— Manufacturing Industry Insights —

Should we kill this product line?

I hear it all the time.  We’re losing our tail on this product.  Should we kill it?  The question is well-intended, but often the analysis that leads to the answer is misguided.  Companies that rely on standard cost systems to understand product costs, which is the vast majority of manufacturers, can easily fall victim to…

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Jargon – Is it helping or hurting?

Jargon and acronyms fill the business world.  Lean has an entire vocabulary such as 5S, kaizen, Kanban, and hoshin kanri.  EOS™ uses terms like rocks and Level 10™. Then we can throw in the acronyms: DOH, OTD, DSO, PPM, TTM, CAGR, PM,  just to name a few. We could go through every department in a…

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When Goals Don’t Help, Change Your Habits

This weekend, I started reading a book about behavior change by James Clear called Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Early in the book, Clear comments on how frequently people and organizations try to achieve better results by goal setting, pegging this as the default approach…

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Changing Your Company Culture

Changing your company culture doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes our understanding of company culture can seem ethereal or intangible. I promise you it’s not that complex. Your company’s culture is the grand total of what you get when you add up behaviors that get rewarded and behaviors that get penalized. Some people believe that…

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Forming New Work Habits in Quarantine

Old habits are hard to break. When I was 40 years old, I had Lasik surgery on my eyes. After three decades of wearing glasses every day, I could suddenly see without them. But my old actions persisted. For six months after the surgery, I would go to bed and reach for my face to…

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Talent management during Covid-19: What should you be doing?

It seems strange now, but in 2019 the most pressing challenge for many manufacturers was talent management and the availability of qualified workers. Companies employed many strategies to hire and retain workers, including pay increases, referral bonuses, internal training programs, flexible schedules, relaxed hiring standards, and engagement with local high schools and vo-techs. We also…

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Why I Changed My Company Name

I started my consulting company two years ago under the name Pinpoint Advisory. After about a year, I changed the name to Rob Tracy Factory Solutions to better explain the focus of my services. I’ve now made a final change to Rob Tracy Consulting, and I’d like to explain why. When I unveiled “Factory Solutions”…

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Employee Morale in Tough Times: It’s Okay to Laugh

I recently had the opportunity to participate in an all-employee Zoom meeting while working with a client. Like many company meetings now, the discussion topics centered on the impact of the coronavirus. There were updates on the economic conditions, the impact to their industry, the government stimulus packages and the potential of layoffs. You would…

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How to Communicate Honestly in Turbulent Times

What we’re seeing today with the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything most of us have experienced before. This situation requires leaders to communicate frequently and honestly with their teams. People are thirsty to understand what is happening and how it affects them. Leaders are in the difficult position of not knowing what is going to…

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How to Prep your Company for Shelter-In-Place Orders

As COVID-19 continues to pose a serious threat to the health of people across the nation, almost all the states in our country are considering shelter-in-place orders. In fact, some have already implemented this containment strategy. We want to keep ourselves, loved ones, and neighbors safe; but for manufacturers a shelter-in-place order could create substantial…

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