Operations

Winning With Open Process Innovation

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 11 min 

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.

Business Needs a Safety Net

As the effects of climate change become more prominent, business needs to grapple with its own attitudes toward government. A more destructive physical environment requires a more nuanced relationship in which government is viewed as a partner in enabling and supporting markets rather than as a regulator that needs to be managed.

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Digital Audits as a Tactical and Strategic Management Resource

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 6 min 

New factory audit processes help companies that outsource production to evaluate supplier performance in more depth, leading to more effective decision-making. Three key issues that hamper modern auditing — standardization, cost inflation, and fraud — are being mitigated by new systems that automate the inspection process while tailoring it to specific inputs. The result: analytical capabilities that go beyond the classic audit model.

The Project Management Tool You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 4 min 

Usually only marketing teams think about brand building. But the branding process can also be used internally by project managers to build excitement for projects among staff. Project managers who want to be in a stronger position to achieve their goals should adopt the principles of traditional brand management — such as developing a strong pitch and taking advantage of a project’s natural attributes to generate enthusiasm among the people working on it.

Five Rules for Managing Large, Complex Projects

Large-scale, long-term projects are notoriously difficult to manage. But recent research on megaprojects — defined as projects costing more than $1 billion — reveals five lessons that can help executives manage any big, complex project more effectively.

Big Data and IT Talent Drive Improved Patient Outcomes at Schumacher Clinical Partners

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 8 min 

Changing consumer expectations, new regulations, and an influx of patient data has created a perfect storm for health care organizations like Schumacher Clinical Partners to rethink how they leverage digital tools to better serve their patients and providers.

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Cultivating a Culture of Cross-Functional Teaming and Learning at CarMax

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 6 min 

The days when buying a used car meant “kicking the tires” and wading through a hard sales pitch are gone. With customer expectations evolving in a rapidly changing digital environment, digital dealership CarMax’s product development teams are “all about developing customer-facing and associate-enabling technologies,” says CIO Shamim Mohammad — but the focus is on the teamwork, not the tech.

Sustainable Procurement Requires Perseverance

Your company’s commitment to sustainability depends on finding sustainable suppliers. What if there aren’t any? Such situations may arise more often than not — so keeping your commitment to a sustainable supply chain may mean taking a long view by making incremental improvements and encouraging suppliers to examine and change their own practices.

Faster Results From Supply Chain Analytics

  • Opinion & Analysis

In this webinar, MIT SMR authors Melissa Bowers, Adam Petrie, and Mary Holcomb discuss the phases of Analytics Insight Cycle Times, present case studies for actual success, and steps supply chain executives can take to reduce cycle times and to ultimately make supply chain analytics a transformational and competitive resource in their organizations.

Your Time Is Limited, So Choose Your Projects Wisely

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

Making the right decision about which projects and partnerships to enter into seems like it should be easy. But it often isn’t. Being smart about where you devote your resources — your personal time, energy, and finances, as well as those of your organization — means being smart about not just time management, but about choice management. That means being proactive and disciplined about asking why you think a project is a good fit. It also means paying attention to your inner skeptic.

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Supply Chains Built for Speed and Customization

Thanks to emerging technologies like 3-D printing, manufacturers can offer consumers customized products and do so with unprecedented speed. Intrigued by a new product you saw in a YouTube video? Well, someday soon you may be able to personalize it, order it via the company’s website, and have it in your hands in a matter of days. But to enable this phenomenon at scale, an entirely new model of supply chain is required.

Why China Is the World’s Innovation Role Model

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

There’s a lot of talk of trade tensions between the U.S. and China, but there’s another way to think about China: as an innovation role model. “Anybody involved in international business needs to treat China not just as a place to sell, but also as a place to learn,” wrote Edward S. Steinfeld and Troels Beltoft in MIT Sloan Management Review in 2014. China, they argued, is “becoming the best place to go if you want to learn how to make ideas commercially viable.” Three years later, this is truer than ever.

The Big Squeeze: How Compression Threatens Old Industries

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 16 min 

Accelerating compression of both revenues and profits may rapidly prove fatal to traditional businesses. Consider the accelerating decline of voice calls as a means of communicating via mobile telephone: From 2013 to 2015, average mobile voice revenue per user declined globally by 19%, and a further decline of 26% is expected through 2020. To stave off disaster, incumbents must transform and renew their core operations — while also growing into new businesses and industries.

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