Updated: 9/30/08; 6:03:26 AM.
Gary Mintchell's Feed Forward
Manufacturing and Leadership.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

There were two major events for editors yesterday in addition to tons of sessions and the excellent keynotes. Wes and Dave from our staff attended the press conference on wireless where many (out too late last night/this morning to count yet) users who have implemented wireless solutions spoke. If you are not on the Automation World email list, you can view the report they wrote here later today.
I went to the expanded Management Track that was designed for attendees who needed to think at a "higher" organizational level about change and technology. Three very powerful speakers. Here's my report:

Where Ideas Become Solutions

A new conference track this year brought several speakers together to discuss ways to take ideas to solutions for your company. Sessions discussed using Lean Six Sigma to Uncover Opportunities, Building Advocacy and Presenting to Executive Management, and Deploying Technology and Managing Change as the speakers took attendees from idea to implementation.

Robert Crescenzi, vice president of business excellence, at NewPage Corp. in Miamisburg, Ohio, talked from experience as NewPage has implemented Lean Six Sigma over the past two years under his guidance. The companyâo[dot accent]s senior executives were firmly behind the initiative and funded his office to get things started. Once black belts and green belts were trained and projects implemented, individual plant controllers (accountants) absorbed the cost of the project team. Asked if they balked at the cost, Crescenzi replied that the typical project has such a significant payback that the plants are happy to stand the cost.

To start a program, there must be top management support. Then you must find the best people, equip them with the correct tools and have some who are dedicated to Lean Six Sigma full time. Other lessons learned over the course of implementation include investing in a solid infrastructure with full-time dedicated resources. Aligning LSS projects with the companyâo[dot accent]s strategic initiatives. The company and project members cannot view this as extra work. Donâo[dot accent]t be a slave to methodology--use Lean where it makes sense, Six Sigma where it does. Focus on areas that yield quick results and communicate extensively.

Building advocacy

Once you have the idea, you must sell it to management. John Daly, Liddell Professor in the College of Communication, Distinguished Teaching Professor, Texas Commerce Bancshares Professor of Management and a Professor in Pharmacy at the University of Texas, Austin, energized the crowd with many ideas in rapid succession. You need to look at the issues that your executives face and address them. When you address your ideas and the company's position in the market you must know the "must" issues, "should" issues and "nice to have" issues it faces. "If you can't distinguish among them, you'll never get funding."

You also need to know the difference among different people you will encounter and how to deal with them. "Cynics are like quicksand, you struggle and you drown," Daly noted. You need either to exercise power over them or work around them. Naive followers need to be educated and involved. Cheerleaders need to be loved. Adversaries must be informed with data and persuaded.

His last two tidbits were to know whatâo[dot accent]s in it for your target and to learn to label your ideas persuasively.


John Minerich, president and CEO of Minerich Inc. and affiliated with the Oliver Wight Consulting Group discussed implementing that great idea after you sell it. It is important to link change to the strategic objectives of the company. Integration is more important with people than with technology.  Data integrity is critical, so assure the accuracy of your information.

6:03:24 AM    comment []

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