— Manufacturing Industry Insights —

The Manufacturing Leader – October Newsletter

In October 2020, I published the inaugural issue of “The Manufacturing Leader”, a newsletter aimed at small and mid-size manufacturers.  The newsletter is 4 pages long, with 4 articles, and it will take about 10 minutes to read.  Click the link below, and it will pop open in a PDF reader. The Manufacturing Leader –…

Read More...

Practice makes perfect, but I’ll settle for better

I’m reading the book “You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar” by David Sandler and David Mattison.  The book is mostly about sales, although I think it has lessons that extend beyond the selling profession.  At its core, the book is about the hard work of practice. I grew up…

Read More...

Planning is great, but budgeting???

It’s mid-October, and as I write this I’ve had an item on my to-do list for a month that says “Update 4th quarter plan”, and another that says, “Prepare 2021 plan”.  My brain tells me that I should do it, but I always seem to find something else that is supposedly more pressing to work…

Read More...

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…

Read More...
Bla-bla-bla

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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”…

Read More...