Business Process Optimization

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Following the Digital Thread: Revolutionizing Supply Chains

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  • Read Time: 2 min 

In Part 1 of our eight-part video series, we explore the real power of the digital thread, which lies not just in a “cradle-to-grave” virtual rendering of the manufacturing process, but also in the possibility of taking the lessons learned from analyzing product performance and applying them to future generations of the manufacturing process and product design.

Winning With Open Process Innovation

Managers in manufacturing companies often keep process innovation activities tightly under wraps. Some companies have good reasons for keeping process innovations concealed. However, the authors’ research suggests that for most manufacturers, such defensiveness deprives companies of a valuable source of ideas for productivity improvement. Many manufacturers, they argue, can benefit from sharing process innovations rather than keeping them secret.

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Your Company Doesn’t Need a Digital Strategy

As sexy as it is to speculate about new technologies such as AI, robots, and the internet of things, the focus on technology can steer the conversation in a dangerous direction. Because when it comes to digital transformation, digital is not the answer. Transformation is. In various industries, including banking, paint, and shipbuilding, digital leaders are finding that technology’s value comes from doing business differently because technology makes it possible.

When Jobs Become Commodities

Most of us view our jobs as specialized or somehow differentiated, but the world of business and management increasingly feels otherwise. For many organizations today, the next big driver of job commoditization is automation driven by smart machines. Simply put, if a job is viewed as a commodity, it won’t be long before it’s automated. The key for workers whose jobs have traditionally seemed safe: Highlight the tasks that require a human touch.

The Fundamental Flaw in AI Implementation

Many managers are excited about smart machines but are struggling to apply machines’ limited intelligence. Indeed, computers can process data just fine, but to generate competitive advantage from machine learning applications, organizations must upgrade their employees’ skills. Companies will also need to redesign employee accountabilities to empower and motivate them to deploy smart machines when doing so will enhance outcomes.

Participant Questions From the Recent Data and Analytics Webinar: Round 2

On March 15, 2017, MIT SMR held a webinar to share insights from our report, “Analytics as a Source of Business Innovation.” Many participants asked questions during the webinar that we didn’t have time for, so we decided to answer them in blog format instead. This post is the second set of responses.

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Questions and Answers About Analytics as a Source of Business Innovation

On March 15, 2017, MIT SMR held a webinar to share insights from our report, “Analytics as a Source of Business Innovation,” which summarizes our findings about the increased ability to innovate with analytics and its benefits across industries. Many participants asked questions during the webinar that we didn’t have time for, so we’ll answer some of them in blog format instead.

Saving Money Through Structured Problem-Solving

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

As busy as they are, leaders need to find ways to observe fundamental work processes in their organizations. When they do, they usually discover that there are gaps between theory and reality in how works get done. Michael Morales’ experience — in which identifying and addressing such gaps led to his company saving $50,000 in just 60 days — is a case in point.

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How to Monetize Your Data

Companies can monetize their data by improving internal business processes and decisions, wrapping information around core products and services, and selling information offerings to new and existing markets. Adopting any of these approaches, however, requires management commitment to specific organizational changes and targeted technology and data management upgrades.

Taking a Value-Chain Perspective on Innovation

Market leaders have many advantages when adopting new technologies such as e-business, but they don’t always make the move. Why? It’s partly because new technology can be leveraged along a chain of related companies only if business partners also make the leap to adopt these changes. And research reveals that when large companies are significantly concerned about customer adjustment costs of new innovations, these powerful and otherwise highly capable organizations often resist change.

Building a Better Car Company With Analytics

Using data and analytics to understand the complexities of modern business has become not only common, but essential. Gahl Berkooz joined Ford Motor Co. in 2004, eventually becoming head of data and governance and a member of the company’s global data insights and analytics skill team. Berkooz became acutely aware of how important analytics is to the company’s ability to thrive in the global marketplace. “What it boils down to,” he told MIT SMR’s Michael Fitzgerald, “is that we know how to make decisions. It’s about finding the opportunities to bring data and analytics to make better decisions.”

Tech Savvy: February 26, 2016

Peter Drucker defined the work of business leaders by three principal tasks: delivering financial results, making work and workers productive, and managing a company’s social impacts. Technological advances have transformed — and continue to transform — the world in myriad ways since Drucker published that definition in 1974. But technology hasn’t changed Drucker’s tasks. Instead, it is giving rise to new and better ways of executing them. This new column aims to help you identify big ideas and new tactics at the intersection of technology and management.

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