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Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC)

June 2010 Blog Posts (34)

Senior Leaders Need Help!

ATAC conducts training and development programs within organizations. We often have to literally beg senior leaders to become involved with the enagement in the form of kick-off activities, maybe actually attending the event or most likely participating in a closing report-out or summary.

More often than not we are amazed how disconnected senior leaders are when it comes to engaging their employees. Let me point out that there are many senior leader superstars out there and…


Added by Henry Burdg on June 29, 2010 at 9:32pm — No Comments

The Balanced Scorecard

For years companies have used the Balanced Scorecard as a strategic performance evaluation tool. Art Schneiderman received much of the credit for developing the early versions of the approach. He identified four perspectives that should drive the vision, and ultimately the activities of the organization. These perspectives are: “Financial”, “Customer”, “Internal Business Processes”, and “Learning and Growth.” Ultimately, we…


Added by Mark M. Clark on June 29, 2010 at 9:26pm — No Comments

Elections, Amendments, and Clear Product Benefits

Many parts of the country just concluded primary elections earlier this month involving governorships, senate seats, and amendments to state constitutions. Have you ever been confused about an amendment ballot issue? Studies reveal that when constitutional amendments are not clearly understood by the public, they are often defeated with a "no" vote.

Complexity and confusion aren't strategies for success. To win votes or… Continue

Added by David Mixson on June 29, 2010 at 9:30am — No Comments

Using Lean in the Office

We help various companies implement lean within their facilities but do we actually use lean in our office? Yes, we do! One of the methods we use is the kanban system. We have many of our office supplies set up on the kanban system. Below is one example:

This is our print cartridge kanban. Kanban cards are placed on top of the print cartridges. When the print cartridge is used the card is given to me…


Added by Nicole Merritt on June 28, 2010 at 2:53pm — 1 Comment

With Eureka Winning Ways ATAC helps companies create growth strategies

To help small and mid-sized manufacturers grow top-line sales, the Alabama Technology Network (ATN) has partnered with the Eureka! Ranch, a leading innovation group that has helped companies like Nike, American Express, and Walt Disney to generate business-building ideas.

Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC), the ATN center at Auburn University, has aligned with Quality Filters Inc. of Robertsdale, Ala., where ATAC’s assistance in implementing Eureka! Winning Ways has helped this…


Added by Mitch Emmons on June 28, 2010 at 10:00am — No Comments

What Pixar Learned from Toyota

Great Article in the Economist on Pixar Animation Studios - Unlike other animation companies, Pixar puts hiring the right people first rather than hiring people once a project is selected (Sounds like a Good to Great Principle- First Who, Then What). Secondly, Pixar devotes a lot of effort to getting people to work together, incorporating constant feedback so problems can be surfaced and resolved quickly. They have transparency incorporated by showing unfinished work in their daily meetings.… Continue

Added by Hank Czarnecki on June 28, 2010 at 8:30am — No Comments

Introduction to Performance Management

This is a presentation we did on Performance Management -It follows the ABC - Antecedents, Behavior and Consequences - Model and 4 consequences R+, R-, P+ and P-

PM ATAC Format.ppt

Added by Hank Czarnecki on June 28, 2010 at 8:30am — No Comments

Why ATAC Includes Plant Visits During Lean Manufacturing Training

Just the other week we completed another week-long LCS (Lean Certificate Series) training. One of the participants commented on how meaningful the plant visits were to him during the week as it made the teaching come alive.


During the week the class made three plant visits to local manufacturers within a short distance of the training site. The companies included Briggs & Stratton, Nikki American Fuel Systems, and Hoerbiger Automotive Comfort Systems. Each company…


Added by Henry Burdg on June 28, 2010 at 7:43am — 2 Comments

Research Brief: Work-unit Absenteeism

Many organizations face issues of employee absenteeism. Absenteeism can be costly in terms of lost productivity and operational disruption. In many of these instances, organizational leaders tend to focus on the individual causes of absenteeism. While this is often necessary and important, some recent research* suggests that we should also look at work-units as a possible cause of absenteeism.…


Added by Brian Flynn on June 28, 2010 at 4:00am — No Comments

Are Blood Tests Value Added To The Patient?

I recently read an interesting take on Value Added activities in Healthcare that I would like to share. The writer (who is a MD) basically asked, is drawing blood from a patient a value added activity? My first take was that drawing blood was value added to the patient as it was part of the diagnostics to help fix my ailment. After I finished reading, I was…


Added by Rick Battye on June 27, 2010 at 1:37pm — No Comments

Lean Training for employees in Healthcare

The information in this blog was taken from the book "On the Mend" by John Toussaint and Roger A. Gerard.

One method of training employees in Lean Healthcare is by doing. New employees are added each week to the Rapid Improvement Event (RIE) being conducted on a Value Stream and they learn Lean Healthcare by doing (working on the team).This approach sounds practical and permits management to control the training budget. Lets look at Thedacare in Wisconsin ( a large hospital…


Added by John David Hayes on June 25, 2010 at 1:34pm — No Comments

Providing Technical Assistance for East Alabama - West Georgia

By now, everyone is aware of the tremendous growth in West Georgia. With Kia recently beginning production (2009) and Fort Benning exploding (growth wise), the region's workforce has been drastically affected. Kia has employed approximately 2,500 people from the surrounding area - West Georgia and East Alabama. However, the major growth has been the 30,000 new residents going to Fort Benning, Ga in just a 4 year period!

This population explosion has been expected since the…


Added by Walker Jackson on June 25, 2010 at 11:21am — No Comments


My wife and I have enjoyed eating fresh produce out of our backyard garden for the past several years. Debbie came across a podcast about permaculture, the act of creating long-term sustainable food production.
Bill Mollison was a logger in Australia during the 1950s who became disenchanted with the slash-and-burn techniques used to strip timber from the land. He developed 12 principles of permaculture that apply to Lean production as well as…

Added by David Hicks on June 24, 2010 at 2:52pm — No Comments

Why is 5s Used as a Starting Point Rather than Standardized Work?

If the foundation of the lean production system is Standardized Work, why do most new implementations start with very little planning and jump in with a half-hearted 5s effort?

Grant it Standardized Work is "a" tool for maintaining productivity, quality, and safety in the multi-tool lean tool box but it appears most often as the foundation for lean production systems and upon which lean is built.

I think it is…


Added by Henry Burdg on June 24, 2010 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

Daily Improvement: Make Things a Little Better in Small Bites

I am sitting through ATAC’s Lean Accounting workshop this week and pondering. I’m not an accountant by any stretch of the imagination. If it weren’t for my wife, I’d even have trouble keeping a balance in my check book. However, I am sorting this number talk into terms that make sense to me.…


Added by Mitch Emmons on June 24, 2010 at 7:00am — 1 Comment

Lean Leadership Course Being Planned For Early Fall

Maintaining the momentum once an organization launches its lean journey can be the most difficult part of the initiative. The role of a leader is a very difficult one as in the lean way of managing, the leader is no longer the hard task master of old, but a mentor. The leader's job is to ensure that those persons under his or her charge are supported and equipped to become the continuous improvement, problem solving culture that lean is based upon.

So how does the leader learn…


Added by Mitch Emmons on June 23, 2010 at 8:00am — 1 Comment

What is a Lean Business Management System?

According to Bruce Baggaley, author of Lean Accounting, a Lean Business Manaement System is a tightly integrated system...

  • designed to deliver vlue to customers,
  • flowing from customer order to delivery when the customer pulls,
  • everybody in the company is continuously working to improve the lean value delivery process,
  • addressing and improving the end-to-end value stream process flow.

A traditional management system cannot support…


Added by Henry Burdg on June 22, 2010 at 1:53pm — No Comments

Manufacturing in Lee County Alabama

About 17.1% of the employment in Lee County is associated directly with the manufacturing industry. That translates into 6,724 employees out of the 39,309 as of March 12, 2007. For Alabama there are 281,601 manufacturing employees in that same period comprising about 16.3% of the workforce. So manufacturing employment in Lee County is 0.8% higher than the state average.


In many of Alabama's 67 counties there is very little manufacturing activity ocurring and there is…


Added by Henry Burdg on June 22, 2010 at 9:10am — No Comments

Alabama's Unemployment Rate Drops to 10.8%

To view Alabama's May 2010 unemployment rate by county, click here.

Added by David Mixson on June 21, 2010 at 10:00am — 2 Comments

The Importance of Connecting with Colleagues

Saw this article in Business Week - - It talks about how people "Click" or connect with other in the work place and how "Good Clickers" advance quicker than others - also how location/proximity plays an important role in creating relationships When clicking is done sincerely, it does create a great work environment

Added by Hank Czarnecki on June 21, 2010 at 8:00am — No Comments

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