Monday, December 20, 2010

Translating embedded knowledge into innovation (especially for SMEs)

Innovation is a broadly used term with many different interpretations. It is often easier to point to an example of innovation than try to define what made the actual innovation possible. Innovation is often defined in terms of:

“the ability to do things differently and to continuously reinvent products and services.”

We contend that this definition is too restrictive as it implies that innovation is tied to and must deliver new products and services with no consideration of the success or otherwise of these products, or of the benefits of operational improvements.
QMI Solutions’ preferred definition is that:

“innovation is the ability to convert a clever idea into commercially successful outcomes.”

Without commercial success it just remains ‘a good idea’. This good idea can relate to success in any area of the business, not just products and services, as long as it leads ultimately to competitive advantage.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Has innovation lost its buzz?

Remember the innovation catchcries of the past decade such as “Innovate or die!”? Innovation was the buzz-word of the noughties and triumphed as the solution for Australian industry, science and education alike to keep a competitive edge over the emerging tiger economies of Asia and beyond. But as we transition into the next ten years, has overuse of the term innovation over the past decade meant that the definitive buzz-word has lost its buzz?

Read the full story here

Friday, December 10, 2010

New materials for the food industry

A recent seminar at UQ highlighted the capabilities, facilities and services available to support the food processing industry and also illustrated the current research themes across a number of faculties. Read the full story here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

For instant factory, just add people

Manufacturing simulations are a proven method for identifying and fixing process and people issues in a replica manufacturing environment. Simulations are typically run over a day, or longer when part of a comprehensive manufacturing excellence program such as ProEdge or ProVantage. They are a great way to build understanding - participants learn by doing, with low risk and results are delivered quickly.

To distil the core elements of a manufacturing simulation, QMI Solutions now offers the Rapid Manufacturing Simulation (RMS) which can be completed in two hours. The RMS demonstrates the key concepts of Lean and manufacturing excellence via a hands-on, customisable and practical application. Read the full story.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Manufacturing jobs to pick up in 2011

From FEN: Employer optimism is looking strong for first quarter of 2011, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released yesterday.

Manpower Australia & New Zealand managing director, Lincoln Crawley, said a surprising amount of optimism rested with employers in the manufacturing and transportation & utilities.

Optimism across these two sectors has increase 18% and 23%, respectively from last quarter, survey results revealed. Read the full story here.

Manufacturing activity softens in November

From Industry Update: Manufacturing activity softened in November due to the strong Australian dollar, rising interest rates and skills shortages, according to the latest industry survey.

Only seven of the 12 manufacturing sub-sectors expanded in the month, the latest Australian Industry Group/PwC Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) shows.

The PMI fell 1.8 points to 47.6 in November, driven by falls in the basic metals and machinery and equipment sub-sectors. Readings below 50 indicate contraction in activity.

The survey showed an expansion in areas such as textiles was not enough to offset falls in the other areas and new orders across manufacturing continued to weaken in the month. Read the full story.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shortage of Engineers or a Glut: No Simple Answer

Excerpt from TechCrunch: Ask a child if there is a shortage of ice cream in the world, and no doubt, the response will be an emphatic yes—there certainly is. And ask a tech CEO if there is a shortage of engineers, and you will get the exact same answer.

That’s the story I used to tell, based on my research on engineering graduation rates and outsourcing trends.  In 2005, my team shattered the myths about India and China graduating 12 times the numbers of engineers as the U.S. (we found that the U.S. graduated more than India did in 2004, and the quality of Indian and Chinese graduates was not comparable to that of American schools). Read the full story here.

Steps to becoming a world class manufacturer - Practices make perfect

Do you have a phobia of fads? Are you sick and tired of hearing about the next big thing, having a go at it, getting some short term results and then having everything return to 'normal' - a state of mediocre performance driven by uninspiring practices? You're not alone.

Have a look at our seven-and-a-half steps to becoming a world class manufacturer:

1. Define the agenda
2. Understand the nature of your manufacturing process
3. Identify Key Success Factors for your business
4. Identify the practices at which you must excel
5. Measure your performance and your practices
6. Identify practices and targets on which to focus your improvement effort
7. Implement best practices
7½.  Back to Step 5.

Read the whole story here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tips to Tackle The Seven Deadly Wastes

How to prevent running over budget, over time and deliver value to your customers.
Waste is the enemy of any process. By identifying and eliminating it, you can transform your company into a Leaner, and ultimately, a more profitable organisation.
Many activities which are routinely performed in production facilities add no value in the eyes of the customer. If these wasteful activities can be identified and reduced, or eliminated, then workflow and production capacity increases without an increase in costs for the business. This combination of improved customer service and cost competitiveness can significantly increase the profitability of the business. Read full article here.

US factory output grew for the 16th straight month in November,

Excerpt from Hartford Business online:

U.S. factory output grew for the 16th straight month in November, though at a marginally slower pace than the previous month, The Associated Press reports.

The Institute for Supply Management says its index of manufacturing activity dropped to 56.6 in November, down from 56.9 in October. Any reading over 50 indicates growth.

Manufacturing has been one of the strongest sectors of the economy since the recession ended. After slowing over the summer, factories have picked up in recent months as consumer demand for autos, computers and other goods has rebounded. Read the full story here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The 'crying' invoice invented

Excerpt from Australian Anthill: Did you know, in Australia, it takes an average 51.8 days to get paid, according to Dunn & Bradstreet? Frustration with tardy debtors was the obvious impetus behind this nifty invention from Belgium outfit ikki; an invoice with a voice-chip that begins to make weeping noises 20 seconds after the envelope is opened. (How? The chip reacts to light.).
However, what’s truly inventive about the ‘crying invoice’ is its other purpose. Read the full story or see how the crying invoice works.

Got a great idea?

There's only one week left to get your big idea lodged at Big Idea Queensland. Here's your chance to pitch an innovative idea that could change the way your business works and have the potential to transform the industry you work in. There's up to $50,000 on offer.

Making manufacturing sexy

"Sexy" may be the wrong word, but what's the best way of attracting young people into an industry that may not be seen as a career of choice to many. The F1-in-Schools challenge is successfully doing this. The 2010 finals were held in Singapore and two Australian teams were placed in the Top 5 - click here for the coverage in Engineers Australia -  well done to students from Pine Rivers High School and Sebastopol College in Ballarat. F1-in-schools is coordinated by the Re-Engineering Australia Forum.

Great achievements by Austchrome

Austchrome was originally established as a hard chroming business with a focus on hydraulic cylinder maintenance for the heavy equipment industry. They've made some great gains in reducing job turnaround times and increasing production volume. See the full story at:

..but see below for some before and after pics to get a real feel for the magnitude of their achievements.



There is more information about Austchrome at:

See our tweets

Our latest tweets are over there>>>>>> but subscribe to our tweets at "QMI_Solutions" to get a regular dose of us :)

Wall Street Journal predicts recovery gathering steam

By all reports, the US economy/industry was hit pretty tough by the GFC. Australia was less so [do you disagree?], maybe this means their recovery looks all the more impressive... see the article at:

Not a bad resource for industry news - Australia/NewZealand

I subscribe to Industry Search eNewsWire which provides daily emails as to what's going on industry, there's about 30 different industry categories you can choose from - it's all pretty good. Visit and subscribe at:


Even if you have or haven't of us before, welcome! The idea of this blog is to provide you with thoughts and ideas for you to improve your business. We are primarily focused on industry (manufacturing) however, many manufacturing ideas have been adapted to other indutries in the past - just look at the production line. Of course, this is not a one-way street, we welcome any input you're prepared to offer. First item of interest is a little frivolous, but provides a pretty good insight into the importance of an ordered workplace, especially in reference to manufacturing using the old favourite LEGO - enjoy!