Can Lean Manufacturing Put an End to Sweatshops?

Harvard Business

It involves replacing traditional mass manufacturing with “lean manufacturing” principles. Over the last thirty years, the lean approach — developed by Japanese automakers — has permeated the manufacturing sector in developed countries, but is much less commonly used in the developing world. In addition to improved product quality and delivery times, the lean approach has been linked to improved terms of employment.

B-Schools Aren’t Bothering to Produce HR Experts

Harvard Business Review

In the 1980s, our organizations learned a great deal about how to improve productivity, quality, and costs from Japanese practices. Lean production , which includes a vastly expanded role for front-line workers in addressing problems, was brought to the United States by Toyota in its auto plants but has now spread to health care, professional services, and virtually every other industry. A few decades ago, U.S.

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Innovating the Toyota, and YouTube, Way

Harvard Business Review

By sheer happenstance, I had just gotten a copy of Gemba Walks , a collection of essays by James Womack , a co-author of the automotive classic The Machine That Changed The World and a pioneering importer of Toyota-inspired lean production insights and methodologies to America. The more deeply Jim's essays discussed the nature of supplier relationships, work-flow and value creation in lean enterprise, the keener the connection with YouTube's Space.

A Brief History of the Ways Companies Compete

Harvard Business Review

This was the original purpose of forming corporations — to facilitate the production of products and services with the least amount of wasted time, materials, and labor. Many companies still compete this way and there continue to be successors to Taylorism, including business process reengineering and lean production. Many attributed Japan’s economic ascension after WWII to dramatically increasing the quality of its products.

Please, Can We All Just Stop "Innovating"?

Harvard Business Review

There's something about the culture of business that tends toward excess — in financial markets, to be sure, but also in the "market" for new ideas and management techniques. As they unleash new products and services, find exciting new ways to do the stuff they've always done, or identify new markets in which to do business, these companies simply do what makes sense and what comes naturally.

India’s Secret to Low-Cost Health Care

Harvard Business Review

costs by using practices commonly associated with mass production and lean production. Moreover, when hospitals consolidate, the motive often is to increase market power vis-à-vis insurance companies, rather than to lower costs by creating a hub-and-spoke structure. A renowned Indian heart surgeon is currently building a 2,000-bed, internationally accredited “health city” in the Cayman Islands, a short flight from the U.S.

Stop Trying to Predict Which New Products Will Succeed

Harvard Business Review

When is it possible to predict a product’s success? How you answer this question may be the most important factor in how you design your product development process — and, ultimately, in whether your business succeeds or fails. Is market performance predictable for a specific product or class of products? Outcomes will usually be much worse than predicted, and we will waste design, production, and distribution resources. Product development

How Economists Got Income Inequality Wrong

Harvard Business Review

It says that markets determine wages, and any social or political tampering just creates inefficiency. In his best-selling textbook Economics , even the progressive economist Paul Samuelson announced as an undisputable verity that social efforts to equalize income such as minimum-wage laws or union bargaining just kill jobs, while "a labor market characterized by perfectly flexible wages cannot underproduce or have involuntary unemployment." Does production really work this way?

Founding a Company Doesn’t Have to be a Big Career Risk

Harvard Business Review

The most important way to mitigate risk is to become excellent at either engineering, product, selling, or operations and management. One option is to build expertise before founding a company: ask VCs and others in the startup community to recommend the most competent people they know — heads of engineering, sales, product, and operations — and look for a job working directly under them. “I’m so glad we read that case — I’m NEVER going to start a company.”.

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The Coherent Conglomerate

Harvard Business Review

2 in its market; he also insisted that every business provide value no competitor could match, and that they all should be able to gain leverage from GE's distinctive strength in complex, engineering-intensive industrial enterprises — or they wouldn't fit. A conglomerate, by definition, is a large corporation with diversified product lines , owned and run by the same management. We have seen the market penalize that approach.

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Breaking the Death Grip of Legacy Technologies

Harvard Business Review

Technologies like 3-D printing, robotics, advanced motion controls, and new methods for continuous manufacturing hold great potential for improving how companies design and build products to better serve customers. Robotics is a good example: It’s obvious that it can increase productivity, but it takes some know-how to put robots to work. Managers constantly try to fit new market needs to existing processes and routines.

Cracking Hierarchies In Japan After the Tohoku Earthquake

Harvard Business Review

Japan is famous for its lean production systems and efficient supply chains. Large companies such as Toyota and Sony were forced to halt production not because of damage to their own factories, which were quickly checked and ready to go back online, but because they were dependent on a small number of parts from suppliers in Tohoku. I returned to Tokyo from Kansai late last week, burdened with about 20 liters of water.

What You Won’t Hear About Trade and Manufacturing on the Campaign Trail

Harvard Business

They ignore the realities of how global manufacturing now works — how it has evolved into a complex network of interlinked factories that together build many of the products sold today. That is true at a high level — Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (and subsequent amendments) required every imported product to be “conspicuously and indelibly marked in English to indicate to the ultimate purchaser its country of origin, so we can see this plainly on store shelves.