Where OpsManagement Falls Short



Operations managers often strive to improve the company’s performance in some way, but at times, their efforts become unsuccessful and often fall short of the company’s goal. In a WSJ article, it says that 60% of companies who have used the six-sigma process (a quality control procedure) have failed. When putting together a project plan, participants (employees) are often excited at the beginning to learn about the new procedures, but as they are pulled to their max, the excitement quickly dwindles and they lost motivation and the effort needed to complete the project successfully. This is referred to as the stretching phase of the six-sigma system. Towards the middle of the project was when top managers really get involved and begin monitoring the employees progress. During this time, the team focuses on precision rather than quantity. Once they perfect their tasks, their quantity is expected to begin going up and the project is seen as successful. During this middle phase however, is also when managers begin to over look other projects and focus on other groups of workers. This is when precision & production become unstable and the project begins to fail because employees record their achievements inaccurately. This is referred to as the yielding phase. During the third  stage of decline, failing, the project often gets stretched to its limits, excitement is no longer there, inaccuracies are constant, and the production is at a standstill. The project can no longer go on and can no longer be successful due to the lack of effort by the team members, executives, and advisers. At this point, it is common that the project has lost its funding due to its lack of progress.  It is suggested in this article that the improvement teams have no more than six to nine members and that they be monitored by an improvement supervisor who knows how to handle situations and projects like these. The article also suggests that executive employees monitor the successes and failures of the teams work in order to make accurate assessments on the status of the project. By relying on only one person (the executive) to record the accuracy of the project, the team is able to eliminate any inaccuracies that may have occurred. After assigning team members, projects should begin within six to eight weeks to ensure that they get the proper funding and attention needed to be successful. If projects push their start date out too far, it is common that the resources and funding needed will be spent elsewhere and that team members will loose interest and have conflicting goals with each-other.  What do you think the best way to set up a team is?





Fiat and Americas Car Market

I read an article in The Wall Street Journal earlier this week about how Fiat is already cutting back on producing new cars due to the stall in the market. In Europe, the worlds 3rd largest car buying market besides China and the United States, new car sales are decreasing. This is seen all over the United States as we can all see how car dealerships are going under, some companies have stopped producing, and others are cutting back on their different makes and models. The WSJ also says that imported car sales are down in America 89% this past May 2012 from May 2011. I would believe that Fiat is still in their growth stage when it comes to America’s market, so it seems alarming to me that they are already needing to make cuts in production, but then again, the stats prove why. This is just a  reflection of America’s economy as a whole though, because American’s are not buying as many new cars at the rates that they used to. They do not have as much excess money to spend on buying nicer cars, so they look to other options such as leasing or just buying used, which makes sense to me because how can someone with a tight budget justify the decrease in value a car has just driving it off the lot? Many dealerships aren’t stocking the lots with as much inventory because they are  just not getting the sales that they used to. And has anyone even seen a FIAT dealership in Chicago? I haven’t, only the commercials on TV. Today, consumers are shopping around more and trying to haggle the prices down as low as they can. Some dealerships are selling at these lower prices because they know if they don’t accept offers the cars will just be sitting on the lot for longer. Something else that is surprising about Fiat’s recent cuts is that they are relatively conscious of the MPG rating. Fiat’s get good gas mileage and with the gas prices on the rise I feel that more consumers should be looking towards these types of cars but that just does not seem to be the case. If Fiat wishes to increase their sales in the United States, I feel they should make a stronger effort to gain more of the market share through dealerships and advertising campaigns. How do you feel when it comes to buying a car, small or large? New or used? Import or domestic?

References: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303822204577468273317891992.html