Industrial Management - September/October 2012

Contributors in this issueIndustrial Management - September/October 2012

The benefits of cross-training 
By Dan Carrison
Your business might not operate in a war zone where key employees get sent to the front unexpectedly and overnight. But we all depend on those with intimate knowledge of our cranky systems, people who can get sick, have a family emergency or take a post with another organization. Cross-training helps us fill that breech seamlessly.

By the Society for Engineering and Management Systems Board
President Jennifer Farris talks about SEMS’ new International Committee and its plans for global outreach. Alexandra Medina-Borja discusses how designing complex service systems differs from traditional manufacturing.

The five Ws of team communication
By Sara McComb, Alison Schroeder, Deanna Kennedy and Ralitza Vozdolska
Communication dramatically influences a team’s overall performance. With the ever-increasing amount of communication media available, team members easily can become overwhelmed and engage in inefficient, ineffective communication techniques. Our research provides insights about who is responsible for team communication, what information must be communicated, where it is best communicated, when it is most appropriately communicated and why this entire process must be considered.

Internet retailers get revved up 
By Shashank Rao
Online retailing is a different world compared to its brick-and-mortar competitors. So it would make sense that managing operations and the supply chain for Web-based businesses would entail different processes. A summary of recent research offers Internet retailers clues on how to survive and thrive.

The elusive next level
By Stephen C. Harper and Thomas W. Porter
Leaders often talk about taking their companies to the next level. Yet most leaders cannot state specifically what the next level is and/or how to get there. Various factors need to be incorporated into the process for identifying the next level and figuring out how to achieve it, including the length of time horizon, degree of stretch, sense of urgency, the right metrics, systems and effective implementation. An often-missed step is to discontinue what you are doing now.

Problem appraisal systems
By Jesse W. Brogan

Management and employees both recognize the need for some type of performance appraisal system, but most despise the present approach. Contract-based performance management could replace these problematic processes with immediate and more effective feedback for supervisor and employee alike.

Flowing toward business growth
By Kevin J. Duggan

To grow exponentially, an organization’s managers and operations staff must, in some way, be freed from operations. Using kaizens to set up and design operations so employees can handle the processes and fix abnormal flow can do just that.