What do monkeys, Tim Geithner and cat urine have in common?


Answer: They all made for interesting news recently ...

CEO Not supporting Lean? Perhaps he just hasn’t evolved enough.

This from the Chicago Tribune laying out the results of an innovation experiment. Seems the more a chimp has to lose the less effort he puts into innovating. Maybe the problem with your lean initiative is that your CEO is really just an alpha male chimp in a silk suit.

Lots of cool graphs

Another one of those sites that usually has little bearing on lean or manufacturing … but interesting charts and graphs on all sorts of stuff. This one showing the world’s busiest container ports.

Geithner just another 1%’er at heart

Tim Geithner, one of the chief architects of the Obama auto bailout and leader of the powder puff regulations on Wall Street to assure the public would never again have to bail them out after their get-rich-quick schemes failed, has found gainful employment as the head honcho at Warburg Pincus – a bottom feeding private equity outfit if ever there was one. The dismal record of job creation under the Obama regime while Geithner was calling the shots may just be a little easier to understand given the sorts of folks he has chosen to hang his hat with. The pat on the head rather than a kick in the butt given to Wall Street makes more sense now, as well.

The folks at International Technidyne, Ashford University/Bridgepoint Education, Rural/Metro , Knoll Furniture or Havell’s might be able to explain just how Tim’s new team operates. At Havell’s – the owner of Sylvania – after an infusion of cash from Warburg Pincus in exchange for some serious equity … “To begin with, a factory each in Brazil and Costa Rica were closed. Operations at a UK factory were suspended and shifted to India, where labour accounts for four to five per cent of the total cost (in Europe, it accounts for 22 per cent). Noncritical staff - accounts, IT, factory personnel - in European and Latin American operations was also laid off. Some back-office jobs were shifted to India. The total headcount of 3,800 (at the start of 2009) was reduced by 41 per cent to 2,233.”

Said Josh Greenburg of BusinessWeek, “For all the criticism directed his way, Geithner was the exceedingly rare example of the idea that you can be a talented, high-level regulator and public servant and exist entirely apart from Wall Street financial interests. That won’t be true any longer.” No it won’t.

Another Zara’s tale

The pioneer of fast fashion done right is described in an interesting article in BusinessWeek. They got half of the lean idea right, anyway. “Zara is renowned for its ability to deliver new clothes to stores quickly and in small batches. Twice a week, at precise times, store managers order clothes, and twice a week, on schedule, new garments arrive. To achieve this, Zara controls more of its manufacturing than do most retailers: About half its clothes are made in Spain or nearby countries. For Zara, its supply chain is its competitive advantage.

Now if they can only get over the idea that every item, no matter where in the world it is made or sold, has to pass through Spain they would really be onto something.

Thank for the story, Jim

A reader from the UK shared this one from Yahoo’s UK/Ireland business edition describing Petrona, a company that learned the difference between China and its own back yard the hard way. “Rather than costing it more money, the firm says swapping low-cost Chinese production for cutting-edge British manufacturing techniques has helped improved quality, cut waste by 20%, taken six months out of its pre-production phase and yet still kept prices competitive with China.

World Class Quality Control

Finally, the folks at Dell are proud to announce that their laptops no longer come with the overwhelming smell of cat urine. One customer “thought for sure that the guy in the next cube, who has a cat, brought the cat into work and it urinated on the floor. Smelled just like that. Took me about an hour to determine that the foul odour was coming from the new laptop...it's awful. I can smell it from a few feet away."

It took Dell a mere four months to fix the problem. Next on Dell’s to-do list. Hire inspectors who understand that, even though there is nothing in the specs, it is OK to reject products that make you sick by merely breathing the air around them.

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