「華人戴明學院」是戴明哲學的學習共同體 ,致力於淵博型智識系統的研究、推廣和運用。 The purpose of this blog is to advance the ideas and ideals of W. Edwards Deming.

2014年4月30日 星期三

日重啟核電非台灣借鏡:王銘琬這種略說可接受。成本/效益分析不可信 Why doing a cost-benefit analysis is harder than it looks

戴明博士的許多研究經驗告訴他,所謂成本/效益分析,總是自欺欺人的, 都不可信。


The Economist explains
Why doing a cost-benefit analysis is harder than it looks Apr 23rd 2014, 23:50 by C.W.


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WHEN it comes to assessing the viability of a large project, governments are increasingly likely to commission a cost-benefit analysis (CBA). The aim is to provide an impartial, evidence-based judgment of the costs and benefits of a particular policy or project, without regard to its political ramifications. The British government is particularly keen on CBAs: having pioneered their use in the 1960s it has recently relied on them to make the case for HS2, a controversial high-speed rail link between London, Birmingham and Manchester, and to justify a cull of badgers in the countryside. In theory, putting together a CBA is simple: you simply tot up the costs in one column and the benefits in another. But the reality is rather more complex. With large amounts of money at stake and projects that can last for decades, economists have to use a number of wonkish techniques, some of which are controversial, to come up with a decent CBA. How do they do it? 

The simplest and most important concept is a dull economic term: “consumer surplus”. This is the difference between what you are willing to pay for something and what you end up paying. If you’re willing to spend £1 on an apple, but get it for 40 pence, your consumer surplus is 60 pence. Consumer surplus is important because big projects like railways are often not sustainable from a purely commercial perspective. In the case of HS2 one estimate puts the expected revenue from fares at £15 billion, but the overall costs at £25.5 billion. But that is potentially a narrow way at looking at the benefits of such a project. Governments can also look at what they are saving citizens. Consider the case of someone who is used to paying £100 to get from Manchester to London. If HS2 is built, they could pay £40. The commercial benefit of the project is a mere £40; but the CBA will take into account the £60 worth of consumer surplus as well (because that sum is, in effect, unlocked to be spent on other things). Big infrastructural projects often make economic sense only when consumer surplus is taken into account.
To make costs and benefits fully comparable, further economic trickery is needed. Adjusting for inflation is an obvious first step. Then you must convert the calculated costs and benefits at various times to values at a single point in time, so that they can be compared. Economists refer to this as “net present value”. Wonks also need to think about how money invested in a project might be better spent. The government could just choose to shove the money into a bank account and gather the interest, or invest instead in another project that offers higher returns. Economists call this idea the “opportunity cost of capital”. There are no golden rules for choosing the appropriate rate—sometimes called the “discount rate”, though it often corresponds to what people could get by buying government bonds. In an analysis of the badger cull the British government went for 3.5%. The higher the discount rate, the smaller the future benefits will seem. Some worry that those opposed to big investment projects deliberately exaggerate discount rates.

As CBA has become integral to large projects, the limitations to its methodology have come under greater scrutiny. CBAs struggle to put monetary values on things like environmental quality. Crafty economists try to get around this problem by calculating “willingness to pay”: working out how much money someone would spend to clean the air or purify water. In addition, no two CBAs are alike, so it is hard to compare different studies. And sometimes the assumptions can be heroic, to say the least. An early analysis of HS2 claimed that people did not do any work on trains, thereby increasing the benefit of shorter journey times. This idea was subsequently scrapped and the focus became more on the economic benefits to the north. But despite being controversial CBAs are popular. Governments will rarely approve a big project without first submitting their proposal for wonkish scrutiny.











台 灣對核電的依賴率只有日本的一半,而且日本核能產業可以出口,加上對部份日本人很重要的,日本必須運轉核電,才能有維持燃料再處理工廠的理由,擁有准核武 國地位,這些重要因素都是台灣所沒有的。幾個因素合起來,再怎麼保守推算,台灣從核電能得到的利益──雖然本質上根本不算是利益,只有日本的幾分之一。



日 本與台灣的核電風險與利益迥然不同,卻有同樣的爭執是不可思議的;以圍棋來比喻的話,日本要是在討論一著價值10目的棋該不該下,那手棋在台灣的價值就應 該有100目!只此一手別無他途;從風險與利益的比較來說,要是日本的爭執是有道理的,那風險相對極大的台灣當然只好廢核。


2014年4月28日 星期一

Investigations Into the South Korea Ferry Disaster Reveal a Litany of Errors

Investigations Into the South Korea Ferry Disaster Reveal a Litany of Errors

South Korean Ferry
A vessel involved in salvage operations passes near the upturned South Korean ferry Sewol in the sea off Jindo April 17, 2014. Kim Kyung-Hoon—Reuters

Prosecutors have raided the offices and home of the Sewol's reclusive owner, seeking answers to a tragedy that has so far claimed 171 lives, many of them schoolchildren, while divers search for still-missing passengers

The owner of the South Korean ferry that capsized last week with the loss of scores of lives is facing increased scrutiny, with investigators discovering that the vessel was overloaded, had recently been modified and was possibly crewed by insufficiently trained personnel.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Sewol was loaded with 3,608 tons of cargo on its final journey — over three times more than the maximum recommended weight of 987 tons.
After acquiring the Sewol in 2012, operators Chonghaejin Marine Co. added 240 additional cabins, increasing passenger capacity by more than 150 people but also raising the vessel’s weight by almost 240 tons. It has also been established that the ferry was being operated despite a request made by the captain on April 1 for repairs to the steering gear.

The Sewol began listing sharply at around 9 a.m. last Wednesday, after making a sharp turn just outside Jindo Island, on its way from the city of Incheon to the resort island of Jeju. Within two hours, the ship — carrying 476 passengers, the majority of which were high school students going on a field trip — was submerged. Besides the 174 passengers rescued on the first day, no survivors have been found. The confirmed death toll hit at least 171 on Thursday, and the remaining missing passengers are feared dead.

On Wednesday, prosecutors raided the office and residence of Chonghaejin’s owner, Yoo Byung-eun, as well as premises belonging to his company’s affiliates and an evangelical church in which he is believed to have an interest. Known as the “millionaire with no face” because of his rare public appearances, Yoo is a notorious figure in South Korea, having been jailed for fraud for four years in the early 1990s and previously leading a religious cult. In 1987, over 30 people from his sect committed mass suicide, but prosecutors found no evidence against Yoo.

According to Chonghaejin’s audit report for last year, the company spent just $521 on crew training, including evacuation drills. By comparison, a competitor, Daea Express Shipping, spent 20 times that amount.

Among the 29 crew members on board the Sewol on its ill-fated journey, 20 people, including the captain, have been arrested or detained on charges of negligence and abandoning the passengers. Although crew members claimed that it was impossible to launch lifeboats while the Sewol was sinking, photos show a coast-guard officer managing the task during the initial rescue efforts. It has also emerged that the first distress call to authorities came from a student on board, not a member of the crew and that the 25-year-old third officer who was at the helm when the incident happened had never commanded the ship on this particularly dangerous stretch before.

Meanwhile, divers are making a concerted push to recover more bodies from the vessel in advance of adverse weather expected on Friday. Three large cranes are positioned near the scene, but a salvage operation of the 6,825-ton ferry is on hold until relatives of the missing passengers give their consent.

The tragedy is the worst maritime disaster in over two decades in South Korea and has evoked sympathy from all over the world — even from the country’s longtime nemesis North Korea. A spokeswoman for the South Korean Unification Ministry quoted a message from Pyongyang, which said “We express condolences for the missing and dead, including young students, from the sinking of the Sewol.”

Son Byoung-gi, a lawyer representing Chonghaejin Marine Co., has said the company will announce its position after the investigation is completed, adding that “if there is any legal responsibility, the owners are willing to offer their wealth and assets to help compensate the [families of the] victims.”

2014年4月27日 星期日

品質眾生相 (253-56):高鐵;山林旅行社、反核遊行期間 臉書資料爆量當機;Apple & Samsung Faualty Parts

品質眾生相 (256):

轉轍器又異常! 高鐵部分列車大延誤


 品質眾生相 (255)


品質眾生相 (254):

反核遊行期間 臉書資料爆量當機

2014-04-27  17:18

Apple Will Fix Faulty iPhone 5 Sleep Buttons at No Charge

Samsung Galaxy S5 Cameras are Failing: Here's How to Handle It

2014年4月20日 星期日

品質眾生相 (249-252): livelier ball in Japan;豐田將召回639萬輛車;談判重量不重質

品質眾生相 252):

大腸花論壇現場稍早由中正一分局警方向民眾第三次舉牌警告,廣播表示行為已違法*。現場民眾大聲鼓譟試圖蓋過廣播,並大喊「我們宣布警察行為違憲」。人群 中有一名穿著便服的陌生男子,對現場群眾進行蒐證,一名東吳法律系的學生要求男子依照警察職權行使法,出示警察證件,否則要對他提告;而後律師也到場陪同 東吳法律系學生進入警局報案。現場氣氛一度鼓譟,稍後工作人員已經將群眾勸回原本的場地。

品質眾生相 (251)

Japan commissioner apologizes over livelier ball

By Associated Press, Published: April 11

TOKYO — The commissioner of Japanese baseball has apologized after random tests showed the official ball is livelier than it should be.

The tests revealed that balls used at six stadiums on March 29 were livelier than they should have been.

Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki says “I want to apologize for causing a commotion.”

Japanese baseball plans to re-test the ball and has asked ball manufacturer Mizuno to explain why the balls are livelier than what the league specified.

The apology is reminiscent of a ball controversy that hit Japanese baseball last season. Ryozo Kato, the previous commissioner, resigned in October to take responsibility after the official ball had been made livelier without his knowing. The juiced-up ball resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of home runs.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
品質眾生相 250)
豐田將召回639萬輛車 史上第2大規模2014/04/09

品質眾生相 (249):


2014年4月16日 星期三

The New Economics by W. Edwards Deming 細讀 I

The New Economics

作者:William Edwards Deming


戴明的新經濟觀 戴久永譯天下文化出 版 社1997

   服務業也是如此,顧客只是接受現有的服務(洗衣、郵遞、交通),而不會發明什麼。但顧客學習得很快。如果快遞業出現隔天送達服務,即使它的價格是郵資的數倍,顧客也會選擇這種新服務。他忘掉在其他的開發國家的郵政系統很好,只須去買張郵票,就可能有隔夜送達的服務。(譯按: 參考 )--漏譯

   沒有顧客自己會先想到去要求發明心臟脈拍調整器 (pacemaker---誤譯),也沒有顧客會要求脈拍調整器的電池要能耐用十年、它同時又能夠儲存過去一個月來心跳速度與規律的資訊。


導讀 誨人不倦的品管大師 戴久永
緒言 戴明‧卡奚爾/戴明‧芮克里夫
第一章 現況的省思
第二章 跳脫現代管理的歧途
第三章 建立系統的觀念
第四章 淵博知識體系
第五章 領導者的特質
第六章 人員的管理
第七章 紅珠實驗的教訓
第八章 蕭華德與管制圖
第九章 漏斗實驗的啟示
第十章 來自變異的教訓
附錄  顧客與供應商應建立持久關係
譯後記 戴久永


先父於一九九三年十二月去世之前,一直孜孜不倦地修訂本書,希望第二版的內容更清楚,同時也是直接回應第一版許多讀者的評論與建議。他所關注的焦點,仍然 是幫助人們獲得必要的知識,以轉型為新的管理方式。轉型之道,就是應用他在本書中所勾勒的「淵博知識體系」(System of Profound Knowledge)。


一九九三年十一月,先父設立了戴明研究所(W. Edwards Deming Institute)。這個研究所的宗旨,在於培養對於戴明淵博知識體系的了解,以促進商業、繁榮與和平。在諸多認同這個主旨的人士的幫助與努力之下,我們將致力實現他的遺志。


( 戴安娜‧戴明‧卡奚爾(Diana Deming Cahill)疃 琳達‧戴明‧芮克里夫(Linda Deming Ratcliff) )

畉 今天,人類不再孤立生活,這是資訊跨越國界,流通於各國之間的結果。電影、電視、錄影機以及傳真機,能夠在瞬間告訴我們其他人的事,他們如何生活,他們享受什麼。而大家相互比較之下,每個人都希望生活得像其他人一樣,每個人都認為別人過得比較好。畉
 要如何才能活得和其他人一樣好?民眾為了生活不好而責備政府與領導人,或是責備企業與企業主管,也許是對的,但是換人領導就一定會改善生活嗎?萬一新領導 人並不比舊的好怎麼辦?他們憑什麼會比較好?新領導人又有多少時間,可讓他們證明確實改善了大家的生活?換句話說,民眾的耐性有多久?他們用什麼作為判定 的基準?畉
   一九二○年,從明尼蘇達州米沙比礦場(Mesabi Range)挖出來的鐵礦,含鐵量為七四%。如今的含鐵量卻只剩三三%。由於含鐵量太低,因此鋼鐵公司先就地把鐵砂煉成含鐵量七四%的鐵塊,以節省由鐵路 運至碼頭、再以船運到克里夫蘭(Cleveland)的成本。米沙比礦場目前仍然有很多鐵礦,年產量可達五千萬噸,但是精華已經挖盡。同樣地,森林也會消 失。以外匯收入而言,美國最賺錢的出口品應該是廢金屬。畉
   美國曾經對於新知識的發明以及應用貢獻良多。一九一○年,美國生產了全世界一半的製品。由一九二○年起的幾十年期間,美國製的產品遍及全世界數以百萬計 人的手中,若非具備有效率的生產與充沛的天然資源,是不可能做到的。由於美國貨的品質夠好,用過的人會想買更多的美國產品。北美的另外一項優勢,是在二次 世界大戰之後的十年,相較於其他工業國家都曾經遭受戰火的蹂躪,它是唯一有能力全力生產的區域。世界其他地方,全都是美國的顧客,願意向美國購買任何產 品,而美國也因貿易順差而有大量資金流入。畉
  當時最好的出口品之一,也是最賺錢的項目之一,就是軍用物資。如果不必顧慮道德理由,美國可以大 幅擴張這項收入。此外,美國飛機約占世界巿場的七○%。另一項重要出口品是廢金屬︰美國無法利用,所以將之賣掉。結果,日本人付一毛八分,購買製造麥克風 所用的金屬,然後美國人再花二千或一千八百美元,向日本買回這些金屬麥克風──這就是附加價值!再來,廢紙板和紙也賺錢,化學物品也賣得很好,就跟醫藥物 品一樣。同時木材很賺錢,而木材可以再生。據我所了解,營建設備也是美國重要的出口品。美國電影──這項服務業當然很賺錢。銀行與保險業也一度很重要,幾 乎可以與英國比美;但是好景不再,美國最大的銀行,如今在世界上的排名已遠遠落後了。畉
  每個人都希望好景持續,並且愈 來愈好。在擴展中的巿場,經營企業很容易,同時業者也會傾向假設經濟狀況會愈來愈好。然而,當我們回顧過去,卻與期望相反,發現我們已歷經了三十年的經濟 衰退。想確認某次地震發生的日期很容易,但要確認出經濟到底從什麼時候開始衰退卻不簡單。畉
   然而美國目前有些產業卻比過去任何時候都要好。美國汽車數目比過去任何時候都多,空中旅行也更頻繁。這種數字意謂著衰退?還是進步?在回答時必須考慮一 項因素︰一九五八年時,美國各地有行駛城巿間的火車,乘客可以選擇飛機或火車。如今,火車服務很少,唯一的選擇是撘飛機或自己開車。
   有一位先生在我的研討會中提出一個問題︰「哪有什麼危機?我們公司和其他的美國同業,合計占有全世界七成的飛機巿場。」我的回答是,一家健全、績效良好 的公司,正是處於改進管理、產品、服務的最佳時機,同時也有最大的改進義務,這樣做可以對本身以及其他人的經濟福祉有所貢獻。對於獨占的企業而言,事實上 它有逐年改善的最佳機會,同時也有最大的義務要如此做。那些岌岌可危的公司,唯一想到的事是︰眼前短期的茍延殘喘。畉
   顧客不會創造出什麼。例如,當初沒有顧客要求電燈︰他們認為瓦斯燈照明的效果已經不錯了;而且,最早期電燈的碳絲脆弱又耗電。又例如,當初沒有顧客要求 照相術,沒有顧客要求電報或電話,更沒有顧客要求汽車︰我們有馬,還有什麼比牠更好?沒有顧客要求充氣輪胎︰這些車胎都是用橡膠做的,想「騎在空氣上」似 乎很傻;美國第一個充氣輪胎並不好用,使用者必須攜帶橡皮膠、插頭和打氣筒,同時還要知道如何使用。此外,也沒有顧客要求積體電路、口袋型收音機,或傳真 機。畉
  一位受過教育的人,或許明確知道自己的需要,知道自己想買什麼,或許也能描述這些需要,讓供應商了解。然而聰明的顧客還是會聽取供應商 的建議,並從中學習。雙方應該如同一個系統在一起商議,而不是一方想壓過另一方。這是我在《轉危為安》一書中所提到管理十四要點中的第四點。我們會在第三 章更深入討論。畉
疬癔經由創新而得到一種性能更好的新產品,當然很不錯。但是創新源自何處?畉 化油器的製造者如今何在?過去每一輛車都至少有一個化油器。汽車沒有化油器哪能跑?化油器的製造者年年都在改進品質。它的顧客都快樂而忠誠。畉
   接下來發生了什麼事?創新。燃油噴射器誕生了,除了化油器的功能,它還有其他功能。燃油噴射器比化油器貴得多,但是一經某一車款採用,所有車款都跟進。 化油器出局了,甚至卡車也不再使用它,年復一年,很少人還記得它。畉 過些時候,燃油噴射器也會被取代。將汽油與空氣噴入燃燒室的新方法與新引擎將會誕 生,把燃油噴射器淘汰掉。畉
  很少有人會記得真空管,但過去的收音機必須用到真空管。八個真空管的收音機很占空間,九個真空管的收音機效果比八 個真空管的好,但是更占空間。真空管的製造商每年都改進性能,並縮小體積。顧客都快樂而忠誠。但是當貝爾電話實驗室(Bell Telephone Laboratories)的蕭克利(William Shockley)等人,透過對二極體及電晶體的研究而發明了積體電路,真空管的快樂顧客便放棄了真空管,轉而追求口袋型收音機。
   以上各種敘述,或許可以用一個問題概括︰「我們從事的是哪種行業?」在化油器的個案中,是否就是製造化油器?沒錯。化油器的製造商製造優良的化油器,而 且愈做愈好。他們認為,自己所從事的是製造化油器的行業。然而事實上,如果當初他們把自己的行業視為是將汽油與空氣注入燃燒室,或是發明更好的引擎,也許 情況會不同。結果,別人發明了燃油噴射器,讓化油器的製造商面臨困境。畉
  對於任何經營企業的人來說,一個值得思考的好問題是︰「我們到底從事 的是哪種行業?」將我們所做的事做好──生產出好產品,或是好服務──當然是必要的,但是這並不夠。我們必須不斷地問︰「什麼產品或服務更能幫助我們的顧 客?」我們必須思考未來︰我們五年後將做什麼?十年後將做什麼?畉
疬癔沒有缺點並不必然等於能夠建立事業,也不必然能夠保 持工廠營運(參看圖一),要做的事還很多。例如,在汽車業中,顧客──就是讓工廠能維持開門與營運的人──或許對於汽車的性能感興趣,而且關心的問題不只 是加速,也包括在雪地上的表現,在高速下駕駛盤的狀況,還有駛過突出路面時的情況。車子在粗石路面上是否會跳起並打滑?空調運作得如何?暖氣系統又如何? 畉
   在車門的邊上少用一些橡皮,就可以更容易地關上車門,但是雨水會滲進來,同時快速行駛時有風的噪音。如果在車門邊多加橡皮,就可阻止雨水進入,也減少噪 音,但只有很強壯的人才關得上車門。降低任何一項因素,就會使其他因素到達令人無可忍受的地步。問題是該如何達成平衡,讓這三項因素都在可忍受的程度以 內。
  目標管理(MBO, management by objective)
  成果導向的管理(MBR, management by result)
  加強統計品管(SQC, statistical quality control)畉
   在參觀我擔任顧問的公司中,我發現過多自動化與過多的新機器,乃是低品質與高成本的源頭,也導致很多公司破產;就算能符合預定目的而運作,實際產能卻超 出需要產能的一倍。有些則是流程設計不良,諸如︰製造→檢驗、製造→檢驗、製造→檢驗……,一再重複其實檢驗並非是最經濟的程序(參閱《轉危為安》第十五 章)。此外,檢驗儀器所帶來的困擾,通常也比製造設備所帶來的麻煩來得多。
  「電腦化的品質資訊系統,可提供高科技與有效決策之間的重要聯繫。」畉 我倒希望管理真的這樣簡單。畉
   品質必須由高階管理者決定,不可能授權此人。此外,上述那些說詞也欠缺我所稱的淵博知識這項要素。知識是無可替代的,只靠埋頭苦幹、全力以赴,或是竭智 盡心,並不能創造出品質或巿場。管理必須轉型(transformation)──學習並應用淵博知識。我將在第四章介紹淵博知識體系的大要。畉
  位於曼菲斯(Memphis)附近的聖心聯盟(Sacred Heart League),設定了一項目標,就是要為田納西州四郡的貧困兒童提供醫療照顧和食物。為了籌得所需款項,該聯盟向郵寄名單上所列的人士募款。募款相關的流程可用圖三表示。畉
  圖三的流程圖,列出聖心聯盟的作業過程,如果受過一點流程圖的訓練,不難重新繪製出如圖四的配置流程圖(deployment flow chart)。畉

第 33 頁
In my experience, most troubles and most possibilities for improvement add up to proportions something like this:
94% belong to the system (the responsibility of management)
6% are attributable to special causes
中文(第四十頁)的翻譯有點走調了 幾乎完全不管原文的用字之用心

我們可以比較一下他的寫作之改善 看 Out of the Crisis (1986)
第 315 頁
I should estimate that in my experience most troubles and most possibilities for improvement add up to proportions something like this:
94% belong to the system (the responsibility of management)
6% special

   也許,《戴明的新經濟觀》能夠提供許多讓人茅塞頓開的想法。在傳統經濟管理制度的桎梏下,企業對外強調競爭,對內則以績效掛帥,員工無法樂在工作,企業 的效率難以充分發揮。而戴明所倡導的觀點,正是要打破這些傳統的迷思,以系統與變異的理念,創造人人皆贏的局面。(CB156)


「品質之神」戴明一九OO年出生於美國愛荷華州,一九二八年獲耶魯大學數學物理學博士,一九五O年至日本擔任產業界之講師及顧問,一九五六年榮獲天皇裕仁 頒發之二等瑞寶獎。一生得獎無數。享壽甚高,逝於一九九三年十二月。戴明終年游走世界各地,介紹著名的四日研討會,每年有上萬人前來聽講。為了紀念他早年 對日本產業發展的貢獻,日本科技連並以他為名設立了戴明獎。一九八O年,NBC播出「日本能,我們為什麼不能」節目後,戴明的理念在美國颳起了一陣品質革 命旋風,大幅提升了美國的生產力與競爭地位。


中原理工學院數學系畢業。美國新墨西哥大學統計碩士、博士。民國六十五年回國在國立交通大學管理學院任教至今。曾經在美國奧克拉荷馬州立大學工業工程與管 理學院進修一年。生平以「品管教士」自期。經常在中華民國品質管制學會的《品質管制月刊》和《管理雜誌》,以及<工商時報經營知識版>上也偶有發表,介紹 品質新理念。 著有《品質管理》、《全面品質經營》、《如何做好SPC》等數本書。志趣廣泛,尤其偏重在統計應用、品質理念的研究與推廣,並關心社會教育與環境保護。

2014年4月15日 星期二

GM 新成立 global product integrity organization; misled grieving families on lethal car flaw 點火開關隱患讓通用公司啟動大規模召回马克·胡德


Wide-Ranging Recall
The departures of General Motors’ chief spokesman and head Washington adviser, and its top human resources executive are the first major changes in the automaker’s senior management since a recall in February.
這種事,   Alfred Sloan 會如何處理?

用汽車公司(General Motors Co.)首席執行長Mary Barra稱,該公司計劃在其產品開發團隊中設立一個全球產品整合部門 ( 這翻譯有點問題: global product integrity organization) ,這一部門將涵蓋該公司不久前成立的產品安全部門。


通用汽車首席執行長Mary Barra稱,計劃在其產品開發團隊中設立一個名為global product integrity organization 的部門,該部門將涵蓋公司不久前成立的產品安全部門。

Henry Ford is rightly credited with inventing the assembly line—and with it mass production. But it was his great rival at General Motors (GM), Alfred Sloan, who really invented modern professional management. Sloan organised his company into divisions that specialised in cars “for every purse and purpose” and he fashioned a managerial class that turned GM into the world’s biggest company. His 1964 book, My Years with General Motors, is a cool explanation of how he did it (“management has been my specialisation,” he wrote flatly). It is a book that puts subsequent business autobiographies to shame.


GM's Opel Accelerates Its Path to Profitability1

  My Years with General Motors By Alfred Sloan  我與通用汽車公司  台北:協志,1971

Meggan Haller for The New York Times

底特律——在2005款雪佛蘭Cobalt型汽車兩英寸長的點火開關里,藏著馬克·胡德(Mark Hood)想要尋找的線索。

胡德是佛羅里達州的一名工程師。 2012年秋天,他曾給這個裝置拍了照片,用X光進行探查,並拆解了它。他把全部精力都放在了這個用塑料和金屬製成的、控制點火的小開關上。但在測試了幾個小時後,胡德仍然無法解釋布魯克·梅爾頓(Brooke Melton)的Cobalt汽車突然熄火的原因。 2010年在喬治亞州發生的那場交通事故奪去了梅爾頓的生命。

這對她的家人來說是一次重大打擊。為了起訴通用汽車(General Motors),他們聘請了胡德。






如今,這個修改背後的細節已經成為判定這家汽車製造商是否刻意隱瞞安全缺陷的關鍵所在。下週,通用汽車的首席執行官瑪麗·T·芭拉(Mary T. Barra)和美國汽車安全監管當局的最高官員戴維·弗里德曼(David Friedman)將就引發了大範圍車輛召回的一系列事件在參眾兩院作證。


梅爾頓家人的代理律師蘭斯·庫珀(Lance Cooper)說,“他們顯然更換了開關,我們已經向通用汽車證明了這一點。”






在一份證詞中,庫珀和Cobalt車型的點火開關首席工程師雷蒙德·德喬治(Raymond DeGiorgio)就原始開關和替換件之間的差異展開了正面交鋒。德喬治說,他看到了二者之間的差異,不過他無法解釋,為何部件發生了變化,相應的標號卻沒有做出改動。






此外,不是只有Cobalt車型才裝配了有缺陷的點火開關。除了2005年到2007年款的Cobalt之外,通用還召回了2007年款的Pontiac G5,2003年到2007年款的土星Ion(Saturn Ion);2006年到2007年款的雪佛蘭HHR和Pontiac Solstice; 2007年款的土星天空(Saturn Sky)。上週五,通用又在召回令裡添加了之後出廠的97.1萬輛Cobalt汽車和其他汽車。週五晚間,通用承認,在加拿大還有一樁和點火開關有關的死亡事故,該公司隨後把與點火開關缺陷有關的死亡事故數從12宗提升到了13宗。









GM misled grieving families on lethal car flaw

It had known about faulty switch in cars

NEW YORK — It was nearly five years ago that any doubts were laid to rest among engineers at General Motors about a dangerous and faulty ignition switch. At a meeting on May 15, 2009, they learned that data in the black boxes of Chevrolet Cobalts confirmed a potentially fatal defect existed in hundreds of thousands of cars.
But in the months and years that followed, as an expanding trove of internal documents and studies mounted, GM told the families of accident victims and other customers that it did not have enough evidence of any defect in their cars, interviews, letters, and legal documents show. Last month, GM recalled 1.6 million Cobalts and other small cars, saying that if the switch was bumped or weighed down it could shut off the engine’s power and disable air bags.
In one case, GM threatened to come after the family of an accident victim for reimbursement of legal fees if the family did not withdraw its lawsuit. In another instance, it dismissed a family with a terse, formulaic letter, saying there was no basis for claims.
“We sent the paperwork for the car to them and they said there’s nothing to this,” said Neil Kosilla, whose 23-year-old daughter, Amy, died in a Cobalt accident in March 2010 after the air bags failed to deploy. “They said we had nothing.”
Since the engineers’ meeting in May 2009, at least 23 fatal crashes have involved the recalled models, resulting in 26 deaths. GM reported the accidents to the government under a system called Early Warning Reporting, which requires automakers to disclose claims they receive blaming vehicle defects for serious injuries or deaths.
A New York Times review of 19 of those accidents — victims were identified through interviews with survivors, family members, lawyers, and law enforcement officials — found that GM pushed back against families in at least two of the accidents, and reached settlements that required the victims to keep the discussions confidential.
In other cases, GM ignored repeated calls, families said.
“We did call GM,” said Leslie Dueno, whose 18-year-old son, Christopher Hamberg, was killed June 12, 2009 — not quite a month after the critical May 15 meeting of GM engineers about the ignition data — while driving his 2007 Cobalt home before dawn in Houston. He lost control at 45 miles per hour and hit a curb, then a tree, the police report said. “Nobody ever called me. They never followed up. Ever.”
Last month’s recalls of the Cobalt and five other models encompassed model years 2003 through 2007. GM faces numerous inquiries, including one by the Justice Department, looking into the company’s disclosures in its 2009 bankruptcy filing, as well as what it told regulators.
“We are conducting an unsparing, comprehensive review of the circumstances leading to the ignition switch recall,” GM said Monday. “As part of that review we are examining previous claims and our response to them. If anything changes as a result of our review, we will promptly bring that to the attention of regulators.”
The company has said it has evidence of 12 deaths tied to the switch problem, but it has declined to give details other than to say they all occurred in 2009 or earlier. It says it has no conclusive evidence of more recent deaths tied to the switch.
“We are doing our best to get this right, which means reviewing the data with care,” the company said in its statement. “Not every Cobalt accident is a result of a faulty ignition switch. Accident claims and EWR” — Early Warning Reporting — “data are unique with their own set of facts and other relevant factors. It is wrong to use this information on a speculative basis. Each requires additional analysis and this will be a part of our review.”
It was unclear how many of the 26 deaths since the 2009 meeting were related to the faulty ignition, but some appeared to fit patterns that reflected the problem, such as an inexplicable loss of control or air bags that did not deploy. In some cases, the drivers had put themselves at risk, including having high blood-alcohol levels or texting.
Still, by the time Benjamin Hair, 20, crashed into a tree in Charlottesville, Va., on Dec. 13, 2009, while driving a Pontiac G5 home that Sunday morning, GM had conducted five internal studies about the ignition problem, company records indicate.
Though Hair was wearing his seat belt, he died after the car’s air bags failed to deploy.
“The police couldn’t tell us what caused the accident,” said Brenda, his mother. The Hairs contacted GM for answers, providing accident reports but no vehicle data, because the car’s black box had been destroyed. “They came back and said they’d presented it to their board of engineers, and they couldn’t say it was related” to a defect, Brenda Hair said.
By then, employees who knew about the switch problems ranged across the company, from its legal offices at headquarters in Detroit to its test tracks and research labs outside the city. GM lawyers had known of one fatal Cobalt accident in 2005, and had settled or worked on several cases. GM’s sales department had issued two service bulletins to dealers related to faulty switches, advising them to tell customers to drive without heavy key chains that could jostle the ignition and shut down the car.
In fall 2013, months after an eighth internal study on the ignition issue had been issued, GM moved to cut off the flow of damaging depositions related to one accident by settling a wrongful-death suit. The suit had been brought by the family of Jennifer Brooke Melton, 29, who lost control of her 2005 Cobalt on a Georgia highway in March 2010 when the key moved to the accessory position, shutting down power and air bags.
During the depositions, Lance Cooper, a lawyer for the Melton family, deposed Victor Hakim, a senior manager at GM. Cooper read more than 80 customer complaints into the official record that were filed with GM beginning in 2005 about Cobalts that unexpectedly stopped and stalled. GM settled the case on Sept. 13.
That same month, lawyers representing GM wrote to the lawyer in another wrongful-death case demanding that the lawsuit be withdrawn. The family of Allen Ray Floyd had sued GM after Floyd lost control of a 2006 Cobalt in daylight near Loris, S.C. Two weeks earlier, his sister had lost control of the same vehicle on the same road; she had it towed. The company contended the suit was “frivolous” because the accident occurred on July 3, 2009, a week before the company’s bankruptcy agreement took effect.

2014年4月12日 星期六

Sony Issues Warning Over Vaio Battery Fire Risk 美國國防部的持續改善是個永恆的議題

Sony Issues Warning Over Vaio Battery Fire Risk


Can the Government Do the Same with Less?
Dr. WEdwards Deming provides the philosophy and methods for providing more capability at less cost. Deming's work was recognized by the editors ...

2014年4月8日 星期二

'Gods' Make Comeback at Toyota as Humans Steal Jobs From Robots豐田章男(Akio Toyoda); 不二越、安川電機用機器人組裝機器人



汽車產業專家萊克爾說:「豐田把工廠員工視為藝匠,必須不斷磨鍊和提升工藝水準。」萊克爾曾撰寫八本有關豐田的書,並在去年訪問河合滿。回歸製造工藝凸顯 57歲的豐田章男正致力於重新打造由他祖父豐田喜一郎創辦的公司。他承諾把提升品質與效能再度列為豐田的優先要務,取代一味追求成長的心態。

Bloomberg News

'Gods' Make Comeback at Toyota as Humans Steal Jobs From Robots

April 07, 2014

Toyota Motor Corp. plant
A worker welds an automobile part in the chassis manufacturing department at a Toyota Motor Corp. plant in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Inside Toyota Motor Corp.’s oldest plant, there’s a corner where humans have taken over from robots in thwacking glowing lumps of metal into crankshafts. This is Mitsuru Kawai’s vision of the future.
“We need to become more solid and get back to basics, to sharpen our manual skills and further develop them,” said Kawai, a half century-long company veteran tapped by President Akio Toyoda to promote craftsmanship at Toyota’s plants. “When I was a novice, experienced masters used to be called gods, and they could make anything.”
These gods, or Kami-sama in Japanese, are making a comeback at Toyota, the company that long set the pace for manufacturing prowess in the auto industry and beyond. Toyota’s next step forward is counter-intuitive in an age of automation: Humans are taking the place of machines in plants across Japan so workers can develop new skills and figure out ways to improve production lines and the car-building process.
“Toyota views their people who work in a plant like this as craftsmen who need to continue to refine their art and skill level,” said Jeff Liker, who has written eight books on Toyota and visited Kawai last year. “In almost every company you would visit, the workers’ jobs are to feed parts into a machine and call somebody for help when it breaks down.”
The return of the Kami-sama is emblematic of how Toyoda, 57, is remaking the company founded by his grandfather as the CEO has pledged to tilt priorities back toward quality and efficiency from a growth mentality. He’s reining in expansion at the world’s-largest automaker with a three-year freeze on new car plants.

GM Recalls

The importance of following through on that push has been underscored by the millions of cars General Motors Co. has recalled for faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths.
“What Akio Toyoda feared the company lost when it was growing so fast was the time to struggle and learn,” said Liker, who met with Toyoda in November. “He felt Toyota got big-company disease and was too busy getting product out.”
While the freeze and spread of manual work may bear fruit in the long run, it could come at the expense of near-term sales growth and allow GM to Volkswagen AG challenge Toyota by deepening their foothold in markets such as China.
Toyota slipped 0.6 percent to 5,758 yen at the close of Tokyo trading, compared with the 1.6 percent decline by the benchmark Topix Index. The stock has fallen 10 percent this year.
The effort comes as Toyota overhauls vehicle development, where the world’s largest carmaker will shift to manufacturing platforms that could cut costs by 30 percent. It also underscores Toyota’s commitment to maintain annual production of 3 million vehicles in Japan.

100 Workspaces

Learning how to make car parts from scratch gives younger workers insights they otherwise wouldn’t get from picking parts from bins and conveyor belts, or pressing buttons on machines. At about 100 manual-intensive workspaces introduced over the last three years across Toyota’s factories in Japan, these lessons can then be applied to reprogram machines to cut down on waste and improve processes, Kawai said.
In an area Kawai directly supervises at the forging division of Toyota’s Honsha plant, workers twist, turn and hammer metal into crankshafts instead of using the typically automated process. Experiences there have led to innovations in reducing levels of scrap and shortening the production line 96 percent from its length three years ago.
Toyota has eliminated about 10 percent of material-related waste from building crankshafts at Honsha. Kawai said the aim is to apply those savings to the next-generation Prius hybrid.

Machine Masters

The work extends beyond crankshafts. Kawai credits manual labor for helping workers at Honsha improve production of axle beams and cut the costs of making chassis parts.
Though Kawai doesn’t envision the day his employer will rid itself of robots -- 760 of them take part in 96 percent of the production process at its Motomachi plant in Japan -- he has introduced multiple lines dedicated to manual labor in each of Toyota’s factories in its home country, he said.
“We cannot simply depend on the machines that only repeat the same task over and over again,” Kawai said. “To be the master of the machine, you have to have the knowledge and the skills to teach the machine.”

Kawai, 65, started with Toyota during the era of Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System envied by the auto industry for decades with its combination of efficiency and quality. That means Kawai has been living most of his life adhering to principles of kaizen, or continuous improvement, and monozukuri, which translates to the art of making things.

Toyoda’s Test

“Fully automated machines don’t evolve on their own,” said Takahiro Fujimoto, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Manufacturing Management Research Center. “Mechanization itself doesn’t harm, but sticking to a specific mechanization may lead to omission of kaizen and improvement.”
Toyoda turned to Kawai to replicate the atmosphere at Toyota’s Operations Management Consulting Division, established in 1970 by Ohno. Early in his career, Toyoda worked in the division, whose principles are now deployed at Toyota plants and its parts suppliers to reduce waste and educate employees.
Newcomers to the division such as Toyoda would be given three months to complete a project at, say, the loading docks of a parts supplier, which their direct boss could finish in three weeks, Liker said. The next higher up could figure out the solution in a matter of three days.
“But they wouldn’t tell him the answer,” Liker said of Toyoda’s time working within the division. “He had to struggle, and they’d give him three months. He told me that’s what he thought Toyota lost in that period of time when it was growing so fast. That was his main concern.”

Big Penalty

During its rise to the top of the automotive industry -- Toyota has set a target for 2014 to sell more than 10 million vehicles, a milestone no automaker has ever crossed -- the company was increasing production at the turn of the century by more than half a million vehicles a year.
A year after the failure of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008 sent car demand tumbling, Toyota began recalling more than 10 million vehicles to fix problems linked to unintended acceleration, damaging its reputation for quality.
Last month, the company agreed to pay a record $1.2 billion penalty to end a probe by the U.S. Justice Department, which said Toyota had covered up information and misled the public at the time. Lawmakers are now considering fines and suggesting criminal penalties for companies after GM took more than a decade to disclose defects with its cars.
In the aftermath of its crisis, Toyoda has paused from announcing any new car-assembly plants as GM and VW push for further spending on new capacity.
In the years leading up to the recalls, Kawai had also been increasingly concerned Toyota was growing too fast, he said. One way for him to help prevent such a recurrence is to help humans keep tabs on the machines.
“If there is ever a technology that’s flawless and could always make perfect products, then we will be ready and willing to install that machine,” Kawai said. “There’s no machine that is eternally stable.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Craig Trudell in Tokyo at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net; Yuki Hagiwara in Tokyo at yhagiwara1@bloomberg.net; Ma Jie in Tokyo at jma124@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net Jeffrey D Grocott

豐田章男(Akio Toyoda)

   日本不二越將在富山事業所的多關節機器人生産線中引進可以進行固定螺絲等零部件組裝操作的機器人。組裝工序的70%實現了自動化,人手可以減半。相 關使用機器人的計劃將在3月正式實施。今年夏天計劃在中國江蘇省的工廠也引進該機器人。安川電機也正在通過使用機器人技術來強化生産,以此來提高效率和質 量。


  根據客戶要求不同,配線也會有所不同,這類工序仍由人工操作。其他將近70%的工序將由機器人來負責。在保持月生産量200台不變的基礎上可以削減一 半的操作人員。機器人可以實現24小時工作,擁有快速靈活應對增産要求的優點。到今年夏天為止,位於江蘇省張家港市的工廠也將引進同樣的系統。


  安川電機于去年秋季,在其北九州市的本社工廠的小型多關節機器人生産線中,將用於零件組裝的機器人倍增到了20台左右。削減了約五分之一的人手。位於 江蘇省常州市工廠中的部分生産線,通過採用機器人,實現了30%左右的組裝自動化。今後將會繼續堅持通過機器人來提高自動化水平的方針。

2014年4月3日 星期四

品質眾生相 (245--248): 諾華日本分公司道歉;威寶斷訊 賠5%月租費;SONY合作夥伴? /電信預付卡、法樂琪;

品質眾生相 (248):
 隱瞞藥物副作用 諾華日本分公司道歉

瑞 士藥廠諾華集團(Novartis)日本分公司與東京大學合作進行白血病藥物臨床研究,卻爆發諾華員工違規參與並涉嫌隱瞞患者產生嚴重副作用報告的弊案。 另外,諾華一款降血壓藥品近日也因涉嫌廣告誇大,遭東京地方檢察廳調查。面對一連串醜聞,諾華日本分公司人事大地震,諾華總裁艾普斯坦(David Epstein,中)三日在東京召開記者會公開致歉,日本分公司社長二之宮義泰及副社長、常務董事三人均引咎辭職。(圖:法新社/文:編譯林翠儀)

 品質眾生相 (247):

威寶斷訊 賠5%月租費

百萬用戶5小時難上網 消基會:應加碼回饋


品質眾生相 (245):


列入戰略性夥伴 縮減零組件供應商


聯 發科去年以4核心晶片打入SONY Xperia C供應鏈,由於Xperia C銷量不錯,被視為聯發科突破高通防線的關鍵一戰,今年SONY相關智慧手機產品可望繼續採用聯發科方案,後續8核心產品也有機會入列。此外,日系 Panasonic復出消費性手機產品之作P31,也是採用聯發科4核心MT6582M 1.3GHz處理器。


據 《日經新聞》報導指出,SONY此次列入採購改革的對象為無線相關零件、感測器半導體及面板等10種可左右智慧手機、數位相機、遊戲機等核心電子產品關鍵 零件,將針對各核心零件挑選出2~3家全球大廠作為戰略性夥伴,台廠聯發科、友達(2409)已入列,藉由此次改革,預估2~3年內,SONY向戰略性夥 伴的採購比重將提升至50%以上水準。
除未來可望受惠SONY訂單外,小米已公布向三星嗆聲的5.5吋紅米NOTE手機價格,搭載聯發科8核心晶 片,普通版同樣下殺799元人民幣(約3920元台幣),從20日晚上開放搶購資格後,短短1天內已逾600萬人次預約,未來開賣後,將帶動聯發科8核心 晶片同步放量。
其 實聯發科創新布局相當積極,改國際識別LOGO、換上新的英文網頁,從消費產品幕後大步跨向台前,聯發科主管表示,主要是由旗下創投資金進行投資,聯發科 旗下CMC創投會尋找好的企業及創新投資標的,這次投入金額不高,約150萬美元(約4575萬台幣),但不會在財報揭露。


資 料顯示,今年初買賣寶推智慧手機Q1,採用聯發科4核心晶片,售價899元人民幣(約4405元台幣),算是聯發科合作夥伴,這次買賣寶增資主要用於戰略 級新業務大Q手機拓展,及全國範圍倉儲網路建設,而聯發科不僅是戰略合作夥伴,更入股買賣寶,擴大在電子商務領域布局。
巴克萊資本證券亞太區半導 體首席分析師陸行之近期發表報告指出,在8核心晶片帶動下,看好聯發科首季營收超標季增13~15%,未來幾年受惠新興市場低階晶片驅動、8核心和5模 4G產品推升單價,預估今、明年每股獲利複合成長率達17~19%,將目標價從490元上調至525元。

聯發科 近期多空訊息

◎中國移動4G LTE晶片補貼從3模轉進5模,聯發科LTE數據晶片MT6290要等Q2~Q3通過3模認證,Q4再通過5模認證,高通方案可能有時間優勢

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消基會14日舉行「電信預付卡調查─100%違規訂使用期限」記者會,11件調查預付卡商品都違規設定使用期限,呼籲政府應嚴格把關。 過去預付卡規範6個 ...
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民眾:「就滿驚訝怎麼那麼貴,還加高湯粉,可能不會花錢去吃了。 ... 消基會董事長張智剛:「如果感覺受到傷害,認為我對你有所蒙騙,那你來多少消費,金額 ...
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Special Report: Understanding Your Customers

Image courtesy of Flickr user DaveMN

Spring 2014
Volume 55, Issue # 3


The Pitfalls of Project Status Reporting

  • READ TIME: 17 MIN 
Accepting five inconvenient truths about project status reporting can greatly reduce the chance of being blindsided by unpleasant surprises. For instance, many employees tend to put a positive spin on anything they report to senior management. And when employees do report bad news, senior executives often ignore it. Overconfidence is an occupational hazard in the executive suite, and executives need to examine their own assumptions and beliefs about project status reporting.

Should Your Business Be Less Productive?

  • READ TIME: 17 MIN 
Research suggests that productivity improvements can have counterproductive results in a service business. Productivity gains are not always easy to make without sacrificing perceptions of quality, and unlike on the assembly line, increased productivity may not always lead to increased profitability. Instead, in a service business, productivity must be treated as a strategic decision variable.
tupungato/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock

Reducing the Risk of Supply Chain Disruptions

  • READ TIME: 23 MIN 
Most managers know that they should protect their supply chains from serious and costly disruptions — but comparatively few take action. The dilemma is that solutions to reduce risk mean little unless they are evaluated against their impact on cost efficiency. To protect their supply chains from major disruptions, companies can build resilience by segmenting or regionalizing supply chains, and limit losses in performance by avoiding too much centralization of resources.

Finding the Value in Social Business

  • READ TIME: 21 MIN 
A recent survey by MIT SMR and Deloitte shows that companies are starting to derive real value from social business — with the payoff concentrated most strongly in companies that have reached a certain level of sophistication in relation to their social business initiatives. The higher a respondent rated his or her company on a “social business maturity” scale, the more likely he or she was to report that the company is deriving business value from its social business initiatives.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Thinkstock

The Surprising Benefits of Nonconformity

New research finds that under certain circumstances, people who deviate from a dress code or other norms in appearance are perceived as having higher status and greater competence. Studies found that nonconformity leads to positive inferences when it is associated with deliberateness and intentionality. On the other hand, nonconformance due to lack of awareness does not lead to positive inferences from others. And nonconformance is risky: It comes at the cost of abandoning a comfort zone.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Sjors Provoost

How to Win a Price War

  • READ TIME: 10 MIN 
There are usually no winners in price wars. But under the right circumstances, it’s possible to win a price war by leveraging a specific set of strategic capabilities. These include the ability to read how things are changing, the skills to analyze data to identify trends and opportunities and the wherewithal to implement organizational changes both internally and across the value chain. Albert Heijn, a Dutch grocer, started and won a price war through its strategic capabilities and skills.
Image courtesy of the World Economic Forum/Flickr.

Creating Societal Benefits and Corporate Profits

  • READ TIME: 10 MIN 
The odds of launching a new business that creates value for both the company and the public can be improved with good planning. An in-depth analysis of how four companies created for-profit initiatives that also have high societal value suggests that each followed a similar step-by-step process to achieve what the researchers call synergistic value creation. Those steps include establishing cross-business incubators and installing multi-perspective monitoring systems.

Is Your Brand a Living Entity?

Traditional ways of building brands have passed their sell-by dates, while social media opens up new possibilities. Effective Twitter strategies, for instance, are helping brands such as Starbucks and Whole Foods gain a special status and sense of personality among some of their Twitter followers.
Image courtesy of Flickr user DaveMN

What Unhappy Customers Want

  • READ TIME: 13 MIN 
Companies have tried for decades to improve customer complaint resolution — without notable success. Customer expectations are rising; customers now expect positive results and not just the chance to complain. Many customers want nonmonetary remedies, such as an apology or a chance to vent. In addition, companies must recognize that they must treat every customer interaction as if it were playing out on a Facebook page or a YouTube video, because it might be.
Image courtesy of Flickr user mike fabio.

The High Price of Customer Satisfaction

  • READ TIME: 25 MIN 
No company can last for long without satisfied customers. But misguided attempts to improve satisfaction can damage a company’s financial health. Research finds that the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer spending behavior is very weak, and that the return on investments in increasing customer satisfaction is often trivial or even negative. What matters is how customers rank your brand in satisfaction relative to your competitors.
Free Article

From the Editor: How Important Is the Customer’s Voice?

It’s easy to say customer satisfaction is very important – but harder to put that into practice. The Spring 2014 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review features a special report on understanding your customers, from gauging global clients’ satisfaction through the use of big data to figuring out better strategies for improving customer complaint resolution.

Reading Global Clients’ Signals

  • READ TIME: 17 MIN 
How can geographically distributed companies monitor large clients’ attitudes about their services? Traditional customer satisfaction surveys can lack sufficient timeliness and detail. But taking a big data approach to analyzing collaborations lets companies gain valuable and timely insights into client satisfaction. Examining the structural properties of email communication patterns and correlating them with external performance metrics can offer managers helpful insights.
Photo by Bengt Wanselius

Combining Purpose With Profits

  • READ TIME: 23 MIN 
A sense of purpose that transcends making money can motivate
employees. But to sustain both a sense of purpose and a solid level
of profitability over time, companies need to pay attention to
several fundamental organizing principles.

Avoiding Layoff Blunders

It’s surprisingly common for companies to make mistakes in their layoff decisions — and those mistakes can be expensive for both the individuals affected and the organization. Fortunately, simply by avoiding five common decision-related problems, businesses can do better.