Industrial Management - November/December 2012

Contributors in this issueIndustrial Management - November/December 2012

Reel in that lost, cold case customer 
By Dan Carrison
Television dramas and films portraying detectives who solve a “cold case” years or decades after the crime are quite popular today. After all, we all like to see justice served, no matter how long ago the criminal act occurred. But what about those long-lost customers? The ones who fled long ago into the arms of other partners? Changing times, new circumstances and new market realities could offer you plenty of reasons to resume your pursuit of former clients.

By the Society for Engineering and Management Systems Board
Chun-yu Lin and Gul E. Okudan Kremer apply a dynamic state variable model to multigenerational product lines, while Lukasz Mazur unveils a panel of experts who help steer solid content to the society’s website.

People matter most
By Daniel Spindelndreier, Frank Lesmeister and Robert Schmitt
Manufacturers continue the sometimes elusive and always never-ending quest for quality. Many have adopted the typical programs for continual improvement, such as lean and Six Sigma. Despite big improvements, quality problems and recalls still happen. A recent research collaboration between The Boston Consulting Group and the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering at RWTH Aachen University yielded a four-stage process to move companies upward on the quality curve. The key, at every stage, is people.

The dog did not eat your homework 
By Joe Dwyer
The old excuse that the dog ate my homework usually doesn’t work in high-pressure corporate and business settings. And the saying itself discounts what mankind’s canine friends can teach us about how to conduct ourselves in life and at work. Taking in lessons from the habits of dogs can help usher in an age of accountability when you’re managing, training or coaching in the industrial world.

Does planning require a crystal ball?
By Timothy F. Bednarz
Planning for the future need not be magic. Reviewing your organization’s past performance, resource utilization and financial performance can give you the data necessary to make the right assumptions. Applying critical thinking to that data, along with eliminating bias and accounting for changing conditions, can yield the right roadmap.

Three prongs to manage meetings
By Donald L. Caruth and Gail D. Caruth

The late management guru Peter Drucker said, “Meetings are a symptom of bad organization. The fewer meetings the better.” Unfortunately, some meetings are necessary. However, by following a checklist of things to accomplish before, during and after the meeting, you can shorten their timeframe and even eliminate unnecessary gatherings.