(Still) learning from Toyota

24. February 2014

A retired Toyota executive describes how to overcome common management challenges associated with applying lean, and reflects on the ways that Toyota continues to push the boundaries of lean thinking.

February 2014 | byDeryl Sturdevant, McKinsey Quarterly

In the two years since I retired as president and CEO of Canadian Autoparts Toyota (CAPTIN), I’ve had the good fortune to work with many global manufacturers in different industries on challenges related to lean management. Through that exposure, I’ve been struck by how much the Toyota production system has already changed the face of operations and management, and by the energy that companies continue to expend in trying to apply it to their own operations.

Yet I’ve also found that even though companies are currently benefiting from lean, they have largely just scratched the surface, given the benefits they could achieve. What’s more, the goal line itself is moving—and will go on moving—as companies such as Toyota continue to define the cutting edge. Of course, this will come as no surprise for any student of the Toyota production system and should even serve as a challenge. After all, the goal is continuous improvement.

Room to improve

The two pillars of the Toyota way of doing things are kaizen (the philosophy of continuous improvement) and respect and empowerment for people, particularly line workers. Both are absolutely required in order for lean to work. One huge barrier to both goals is complacency. Through my exposure to different manufacturing environments, I’ve been surprised to find that senior managers often feel they’ve been very successful in their efforts to emulate Toyota’s production system—when in fact their progress has been limited.

The reality is that many senior executives—and by extension many organizations—aren’t nearly as self-reflective or objective about evaluating themselves as they should be. A lot of executives have a propensity to talk about the good things they’re doing rather than focus on applying resources to the things that aren’t what they want them to be. Read the rest of this entry »

Driving lean management: An interview with the COO of TD Ameritrade

24. February 2014

Unfortunately, I don’t understand what this has to do with “Lean Management”. This is just purposeful participative management, which is fine, but does not conclude that “lean management” is the success factor. (hfk)

The financial-services group’s Marv Adams explains how ridding organizations of valueless complexity can spur growth.

February 2014, McKinsey Insight

Marv Adams is the chief operating officer (COO) of TD Ameritrade, a leading US provider of electronic discount brokerage and related financial services. The company currently holds more than $524 billion in client accounts and executes an average of nearly 400,000 trades per day.

In his role as COO, Mr. Adams oversees all IT and operations functions, including systems development, data centers and infrastructure, networks, project management and process improvement, and retail brokerage clearing and operations. He has devoted much of his 30-year career to the pursuit of lean management, initially in traditional manufacturing environments and later in financial services. He has been a member of the senior leadership teams at Ford Motor Company, Bank One, Citigroup, Fidelity Brokerage Services, and TIAA-CREF.


Marv Adams biography

McKinsey spoke with Mr. Adams at his office in Jersey City, New Jersey.

McKinsey: Across the many operational contexts in which you have worked, what do you find makes lean management so powerful when it is done well?

Marv Adams: Lean management effectively taps into associates’ convictions and passions. They have a deeper sense of when their company is acting in the right way—for the long term, out of a genuine belief in serving clients—versus when it is just reacting to short-term pressures in a never-ending cycle of “flavor of the year.”

Flavor of the year is exhausting. It consumes time and energy without achieving real change. That’s dispiriting for associates and makes it even harder for middle managers to motivate their teams. Everyone is so worn out that when they see a system that says, “We are stewards; it is our responsibility to find a better way to help our clients,” they find it inspiring. When associates can tie their work back to a purpose that’s deeper than just making more money next quarter, the result is a culture in which people are much more satisfied, inspired, productive, and innovative at every level of the organization. So it’s incredibly powerful when it’s done well. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Get a Job at Google

23. February 2014

Date: 23-02-2014
Source: Thomas L. Friedman

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — LAST June, in an interview with Adam Bryant of The Times, Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google — i.e., the guy in charge of hiring for one of the world’s most successful companies — noted that Google had determined that “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. … We found that they don’t predict anything.” He also noted that the “proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time” — now as high as 14 percent on some teams. At a time when many people are asking, “How’s my kid gonna get a job?” I thought it would be useful to visit Google and hear how Bock would answer.

Don’t get him wrong, Bock begins, Good grades certainly don’t hurt.” Many jobs at Google require math, computing and coding skills, so if your good grades truly reflect skills in those areas that you can apply, it would be an advantage. But Google has its eyes on much more.

“There are five hiring attributes we have across the company,” explained Bock. “If it’s a technical role, we assess your coding ability, and half the roles in the company are technical roles. For every job, though, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information. We assess that using structured behavioral interviews that we validate to make sure they’re predictive.”

The second, he added, “is leadership — in particular emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership. Traditional leadership is, were you president of the chess club? Were you vice president of sales? How quickly did you get there? We don’t care. What we care about is, when faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead. And just as critically, do you step back and stop leading, do you let someone else? Because what’s critical to be an effective leader in this environment is you have to be willing to relinquish power.”

What else? Humility and ownership. “It’s feeling the sense of responsibility, the sense of ownership, to step in,” he said, to try to solve any problem — and the humility to step back and embrace the better ideas of others. “Your end goal,” explained Bock, “is what can we do together to problem-solve. I’ve contributed my piece, and then I step back.”

And it is not just humility in creating space for others to contribute, says Bock, it’s “intellectual humility. Without humility, you are unable to learn.” It is why research shows that many graduates from hotshot business schools plateau. “Successful bright people rarely experience failure, and so they don’t learn how to learn from that failure,” said Bock.

The least important attribute they look for is “expertise.” Said Bock: “If you take somebody who has high cognitive ability, is innately curious, willing to learn and has emergent leadership skills, and you hire them as an H.R. person or finance person, and they have no content knowledge, and you compare them with someone who’s been doing just one thing and is a world expert, the expert will go: ‘I’ve seen this 100 times before; here’s what you do.’ ” Most of the time the nonexpert will come up with the same answer, added Bock, “because most of the time it’s not that hard.” Sure, once in a while they will mess it up, he said, but once in a while they’ll also come up with an answer that is totally new. And there is huge value in that.

To sum up Bock’s approach to hiring: Talent can come in so many different forms and be built in so many nontraditional ways today, hiring officers have to be alive to every one — besides brand-name colleges. Because “when you look at people who don’t go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people.”
Too many colleges, he added, “don’t deliver on what they promise. You generate a ton of debt, you don’t learn the most useful things for your life. It’s [just] an extended adolescence.”

Google attracts so much talent it can afford to look beyond traditional metrics, like G.P.A. For most young people, though, going to college and doing well is still the best way to master the tools needed for many careers. But Bock is saying something important to them, too: Beware. Your degree is not a proxy for your ability to do any job. The world only cares about — and pays off on — what you can do with what you know (and it doesn’t care how you learned it). And in an age when innovation is increasingly a group endeavor, it also cares about a lot of soft skills — leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and loving to learn and re-learn. This will be true no matter where you go to work.

WhatsApp the 55-employee company taken over for $19 billion = $ 345 million per employee

20. February 2014

For info: Market Capitalization for
SONY = $17.71 billion

   Date: 20-02-2014
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Subject: Facebook to Pay $19 Billion for WhatsApp

Messaging Startup to Operate Independently, Retain Brand

Facebook Inc. agreed to buy messaging company WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock, a blockbuster transaction that dwarfs the already sky-high prices that other startups have been able to recently command.

The 55-employee company, which acts as a kind of replacement for text messaging, has seen its use more than double in the past nine months to 450 million monthly users. That makes its service more popular than Twitter Inc., the widely used microblogging service which has about 240 million users and is currently valued at about $30 billion.

The transaction, which includes $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees over four years, ranks as the largest-ever purchase of a company backed by venture capital.

What'sAppBesides making its founders billionaires, the deal marks an enormous windfall for Sequoia Capital, the only venture firm that backed WhatsApp. Sequoia invested about $60 million for a stake valued at up to $3 billion in the deal, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The deal price also easily outranks any acquisition of startups in recent years, including Facebook’s purchase of photo-sharing app Instagram for more than $1 billion in 2012, and, a year earlier, Microsoft Corp.’s $8.5 billion buy of video-calling company Skype.

What isn’t clear is how much revenue WhatsApp makes—the company declined to comment on its sales. It charges 99 cents a year after one year of free use and doesn’t carry ads. On a conference call, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said he doesn’t think ads are the right way to monetize messaging systems.

Beyond revenue, the deal could help shelter the social network against the shifting tastes of teen users, some of whom have grown cool to it, and bolster its position internationally. WhatsApp is particularly popular outside of the U.S.

The transaction comes in the wake of Facebook’s failed attempt to purchase another messaging service popular with younger users, Snapchat, for roughly $3 billion last year. Read the rest of this entry »

Lexus Keeps Crown in Reliability Survey

13. February 2014

Date: 13-02-2014
Source: The Wall Street Journal

car reliabilityAmericans hate spending money on gasoline, but a study out Wednesday suggests they also get annoyed by the technology required to deliver a more efficient car. For the first time in more than 15 years, owners of three-year old cars are reporting more problems than similar owners were a year ago.

J.D. Power’s 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study found that owners of 2011-model cars and trucks reported 133 problems per 100 vehicles, up from an average of 126 problems per 100 for the 2010 models covered by last year’s edition of the study.

The 2014 study is the first time since 1998 that the average number of problems in the vehicle dependability study has increased, J.D. Power said.

The top-ranked brand in the survey, as last year, was Toyota’s Lexus, with 68 problems per 100 cars. Mercedes took second spot, with 104 problems per 100 cars, although the gap was wide — it was closer to the industry average of 133 than it was to top-ranked Lexus, Mr. Sargent noted. The worst ranked brand was BMW’s Mini, with 185 problems per 100 cars. The top scoring cars—the Lexus LS and the Cadillac DTS—were both large luxury sedans.

The worst vehicle? J.D. Power declined to say.

A reputation for reliability over the long term should translate into better sales for a brand, and J.D. Power said that its analysis of trade-in data shows that 56% of people who reported no problems with their three-year-old cars stayed with that brand when they bought a new vehicle.

Brand loyalty dropped to 42% among people who reported three or more problems. Customers are also more likely to avoid brands that do poorly on the dependability study, J.D. Power said. Read the rest of this entry »

Das Kleid aus dem Drucker

3. February 2014

A shoe printed on a Cube 3D printer by 3D Systems is on display at the 2014 International CES a tra

A shoe printed on a Cube 3D printer by 3D Systems is on display at the 2014 International CES a tra / Bild: imago/UPI Photo 

Für Kreative und Selbermacher ist der 3-D-Druck das neue Zaubermittel. Wie funktioniert die Technik, und was steckt tatsächlich hinter dem Hype?

01.02.2014 | 18:26 |  von Eva Steindorfer  (Die Presse)

Neil Gershenfeld, Professor an der US-Universität Cambridge und Leiter des MIT-„Center for Bits and Atoms“, hat eine weltweite Revolution ausgelöst. Als er im Jahr 2006 für seine Studenten das erste Fab Lab gründete, hatte er noch keine Ahnung, auf welche Resonanz sein Projekt stoßen sollte.

„Fab Lab“ steht für Fabrication Laboratory. Die Idee dahinter: Die Grenzen zwischen der digitalen und der physischen Welt niederzureißen und digitale Modelle in reale Objekte umzuwandeln. Das Know-how und die Ressourcen sollen allen frei zugänglich sein, damit jeder alles herstellen kann. Das Sinnbild für diese neue Welle des Selbermachens wurde der 3-D-Drucker, mittlerweile das Fetischobjekt der digitalen Do-it-Yourself-Community. Die Fab Labs haben sich mittlerweile weltweit verbreitet, auch in Wien gibt es eines, das Happylab: „Zu uns kommen Architekturstudenten, Produkt- und Schmuckdesigner, aber auch Modelleisenbahner“, sagt Karim Jafarmadar, einer der Betreiber des Happylab. Das Verhältnis zwischen Amateuren und Profis, die das Lab beruflich nutzen, schätzt Jafarmadar auf 50:50. Das Spannende sei gerade, dass so viele unterschiedliche Projekte im Lab aufeinandertreffen.
Gut für Prototypen. Der 3-D-Drucker ist nur eines von vielen Geräten, die die Happylab-Besucher gegen einen kleinen Mitgliedsbeitrag verwenden können. „Mit 3-D-Druck kann man viel ausprobieren. Am besten eignet er sich für Prototypen, wo Design schnell herzeigbar sein soll, beim Produktdesign, in der Automobilindustrie oder in der Architektur“, sagt Jafarmadar.

An seine Grenzen stößt der 3-D- Druck – noch – durch seine Materialien. Die günstigeren Geräte für den kreativen Hausgebrauch (mit Preisen zwischen 800 und 2500 Euro) drucken mit Kunststoffen und Kunstharzen. Die teureren, die für die kommerzielle Fertigung verwendet werden (Preisklasse ab 10.000 Euro, nach oben offen), drucken auch mit anderen Materialien, Metall etwa, Gips oder Keramik.
Schicht um Schicht. Für viele ist die Funktionsweise von 3-D-Druckern ein Mysterium. Dabei ist das mechanische Prinzip dahinter relativ einfach: Das Objekt wird Lage um Lage aufgebaut, das Material bei den meisten Modellen aus einem Faden geschmolzen – dazu hängt man eine Spule an das Gerät.

Der Druckkopf, aus dem das geschmolzene Material gepresst wird, baut dann Schicht für Schicht die zuvor digital errechneten Pfade auf und „druckt“ so dreidimensional. Die elaborierteren Modelle verwenden statt Fäden Pulver, die geschmolzen werden, – überhaupt gibt es laufend neue Innovationen und Materialien. So wurden bereits Schmuckstücke aus 18-karätigem Goldpulver gefertigt. Für die Patisserie kreiert der 3-D-Druck kunstvolle Verzierungen aus Schokoladepulver, auch ein Fleischlaberl wurde bereits gedruckt (es soll aber nicht so gut geschmeckt haben).

Die Wissenschaft hat den 3-D-Druck ebenfalls für sich entdeckt: Die Nasa plant einen 3-D-Drucker zur International Space Station (ISS) zu schicken, um dort Werkzeuge und Ersatzteile zu drucken. Auch in der Medizin, beim Bau von Prothesen etwa, findet 3-D-Druck seine Anwendung. Und in Amsterdam wird derzeit ein ganzes Haus von dem Riesendrucker „KamerMaker XL“ gedruckt (mehr dazu im neuen „Presse“-3-D-Blog auf www.DiePresse.com).

Für den Hausgebrauch bieten mittlerweile zahlreiche Open-Source-Plattformen Hilfestellungen an. Wer sich mit den entsprechenden digitalen Zeichenprogrammen nicht auskennt, kann im Internet Druckvorlagen einfach gratis runterladen (siehe Infobox). Auch im Handel tut sich was: Im Oktober hat mit dem 3dee Store auf der Landstraßer Hauptstraße Wiens erster 3-D-Copyshop eröffnet, der auch 3-D-Drucker verkauft. „In den ersten Wochen haben wir gar nichts verkauft“, sagt Martin Klauser, 19, der sich gleich nach der Matura zusammen mit seinem Bruder Gabor selbstständig gemacht hat. „Jetzt verkaufen wir pro Woche fünf bis zehn Drucker, und Druckaufträge haben wir so viele, dass es ein paar Tage Wartezeit gibt.“ Sieben bis zehn Euro kostet ein 3-D-Druck pro Stunde. Besonders schnell sind die Drucker nicht, in drei Stunden schaffen sie, je nach Feinheitsgrad der Schichten, gerade einmal ein Objekt von zehn Zentimeter Höhe. Mit einem 3-D-Scanner können die Kunden mitgebrachte Objekte einscannen oder sich selbst, und den Scan dann in einem selbst gewählten Maßstab ausdrucken lassen.

Für viele Kunden ist diese Technik Neuland, dementsprechend skurrile Anfragen hat es schon gegeben: „Jemand wollte sein Haus einscannen und drucken lassen, ein anderer eine lebensgroße Statue von sich selbst. Theoretisch wäre das möglich, es würde mit unseren Druckern nur extrem lange dauern.“

Wie viel an Formen- und Materialvielfalt im 3-D-Druck bereits möglich ist, zeigt die Mode der niederländischen Designerin Iris van Herpen. In Zusammenarbeit mit der österreichischen Architektin Julia Körner hat sie aufwendige, futuristisch anmutende Haute-Couture-Kleider entworfen, die allesamt dem 3-D-Drucker entstammen. Auch in Österreich arbeiten einige Kreative mit 3-D-Druck.

Die Produktdesigner Heike und Harald Guggenbichler, die für Möbelhersteller wie Ligne Roset entwerfen, lassen die meisten ihrer Entwürfe als Prototypen ausdrucken: „Gerade lassen wir Stühle drucken. Für Produktpräsentationen ist das super, das ist viel anschaulicher als ein digitales Modell“, sagt Harald Guggenbichler.
Sinn für Getüftel. Auch Lukas Bast, Industriedesigner und gelernter Tischler, hat den 3-D-Druck für sich entdeckt. Bast stellt 3-D-Schmuck her. „Es braucht schon Sinn für technisches Getüftel, wenn man einen 3-D-Drucker selbst programmiert“, sagt er. „Pro Armreifen brauche ich einige Probedrucke, bis die Feineinstellungen stimmen.“ Momentan werde in der kreativen Szene viel ausprobiert. Man mixt klassische Materialien wie Holz mit 3-D-gedruckten Elementen. So entstehen neue Formen und Strukturen.

Ob in Zukunft jeder zuhause mit dem einfachen Druckbefehl „make“ selbst Gebrauchsgegenstände und Ersatzteile produzieren wird, ist noch nicht abzuschätzen. Manche meinen, dass 3-D-Drucker einmal so selbstverständlich sein werden wie jetzt Laptops. Andere sind skeptisch: „Früher hat man auch geglaubt, die Mikrowelle wird das Kochen revolutionieren. Heute ist sie nur eine Option von vielen“, sagt Jafarmadar. Ob die Technik tatsächlich das hält, was der Hype verspricht, wird sich weisen.

Trying to See Apple From a Different Angle

2. February 2014

Date: 02-02-2014
Source: The New York Times

The stock market doesn’t know quite what to make of Apple.

The company started out in the 1970s as a risk-taker and a rule-breaker, and for many members of Steve Jobs’s generation, Apple will always carry a whiff of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. It retained some of that renegade aura even as it set off on a wild growth spree in the first decade of the new millennium.

By last September in the annual Interbrand survey, Apple had managed to depose Coca-Cola as the most valuable brand on the planet, using criteria like popular perception and financial performance. And based on the value of its shares in the marketplace, Apple has become the biggest company in the world, worth roughly 10 percent more, in the eyes of investors, than its nearest rival, the venerable oil giant Exxon Mobil.

Yet now that Apple is so big and so successful, it poses something of a puzzle for investors. Is it a gigantic tech growth stock that will expand even more rapidly in the years ahead? Or has it turned into a high-end consumer products company, one that is, at the moment, the biggest cash cow in the world? Read the rest of this entry »