Monday, September 18, 2006

Wall Street & Naysayers are at it again - This Time it's Ford Motor Company

Some of you may know my distaste for Wall Street. I have written about their short-term thinking and narrow-minded views when it came to General Motors (http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2006/07/wall-street-says-gm-leadership.html).

Wall Street says the massive cuts that Ford announced this week is not enough and their strategy will not be good enough to turn things around quick enough. How did they determine this because the stock price lowered about 12% ($1.07) on the news of their new CEO and restructuring plan “Way Forward II.”?

Nothing amazes me more than the arrogance of so-called industry watchers who think they know more what to do than the people at Ford. They want changes now and fast, which equates to more and more job loss because it is an easy fix and requires only a stone-heart to carry it off (Bill Ford cared to much). Here are some examples:

The plan "may slow the decline of this venerable icon of America's industrial golden age, but it is simply not enough."
Peter Morici, professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission

"It does not materially accelerate product introductions. It does not provide a solution for the troubled facilities assumed from Visteon. It does not cut capacity deeper. It's missing a lot."
John Murphy of Merrill Lynch, who downgraded Ford stock from neutral to sell

"We ... believe that these are not the right steps necessary to address Ford's overcapacity problem in North America. We are confident that we will see Ford's Way Forward Plan, Part 3, in the not-so-distant future."
-- Joseph Amaturo and Kelly A. Dougherty of Calyon Securities Inc.

Reread these comments, do you see any solutions offered? Do you see any mention of CUSTOMERS? Nope, it’s just BS from people who have no idea what they are talking about, anybody can sit back and throw darts at a dying elephant and not miss.

The type of problems Ford has are complex, they took years to develop. Many are the result of poor mismanagement that no longer works at Ford Motor Company. I posted about these types of complex problems last year. - http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2005/12/quality-complex-process-problems.html


Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press says it best in his cartoon:

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Employee Performance Excellence Model" - qualityg's 6 EEEs...I have added another "E"

Below is a Quality Tool/Technique to help Managers.



5Es for Employee Excellence - Double Click Pic to Enlarge
(qg - 1992)


Updated 9/14/06

I have added another E to my Model. It is called "Execute" and it comes after Empower. There must be proper Execution in order for the performance to be Excellent regardless of how much Empowerment is granted. Many Managers Encourage and Reward Efforts regardless if there good or bad because they don't know.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Customer/Supplier Partnerships - Part IV - SIPOC Model & Internal Process Model

Part IV - Customer/Supplier SIPOC Model (Developed by qualityg)
Click on Pics to Enlarge




Internal Integrated Customer Process Model (Developed by qualityg)





Part I - Customer-Supplier Process: Creating Value?? -
http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2006/08/quality-misc-customersupplier.html


Part II - Supplier Evaluation Program -
http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2006/08/quality-misc-customersupplier_30.html


Part III - Focusing on the Customer - Which One?http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2006/09/quality-misc-customersupplier.html

More on SIPOC + CCCC at http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2006/10/quality-tooltechnique-sipoc-cccc.html

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Customer/Supplier Parnerships - Part III - Focusing on the Customer - Which One?

Part I - Customer-Supplier Process: Creating Value?? - http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2006/08/quality-misc-customersupplier.html

Part II - Supplier Evaluation Program - http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2006/08/quality-misc-customersupplier_30.html

Part IV - SIPOC Model & Internal Process Model
http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2006/09/quality-misc-customersupplier_11.html


Part III -Focusing on the Customer – Which One?
For years I have been educating and training on the importance of the internal customer/supplier partnership to a company’s overall quality strategy. I developed models like the one below to graphically get my points across.

Unfortunately many people have used the internal customer supplier partnership model as a means to hide defects and non-conformances of their input because they are representing the customer, or worse yet, they believe themselves to be “the customer” of the next in line process. Let me provide some examples that I have encountered on some of ventures over the last few months.

“Who told you to make that change in the system, I am your customer, you supply me with information, next time you make a change, make sure you get my OK before moving forward!”

and,

“I don’t care if the order was done incorrectly, the customer does not have service, the order was supposed to be turned up yesterday, and it’s not my job to baby sit the order through the system. My job is to sell and generate revenue, you’re job is to make it happen!”

On the surface these might seem like legitimate complaints, but when more information is provided it becomes a different story.

The first complaint took place was witnessed by many people and it was between two internal managers (peers), one from the Customer Service Center and one from Operations. No rate paying customer or supplier was involved, but the service center manager was considering himself as the customer.

The second example was a conference call between a Sales Manager and a Customer Service Center Manager. While the Sales Manager was representing the best interest of the customer, she failed to realize the input order that originated from her department was wrong and it caused delays in processing and a missed due date. The Center Manager knowing the order was wrong returned it back to the field.

Both examples have the same root cause at work and that is the notion of being an “internal customer.” The quality concept for referring to “internal customers” must be rethought. We all know the customer is always right, and the customer comes first, and the customer is king, but which customer. There is only one, and that is the rate-paying customer. Everyone else in the internal supplier chain must represent the true customer, not himself or his or her department.

While the internal customer model has provided a service for identifying process owners, it also has caused a number of concerns.

Concern No. 1: The current internal customer mindset has created a confrontational servitude attitude.

The original quality concept of an internal customer/supplier partnership was intended to create an atmosphere that our internal next in process should be treated like a customer and we should be treating each other with respect. Unfortunately, many people believe that because we pay suppliers to provide a service they should do what ever we ask, and that they owe us everything we request. While this may be warranted in certain case externally, it should not be the way we conduct business internally.

The mindset should not be, “You are here to supply me,” but rather, it should be “We are here to supply our customer. How can we work together to accomplish this goal?”

Concern No. 2: Only a few of us have direct customer contact with the external customer.

While this is concept is true, it can cause trouble when folks start thinking that because they don’t have direct contact with the customer, their work doesn’t impact the customer the same as a customer service agent or salesperson. Does the process person who writes the procedures by which others use for service order provisioning have an impact on the customer? Do project managers and their teams when implementing new systems have impact on the people who need these systems to serve our customers?
All employees have an impact on our customers; some are more difficult to gage than others are. For example, when I was a Payroll Manager it was my group’s job to pay our employees correctly 100% of the time. Every time we paid someone wrong and they had to call the payroll office that took time away from them to do their jobs. I didn’t want employees on the phone with my people; I wanted them on the phones with our customers.

Concern No. 3: While the internal customer model has been effective in identifying the next in process customer, it may cause barriers to implementing breakthrough efficiencies.

The current order provisioning process may be adequate for identifying next in process customers and negotiating wants and needs, but what happens when we become so entrenched in serving the next in process customer that we don’t recognize we have created a very good manual sequential chain of events. I believe this is what has happened to our current ordering process. It was built on the premise that as long as there wasn’t an overload of orders the number of people currently in the process could handle the work. However, this type of thinking also results in throwing more people and resources at the problem, rather than looking for ways too efficiently improve the process.

An analogy that comes to mind is an old western movie where the barn is burning and all the ranch hands and neighbors gather in a long line to pass buckets of water to put out the fire. What are really required are a fire hose and a strategic number of trained people performing many activities at the same time to save the barn.

Our current merger has thrown us into this situation; with the onslaught of expected orders from Acme Company we are expecting that our current process along with some new hires will handle the increase. While I wouldn’t go as far equating our current process to a bucket brigade, has anyone determined the current capability of our system to determine if adding additional people would be enough, or would it require a fire hose approach to keep the rise in orders from burning down the barn.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day - Union Leaders, Government, Teacher Strikes & Business Ethics

Labor Day "A Walk Across the Bridge"

Where I come from (Michigan) Labor Day Weekend is considered the end of summer. It is a time to leave work behind and hold one last backyard barbecue, or head up-north
for one more weekend camping are staying at the cottage before closing it for the winter, others spend it walking with our governor across the

Mackinac Bridge. For most people, Labor Day is simply the last long weekend before the next long weekend of Thanksgiving.

In 1894 President Grover Cleveland created Labor Day by signing federal legislation declaring the first Monday in September a national holiday.

Today Labor Day is associated with the Union Movement that include parades and speeches by Union Leaders and of course Politicians. Unfortunately the Unions find themselves with dwindling membership that means less dollars and less influence with government.

I always thought the Labor Movement created a much-needed balance between management and workers. I believe this is no longer balanced because the Union Leadership has taken on many of the traits (isolation from subordinates, selfishness, look out for myself first, then the people I represent, blame everyone else including the government for “all” of the problems, corruption, rotten ethics, etc) of Executive Leadership and Board of Directors.

To bad both sides listen so much to outside consultants and academics who claim to be experts on employee relations. In my 27 years dealing with these types I found very few worth the money they charge and their ethics were no better than the people that hired them. Academics think they have all the answers and jump right to the conclusions (based on surveys, so-called research and interviews with senior management) with out any regard to the people doing the job.

The following are some stories that took place this week:

GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION

Alonzo Bates (Former Detroit Councilman) found guilty of bank fraud and stealing public funds for putting people on the city payroll that did little or no work for the city or only personal work for Bates

A federal jury convicted this role model and leader for paying his ex-girlfriends, daughter, his brother-in-law and his yardman out of the city payroll for work they never performed.

"You know, I can get in trouble for this," former Detroit City Council member Alonzo Bates was quoted as saying when he handed a public payroll check to a guy who was mowing Bates’ lawn, washing his cars and taking out his trash.

Mr. Bates declares he did nothing wrong and the "Ku Klux Klan ... Ku Klux Klan," mentality of the jury is why he was found guilty. The black jurors were embarrassed by his remark.

qualityg says … I wonder how many other people get paid for services they don’t actually perform? Do autoworkers that draw money from the “Job Banks” qualify as they sit home?

TEACHER STRIKES (including colleges)

It’s an annual event this time of year to listen to the Teachers Union and School Officials facing off to decide who is correct. The losers are always the students, parents and the local communities, and the schools themselves because parents will remove children and put them in private or charter schools. Even the teachers are losers because if they win the strike many will be laid off to pay for the increases and they will still lose because leadership says they have no money to pay all of the ones they already have because the state and federal governments don’t give them enough money

Teacher strikes are supposed to be illegal but where I come from the American Federation of Teachers Unions have political clout with judges (elected in state of Michigan).

qualityg says … Many of the issues have been known since last year. No sense of urgency takes place until mid-August so that both sides can use the children and parents as pawns for their own causes. Those members with tenure follow their leaders like lemmings and will not ask the questions that are required for these type of decisions to be made because they are OK, who cares about those who don’t have enough time, life is hard.

MICHIGAN UNEMPLOYMENT

Last week an estimated 4,000 job applicants camped out for two days for a chance to get a job at an auto supplier plant (owned by the French). The pay will be $10.00 an hour. Many of the applicants were former UAW members who have lost their jobs and can no longer live off their depleted 401K savings. Below is a great cartoon by Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press.



qualityg says … I wonder how many of those UAW applicants were former union leaders?

BUSINESS ETHICS

I read were many of the universities are creating courses in business ethics because of the scandals over the past few years. And, it’s NOT just for the MBA students; undergraduate students also get a chance to be enlightened.

Another change (sarcastic) is the business instructors will teach these classes instead of the philosophy and sociology teachers that taught them in the past.

qualityg says … Who taught the business instructors? And, whom did they learn their practical experience from?

One more question – Do corporations hire more business ethics graduates or do they hire more MBAs?

The best thing about Labor Day is the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon -
http://www.mdausa.org/help/donate/