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Category: Best Practices

Where Your Productivity Problem Is Hiding

This article from The Lab was featured by Industry Week.

The farther we get from the production line, the less adept we are at managing productivity.

Want to find a treasure trove of Virtuous Waste improvements in your business? Search beyond historically industrialized areas. Industrialization receives generous management attention when it involves the direct activities of production. Look at worker activities that are about production, that are one step removed from the line. Scrutinize them every bit as scrupulously….

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The Henry Ford School of Bank Digitization

This article from The Lab was featured by BAI Banking Strategies.

Ask banking executives about their top priorities and you are likely to hear that they are pursuing “digitization.” But it’s not immediately clear what this term means. How is it different from automation? The easiest way to grasp the contrast is to think of how digitization has transformed music purchases, travel booking, grocery shopping and taxi services. Banking is moving in the same direction, but conventional banks aren’t leading the charge…

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How New Technology Has the Potential to Expose Corporate Secrets

This article from The Lab was featured by Fast Company.

Until 1933, much of the information in today’s financial statements was only available to insiders. It took an act of Congress that year to compel businesses to disclose their sales, assets, inventories, and profits. More than 80 years later, most executives probably believe they know more about their company than outsiders.

But if that’s the case, it won’t be for much longer…

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When Waste is Virtuous

Categories: Best Practices, Workflows

Executives at a global brokerage knew that errors crept into new account setup and paid a costly staff to correct them. Sound familiar?

Everyone at the brokerage thought the sales force was the cause of this “insignificant, unavoidable” cost of doing business.

Although less than 20% of applications included errors, 60% of the staff’s time was devoted to correcting them. And since staff members found their tasks satisfyingly challenging, and executives perceived them as unavoidable, this “virtuous waste” remained hidden in plain sight…

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Management Report Mania

Categories: Best Practices, Workflows

Ever watch a copy machine go berserk and start spewing paper out all over the floor? Would you consider this a model for running your finance department?

Well, the finance department of one Fortune 100 company generates more than 10,000 internal, regularly scheduled management reports. Ostensibly, these are used to decide how to optimize revenue, margins and, ultimately, market value…

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