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Customer Manufacturing Group
In This Issue
Flow Charts & Process Maps
If You Can't Fix it, Feature it
Why New Products Fail
Why Didn't We Think of That?
Are Industry Experts Boring?
More Information 

Flow Charts & Process Maps

Process Map

Three are many process improvement tools available to help companies manage and improve their business processes. Quality guru, Ichiro Ishikawa taught that 90% of all business problems can be solved with the Seven Tools of Quality. We concur. In addition, if you could actually solve 90% of your business problems, you'd be a lot further ahead than you are today. Read about one of those tools: The Flow Chart/Process Map.

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Customer Manufacturing Update
March, 2011
Dear Mitchell,

Here is your March Customer Manufacturing Update. Last year we started writing papers briefly covering each of Ishikawa's 7 Tools of Quality. Here's the next one. Read this month's white paper: Process Improvement Tools: The Flow Chart/Process Map.
If You Can't Fix it, Feature it...

KFC logo

Roy Fields, a former VP for Teledyne, Inc. uttered those words to Mitch many years ago. He has never forgotten them. And for a finance guy (which Roy was), pretty great marketing advice. Something KFC needs to think about.


KFC has been losing market share in the U.S. for some time.

In an article last year, Advertising Age suggested "KFC Could Learn Something About Itself and Marketing if it Listened to Consumers." Now there's a novel concept. Of course that takes effort and may not be as much fun as listening to new ad agency pitches from people who claim to have listened to your customers.


Bob Garfield, the author of the article has a novel suggestion. He says it is time for KFC to stop being dishonest about their food by trying to claim it is healthy. Or by trying to garner "respect" by partnering with Breast Cancer research (at a mere 50 cents per bucket). They should try being honest with people. As Garfield points out, "...these people sell crunchy, juicy, yummy fried chicken." And while he does not think you should eat it too often, he also says, "...there's nothing to be ashamed of."


His recommendation for their brand strategy: Promote your dietary incorrectness. I agree. Or as Roy Fields said to me back in the day, "If you can't fix it, feature it."



Why New Products Fail 

 AC Nielson logo

A.C. Nielson, for who knows what reason, recently completed a "study" of 30 packaged-goods marketers and found a possible correlation between new product success rates and management. In an industry with a documented new-product failure rate of between 60% and 90%, this could be useful information.


Nielson found that companies that kept senior management away from their new product development teams got more revenue from new products (as a percentage of total revenue) than did those companies that allowed senior management to be proximate to these new product efforts.


The article in which the study was discussed raises more questions than it answers, and without access to the entire Nielson study, drawing conclusions can be risky. However, Nielson apparently decided to issue some "findings" from the study, so we feel compelled to comment.


First, the metric they use: revenue from new products, is not necessarily the best or only metric of interest when measuring new product success. Second, they studied something they called "blue sky" teams, which they define as skunk works. That is clearly not the only, or even the primary, source of new product development in companies.


Would we usually keep senior management away from skunk works? You bet. In the late 1970s at Motorola the 68xxx series microprocessor was developed by a blue sky team in Austin, TX that was purposefully kept secret from senior management in Phoenix, AZ based on a belief that the project would have been killed. Fortunately for Motorola (now Freescale) that project was successful.


The study found that companies without blue sky teams got a higher percentage of revenue from new products than did companies with blue-sky teams that were located proximate to management. No real surprise here. If you put a so-called blue sky team near management, it is hard to call them a blue-sky team unless you have a management culture that understands blue-sky efforts. In fact, the article notes that Apple clearly can get blue-sky ideas developed while being close to management. Wait, at Apple it actually is driven by management ... that is their culture.


Anyway, be careful about the results of studies that you can't fully see (business, medical, political or otherwise) and, if new products are a critical part of your business, learn to get good at it. Here is a link to some free resources on the subject.

Why Didn't We Think of That?Lose-lose 

Most of our people have traveled as part of tFlatDaddiesheir job for most of their careers. While we did make it to most of our kids' major activities, our spouses always joked that they put a picture of us in the entry hall so the kids would recognize us when we finally came home. Turns out this is a valid and useful idea.


Flatdaddies are cardboard cut-out, life-size (waist-up) photos of a deployed soldier whose child may be too young to remember their parent before they were deployed. (And yes there are flatmommies too). What a great idea.


"Experts believe the cutouts are a useful psychological device, especially for children, to help cope with the stress of long absences. It helps the family stay connected and is a constant reminder that even though mom or dad is thousands of miles away, they are still a part of their lives."


It has been reported that returning soldiers whose kids have flatdaddies are greeted by those kids with absolute recognition where kids who don't remember their parent are obviously much less enthusiastic.


What a great idea ... and why didn't we think of that.

Are Industry Experts Boring?
Positioning The Battle For Your Mind

Our friend and fellow professional speaker, Scott McKain, sent an email that included the following interesting commentary:


"Just home from a major meeting...I asked the meeting professional to name the speakers they booked for the past couple of years, and she informed me, "We had industry experts, not professional speakers." So, I naturally had to follow-up with, "Why did you have one for this year's meeting?"


Her great response: "Industry experts are boring. We realized our registrations were down, not just because of the economy - but, who wants to make the effort to attend a boring meeting? Professional speakers bring more than content. I guess I took for granted HOW much more."


Reminds us of something our friend Ted Steinberg used to say when asked what it would cost for his services: "You mean if you hire me or if you don't hire me?"

With this in mind, we'd like to remind you that two of our Principals, Jeff Krawitz and Mitch Goozé, are experts and outstanding speakers and workshop leaders. If your company or association is looking for someone for an upcoming event, please keep them in mind.

Mitch also speaks for chapters of several Autism charities, pro bono. If you'd like to talk with him about that, he would be happy to speak with you. 

We appreciate your feedback to help improve these Updates. If there are others you feel would benefit from this issue, use the Forward email link just below on the left.


Mitchell Gooze
Customer Manufacturing Group
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