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15 Best Practices of Successful Small and Medium-sized Businesses August 7, 2006

Posted by Tom in Media, Opinion, Research, Workforce.

Evolving Excellence has some fun with the National Association of Manufacturers/RSM McGladrey “The Future Success of Small and Medium Manufacturers” report. I looked it over and thought that it largely made sense:

  1. Stay in touch with customers
  2. Differentiate products and services
  3. Devote time and energy to marketing
  4. Go global
  5. Ensure your cost system is helping contain cost increases
  6. Look for a long-term relationship with a banker
  7. Invest at least 3 percent of payroll in training
  8. Explore how MEP experts can help you
  9. Appoint a majority of outsiders to your board of directors
  10. Develop a plan for management succession
  11. Monitor your company’s viability and competitiveness daily
  12. Weigh quantitative and qualitative factors when making capital investments
  13. Look for opportunities to delegate
  14. Speak out to government representatives
  15. Stay abreast of regulatory and policy developments

Notice #7 directly relates to workforce. And #13 can easily speak to the value of a strong workforce.

Perhaps I just need to understand the World of Lean better. Any opinions on the list?



1. George Perwell - August 8, 2006

The major reason why many small manufacturers in North America can and do compete effectively with even large manufacturers in Asia and elsewhere is because of lean. Lean focuses on process waste… identifying activities that are simply not needed. The savings resulting from lean are often orders of magnitude greater than the lower labor cost, materials pricing, regulatory impact, etc that offshore manufacturers use for competitive advantage. THis list continues NAM’s focus on those extraneous, albeit real, costs while ignoring the one major activity that could create true sustaining competitiveness for North American manufacturers. It is the same reason why GM and Ford can’t compete with Toyota with internal costs (even not counting additional union-driven labor costs) that are 20%+ that of Toyota’s plants in the U.S.. Instead of focusing inward, they try to “innovate” themselves out of the problem. It won’t work.

2. Tom - August 8, 2006

Fair enough – If I may summarize, Lean is focussed on controlling the controllable. The NAM list largely focusses on uncontrollable elements.

If that’s what you mean, I think you may be on to something.

I never said I was an expert in this field, and I appreciate the opportunity to learn more. Hopefully, those who are in the same boat as me are learning along the way as well.

Thanks for the feedback!

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