Wednesday, March 21, 2012

SME Clients: Do It Smart, Win Their Hearts

This is a little away from the norm of our regular posts, but interesting nonetheless. I can across this article posted on LinkedIN by AT Kearney, where it looks at the value generated by SMEs - almost half of GDP of G7 countries. However the dichotomy is that SMEs aren't well represented (serviced?) by banks because of the fragmented nature of the SME community.

The article recommends banks do not segment SMEs on the (generic) basis of size, but rather adopt a more tailored approach that considers product/channel usage and data credibility.

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Anyone can be a manufacturer

Another interesting post from Derek Singleton on the Software Advice website discussing the next manufacturing revolution - and how it's driven by individuals not corporations. For me, the most interesting part was his list of enabling technologies to help this revolution:
  • Crowdsourcing – Crowdsourcing is an approach to idea generation and product development, not a technology. However, there’s a variety of tech resources available that enable crowdsourcing for any kind of project; check out Open Innovation for a great list.
  • CAD Software – 2D and 3D designs created with CAD software can be saved in a sharable file format before production. You can access professional-grade CAD software on a subscription basis for $19.95/month from Local Motors.
  • 3D Printing – 3D printers are rapidly decreasing in price, making it affordable to create a prototype model of a CAD design. Some 3D printers are already powerful enough to make small numbers of finished items. As this technology advances, the hope is that individuals will be able to produce larger batches of finished products.
  • Manufacturing-as-a-Service – Manufacturing is following software’s lead and becoming an on-demand service. Online manufacturing directories like Alibaba and ThomasNet can connect you with a manufacturer that will build for you so you don’t have to invest in any equipment.
  • Cloud Computing – The Cloud isn’t a manufacturing-specific technology but it deserves a mention because of how cost-effective it makes running a product business. Cloud solutions like NetSuite and Plex provide affordable solutions for managing orders, inventory, accounting and other business functions.
  • E-commerce – Of course, the Internet is a critical enabler for any business these days. Sites like eBay, Amazon, or your own e-commerce website, make it easy for customers to find and buy from you. If you’re interested in running your own e-commerce site, you should check out Volusion and BigCommerce.
 Click here to read the full article.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Moving from talent ownership to talent attraction

An interesting article from the Innovation Excellence website:

* * * *

Silicon Valley icon Bill Joy once famously said, “There are always more smart people outside your company than within it.”

In this new world of work, organisations must begin accepting that the most valuable employees will now be those that not only do good work, but who also serve as a force multiplier for their organizations by being good at organizing and orchestrating the innovation efforts of others who do not even work for the company.

And ideally, you will want to evolve to a place where even those who do not work for you actually want to work with you. In this brave new world, you must have strategies in place for attracting both internal and external talent to your innovation efforts.

Click here to read the full article and download the white paper.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

News coverage of Obama's $1 billion initiative to boost manufacturing

Some recent news coverage from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers on Obama's announcement to boost manufacturing:  

CNN (3/9, Aigner-Treworgy) reported, "President Barack Obama traveled Friday to a Rolls-Royce jet engine facility in Virginia, where he outlined a proposed network for manufacturers to share 'access to cutting edge capabilities.' Obama, speaking in Prince George, said the National Manufacturing Innovation Network is meant to link industry stakeholders in a national conversation about best manufacturing practices. The cost of the president's new proposal is $1 billion, but the White House is committed to creating a pilot program using appropriated funds from various departments, rather than waiting for Congress to approve funds requested in the president's budget."
        The Washington Post (3/10, Wilson) reported, "The centers would bring together industry, colleges and universities, and government agencies, as well as invest in new technologies, to help train workers for what the president has called the manufacturing jobs of the future. Obama also announced steps to use executive authority to authorize $45 million in existing resources to develop a pilot program for those institutes. The money does not require congressional approval, which he joked during his remarks was hard to come by."
        Bloomberg News (3/9, Runningen) reported, "Each of the technology hubs would focus on a specific manufacturing technology geared to the region, such as developing lightweight materials for use in next-generation automobiles, aircraft, ships and trains."
        Voice of America (3/9, Robinson) reported Obama said, "We have got to have this all across the country. I want everybody thinking about how are we making the best products, how we are harnessing the best ideas, and making sure they are located here in the United States. And sparking this network of innovation across the country it will create jobs and will keep America in the manufacturing game."
        Also covering the story are the Los Angeles Times (3/10, Hennessey), McClatchy (3/10, Clark), the National Journal (3/10, Quinton, Subscription Publication), The Hill (3/9, Sands), the Milwaukee Business Journal (3/9, Rovito, Subscription Publication) and other media sources.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Overcoming the manufacturing skills gap

An interesting post from Derek Singleton on the Software Advice website discussing the three ways to overcome the skills gap, which he suggests are:
  • strengthen educational partnerships
  • invest in in-house training
  • energise the workforce of tomorrow
Much of what he discusses is valid to the contemporary manufacturing environment in Australia. One element that is crucial in Australia is the role of government. We need to secure and maintain government support for the contribution of manufacturing, particularly SMEs, to the economy.

Click here to read the full article

Thursday, March 1, 2012

No-waste circular economy is good business – ask China

Don't throw out that broken toaster: it's key to our prosperity. Redesigning the economy so that all waste is reused or recycled would be good for business, according to two new reports.

For centuries the global economy has been linear. Companies extract resources from the environment, turn them into products and sell them to consumers – who eventually throw them out. As a result we are burning through Earth's natural resources and wasting useful materials.
But it doesn't have to be that way, says Felix Preston of think tank Chatham House in London. Instead, we could have a circular economy in which waste from one product is used in another.

Click here to read the full article.