What Does Lean Manufacturing Really Mean?

What does “Lean Manufacturing” mean? What does it take to implement Lean Manufacturing? And is “Lean Manufacturing” necessarily “mean manufacturing” as critics of this zero waste approach to making things have suggested? In this article, InSights talks with Joachim Fischer, a life-long practitioner of the art of Lean Manufacturing, to explore the answers to these questions.

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Does Your Strategy Hold Up Under Pressure?

The CEO develops strategy,
the Board approves it.
Well, not quite.
Not any more anyway.

Why? Corporate directors have long had the responsibility of seeking to assure the long-term viability of the companies they serve, specifically to maximize long-term value. While this standard has been in existence for decades, its application is shifting rapidly. Boards are increasingly seeking to understand not only what their companies are doing, but also why those things are being done. And they want to contribute their own ideas.

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How Do Successful Retailers Deal with Economic Ups and Downs?

Consumer-focused companies, such as retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, experience good times and bad times. Yet some companies seem to consistently outperform their peers regardless of economic conditions. Recognizing this anomaly, HighPoint InSights posed the following question to HighPoint’s retailing expert Karen Schwichtenberg:

What do high-performing retailers do well, regardless of economic conditions?

Schwichtenberg responds by outlining three simple, yet profound principles.

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How Can You Get More ROI from Your IT Investments?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have gotten a bad reputation, as have CRM, HR and data warehouse projects. Most CFOs will tell you that large-scale IT projects always cost more than budgeted, seldom deliver on their promises, and often falter or fail before they go live. Further, the big companies that make enterprise software, such as SAP and Oracle, extract enormous profits for themselves and their consulting partners.

Bob Kaplan, Senior Advisor for HighPoint Associates comments, “When you look at academic studies, what you see is that for the past twenty years people have been writing papers on how the vast majority of big-scale IT projects either come in way over budget, under deliver, or just completely fall apart.” Does Big IT really deserve its bad rap?

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How Can You Make Strategic Sourcing Strategic?

Strategic sourcing is not just another term for “beat up your suppliers.” In fact, when fully and properly deployed, the goal of strategic sourcing is competitive advantage first, cost considerations second. Yet in many corporations, strategic sourcing simply equates to getting the best price at any cost. An unrelenting focus on numbers sidelines the pursuit of strategic advantage. This kind of misguided strategic sourcing preempts taking advantage of a true strategic approach.

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Does Strategy-Making Have to Be All That Complicated?

When corporate executives hear the term “strategy-making,” many of them reach for the aspirin. Strategy-making conjures images of massive data analysis efforts, indecipherable PowerPoint decks, and money spent on people who at the end of the day don’t typically get it right. And by the way, where are the results?

In this article, James E. Bennett shares his life-tested, client confirmed views on how to make better strategic decisions by organizing all strategic thinking under the umbrella of institutional strategy. Institutional strategy is not a specific set of tools or techniques. Rather, it’s a way of approaching strategy-making from the executive level. It is not so much a tool kit as it is a matter of perspective.

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Can You “Manage” Enterprise Risk?

Disasters, both man-made and natural, have generated a lot of public attention in the past few years. According to data collected by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), natural disasters cost the world’s economy $35 billion in 2009 and $110 billion in 2010. Disaster losses more than tripled to $380 billion in 2011. You can’t predict them, but you can mitigate their effects.

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Why Do Intentions Matter in Making Mergers Work?

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) represent substantial opportunities for companies to consolidate, grow or diversify their strategic positions. M&A also represents a significant level of economic activity across the global economy. Market watchers estimate that 2011 global M&A activity increased to $2.75 trillion, up from 2010′s activity of $2.25 trillion. U.S. based transactions typically constitute about one third of global M&A value. Global M&A activity is expected to exceed $3 trillion in 2012. The U.S. will account for $1 trillion of that figure. That’s a lot of opportunity.

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Is Your Company Ready Beyond the IPO?

While the IPO market has not recovered to pre-recession levels, the number of IPO filings over the past 24 months is more than double that of the previous 24, and the trend may continue. This looks to be good news for investment firms with stakes in recovering or growing enterprises. Or is it?

In this article, HighPoint Associates’ Senior Advisors Henry DeNero and Kevin Ventrudo talk with Bennett McClellan regarding tips and lookouts for executives and investors considering taking their companies public.

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Sumeet Goel Discusses HPA’s Business Model with Jason Sanders

HighPoint Associates utilized a unique approach to the delivery of high value management consulting services. The company manages a network of over 500 experienced, independent professionals from diverse industry and functional backgrounds providing best-of-class, customized advisory services for growth-oriented companies. Sumeet Goel, HPA’s founder and former McKinsey consultant, discussed his company’s history, future and current business model with Ivy Exec’s Executive Search Practice Leader, Jason Sanders.

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