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Mason Kauffman launched his first company with himself as the only employee. He quickly embraced outsourcing as the savior that would allow him to leverage his core competencies. He knew that's how his company would grow. Along the way he learned a lot about the ins and outs of outsourcing. He shares some of those lessons here.
Document destruction probably isn't at the top of your to-do list. But, increasingly, it's becoming a critical business function-and not just for companies with super-secret technology. With identity thieves afoot, for example, even basic personnel information that's gone astray can lead to expensive and distracting lawsuits. This article offers an insider's view of why even small firms should seriously consider outsourcing this function as the most secure, efficient, and economical way to ensure confidentiality.
The devils plaguing entrepreneurs who outsource are indeed in the details. Getting it right involves sidestepping five common pitfalls and following five commonsense practices. Basic to a successful outsourcing relationship: Does everyone agree on what the deliverables will be?
Specialized or technical advice or skills not closely related to your company's core objectives can often be handled effectively by outside contractors. Typically less expensive that hiring full-time staff, potential outsource services should be carefully considered with these topics in mind: expertise, experience, proposals, and attitude.
What does "Lean" mean? This article provides the basic background, terminology, and insight entrepreneurs need to understand how specific, proven processes lead to reduced costs, improved quality, and delighted customers. It also briefly considers the next logical extension of Lean Manufacturing (Lean Thinking), which allows service companies to benefit from the hard-won lessons of manufacturers.
The Six Sigma manufacturing process drives production to near-perfect levels, seeking less than 3.4 defects per million output units. Here, the basic purpose and process of the Six Sigma methodology, and its connection to "lean" manufacturing, are clearly explained for entrepreneurs. The article also provides tips on getting started and guidelines to successful implementation.
As Buck Knives, Inc., celebrated a century in business, it also faced a cash crunch that was putting it out of business. CEO CJ Buck shares how his team took dramatic action (including moving the company from Southern California to northern Idaho) to fend off high-quality global competitors and to turn the historic and highly regarded company around with its own version of the Toyota Production System (TPS).
After leaping into "Lean," Southern Vinyl Manufacturing gained efficiencies in nearly every area of its operations. Specifically, entrepreneur Rod Matthews explains the challenges and rewards of involving employees in finding and eliminating waste using the "Five Why" process. As a result of "getting lean," the company resolves manufacturing problems by digging deeply to identify root causes instead of just treating symptoms.
Six Disciplines energized this manufacturing firm as its CEO and management team struggled to motivate and reward employees by measuring performance. Engaging employees in ongoing strategic planning, using Six Disciplines software to stay focused on the plan, and remaining accountable for performance resulted not only in increased enthusiasm and efficiency. An unexpected benefit was that it helped management and employees learn how to work much better together.
Among the newest business-excellence methodologies now available, Six DisciplinesT is growing in popularity as a holistic tool to help manufacturing entrepreneurs remain competitive against all comers. It's designed specifically to help small and mid-sized businesses ensure they are doing the right things at the right times. Goals include simplifying the quality management approach, fostering practical planning, and delivering effective, sustainable execution management. Many practical tools to implement the program are available.
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