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Business & Management

VMA Manufacturers Workshop: Touring Mazak, Learning Lean

vma workshop 1Nearly 60 attendees at VMA’s Manufacturers Workshop in Cincinnati, April 30-May 2, had in-depth learning experiences that revolved around the LEAN system, machine manufacturer Mazak and the MT Connect program.

 

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Knowledge: An Asset Worth Managing

Knowledge MgmtWhile most firms are mindful of the importance of managing assets, projects and people, knowledge management is less frequently considered of primary importance when discussing and setting corporate policy. However, during a recent webinar offered by PwC, the importance of having a comprehensive knowledge management strategy was brought to the forefront.

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Issues Affecting Today’s Corporate Finance Leaders

Being a corporate “finance leader” today means wearing multiple hats, if the spectrum of people who attended the 2014 VMA Finance Leaders Seminar April 10-11 in Arlington, VA is any indication. The topics they discussed among themselves during coffee breaks and the session topics covered ranged from today’s main human resources concerns to legal and regulatory issues to general economic trends with one thing in common: In today’s world, it all affects the bottom line.

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After You Sell it You Have to Deliver

Shawn Casemore Preparing for Growth part 2One of the most important factors to consider when encountering business growth is to ensure that capacity is strategically expanded to minimize the chaos that can accompany rapidly fluctuating demand. Unfortunately it often happens that companies apply more of a feast or famine approach, with little consideration to being strategic in planning and executing capacity. After all, once you make the sale you have to deliver.

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The Only Profitable Growth is Strategic Growth

up arrowIt should come as no surprise that the recent announcements around the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are a sure signal of future growth for the natural gas sector. More importantly, this is exciting news for valve manufacturers considering the relatively flat market over the past few years.

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Leveraging Talent Management to Support Lean

lean-management-WEBsizeAt first glance, your talent management programs might not seem to have a direct bearing or even connection to your lean initiatives. After all, they're about hiring, setting goals, employee development, performance reviews, succession planning, compensation — all the stuff around workforce management.

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Success Through Supply Chain Collaboration

technicaldrawingsrolledengineerWith valve components sourced from numerous suppliers around the globe, valve, actuator and control manufacturers are faced with a significant number of challenges while attempting to meet the desired flow control at a competitive price. They must manage the impact of raw material and component costs, control and stabilize product quality and be always vigilant against counterfeit materials.

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Getting More For Less; Improved Employee Efficiency Without Cost

employee efficiencyNext to equipment, labor is the number one cost for most valve manufacturers. With increasing competition from overseas, finding new means to increase employee productivity with minimal investment is an essential component of ensuring ongoing business viability. Agree with me so far? Then if I were to tell you that the incorporation of lean strategies into company operations is likely the fastest and most effective means of achieving this objective, would you read on? My guess is probably not; so let me put it another way. Forget the concept of lean manufacturing and all of the hoopla that comes along with it. Lean is little more than organizing operations in a manner that improves efficiency, and it doesn't take a six-step program, a certification, or rocket science to achieve similar, if not improved, results.

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Winning the Case Against IP Theft

rotork imageBecause of the serious safety and environmental consequences of using inferior counterfeit valves and the financial devastation that can come with theft of intellectual property, ValveMagazine.com ran a two part series in July 2012 dealing with these ongoing concerns.

One point made clear in that article was that, despite technological advances and government involvement in the protection of intellectual property rights, companies themselves must be vigilant in their own behalf.

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Managing Your Customer: How to Improve and Capitalize on Customer Relationships

CRM-artWhen Reed Hastings first announced in 2011 that the mail order DVD services of Netflix would be spun off into a new company called Qwikster, the only thing that came “quick” was the rapid deterioration of both customers and stock prices.

Hastings, like many other company executives, lost sight of the most important element of business growth and retention: managing the customer relationship. The key differentiator between those companies that grow from those that simply exist (or worse yet decline), are in how the customer relationships are managed.

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Outsourcing: An Historical Perspective, Part Two of Two

01-dye-penetrant-testing-visual-inspection-non-destructive-testing-methods-ndt-techniques thumIn last week’s Web Feature, we tracked the changes in the valve industry that led to increasing numbers of imported valves coming into the refining industry. This week: How failures of some of those valves led to new and improved valve standards and a change in the way valves, especially from foreign manufacturers, were approved and purchased.

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Outsourcing: An Historical Perspective, Part 1 of 2

oil-refinery-picture

The Summer 2012 issue of Valve Magazine featured an article on the effects of globalization which grabbed the attention of George Reusch, a former long time buyer for Exxon’s Refinery and Chemical plants in Baton Rouge. Reusch, along with Larry Kirkland, another Exxon buyer, graciously offered their take on outsourcing as it affected the valve industry back in the 1980s and as it has affected the business to the present. I also spoke to Raoul Robert of Southern Valve to get his take from the valve repair side of the industry. The following is Part One of a compilation of written material from Reusch and Kirkland, and notes from my interview with Robert.

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Flex the Power of Generational Differences

steve jacob generational web

A report from the VMA Market Outlook Workshop, held in August 2012:

“Attracting, retaining and motivating talent is difficult, especially when you’re recruiting those who can really add value to your business”, said Steve Jacobs, Senior Manager at Ernst & Young, as he began his presentation entitled “Managing Workforce Generational Differences”.

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The Momentum Cycle: Leading the Lean Transformation

momentum_1 I have worked and taught in organizations for nearly half a century, and for at least half that time, I’ve led sessions on Lean and it its predecessors.

Over those years, I’ve observed, considered and practiced what it takes to successfully lead a Lean transformation, and I’ve often asked myself why the change seems so difficult. The answer I’ve come up with is: context.

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Women in the Valve Industry

sheri_updikeWhile women are making great strides in many industries, there is still a sizeable gap between the number of men and women in oil and gas, mining, utilities and pulp and paper. In 2009, the gap actually widened, with many women leaving top level positions in those industries as the economy slowed. Currently less than 10% of executive and board member positions in oil and gas companies are held by women.

As the economy slowly rebounds, we spoke with some industry experts to survey the current state of affairs and what opportunities are on the horizon for women in the valve and affiliated industries.

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Valve Magazine Digital Edition

14 SUM CVR 160x214Inside the Summer 2014 issue…

• Attracting Talent
• Advances in Machining
• Severe Service in Power Plants
• SIS Tests and Standards

CLICK HERE TO REQUEST YOUR
DIGITAL EDITION PREVIEW EMAIL

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