Not statistically significant does NOT mean insignificant | Rebecca A. Morgan | AME Target

“My fully-loaded 2012 Audi A6 had an intermittent frustrating problem since the day I bought it. No diagnostic codes indicated a problem. Escalation to German engineering had me ready to move back to Lexus. Their response was ‘it must not really be happening. Our codes would indicate if it were.’ That obnoxious response was based on the assumption they had thought of every cause of failure in developing the diagnostic codes. FMEA is not 100% and never will be. Do you have customer data that you’re not actively using to improve your product Four years after I first reported the issue, Audi issued an urgent safety recall for the problem that I had been experiencing. Why the delay?”

Sourced through AME Target

Michel Baudin‘s comments: I am sure many have had similar experiences to Becky’s with customer service in many companies. They tell you their product is used by millions and it’s the first time anyone reports this problem. You are probably using it wrong, or misreading its output,… This being said, it’s not really related to the concept of statistical significance.

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New Chart Junk: Squaring The Pie

The purpose of graphics for data visualization is communication, not decoration, which is often forgotten in publications as well as on company performance dashboards. A case in point is the chart on yesterday’s cover of the New York Times. It shows that solar energy currently accounts for more than twice as many jobs as coal. It also shows the numbers of jobs in different sectors and uses a color code to mark some as based on fossil fuels versus renewable and low-emission technologies. 

Until recently, most publications would have used a pie chart. Now, graphic artists have found a way to square the pie chart into yet another style that will most likely trickle down to slideware and office walls, in spite of a low data-to-ink ratio and the use of two-dimensional shapes to display one-dimensional data.

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An American Student In An iPhone Factory | Business Insider | Kif Leswing

 

“Imagine going to work at 7:30 every night and spending the next 12 hours, including meals and breaks, inside a factory where your only job is to insert a single screw into the back of a smartphone, repeating the task over and over and over again. During the day, you sleep in a shared dorm room, and in the evening, you wake up and start all over again.That’s the routine that Dejian Zeng experienced when he spent six weeks working at an iPhone factory near Shanghai, China, last summer. […]. Unlike many of those workers, Zeng did not need to do the job to earn a living. He’s a grad student at New York University, and he worked at the factory for his summer project.”

Sourced through Business Insider

Michel Baudin‘s comments: Thanks to my colleague Kevin Hop for sending me this rare peek into the life of the people who assemble iPhones by hand in Chinese factories each employing tens of thousands of workers. We need to keep in mind that this is the perspective of Dejian Zeng, an American student who was there for 6 weeks, not someone who works there for a living, but it is still informative.

While his account wouldn’t make anyone want to embrace iPhone assembly as a career choice, it’s not a horror story. The work is dull and repetitive, and there is too much of it, but it’s not described as dirty or dangerous. I have seen worse in poorly ventilated paint shops and machine shops with slippery floors, and not only in China.

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The role of your IT manager in your ERP replacement project | Tom Miller | ERP Focus

“Any ERP replacement project will need to have a team involved in selection and implementation of the ERP.  That team will have a project manager, an executive sponsor, several subject manager experts, one or more representatives from the ERP vendor, and, your IT manager.” (italics added)

Sourced through ERP Focus

Michel Baudin‘s comments: The notion of including a vendor rep in a team tasked with selecting an ERP product is interesting. To be fair, the article is about implementation — where it makes sense to involve the vendor — and the inclusion of selection in the opening sentence is most likely just sloppy editing. I hope no reader finds anything like it in my own writings.

#ERP

Japanese Rest Stops Won’t Keep You Waiting | Motoko Rich | New York Times [Clipping]

japan-bathrooms1-master768

“The kids are hungry, the driver has a headache and everyone has to go to the bathroom. If you’re traveling by car on a holiday weekend, the last thing you want to find at a roadside rest stop is a long line for a toilet. Companies that run major highway service plazas in Japan go to considerable lengths to ensure you never will, as they compete for the coveted Japan Toilet Award from the transportation ministry…”

Sourced through the New York Times

Michel Baudin‘s comments: When at airports or museums, you find the Men’s room readily accessible while there is a long line of women waiting on the other side, you cannot help but blame the architects for lack of respect for humanity. The buildings may look great, and may even excel at their primary function — getting passengers on and off airplanes, or giving access to cultural treasures — but they suck at details that are vital to the basic, physical comfort of their users.

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What a Plant Manager and Town Mayor Have In Common | Darrell Edwards | Industry Week

leadership-dictionary-page“If there is ever a time to discuss the similarities between plant leadership and politics, perhaps during an election year is as fitting a time as any.  Some time ago I was attending a class at Columbia University, and over a conversation at lunch with a professor, we discussed what a day in the life of a plant manager was like (I was a plant manager at the time).  After a bit of conversation about my typical day, the professor said, ‘It’s like you really are running for election as town mayor, aren’t you?'”

Sourced through from: Plant Manager/Town Mayor

Michel Baudin‘s comments:

In my presentation on the Lean Leadership Role of the Plant Manager at the Lean Leadership Summit last month, I used the ship captain as a metaphor, but the plant manager as town mayor is enlightening as well. The abstract of my talk was as follows:

The plant manager is like a ship captain, in daily contact with a team that may range from a handful to thousands of people, and accountable to an organization that is remote and has entrusted him or her with a valuable asset. The plant manager is the voice of top management to the plant and of the plant to top management, and represents the company to the local community. Of course, the plant manager must know how to pay bills on time and let maintenance use qualified technicians to fix forklifts, but there is more to the job, particularly about Lean leadership. The plant manager implements corporate policy but does not make it. If top management has adopted Lean, the plant managers can make it succeed or fail.

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Managing Complexities and Challenges of IIoT | Mary McDonald | Industry Week

Cable maze

“[…]When it comes to the manufacturing industry specifically, IoT is poised to make a tectonic shift in the industry. As manufacturing remains one of the larger economic drivers across the globe, one can anticipate that IoT is set to disrupt this important, interconnected global market.”

Sourced through Industry Week

Michel Baudin‘s comments:

In Manufacturing it is, perhaps, fitting that disruption by a largely wireless technology should be heralded with a picture of a 1990s vintage maze of cables. This article is part of an Industry Week special report about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), with informercials from suppliers like Dell and Intel, and articles about applications in various settings, including the GE case I reviewed earlier this week. I take the authors’ word about what this technology can do. The question in my mind is what Manufacturing will do, given its past unwillingness or inability to take advantage of available technology.

#IoT, #IIoT

Manufacturing’s Digital Revolution | Travis Hessman | Industry Week

GE's Jamie Miller

GE’s Jamie Miller

“The once distant and isolated worlds of OT and IT – of physical production and the software that drives it – has been on a steady, inevitable collision course for over a decade.  Today, with the help of sensors, powerful analytics, and the Internet of Things, those two sides of the manufacturing world are finally ready to merge. The result will be nothing short of a full-scale manufacturing revolution.”

 

Sourced through Industry Week

Michel Baudin‘s comments:

“OT,” as an acronym, is new to me. In this context, it stands for Operational Technology, and it differs from IT in that, instead of putting out words and pictures on screens for humans to read, it issues instructions to physical devices, like automatic machines, robots, or Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs). “OT” in this sense is so recent that,  google doesn’t know it, and spells it out as Occupational Therapy.

In her keynote presentation at the IndustryWeek Manufacturing & Technology Conference and Expo in Rosemont, IL, on May 4, GE’s Jamie Miller asserted that the OT/IT merger and the data-rich world of the Industrial Internet were the key drivers of changes in manufacturing for the next few years. But the obstacles to this merger, or even convergence, have been non-technical for decades. While the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) may be a real breakthrough, its absence was not the reason OT and IT have remained apart.

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Can Lean Manufacturing Put an End to Sweatshops? | G. Distelhorst | HBR

Can Lean Manufacturing Put an End to Sweatshops? | Greg Distelhorst | Harvard Business Review“Producers in less-developed countries compete by keeping costs low. Conventional wisdom holds that improving working conditions (which typically costs money)  would undermine the competitive advantage these firms enjoy. Our research suggests an alternative to this race to the bottom. It involves replacing traditional mass manufacturing with ‘lean manufacturing’ principles.”

Michel Baudin‘s comments:

In 2014, three academics from Oxford, Stanford and Brown researched the impact of Lean Manufacturing on working conditions in the Nike supply chain. The conclusions in the HBR article are less nuanced than in their original paper in Management Science, which concluded: “Using difference-in-differences estimates from a panel of over three hundred factories, we find that lean adoption was associated with a 15 percentage point reduction in noncompliance with labor standards that primarily reflect factory wage and work hour practices. However, we find a null effect on factory health and safety standards.”

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Death Of An Outstanding Plant Manager On EgyptAir flight MS804 | Bustle.com

Ahmed Helal, Plant Manager, hosting the Economy Minister

Ahmed Helal, Plant Manager, hosting the French Economy Minister on April 6, 2016

One of the passengers who died in the crash of EgyptAir flight MS804 was Ahmed Helal, the 40-year-old manager of a Procter & Gamble plant in Amiens, France. He was a Frenchman from Egypt, on his way to visit his father, and the outpouring of grief from his employees in the plant, his managers at corporate, the city council of Amiens and many elected officials clearly indicates that he was no ordinary plant manager.

The workers interviews on the French BFM TV network has this to say about him:

  • Worker 1: “Very, very close. It wasn’t just a handshake; it was an embrace. It always came from the heart. It started with ‘you are my family.’
  • Worker 2: “When we had something to ask of him, he was listening to everybody.”
  • Workers 3 and 4: “Always smiling, always listening to the employees. He did a lot for the employees, since he arrived, and for the plant too.”
  • Pascal Grimaud, union representative: “We are crushed. As a plant manager, he has brought us so much. Ahmed, for us, was a friend. He called us his family. He treated everybody the same. We are very sad. I can’t find the words. I was on the phone with him two hours before he took off. All the employees at the Amiens site, we are all orphans.”

The Vice President and General Manager of P&G for France and the Benelux, Christophe Duron expressed his sadness for the loss of Ahmed Helal, and said, “Ahmed wasn’t just a brilliant site director, Ahmed was above all an exceptional human being. He was the boss of the Amiens plant.”

Michel Baudin‘s comments:
I never met Ahmed Helal, and actually never heard of him in his lifetime, but I have had the privilege of working with plant managers who, like him, could successfully lead their work force, deliver for the company, and make the plant a valued corporate citizen in the local community.

See the story on Bustle.com