Monday, November 28, 2011

Looking to the Outside for a Better Mousetrap

Many manufactures and for that matter companies in general have a hard time identifying with others good practices or using better technologies that was not "created here." Don't get me wrong from a change management, implementation, and adoption stand point things that are created or discovered from within can get great marks and a good return on investment. The problem is when your organization is so dead set on internal creation that you miss better technologies or lower cost solutions that could deliver the same results. For example, if you are developing a production down time tracking system, you could have your local Microsoft Access wiz build an application to collect the data and report out the metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) but after you implement that system who will maintain it, update it, and who will support it when it does not work quite right with new equipment. This is an example of where a readily available tool that could be bought right off the shelf at a lower total life cycle cost, but if you never look outside you would not know it is there. Another example is centered around benchmarking. I see so many, who participate in benchmarking, limit themselves to just "their industry." They either do not have any idea what other industries are doing or think it is just "too different." I see this blight in certain industry segments where sites talk about how good they are compared to sister plants. Unfortunately, when you take a deeper look you realize they may be better than the sister plants but they are still underrated when compared to world class facilities from other verticals or my father says " they are the best of a sorry lot." Don't limit your performance by locking yourself in an artificial box. Look outside and use what works where it makes since and remember just because it is different does not mean it will not work for you. 

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