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We like to share, when we read good stuff. Here’s a round-up of some interesting blogs, columns and article we’ve read in the last few weeks.

 

Skills-Gap Issues

This article from Bloomberg News showed up on our feed via New Equipment Digest. President Trump wants to increase manufacturing jobs in the U.S. – but who is ready to fill those positions? The article says, “Four-fifths of executives surveyed said that a shortage of sufficiently skilled workers will affect their companies in the next 12 months. The most-represented sector in the survey is manufacturing, which the Trump White House calls the “backbone of our economy. Complaints of hard-to-fill factory jobs are backed up by Bureau of Labor Statistics data: 324,000 manufacturing spots were open in November, up from 238,000 a year earlier.” The skills-gap problem is something we read about a lot, and this article gives a good analysis of what’s going on. Check it out here.

 

Going “Cheap” vs Really Being Lean (Avoiding Waste)

We loved this column by John Dyer from Industry Week recently. We see this all the time: Someone doesn’t want to buy our tape, because it’s not the cheapest on the market. Then they use the “cheaper tape” but end up spending more money for maintenance and repair labor, making the “cheap” tape actually cost the company more than ours would have if they’d bought ours in the first place. Dyer does a good job of showing how saving money in the short-term, doesn’t always lead to the best use of funds and can lead to wasteful spending – the opposite of being Lean. Read Dyer’s column here.

 

The Importance of Visual Cues in a Lean Workplace

Gwendolyn Galsworth  reprinted a past column last month, in in which she talked about Jim Womack and Dan Jones’ book, “Lean Thinking,” published in 1996 and recently updated. Galsworth praises the book, saying it codified the core principles of key operational model.

“Five principles are noted: value, the value stream, flow, pull, and perfection. Who could argue with those?” she says. “So then: What is the problem? The problem is: As a model, what Womack and Jones defined remains incomplete. A principle is left out. As such, the problem is one of omission, not commission. Interestingly, the omitted “thing” was (and is) invisible to most eyes anyway—the principle of visual information sharing,” Galsworth adds.

 

Hearing Issues for Americans

Can you hear me? CAN YOU HEAR ME?

According to the CDC, one in four Americans suffer from hearing loss.

CDC researchers provided hearing tests to more than 3,500 adult participants ranging from their early 20s to late 60s. Two surprising things came out of the study. First, about 20 percent of the participants who reported good or excellent hearing had a distinctive drop in the ability to hear high-pitched sounds, according to the report. Also surprising, the report found that 53 percent of adults with noise-induced hearing damage had no job exposure to loud sounds. The incidence of hearing loss also increased with age, about 20 percent in the 20-29 age group and 27 percent in ages 50-59.

Here’s a good synopsis of the study.

 

Ten Commandments of Continuous Improvement

This is a really good video from Gemba Academy, called “Ten Commandments of Continuous Improvement.” They do try to sell you other videos and tutorials, but it is a really good look at some of the basics of making the practice of continuous improvement work for your business. Check it out here.