Lots of interesting tidbits to share this week, so let's get on with it …
Gluttons for Punishment
Jim Huntzinger and Dwayne Butcher have an unusual approach to business. They develop products nobody wants, then go out and drag customers in kicking and screaming and try to get them to buy in. Six years ago they took this curious model to the accounting community and launched the first Lean Accounting Summit. Predictably, few attended, but that has changed and now it is an annual event that draws huge crowds.
Now, with Linn Asbury joining this odd team, they have come to the conclusion that Lean Accounting is too easy, so they looked around for a group hiding behind even thicker silo walls and less interested in lean. Hence, the first Lean Sales & Marketing Summit. Safe bet attendance will be light this first year … safer bet everyone will be flocking to it in a couple of years because these guys are actually not as dumb as they seem. They are actually true visionaries who push the boundaries of lean thinking.
You ought to think about getting in on the ground floor
PMS is Temporary, but Stupid is Forever
New Zealand is really a forward thinking place with a lot of forward thinking people, doing a lot of good lean things. That makes it rather hard to understand how a guy named Alasdair Thompson got to be chief executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association. He did, however, and made employers and manufacturers everywhere look like raving idiots when he explained that women are less productive than men "Because, ah, you know, once a month they have sick problems." To paraphrase Winston Churchill, whether it affects their work or not, women soon enough get over their "sick problems", but it seems Alasdair is fated to be stupid for the rest of his life.
Nice Work Sun Devils
Arizona State University runs a first class supply chain management program in no small part due to the work of Bill Verdini who is the chair of the Supply Chain Management department in the Carey Business School at ASU. Bill steered me to a series of videos they created for undergraduate students to help them understand some of the basics of supply chains and manufacturing.
The videos are too elementary for Evolving Excellence readers, but they would make for powerful training tools for entry level manufacturing and supply chain folks. You should give them a look.
Lookin' In All the Wrong Places
Eric Spiegel, an executive for Siemens, says of US workers, "There’s a mismatch between the jobs that are available, at least in our portfolio, and the people that we see out there. There is a shortage of workers with the right skills."
In 2007 Siemens was hit with a $600 million fine for price fixing in the EU, paid $1.3 billion in fines in 2008 for a pattern of bribery over a six or seven year period, is under scrutiny for their contribution to Iran's crack down on its populace in 2009, is currently under investigation for bribery in Kuwait, and is under indictment for bribery in Argentina.
It seems to me that Mr. Spiegel must be looking in the wrong places. The US has no shortage of very capable con artists, bag men, swindlers, forgers and thugs of all types. I recommend Siemens set up their hiring office across the street from where the penitentiaries release folks on parole and they will have more luck in finding people with the "right skills" for Siemens' "portfolio".