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Labor & Operations Leadership
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I Must Create Standard Work...and Other Stuff

I have fallen off the blogging wagon but am now climbing back on. Maybe creating some standard work around this endeavor will help, so I am going to give it a try. Meanwhile, I have various bits of news to share:

1. If you didn't notice yet, IW named its 2013 IndustryWeek Best Plants finalists on Tuesday. We will select the 2013 IW Best Plants from this group, and rounds of judging are continuing as we speak. If you are curious about what Round 1 applications look like, you can download one here. It would be for review purposes only; it's too late to enter the 2013 competition.

2. We shortly will be introducing an "Ask the Experts" feature. The topic is lean leadership, and your questions will be vital to making it a success. In fact, if you have any questions on the topic, I'd ask you to send them to me at [email protected]. Even better, post them here. Maybe others are facing similar challenges. Once the feature is up and running, you will be able to submit questions directly, but it would be nice to start with a question or two in hand. The feature should be starting soon.

3. I'm developing a new name for my blog. The current one -- Labor & Operations Leadership -- is not only boring, but it is wrong. At least not quite right. Much in the way of labor and workforce issues will be addressed by my colleague Pete Fehrenbach in his new blog Team Play. I'll try to stick more to the operations side of things --  lean, Six Sigma, quality, maintenance, safety, energy management -- although not entirely. Clearly all these topics have have considerable workforce-related overtones (Indeed, lean is all about workplace culture), so of course it will be part of my conversation. Nevertheless, I'm trying to come with a more clever blog title. Obviously I don't have one as of this writing.

4. Speaking of labor, I am working on a feature for the November issue on the "real cost of labor." Not entirely certain where that story will go yet, but the idea was prompted by what seems to me to be an extreme focus on the "people" side of things when manufacturers talk about efficiency measures. Not that labor isn't a component, but for most manufacturers, material and overhead costs are bigger percentages of the bucket than labor costs. I'm doing a little exploring down this road. If you have ideas about where I should venture in this research, I welcome your ideas.

I'm going to stop right here, for the moment. But expect to see and hear from me more often. And I'd like to hear from you more often, too.

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