Good Reading, The Toyota Way

OCTOBER 3, 2020

In the 1990s Toyota’s principles of production equipment became “simple, slim, and flexible,” which some people might interpret as “go slow and be cautious in adopting new technology.”  In today’s age of lightning speed in the digital world, Jeff Liker’s new book, The Toyota Way (Oct., 2020) says that would be a mistake. His message is: “adapt technology that supports your people and processes.” Where are real needs that technology can address to help achieve corporate goals? This is a question of pulling technology based on the opportunity, instead of pushing the technology because it is the latest fad. The key issue, writes Liker, is to avoid the temptation to buy and implement the latest gee-whiz digital tools, and instead to thoughtfully integrate technology with highly developed people and processes.

Continue reading

Virtual Reality Replaces Travel During Coronavirus

JUNE 17, 2020

An engineer in the Netherlands using AR glasses developed by Microsoft to guide maintenance.

Intel’s semiconductor production hit a stumbling block in March. A chip plant in Arizona needed work done, but the engineer for the job was stuck in Germany because of coronavirus flight restrictions. If Intel couldn’t recalibrate existing machines and install new ones, America’s largest chip maker faced a production slowdown just when demand was surging as PCs and the cloud became critical to facilitate remote work.
Continue reading

Companies Retool Operations to Assist in Coronavirus Fight

by Barry Render

From a Kentucky distillery to a French bluejeans maker, companies are retooling to produce medical equipment for overloaded hospitals and slow the spread of coronavirus, writes The Wall Street Journal (March 19, 2020). Christian Dior perfumes has started making hand sanitizer. A car-parts company is producing hygienic masks. Luxury hotels are becoming makeshift quarantine shelters. An earthmoving-equipment maker and other manufacturers are examining whether they can help make ventilators, the key life-support machines.

As the pandemic grips the West, global demand for a range of goods and services has faltered—from handbags and tourism to cars. That has freed capacity for industries to produce medical equipment in short supply. World leaders have framed the crisis as a wartime struggle, and hark back Continue reading