By Martin Cloake, CEO & Founder, Raven.ai One of the best things about the time I spent in my early career, working at a mid-sized manufacturing plant, was how simple it was to get things done. Once plant leadership and the operators were on board with a plan, the only thing holding me back was…

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Automatic Bread Slicer

By Paul Neblock, Apex Management Partners Many manufacturers are starting to turn to automation to address increasing competition and a lack of skilled production workers.  COVID and retiring Baby Boomers have exacerbated the labor shortage and made a more urgent issue. Most manufacturers do not have an automation strategy.  This gap in planning results in…

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Strategy Binder

By Rob Tracy, Founder of Rob Tracy Consulting 2020 is in the books, and the deployment of a vaccine has begun. We have spent much of the last year rolling with the punches. Some organizations faced precipitous drops in volume, while others struggled to keep up with demand. We were reactionary, responding to the changes…

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Charts illustrating analysis for customer profitability

By Rob Tracy, Founder of Rob Tracy Consulting In a moment of frustration about lower-than-deserved profits, you may have uttered, “Let’s just fire our unprofitable customers!” While that may be overkill, the thought process has merit. All customers are not the same, and preferential treatment to the highest-value customers is warranted. In the 1980s, Illinois…

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Phillips head screwdriver and flathead screw - mismatched tool

By Mark Capaldini, President, Opportunity into Revenue Management Operating Systems (MOS), such as EOS®, Scaling Up®, and Rhythm®, are valuable and powerful tools that produce terrific results for many businesses. But they are not necessarily a good fit for every business or every situation. Like any powerful tool, these systems are most effective when used…

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3D Printed Parts

By Rodd Joos What is your reaction when your customer requests a quote for prototype parts? Traditionally, manufacturers consider making prototypes a cost of doing business. Customers expect you to support prototype quantities, but let’s face it, they are a nuisance. Quoting the work takes as long as making the parts, and the order will…

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Black sheep amid flock of white sheep

EOS®, the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, has become a popular system for entrepreneurial businesses. According to the EOS® Worldwide website, 80,000 companies have installed EOS®. For those considering EOS®, I recommend calling one of their professional implementers to learn more. However, I am reaching out to the people that are NOT choosing EOS®. Despite its popularity,…

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Carrot Cake - Piece of Cake and Eat it too

By: Shane Slominski, Partner at Tonka Bay Equity Partners When thinking about succession planning, most business owners think they only have two options – they can either sell their business outright or continue to own and manage the business.  There’s a third option that isn’t widely known but can be a great solution too: a…

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Pencil sharpener

The situation A few weeks ago, a quote request arrived for a new product.  It had high volumes, and it was an excellent fit for your facility. You ran it through your estimating program, submitted your price, and then you got the dreaded call.  The buyer told you, “Your prices are double-digits too high.”.  You…

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Glasses calculator and phone on a messy desk

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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