Issue 4, 1995

Remediation Management: Improving Performance and Getting Results

David E. Langseth and Robert N. Lambe

Remediation programs have historically given companies little satisfaction while costing them millions. Leading companies today, however, are finding ways to gain increased control over their remediation programs and greater value from their expenditures. These programs go beyond the largely reactive approaches of the past to build long–term company value by emphasizing a business focus and strategic action. They achieve consensus for realistic solutions through better communication with all stakeholders in remediation projects. And they use measures that enable companies to track real progress and target areas for improvement. At a two–day colloquium, Arthur D. Little's senior managers facilitated a discussion among executives from nine companies whose remediation management practices represent the "Best of the Best." They explored how their remediation strategies are helping them improve business results. [...]

Issue 4, 1995

Risk Management: The Path to Excellence

R. Scott Stricoff and Lisa M. Bendixen

For executives who manage risk, ensuring that appropriate standards and practices are maintained and refreshed throughout far–flung, diverse operations has never been easy. In the early 1990s, it got a lot tougher. External pressures and requirements for more detailed, documented risk management systems escalated in the wake of well–publicized industry accidents. Internal requirements for risk management also multiplied as senior leadership set forth new environmental, health, and safety objectives. At the same time, many companies began to undergo massive reorganizations: decentralizing, delayering, reengineering, and often downsizing. For most risk management executives, these converging forces have meant doing more and doing it better than ever before – with the same or fewer resources. [...]

Issue 4, 1995

Environmental Strategy - Stepping Up to Business Demands

Karen Blumenfeld and Anthony Montrone

Business leaders have recognized for some time that business decisions have environmental implications and environmental decisions have business implications. What's new is that a few companies on the cutting edge are finding ways to use the environment as a catalyst for business advantage. By incorporating environmental thinking into their basic business decision–making, they are shaping – whether consciously or unconsciously – the emerging discipline of environmental strategy. Some of the companies who are pioneering this process were represented at Arthur D. Little's Best–of–the–Best Colloquium on Environmental Strategy. Like other companies, they face many challenges as they explore ways to turn environmental strategy to competitive advantage. But as you will see, they are committed to converting their challenges into opportunities. [...]

Issue 4, 1995

Shifting Paradigms, New Challenges: Technology and Innovation Management

Ronald S. Jonash

In 1995 Arthur D. Little sponsored two Best–of–the–Best colloquia on technology and innovation management, one in North America and one in Europe. The companies nominated and selected by their peers as "Best of the Best" in the field represent a wide range of industries and face very different markets and competitive dynamics. Nonetheless, as senior executives from these companies worked together over two days at each colloquium, they were able to share some important insights into the shirting paradigms and emerging best practices of the 1990s and beyond. They also identified some important pathways and "stepping stones" that will lead to even higher performance in technology and innovation management in the future. [...]

Issue 4, 1995

Simplification and Complexity: The Best of the Best in Supply Chain Management

James A. Welch, Thomas C. Day, Bruce H. Grant

For many companies, price is now a given – i.e., for the level of service, product features, and quality they provide, price is not a characteristic on which they can differentiate themselves from their competitors. Rather, it is the base point from which they start to build the value equation. [...]

Issue 4, 1995

Manufacturing Management: The Work Force of the Future

Robert J. Thomas, Anjan C. Mehta, and Robert F. Donohue

In the year 2005, manufacturing will cease to exist as a world apart from product conception, design, delivery, and disposal. Manufacturing – the people, the systems, and the knowledge base – will be fully integrated into a seamless process of value creation. Accordingly, manufacturing workers will be virtually indistinguishable from other participants in that process. They will share with other employees a dedication to performance improvement – incremental and transformative – and to learning and change. In return, manufacturing managers, engineers, and workers will expect employers to provide them with greatly expanded opportunities to refresh and expand their skills. [...]

Issue 4, 1995

Reinventing Customer Management - Lessons from the Best of the Best

Marc D. Rubin

"The problem with our organisation is that we have our face to the boss and our backside to the customer!" This statement – quoted recently by the CEO of a major manufacturing corporation – expresses the frustration many managers have felt in their efforts to realise their vision of truly customer-driven operations. At the invitation of Arthur D. Little, executives representing the "Best-of-the-Best" companies in customer management met earlier this year to discuss their vision of the future customer-driven company, as well as the challenges that lie in the path toward that ideal. [...]

Issue 4, 1995

From Process Management to Complexity Management

Arun N. Maira and Robert M. Curtice

Last April, representatives of an elite group of pioneering companies gathered for two days in upstate New York to talk about the state of the art in process management and try to "push the envelope." These companies – Corning, DuPont, the Gartner Group, Hewlett–Packard, Marion Merrell Dow, MCI, PHH Vehicle Management Services, Texas Instruments, and Xerox – have already reaped substantial bottom–line benefits from their process redesign efforts. Global best practices are in place and efficiencies have been won, the result of analysis and insight. Process management is maturing at these companies, and they are moving on to a new cycle, the creation of learning organizations. The participants at the colloquium shared with each other highlights of what they've learned and discussed the issues they face as they redefine themselves for the future. [...]

Issue 4, 1995

Learning from the Best of the Best

Tamara J. Erickson

Last year, the main issue on the minds of our Best–of–the–Best Colloquia participants was organizational change; this year, it was learning. At all eight Arthur D. Little colloquia held in 1995, virtually every participant expressed the desire or the need, on behalf of his or her organization, to become more resilient, more adaptable, and smarter about responding to the pervasive change each continues to face. In our words, to increase organizational learning. [...]

Issue 3, 1995

Viewpoint Leadership and the Learning Organisation

Charles F. Kiefer

When the editor of Prism asked me to contribute to this issue, the first thing that crossed my mind was: "Gosh! The world sure doesn't need another article on leadership." As a student of the subject for the past 20 years and a creator of a renowned seminar on leadership for senior executives, my files were full of articles on the subject. In one issue of one of the better magazines I receive, I counted more than 20 prescriptions for leadership in only the first few pages. [...]

Issue 3, 1995

Technology Foundations of the Learning Organisation

Robert M. Curtice and Stuart J. Lipoff

The degree to which modern technology can enable the learning organisation is bounded only by human imagination and creativity. Every day, new and exciting technologies are emerging or are becoming practical and affordable that can have a profound impact on how people capture knowledge, achieve understanding, and communicate with one another. These activities are fundamental building blocks of organisational learning. [...]

Issue 3, 1995

Measuring Learning: Assessing and Valuing Progress

Nils H. Bohlin and Paul Brenner

Say you've just been appointed the CKO – Chief Knowledge Officer – of your organization. You are responsible for managing the company's knowledge capital, including how it is created, maintained, and used. You understand the principles of learning organizations and believe that effective learning is the pathway to accelerated performance improvement. Now you need to know what the pathway looks like and how you can get started. We suggest that a good place to start is with an assessment of your organization's knowledge base and learning skills. An assessment forms the baseline against which you can measure your progress toward becoming a learning organization. Exhibit 1 offers a roadmap for "learning to learn" and highlights the focus of this article – how to assess your current state of organizational learning. [...]

Issue 3, 1995

Creating Business Results Through Team Learning

Steven Ober, Joel Yanowitz, and David Kantor

As of 1993, Sigma Tech (a fictional name) was one of the most successful small corporations in the United States. The company's business was both humanitarian and highly profitable, and its workforce was committed to the company's vision and values. Many Sigma Tech employees also had a significant stake in the company's future through ownership of its publicly traded stock. The company had an energetic CEO who was committed to expanding the business, and an executive team that was made up of young, dedicated, and ambitious vice presidents. All the elements were in place for a positive future. [...]

Issue 3, 1995

Creating a Learning Organisation

P Ranganath Nayak, David A. Garvin, Arun N. Maira, and Joan L. Bragar

Managers of leading organisations know that the ability to change in response to changing conditions is a matter of not only competitive edge but survival. Yet most recent change efforts designed to keep organisations competitive – downsizing, restructuring, reengineering, even employee empowerment – have proven disappointing, and many have failed outright. [...]

Issue 3, 1995

Learning to Change and Changing to Learn - Managing for the 21st Century

Arun N. Maira and Peter B. Scott-Morgan

Around the globe, across a wide variety of industries, senior managers are coming to us and our colleagues with the same urgent question: how can I prepare my organization to survive and thrive in an increasingly unknowable future? [...]

Issue 2, 1995

Viewpoint The CEO Balancing Act: Prospering in the New World of Business

Charles R. LaMantia

Today, we live and work in a global economy in which companies routinely cross national boundaries to compete for markets and customers; a highly flexible economy in which companies take themselves apart and put themselves back together in new configurations; a virtual economy in which companies cooperate with competitors, sell to suppliers, and buy from customers; a knowledge economy built on brains, innovation, and speed. [...]

Issue 2, 1995

Balanced Performance Measures: Tracking the Pathway to High Performance

Robert M. Curtice and George T. Kastner

Traditional business performance measures, such as return on assets or earnings per share, reflect a company's overall financial results in a given period. While useful, they offer little insight into why or how the organisation achieved any particular result, and they provide little guidance as to where or how to make improvements. To better assess the various factors contributing to overall performance, management needs additional "in process" measures. [...]

Issue 2, 1995

Managing Innovation: From Serendipity to Process

Jean-Philippe Deschamps

There are many ways to increase company value. In their recent book Competing for the Future, Hamel and Prahallad equate the challenge to that of jacking up the value of a fraction. The numerator of the fraction represents the company's revenues and profits. The denominator reflects its investment and cost base. To increase the value of the fraction – hence company value – management must reduce the denominator and/or grow the numerator. [...]

Issue 2, 1995

Parenting Advantage: The Key to Corporate-Level Strategy

Marcus Alexander, Andrew Campbell, and Michael Goold

While business–level strategy has improved dramatically over the past two decades, business–level strategy alone cannot meet the strategic needs of large, multi–business companies. Such companies need strategies for each of their businesses, and they also need something else: a corporate–level strategy. The corporate–level strategy provides a rationale for keeping all these businesses grouped together under common ownership – and at some distance from outside shareholders and investors. [...]

Issue 2, 1995

Preserve the Core/Stimulate Progress: The Yin and Yang of Visionary Companies

James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras

This article presents the central underlying dynamic of "preserve the core/stimulate progress" that enables enduring companies to adapt to and prosper in a changing and difficult world. It is based on a six–year research project (which led to our book Built to Last1), for which we systematically studied the founding, growth, and development of exceptional companies that have stood the test of time, including: Boeing, Disney, General Electric (GE), Hewlett–Packard (HP), Johnson & Johnson, Marriott, Merck, Motorola, Nordstrom, Procter & Gamble, Sony, and 3M. Our "visionary companies" (as we eventually came to call the 18 companies we studied) had both endurance, with an average age of nearly 100 years, and sustained performance, having outperformed the stock market 15 times since 1926. We also studied each visionary company in contrast to a "comparison company" that had roughly the same shot in life, but didn't turn out as well: for example, 3M in contrast to Norton, Procter & Gamble in contrast to Colgate, Motorola in contrast to Zenith, and so on. [...]

Issue 1, 1995

Viewpoint The Development of the Turbo-Encabulator

J. H. Quick

For a number of years now, work has been proceeding in order to bring perfection to the crudely conceived idea of a machine that would not only supply inverse reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors, but would also be capable of automatically synchronizing cardinal grammeters. Such a machine is the "Turbo–Encabulator." Basically, the only new principle involved is that instead of power being generated by the relative motion of conductors and fluxes, it is produced by the modial interaction of magneto–reluctance and capacitive directance. [...]

Issue 1, 1995

Working with the Union as a Key Manufacturing Stakeholder

Anthony J. Lynch

Designing and implementing major change – whether a process reengineering effort, a reorganisation, or a fundamental transformation of the entire process – is particularly challenging in a unionized manufacturing environment, where multiple stakeholder groups have different and often conflicting needs. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that the effort succeeds. Arthur D. Little has devised a series of guidelines based on our extensive experience in conducting change management programs in such environments. [...]

Issue 1, 1995

The Japanese Approach to Innovation: Research for D&M

Sigvald Harryson

It is conventional wisdom that Western companies are better at inventing and developing new technologies than at producing and commercializing them, while Japanese companies are particularly skillful at commercializing technology. In the preceding article, Thomas and Maira argue convincingly for a continuous exchange of knowledge between Design and Manufacturing as a way to improve the entire product development process – from conception to commercialisation. They also illustrate some of the problems encountered by Western organisations that have tried to bridge the traditional distance between these two functions. In this article, based on extensive study and interviews in Japan1, we look at actual mechanisms used by two companies – Canon and Sony – to effectively bridge that distance. [...]

Issue 1, 1995

From Manufacturing to Design - and Back Again

Robert J. Thomas and Arun N. Maira

Until recently, manufacturers generally assumed that design should precede manufacturing in priority and prestige as well as in time. Today, however, there is growing recognition that design and manufacturing really are interdependent activities that work best when they maintain a continuous exchange of knowledge and insight. Companies in a wide array of industries are discovering that when manufacturing managers, engineers, and workers collaborate actively with designers, they can greatly improve the quality and reliability of products, reduce time to market, and provide greater customer satisfaction. [...]

Issue 1, 1995

Minimalist Manufacturing: Leveraging Process Knowledge for Strategic Benefit

W. David Lee

"We are overwhelmed and swimming in reports on every SKU, machine, shift."... "We need to increase capacity this year."... "I need to prepare for new product introduction next year. And the CEO says that we must change with the times and become a more responsive learning organisation – able to respond more quickly to the marketplace."... "I don't know where to start. But I know there is a problem on line 7, so that is what I need to look at first."... "We need to fill the trucks."
– ADL Minimalist Manufacturing Forum, December 1994 These comments reflect the challenges facing today's general managers. On the one hand, their factories must master the production process in order to produce more and better products – while using the same assets. On the other, they need to be able to change flexibly – and fast – to produce new products. [...]

Issue 1, 1995

Minimalist Manufacturing: Doing More, Better, with Less

Ramchandran Jaikumar

Consider the 21st century factory. The product, whatever it is, is flawless, "zero defect" in today's manufacturing parlance. Material process flows are uninterrupted. Minuscule inventories, managed in an automated manner, buffer process stages. [...]

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About Prism

Twice a year, Arthur D. Little covers the latest cutting-edge thinking on strategy, technology and innovation in its corporate magazine Prism. For over 20 years Prism has continually set the standards in innovative thinking and groundbreaking concepts in the world of business and management.

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