions are not clearly identified, people are chosen based on political reasons, not on the basis of individual contribution to the team or blending personality types for effective team perfor­mance. No wonder many teams fail. True teamwork occurs with care­ful planning and team building.

WE CANNOT AVOID CHANGE

Change has become a fact of life. Companies are now facing more change in more aspects of the business than ever before. The organiza­tions that can adapt quickly are the ones that will survive in the future. Increasingly, companies will be selected by customers by their ability to adapt to the changing business environment. Companies that cannot adapt to change are destined to be remembered as former suppliers.

WE NEED TO SET NEW PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

Many organizations still invest significant time and effort in producing useless reports and measurements that mean nothing to the customer. Computer systems are converting trees into scrap paper at an alarming rate, when you consider that trees are necessary to remove carbon di­oxide from the atmosphere. Much of this scrap paper is produced to satisfy some internal accounting measurements such as measuring costs and variance. No customer ever made a purchasing decision based on suppliers costs or variances. Companies today need to redefine what information is useful to measure, and then capture the information in data warehouses.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 11


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