Executing A Configurable Product Strategy

June 22, 2015

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If your company manufacturers capital equipment or systems, I’d like you to pause for a moment and seriously consider how easy it is to:

  • Create a quote
  • Book a clean order
  • Plan the materials for an order
  • Build the order
  • Install the order
  • Support the order
  • Know that the order will be profitable

For most companies, there is a big need for improvement. Is your company in that situation?

Do you need help making the complex simple? I can help you with this.

Photo Credit: Alison Christine, Flickr.com

Thought for the week:

“Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I will learn.” – Confucius
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Golden State Warriors & Competitive Advantage

June 15, 2015

Fishing Village on Bosphorus River near Istanbul

I’ve never been a basketball fan.

40 years ago, I had an MBA professor who was a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors: Roger Smith, a banking executive. He cancelled classes so he could follow this “rare” opportunity in the NBA playoffs and finals. Roger was correct–it has been rare.

NBA basketball is a great metaphor for business in that teams must focus on seizing competitive advantage in real time. A team can’t wait until the next game, the next quarter or the next time out to make critical adjustments. Seemingly small changes can have a major impact on the outcome of a game.

Many businesses display little sense of urgency for making adjustments to seize competitive advantage even when they know they aren’t executing wel. Next week, next quarter, next year are “good enough.” Not!

What if businesses played more in real time? What kind of engagement would that require of the employees? What level of engagement with customers might that mean?

Thought for the week:

“If you can’t feel blessed for what you already have, why spend your time chasing after what you don’t have? Because, when you do finally get what you don’t have, you are just feeding the never-ending quest for more without taking into account all the things that you already have and building a lifestyle and mindset of gratefulness.” – Rajesh Setty, Gratitude–Grow & Change Your World One Thank You At A Time
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Enterprise Application Deployments–Making The Complex Simple

June 8, 2015

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As we know, it’s not easy making the complex simple. Consider implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The new system is likely to be at least an order of magnitude or two more complex than the current system making it harder to create efficiencies and have strong adoption.

While the application experts have a strong familiarity with the tool, its definitions and its inner workings, at the end of the day, the people who will rely on the system day in and day out to do their jobs don’t have the benefit of years of experience. They are more like “deer in the headlights.”

And, all too many application project schedules leave little time before go-live to acquaint the users with all that they need to know to do their jobs seamlessly and effortlessly. How long will it take for users to achieve unconscious competence with the new application?

If your focus is making the complex simple, crossing the chasm between the current system and the new system must be a very high priority. Yet, most application implementations leave end users frustrated, dazed and confused creating a bad impression that’s hard to overcome.

At the point of go-live, you want the team energized, not frustrated, dazed and confused. Criteria need to be established not only for application readiness but business team readiness to use the application at the point of go-live. Someone needs to focus on the people who have real jobs to perform.

Thought for the week:

“It’s time to engage more thoughtfully about our planet.” – Heard through Infosys on Twitter
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Remembering Hank 1999 to 2015

June 3, 2015

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Our beloved Cocker Spaniel, Hank, died at 15.5+ years of age on June 1st. Nancy and I knew how fortunate we were to have him with us every day of his life. As he got older, we knew every day was a bonus day.

We want you to know about him and his magnificence:

• Hank wasn’t a dog—he was our puppy son. We built our life around him not because we had to, but, because we wanted to. He needed us; we needed him.

• Hank had many nicknames, the most common of which are Hanker, Hanker Dude, Mr. Hank, and Zen Man.

• Hank was a quiet, gentle being. His sister, Gracie, a Bichon Frise, who I wrote about when she passed, was a bit more of an alpha—a bit more assertive and protective of us than Hank. Hank earned the nickname “Zen Man” for his quiet demeanor. After Gracie died, whenever Hank would encounter another dog he would simply wag his tail and prepare for engagement.

• He snuggled with us with us every night since 2005 when Hank and Gracie finally wormed their way into our bed. It was easy for him as he had the middle of our king-sized bed while I prayed not to fall off the bed nearly every night given the very few inches of space he allocated to me.

• Hank loved people and dogs. Hank was the “mayor” of our community, greeting everyone he could. He always seemed a bit disappointed when he encountered no people or dogs on his walk. When someone wouldn’t acknowledge him when they saw him that, too, seemed to disappoint him a bit.

• Hank taught children how to be around dogs. He would stand quietly as we taught children how to approach a dog they are not familiar with and how to pet a dog. This was particularly important for children whose parents had come from India or Asia and lacked experience with dogs. The kids loved Hank, their rock star. The kids would flock to Hank just like paparazzi to a movie star. Unlike most movie stars, the adulation didn’t negatively impact Hank’s ego.

• Hank’s hobby was watching Nancy cook. He always hoped to score food which he did. He wasn’t a picky eater. He loved sliced apples. And, puppy treats. If Hank had a nickname for me, it was probably “The Treat Guy.”

• We have always been blessed with great veterinary care. When we got Hank to the vet to be euthanized, his puppy chiropractor, Dr. Deb Sell, (who Hank loved because she made him feel good), was in the office. She turned this somber occasion into a party for Hank. She gave him a number of treats and suggested that we feed him soft, canned dog food to distract him from the process and activity. Dr. Lim of Kirkwood Animal Hospital liberated Hank from his tired body in an amazingly smooth and compassionate process. The experience could not have been better for Hank. We are so grateful for the ease and grace that Hank was able to experience in his final minutes.

Our home is as empty as our hearts at the moment without Hank. We’ll get through this. Our puppies are our kids. They teach us about unconditional love, open our hearts and bring us tremendous joy.

Dave’s mentor, Alan Weiss, wrote in his book Thrive that he thought perhaps God made one mistake in that dogs have a relatively short life compared to ours. He’s right.

We miss Hank. God, you have your puppy back. Thank you for your gift to us. We entrust him in your care until we can be reunited. We have nothing but gratitude for Hank.

Nancy and Dave Gardner


Investing In Employee Growth

May 18, 2015

 

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This story or its variations have been shared many times:

CFO: What if we invest in our employees and they leave?

CEO: What if we don’t invest in them and they stay?

In a Fast Company article I wrote called How Much Experience Do You Have?, I offered the following story:

Our CEO offered, “Someone who repeats the same year of their life fifteen times doesn’t have 15 years of experience; they have one year of experience repeated fifteen times.” That thought really stuck with me. We had a lot of people that fit that bill. What are leaders facing?

A business is either evolving or dying. The people within the business are either growing or dying. What are you doing to ensure your people are growing?

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee, Flickr

Thought for the week:

“Only 3% of the Earth’s water is fresh water. 97% of the water on Earth is salt water.” – Heard through @AquaiWater on Twitter
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Process Improvement Opportunities Are Everywhere

May 11, 2015

 

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NBC11 Bay Area TV news showed an investigative report revealing one building at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, a hospital, routinely calls 9-1-1 to get assistance to move patients from one building on the campus to the emergency room on the same campus.

The 9-1-1 call gets a fire truck and an ambulance dispatched to the campus to pick up the patient and transport to the ER. Each call ties these crews up for probably 30 minutes and makes them unavailable for other emergencies.

What’s remarkable is there is an underground passageway connecting the 2 buildings that are about the length of a football field apart. It takes longer to get the emergency medical system response activated than it would to wheel the patient to the ER in a wheelchair or on a gurney.

The head of medicine at Valley Medical Center said he was unaware of the practice and would look into it.

Executives can’t address issues they aren’t aware of. When something doesn’t make sense, the best practice is to raise the issue to a member of the leadership team, not simply shake your head in disbelief.

Photo Credit: Flickr, Christiaan Triebert

Thought for the week:

“Out of clutter find simplicity. From discord find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Collaborative Partners Speed Go-to-Market

May 4, 2015

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I attended the grand opening of Jabil’s new Silicon Valley Blue Sky Center. As CEO Mark Mondello offered,

“The Jabil Blue Sky Center is a hands-on showcase of our broad range of world-class capabilities. We’re working with customers who have innovative new product ideas and our Blue Sky Center is where we turn dreams and ideas into reality.”

Jabil has evolved tremendously from the company I knew in the 1990’s that made printed circuit board and cable assemblies as a sub-contract manufacturer.

Today, Jabil is a $20 billion company with 180,000 employees working in 90 different locations in 24 countries across the globe.

Jabil understands that it is important to engage with large clients during the ideation phase of new product development. Customers validated the critical relationship they enjoy with Jabil. One of their large customers said they do business with Jabil due to the Jabil culture. Jabil is more than a vendor–they are a partner in their customer’s success.

How important is it to have partners? A recent study commissioned by Jabil uncovered that 50% of new product ideas are abandoned due to the inability of a company to execute a new product strategy. This isn’t a noise-level problem. A partner like Jabil can help entrepreneurs and large companies alike develop, ramp and scale.

What are the critical trends that are driving today’s markets?

  • Personalization
  • Customization
  • Differentiation
  • Risk of customer satisfaction is in execution

The Blue Sky Center will enable current and future customers to explore and realize innovation across the full life cycle of new products. Of course, a big part of Jabil’s future is supporting the Internet of Things or IoT. The Blue Sky Center will enable companies to prototype new products and capabilities.

Is your company leaving money on the table by thinking you can’t do it all? Perhaps you can do more for your customers and yourself. You may be one partner away from seizing competitive advantage you heretofore could not imagine.

Thought for the week:

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


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