In a couple of news items of note …
A guy by the name of Chuck Fellows is a candidate for the Michigan state senate. Among the issues that have Michigan voters agitated this year is some controversy over giving tax credits to the film industry. When asked for his thoughts on the matter, Fellows replied, "I want to see a cash flow statement and a value stream map of the process before taking a position. My ‘gut’ tells me it brings jobs and positive attention to the state." Now there are lots of consultants and employees working on lean in government, but this is the first time I have heard an elected official talking about value stream mapping a process to determine its effectiveness. It is not quite as remarkable as it might seem, however. Fellows has only been a politician for a couple of years, following 34 years in production management at Ford. Maybe we need to start sending more Ford folks to capitols.
I have noted a Wall Street Journal story a couple of times over the last year in which a young lady was none too happy to find out that P&G was putting the same shampoo they sold for $5 in a prettier bottle, hyping it up with their brand management voodoo as something marvelous, and selling it to her for $17. Since then, P&G has come out with a diaper innovation called Dry Max. Only it seems lots of mothers believe the chemistry in the diapers is bad and the Dry Max diapers are causing serious burns and rashes. True to form, P&G opted not to change the chemistry, trashing the young mothers as crackpots who know little about babies and diapers, and instead, came out with a designer series of Dry Max. Same diaper inside, but with stripes, plaids and ruffles on the outside – which they sell for $6 a box more. A more cynical observer than I might suggest that flaming rectums cloaked in designer wrappings fits P&G well. However I will leave it at saying P&G needs to learn from the lean world and start paying more attention to value and less to image.
Last Fall I wrote of the Ethnicity of Cows, suggesting that the cattle in Happy Cow ads from the California Milk Advisory Board ought to be from California, rather than New Zealand. Ms Jennifer Giambroni from that august group wrote an eloquent response to my post. The California State Assembly, however, isn't buying it and saw things my way. In May they overwhelming struck a blow for the rights of California bovine screen talent, and from here on out all of the cattle in the ads will have to actually be California cows.
Summoning all of the vision, courage and statesmanship which has become the hallmark of the US Congress, the House of Representatives passed major sections of the 'Make It In America' act the other day to do their part in bolstering American manufacturing. Nancy Pelosi's bill (1) says manufacturing's woes are all George Bush's fault, (2) says we need a strategy, (3) says clean energy is a good thing, (4) calls for establishing a commission to study the problem, (4) says we ought to put American flag logos on farm products, (5) says we should restudy the problem every four years, and (6) says the President should come up with a plan. All of American manufacturing can exhale, and certainly sleep better now that Congress has demonstrated such a clear sense of purpose and resolve to get us back on track.
That's it for now … enjoy the weekend