Newsletter – November, 2017

On My Mind
The 2017 Deming Prize Winners were recently announced by the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE). Congratulations to SCG Logistics Management Company Limited (Thailand) for winning The Deming Grand Prize. Congratulations to Ashok Leyland Limited, Hosur Unit II (India) and CEAT Limited (India) for winning The Deming Prize. You can learn more about The Deming Grand Prize and The Deming Prize at There is a research paper on The Application of Policy Deployment (Hoshin Kanri) in Indian Companies available on the RESEARCH page at The research paper features four Deming Prize winning entities from India.

Interesting Stories
Go small to go big? A local company recently cut 15% of its workforce as part of its new long-term growth strategy. I don’t know why, but this sounded strange to me – and unfortunate for the employees who lost their job. “We are laying you off as part of our long-term growth strategy.” Under what conditions should a company shrink its labor force in order to grow long-term? One answer might be related to dramatic improvements in productivity – “We will need fewer people in the future because we will be much more efficient.” Another answer might be related to increased automation. This will be an interesting company to watch.

Company News
I’m grateful to the following people who presented at the 9th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference on October 19 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: Marshall Smith, MN DHS Direct Care & Treatment; Wayne Fortun, Hutchinson Technology (retired); Dr. John Olson and Dr. Ashley Stadler Blank, University of St. Thomas; Dr. Andy Van de Ven, Carlson School of Management; Justin Gilbert, IBM; Matthew Moore, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation; Vern Campbell, Process Management & University of Manitoba; Marilena Laterza, New Flyer Industries; Michael Smith, Be The Match; Anthony Alongi, Judy Grew, and Laura Grunloh, MN DNR; and Mike Kewley, Loram Maintenance of Way. The next public Continuous Improvement Green Belt course kicks-off November 16. The next public Strategic Improvement Black Belt course kicks-off January 9, 2018. The brochures for these courses are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. The Statistical Methods for Strategic Improvement course will be held February 5-6, 2018. The brochure for this event will be available in December.

Intriguing Reads
I thoroughly enjoyed the new book by Scott Galloway titled, The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. This is a captivating book that describes how the Four Horsemen gained their dominant positions in the global marketplace, their unique competitive advantages, what it takes to be like them (product differentiation, visionary capital, global reach, likability, vertical integration, AI, accelerant, and geography), and who is likely to become the Fifth Horsemen. This is a clever and profound book, but be forewarned, it is a bit vulgar at times. If you want a glimpse into what is happening in the world and where the future is headed, then give this book a try.