Encouraging Creativity and Innovation

In 1945 the Raytheon Company faced a tremendous demand for magnetron tubes to power the new radar system used to detect enemy aircraft. One day when a Raytheon engineer named Percy L. Spencer stepped too close to a magnetron tube, he noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket had melted.

Other engineers had noticed the same thing, but didn’t give it much thought. Spencer, on … [ Read more ]

Reframing Your Business Equation

The EOQ formula dates back to the Industrial Revolution and a 1913 article by Ford Whitman Harris, a self-trained engineer at Westinghouse Electric Company, in Factory: The Magazine of Management, a relic of another era. The article showed how to balance the fixed cost of ordering or producing a batch of goods with the cost of carrying the inventory between order periods. Graphically displayed with … [ Read more ]

Do you have your client’s best interests at heart?

In 1959, Play of the Week, an icon of civilization on television, was at risk of being canceled. Broadcast on Channel 13, New York’s public television station, the show offered high-quality theater week after week — including works by such writers as Eugene O’Neill, John Steinbeck, and Jean-Paul Sartre, with top talent. But the ratings were low, and sponsors were dropping out.

Ogilvy was looking for … [ Read more ]

The Story Behind Kanban

In an article from FredHarriman.com, ex-Toyota Group manager Chihiro Nakao relates his experience with Taiichi Ohno, who originated Toyota’s Lean Production in collaboration with Shigeo Shingo. Here’s the punchline:

As Mr. Taiichi Ohno drove deeper and deeper in the effort to achieve Just in Time ideals among the companies of the Toyota Group, […] the struggle was to keep people from [ordering] too much too

[ Read more ]