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COMPETITIVE KNOWLEDGE NEWSLETTER 

Let's get to it:

We have decided to discontinue our "ShowTime!'" workshop events. The San Jose workshop drew 18 attendees and was a success but the flight to and from San Jose was a real hassle and even at the $97 workshop fee, it was a breakeven business situation. Our Portland event has not had a solid registration response and consequently we are canceling it. 

Enrique Mora has agreed to fill the gap with his unique, in-house, kaizen driven, Lean Manufacturing Pilot Project. The project will include "ShowTime!" our MRP vs. lean Manufacturing simulation exercises. For additional information, go to:

Kaizen Blitz

Because of the upcoming holiday season, I decided to pass on writing my usual technical article in favor of an article with a holiday theme. Charlie Page, a free lance writer, wrote the selected article. Charlie has helped us develop our successful Website and I can highly recommend his variety of services. You can catch him on the Internet at: 

http://charliepage.com

Price Pritchett is back with another article from his "The Team Member Handbook." Our third article provides an insight into, "Three Things to Remember as You Succeed in Corporate Life" Economic Trends replaces Price Trends and fills out the fourth slot and "A Little Humor" is our closing piece.

You are welcome to print and share this newsletter with your business associates. We have indexed and archived this and all previous newsletters for your reference. Copying the below URL link to your browser and clicking on "GO" will display the archive's "point and click" index:

http://www.bbasicsllc.com/ckn.htm

This newsletter has reached your desk because I think we share a common objective---to help manufacturing teams avoid "burnout" while achieving their full performance potential. If this is not the case, simply send us an e-mail with "Unsubscribe" in the "subject" line and you will be removed from our e-mailing list.

Enjoy,

Bill Gaw


COMPETITIVE KNOWLEDGE NEWSLETTER
---- December 2001 ---

  1. A Time to be Thankful
  2. Back Up Others Who Need Help
  3. Three Things to Remember as You Succeed in Corporate Life
  4. Economic Trends
  5. A Little Humor … Please

Lean Manufacturing Techniques for Winners

1. A Time to be Thankful
    by Charlie Page

Mainland America was attacked for the first time in modern history on September 11, 2001. This brutal attack has forever changed how we see life, our country and the world around us. But has it changed us?

We have been blessed in America to be able to sleep with both eyes comfortably closed. As parents we always keep a watchful eye on our children. As middle-aged children, we keep a protective eye on our older parents. Yet never before have we had to be on guard for our personal safety from terrorism.

Now it seems we must learn to live as others have lived for decades - with one eye open at all times for a possible threat. We are becoming weary of this new pattern. And we are weary of the war. This weariness can block our view of our true blessings.

Only a short time ago, an unspeakable tragedy occurred as American Airlines Flight 587 went down in New York. Not only did this strike fear again in the heart of New Yorkers but the tragedy of the event was magnified when it was learned that the neighborhood where it fell lost over 40 members in September.

It seems we can't read or listen to the news without seeing or hearing talk of Anthrax, potential targets, a weak economy and a poor Christmas retail season. Few speak of the blessings they enjoy. Yet for most people these blessings are as real today as they were on September 10, 2001.

Some voices are asking, as the day approaches when we in America "officially" count our blessings, is this a time to be thankful? I believe the answer is a resounding "yes".

You are reading this on a computer connected to the Internet. In contrast, many countries will forever deny their citizens the ability to do what we do everyday - sign on and read email - for fear that truth will set them free.

By the sheer fact that you are reading this article, you are better off than 2 billion (yes - that is a "B") citizens of planet earth who can't read. If you know right now where your next meal will come from you are better off than 17% of children living in America. The rates for other countries are staggeringly high. In these ways and more, most of us are privileged in ways that others only dream of.

The Internet itself is a reason for great thanksgiving. It may seem cliché, but the fact remains that in no other time in the history of the world has it been easier to open your own business and change your circumstances. For many the Internet is not a convenience, but rather the only way out of desperate circumstances.

A computer programmer in one of the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe found his way out of poverty by selling his services cheaply over the Internet. Providing excellent customer service and thankful for the opportunity itself, the income he earns makes possible such "luxuries" as proper medical care and a steady food supply. While the average per capita income in his country remains under $1000 U.S., he eclipses that number and is building a future for himself and his extended family. Thanksgiving is an American holiday, yet one can guess that it's Thanksgiving every day in his house.

If you live in America, your Constitution guarantees you life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You have rights. You have the right of free speech, the right to peacefully assemble and to protest. Students in Tian'anmen Square made the ultimate sacrifice on June 4th, 1989 in an attempt to gain for themselves a right that we in America have enjoyed for over 200 years. We move freely from state to state with no border guards. We are free to worship as we choose. We have access to our elected officials. If we don't like something they do, we can vote them out of office. For these things we should be grateful indeed, because they ensure our continued freedom and ability to determine our own fate.

Our world encourages us to be competitive, to win. These are necessary traits if we are to move forward. Progress is both good and necessary. Yet the siren song of business, the desire for double digit growth and the constant comparisons of ourselves to others often causes us to forget that we have so much more than we think. We must not let the hype of the Internet steal our sense of well-being. 

Can we be grateful in wartime too? We hear reports of the evil ones being routed from their strongholds. Brave soldiers, both American and those from other nations, are fighting now for the cause of freedom. America has a President who has risen to the challenge and wisely surrounded himself with capable people. Progress is being made. Brave men and women are risking their lives to defend our liberties. We should be grateful indeed and never forget their sacrifice. Make no mistake, real tragedy has occurred. No amount of "happy thinking" will change that reality. Business success will always take hard work and long hours. Success itself will always be a collaborative effort. Grieving people will always require time to heal. Genuine gratitude, however, to God and those around us will speed our healing and bring comfort while we heal.

In the spirit of the holiday season (American and otherwise) consider these questions. Do you live free today? Does someone love you today? Have you heard children's laughter? Are you part of a family? The more you think, the more you will realize that you are blessed indeed. When we harbor the illusion that we can change the future, and allow our thoughts to stay there, we forget the joys of today.

President Bush has it right. The war against terror is larger than the Taliban or Ben Laden. The forces of good are in full array against the forces of evil in our world. While the battle will be long and hard and sacrifices will be called for, now more than ever, we must pause to count our blessings. Count yours today and every day and you will find that you are rich indeed.

======================================================

Charlie Page adds the power of persuasion to your voice. Product announcements, press releases, web copy and more, all at affordable prices. Newsletter services include custom content, industry specific articles and complete distribution services as well. To learn more, get his FREE REPORT at mailto:ezinereport@charliepage.com or contact him at

 mailto:Charlie@CharliePage.com


Lean Manufacturing Techniques for Winners

2. Back Up Others Who Need Help
   
by Price Pritchett

The best way to put a safety net under the team's performance is to back each other up. Anybody can make a mistake, get overloaded, or just need a helping hand. The question is will you be in a position to cover for your teammates? The first step in being an effective backup person is mental: Think team. Instead of focusing narrowly on your personal assignment and nothing else, watch what's going on with the rest of the group. There's not much chance you'll bring help unless you see that someone has a problem.

Next, you need a good feel for your teammates' roles---where they're supposed to be, what they're assigned to do, and the moves they need to make. Unless you see the big picture, the way all the individual efforts fit together, you can't be very versatile as a backup person.

The third step is to broaden your skills so you have enough know-how to actually help. Develop the abilities you need to cover for others. Cross-train, so you can come off the bench and serve as an acceptable replacement in an emergency.

Finally, step four is an attitude of helpfulness. Being willing to jump in. Being eager to help a teammate out of a jam.

Follow these four steps, and you'll prevent a lot of breakdowns. Also, you improve the odds that your teammates will be there when you need a backup.


Lean Manufacturing Techniques for Winners

3. Three Things to Remember as You Succeed in Corporate Life

As you move up the ladder at your company, there are certain habits you need to develop in order to remain successful. If you do these three things, you'll establish a solid relationship with your peers and employees, make friends in powerful places, and build a network of colleagues who admire and support you.

  • Reserve a half-hour every day to return calls. Even if it means cutting into your lunch hour. Develop a reputation as someone who "always get back to people right away". It sends the message that you respect other people.
  • Demand that people criticize you. There are two types of managers: Those who avoid criticism at all costs because they think it makes them look weak; and those who encourage criticism and use it to improve their performance, Be the latter kind of manager.
  • Reputations are built at the bottom, not the top. Remember the low-level manager who helped you out so much when you were first starting out? When was the last time you took her to lunch? What about the team of employees who worked so hard on the project that garnered you so much praise? Did you thank them and point out their accomplishments. As you move up to the next level, don't forget about the people on the previous one.

Lean Manufacturing Techniques for Winners

4. Economic Trends
   
from the NAPM Report

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector declined for the 15th consecutive month in October while the overall economy also failed to grow after four consecutive months of growth say the nation's purchasing and supply executives in the latest Manufacturing NAPM Report On Business®.

The report was issued today by Norbert J. Ore, C.P.M., chair of the National Association of Purchasing Management's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee and group director, strategic sourcing and procurement, Georgia-Pacific Corporation. "The manufacturing sector received a very significant setback driven by the events of September 11th. The trend lines were moving in a positive direction prior to this report. The declines in production and new orders are among the largest in the history of our report, which began in 1931. It is worth noting that the New Export Orders Index indicated a much sharper decline in September than in October, while the other indexes declined significantly in this reporting period — possibly signaling a greater sense of confidence in global business during October."

NAPM’s Backlog of Orders Index indicates that order backlogs declined for the 18th consecutive month. NAPM’s Supplier Deliveries Index continues to reflect faster deliveries, although at a slower rate. Manufacturing employment continued to decline in October as the index fell below the breakeven point (an index of 50 percent) for the 13th consecutive month. NAPM’s Prices Index remained below 50 percent as manufacturers experienced lower prices for the eighth consecutive month. New Export Orders contracted in October for the second consecutive month. October’s Imports Index declined after slight growth in September. Comments from purchasing and supply executives this month reflect continuing concerns about overall business conditions. Aerospace, steel, and automotive are struggling while major construction appears to have come to a halt. A number of respondents indicated that they look for a six to 12 month recovery. 


Lean Manufacturing Techniques for Winners

5. A Little Humor … Please

Four married guys go golfing. During the 4th hole, the following conversation took place:

First Guy: "You have no idea what I had to do to be able to come out golfing this weekend. I had to promise my wife that I will paint every room in the house next weekend."

Second Guy: "That's nothing. I had to promise my wife that I will build her a new deck for the pool."

Third Guy: "Man, you both have it easy? I had to promise my wife that I will remodel the kitchen for her."

They continue to play the hole when they realized that the fourth guy has not said a word. They asked him. "You haven't said anything about what you had to do to be able to play this weekend. What's the deal?"

Fourth Guy: "I just set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. When it went off, I shut off my alarm, gave the wife a nudge and said, 'Golf Course or Intercourse?' and she said, '"Wear your sweater."


Lean Manufacturing Techniques for Winners

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