Supplier development in a lean age [the broken link was removed] by Rich Weissman
I get the impression from this and many other articles that people are scared to talk about any other aims than profit. Deming didn’t have such a problem. Toyota doesn’t have such a problem. Google doesn’t have such a problem [the broken link was removed].
Others need to learn that there are multiple aims for organizations not just profits but providing good jobs, serving customers, aiding community… Learn from the leaders – talking as though the only purpose of the organization is to make profit is counterproductive.
Supplier development is one of those areas that really seems to cause problems for those that try to adopt some management improvement ideas without understanding the system within which those ideas function. Without an deep understanding of long term thinking it is very difficult to truly partner with suppliers.
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There is a huge difference between academic articles and what is happening in the real world. There are significant differences between academics as to how purchasing and quality should manage their activities. Most academics do not discuss how to deal with the people issues – getting commitment to start or agreements on objectives.
There is even more variation in practice. Engineering consultants may provide training in specific tools, SPC and other quality approaches. Organisational development consultants by contrast focus on the people and organisational issues.
One thing to be aware off, although employees are ‘invited’ to work on the shop floor, they usually are asked if they spot something that could be done better to offer their suggestions. I spent 3 weeks in a scandinavian phone producer’s factory. Two others and myself offered 168 suggestions in the first week. I was asked how long I had worked for the company. 3 weeks I replied. ‘You know nothing about our company’ was the reply. My suggestion to you is that a quality company is not the statistical capability of the processes and low variation. It is, however, their ability to accept suggestions that are made, be courtious and review the suggestion without ‘yes, but’ – ‘I like it but it isn’t possible because…’ I am happy to work with any company, brand owner, supplier, competitor, etc, until I hear ‘yes, but’. If my suggestions aren’t listened to and evaluated logically, because they are offended (feelings), then I find an exit strategy.