Quality Control

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Opportunism Knocks

Complex supply chains with many agents are more prone to problems, and on occasion, to spectacular collapse. Examples from the last few years include the subprime mortgage crisis; the failure of the Peanut Corporation of America; and dioxin-contaminated Irish pork. Without a doubt, today’s complex supply chains are vulnerable to opportunistic behavior leading to sometimes catastrophic failure. But there are five steps managers can take to protect their companies.

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Free Article

New ideas from lean times

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 1 min 

Today's Wall Street Journal features an article that highlights a subtle but interesting difference in management style between Toyota Motor Corp. and Detroit's Big Three. Toyota in the U.S. currently finds itself with excess capacity for models such as pickup trucks.

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So You Think You Know Your Brand?

Are you battling imports and losing market share? Has your product become an “unplanned commodity” as your sales negotiations with customers more and more revolve around price rather than value? Is your marketing team launching new products that support your brand and differentiate your company in the marketplace? Do you

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What Quality Means Today

Early in our careers, when we worked for the General Electric Co. in Schenectady, New York, there was no road map for a young manager desperately trying to find ways to lead. One had to experiment, employing various mechanisms such as motivational sessions, inventory control, budgetary control and information management.

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Managing Corrosive Customers

A restaurant patron berates a waiter for delivering the wrong entrée. A traveler cuts in line at an airline ticket counter and demands immediate service. A manager refuses to gather the documentation an outside consultant needs to provide services. As these examples suggest, the obnoxious customer has many faces.

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Supply-Chain Culture Clash

Manufacturing practices popularized by the Japanese, such as total quality management and just-in-time procurement, have become the worldwide gold standard for producing high-quality products. One might expect the same to be true of Japanese methods of logistics management (planning and arranging the transport and storage of goods and materials).

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Improve Software Quality by Reusing Knowledge and Experience

THE APPROACHES FOR IMPROVING QUALITY IN MANUFACTURING PROCESSES DON’T WORK ESPECIALLY WELL FOR SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT. THE AUTHORS provide a quality improvement paradigm for the software industry that builds on manufacturing models but focuses on reused learning and experience by establishing “experience factories.” Their iterative process enables an organization to acquire core competencies to support its strategic capabilities.

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