Friday, August 26, 2005

Lean Manufacturing Through Factory Floor Innovation

Information Technology

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Lean Manufacturing Through Factory Floor Innovation

Author: MDSS-Machine performance

Taking the concepts of the Toyota System and enhancing them with today�s information systems technology has been the key to allow some manufacturers to unlock the door that leads to a short-cut in process improvement projects. They are rethinking the good ideas of lean manufacturing and are using today�s factory floor information tools to quickly and easily improve factory floor performance, customer responsiveness and their bottom line.

Process improvement through a leaner approach and finite scheduling for the factory floor can be demonstrated in a number of ways:
Minimize cycle time
Minimize inventory
Meet customer expectations in quality and delivery
Look for ways to improve changeover
Empower the workers
Create a culture for continuous improvement

Creating a �culture� for continuous improvement can be realized through another lean concept� the use of visual aids. By making the factory floor activity visible through the use of the Manufacturing Execution System (MES), and measuring the flow times of parts on a continuous basis, the factory has a benchmark from which to identify areas that need improvement and the system to demonstrate those improvements.

For example, of the factories that are moving to lean manufacturing, how many have put a machine monitoring equipment in place to measure the flow time of a part? If there is a system that allows this basic metric, how many can tell the percentage of time that parts are being �value-added� verses the waste (or non value-added) time? Time is wasted during a downtime occurrence, waiting for a tool/die/mold or other necessary piece of equipment. Other examples of waste are times spent waiting for a quality check or unnecessary time in changeover/set-up.

With information systems for factory floor data collection, the analysis of the factory floor processes and the flow of parts, sometimes referred to as a �current state map�, can be made visible. If your company is going take action to improve the process then why not make the process flow visible and available all day, everyday. If improvement is truly continuous, then why make the evaluation of the flow episodic.

So why not think creatively from the get-go and put a factory floor information system in place that can help you and your company move forward with Lean concepts of identifying problems, the flow of parts, and measure change over times? Just because Toyota did not use electronic information systems, does not make it wrong to install them on the floor. To the contrary, it is the American Manufacturer that has the opportunity to improve on these Lean concepts with information systems that can be married into a Lean process improvement program.

1. Make sure the entire factory floor is involved with the system and that they are empowered to identify problem/alert situations.

2. Allow the system to provide a JIT production approach, which is dynamic and can be reactive to customer and floor demands.

3. Find a way to record changeover times tracked to specific assets and people.

4. Identify the opportunities for process improvement and keep a record of it.

5. Allow the floor personnel access to better communications like email where appropriate.

6. Improve the operator�s access to data by providing electronic �paperless� display of current, as well as, newer style electronic image and video documents.

7. Make the quality checks part of the process and capture it electronically so alert conditions of non-conformance conditions can be captured in real-time.

Implementation of Lean Manufacturing through a factory floor system can save time and money and put you in the driver seat towards more profitable production.

Think creatively. Use information tools creatively. Use the information tools that are designed to improve the process.

For more information, visit MDSS-manufacturing shop floor software company

About the Author

About MDSS:
Since 1984, MDSS has been a leader in the development, implementation, and support of software products for manufacturing companies. MDSS sells products that help manufacturers better manage inventory, shrink cycle time, and increase productivity. The current focus of MDSS is on FACTIVITY, a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) with modules for time and attendance, shop floor management, machine monitoring, and more.


What happened to the Giant Sucking Sound of Outsourcing
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Small businesses are really excluded from the global economy Small businesses from many different industries both traditional and hitech have discovered a new way for them to succeed in the global economy It involves collaboration on large proposals RD and fulfilment of orders

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PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author and it appears with the included copyright resource box and live web site link Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required mail to brent

Information products for profit

Information Technology

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Information products for profit

Author: Matt Bacak

It is no secret that the internet has created the new generation of millionaires in only a few short years. Every few seconds a person starts a home business somewhere around the world, and the amazing thing is that the market does not seem to be getting saturated anytime soon! Business is booming, and for quick easy cash people are turning to the internet.

However faced with the fact that many of us do not have a product to sell, nor do we have the infrastructure set up or the manpower necessary to distribute products. Nevertheless a growing group of people are selling products right out of their home office or their kitchen table; how? Information products! Now regular bookstores and music stores are getting serious competition from our very own neighbors. The technology available to all of us makes it extremely easy to create your very own information product; whether that is a book, a music CD, a course, you name it! All you need is a computer and an internet connection, some time and virtually no investment!

Here are some products that you can create right now!

E-books are electronic books; it is like a regular book but they can be read on your computer, or printed out with a regular printer. Because you do not produce a �physical� product you also do not have any printing costs! So therefore, you can already guess, you will keep 100% of the profits you make. Even more powerful however is the fact that you can sell unlimited numbers of your book, and do not need any inventory. Nor will you be stuck with piled of unsold books. You create something now, and you can profit from it forever! You can write about anything you are knowledgeable about, or anything you would like to research further. If you do not feel comfortable with this you can easily hire a ghostwriter who will do it for you.

The only thing you need is a CD burner and the sky is the limit; you can publish your e-book on CD, or a collection of books. You can also record you own music CD or publish a course. If you know how to write simple programs you can even make your own software. Or again; all you need is a good idea because you will easily find a professional willing to develop your product for you!

Audio Cassettes
These go along the same lines as CD's; you can sell a product people can listen to in their car, on their way to work. You can even publish an e-book and a cassette version of the same product to maximize profits! Generally all you need is a tape recorder that can produce good quality tapes, and preferably one with two tape decks so you can easily reproduce the initial tape you made. Audio Cassettes are a bit more labour intensive than CD's, but if you truly want to reach your entire target market, they are a must.

Special Reports
These are relatively short �books�, or just a collection of pages on a particular topic. Remember those reports you wrote back in school? Think a few of those bunched together, on a topic people want to learn more about.

Self Help Products
All the products above can be used in this category; people are always hungry for information, regardless of the state of the economy. In fact; when there is an economic downturn sellers who specialize in books on how to save money or make money see their profits grow faster than normal! Knowledge is profit; and you are unique like anyone else.

How to Create a Product
You more than likely possess enough knowledge to create hundreds of information products; however because you are unaware of the fact that there are people out there who do not know what you know, you are more likely to think you do not know anything special or worth selling. Think again! Have your friends ever asked you for advice or help on something? Whether in a hobby, at work, or a relationship? Are you good at your job? Or extremely involved in a special hobby? This little brainstorming session should already give you plenty of ideas that you can put to work right now!

The next step is to think of topics you want to know more about. It's likely that if you are interested in something, other people are too. Now all you need to do is some research and then develop the product of your choice; you will be doing all those other people a favor by presenting them with a solution to their �problem� without having to do any research themselves.

About the Author

Matt Bacak became "#1 Best Selling Author" in just a few short hours.
Recent Entrepreneur Magazine�s e-Biz radio show host is
turning Authors, Speakers, and Experts into Overnight Success Stories.
Discover The Secrets To Unleash The Powerful Promoter In You! Sign up
for Matt Bacak's Promoting Tips Ezine ($100 value) just visit his
website at or


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How to Build a Business Website

Information Technology

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How to Build a Business Website

Author: Nowshade Kabir

A recent report done by Yankee Group, a Boston-based market
research company, states that at the end of 2004 around 34
percent of small and medium sized businesses in North America
are selling goods and services on the Internet and another 25
percent is planning to do so within next 12 months. Online sales
in the United States represented 8.4 percent of the country�s
Gross Domestic Product in 2004. This figure is increasingly
rising. This means, if your company is not paying serious
attention to this vital channel of sales and marketing, you are
simply missing the boat.

In its basic form a website is a bundle of pages full of texts,
graphics and other electronic files published on the Internet
for people to view. How you organize your website depends
totally on your online goals. Websites are built for various
purposes. You can use a website as a sales point, a marketing
channel, a corporate image building tool, a branding channel,
an information center, a CRM center, a product launching center,
and for number of other reasons. When you plan to build a
website, you should base your online strategy keeping in mind
two things: your online objectives and your potential audience.


Information providing sites

Most of today�s sites fall in this category. The simplest of them
are actually mere reflection of offline corporate brochures.

Promoting company
The idea behind some of information-driven sites is to give
maximum information related to the company. A holding company,
for example, may prefer to have a site like this. These sites
usually include: company history, company related news, mission
statement, profiles of key executives, a good FAQ section, etc.
Graphics are used in these sites only to accentuate the text
information. However, the sites may include video and FLASH
presentation as well.

Promoting products or services
A pharmaceutical company to promote its recently launched
medicine may develop a website surrounding the product. The
sole purpose of this type of sites is to create awareness of
specific products or services.

Creating brand awareness
A manufacturing company that sells its products exclusively
through distributing channel may develop a website to provide
ultimate information on the products and create brand. These
sites complement company�s offline promotional efforts and
always built in consistence with other commercials.


Online sales are done through the e-commerce sites. Main
characteristics of an e-commerce site include:

1. Detail products or services information with pictures and
sometimes with multimedia presentations, drawings, charts,
2. Shopping cart � so that the buyer can select one or several
items to purchase.
3. Payment gateway � so that the buyer can make payments for the
products or services purchased.

Corporate portals

A Website that offers a broad range of resources and services
such as email, forums, company pertinent news & articles, members
only area, etc. is generally called a portal. Portals are
intended to be the gateway for their respective audience.

B2B exchange

Business to Business Exchange is an online platform where buyers
and sellers come to communicate, collaborate and make business
transactions. The main objective of a B2B Exchange is to create
a venue, filled with features that allow members to efficiently
conduct business processes through the Internet. A private B2B
exchange is a corporate portal with a marketplace. It is designed
to provide services to the company�s own buyers, sellers and


Before starting to build your website you should first develop a
plan in line with your online objectives, target audience and
resources. You can write your plan thoroughly as a storyboard.
A storyboard is something similar to a flowchart of all the
website components you deem necessary. Once you have a clear
picture of what you are going to build, sit with your developers
and create a technical scope of the project. This is absolutely
necessary! In most of the cases your entrepreneurial vision will
differ drastically with the way a programmer look into your

While working on your scope or even after publishing your website
bear in mind the following crucial aspects of effective websites:

Page loading time
In the euphoria of having a great slick website, often, we use
images that make the pages too heavy. A page which takes just
one second to load with T1 speed will need full 55 seconds to
load with a 28.8 modem. Web surfers are impatient bunch of
click-happy people; they don�t like to wait too long! Make sure
you optimize each and every page of your website before launching
the site! Otherwise, you will loose a large portion of your
would-be visitors for nothing!

- Look at your pages from a visitor�s prospective.
- Eliminate all images that are not so important to deliver
your messages. Optimize the remaining images with available tools.
- FLASH images are may be cool, don�t use them just because they
are cool. Use them wisely. Host your website in a server with
a good bandwidth.

Your website�s links should be well-defined, persistent, and
easily visible. If the site is large with many pages, you must
have a site map page. Remember that not all visitors will land
to your homepage, in order to keep them browsing through your
site make navigation from your main landing pages as easy as
possible. Try giving them compelling reasons to do so by using
catchy links. Also, make sure that all your links work correctly
and take a visitor to right place.

Webpage consistency
All your web pages should have one consistent look. This will
give your website a professional appearance, and visitors while
browsing through your site will always know that they are still
on your website.

Content is the king
If you want your visitors to return back to your site, regularly
add fresh, relevant and quality content to your website. Internet
users are information hungry people, feed them with fresh
information on a regular basis and you will have good number of
loyal visitors to your website.

If you already have a website make sure you optimize your website
from user�s point of view. According to Gartner, a market
research company, even a minor investment in improving the
usability of a company website will yield an annual return of
10 to 20 per cent. It increases brand awareness, leads to higher
user adoption rates and possibly more transactions per user.
Average order size starts to rise and the site generates more
return visits from customers.


Website Performance Tool and Web Page Speed Analysis:

Check your web pages for bad links:

Webmaster resources:

About the Author

Nowshade Kabir is the founder, primary developer and present
CEO of A Ph. D. in Information Technology, he
has wide experience in Business Consulting, International
Trade and Web Marketing. Rusbiz is a Global B2B Emarketplace
with solutions to start and run online business.
You can contact him at mailto:nowshade[at]


Lean Manufacturing Through Factory Floor Innovation
Taking the concepts of the Toyota System and enhancing them with todays information systems technology has been the key to allow some manufacturers to unlock the door that leads to a shortcut in process improvement projects They are rethinking the good ideas of lean manufacturing and are using to

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How to Become a Successful Entrepreneur on the Web
Becoming a successful entrepreneur in the online world is no different than becoming a successful entrepreneur in the brickandmortar world Both tasks require vision determination and hard work The online world of the web offers many exciting opportunities for entrepreneurship bec

How to Become a Successful Entrepreneur on the Web

Information Technology

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How to Become a Successful Entrepreneur on the Web

Author: Will Spencer

Becoming a successful entrepreneur in the online world is no different than becoming a successful entrepreneur in the brick-and-mortar world. Both tasks require vision, determination, and hard work.

The online world of the web offers many exciting opportunities for entrepreneurship because it is fresh, new, and exciting. The cutting edge of development has always been the most fertile ground for growing a new enterprise. In the 1800's, the new frontier was the American west and many fortunes were made there. In the 2000's, the new frontier is the web, where many fortunes have yet to be made.

Jeff Bezos of is worth 4.85 billion dollars. Pierre Omidyar of eBay is worth just over seven billion dollars. David Filo and Jerry Yang of Yahoo are both billionaires. These men made fortunes on the web, and so can you.

The path to becoming a successful online entrepreneur has changed in the last few years. The over-optimism which characterized the late '90s and ultimately led to the subsequent crash in the technology sector has matured into a cautious and reasonable optimism grounded in traditional business values.

The party is over; it's time to get to work.

What Are You Going to Sell?

The #1 thing you need to succeed in business is the customer. Whether you have one customer, fifty customers, or millions of customers, it is critical to remember that customers are the foundation of any business. Without customers, you don't have a business; you have a hobby.

Going into an online business, people usually either know what they want to sell or know how they want to sell it. If the online business is an extension of a brick-and-mortar business, the entrepreneur knows what he or she has to sell and is looking for a new channel for their good and services. If the entrepreneur is looking to start a new business online, they may not yet know what product or service will offer the best opportunities for success.

Product or Service

Every business sells either products or services, a few businesses sell both. Products are easier to sell online because they can be more easily commoditized. People have become comfortable buying known commodities online. Services which are sold online are sometimes delivered online and sometimes delivered offline.

Selling Services Online

If you choose to sell services, the next decision to consider is how the services you sell will be provided. You can choose to:

  • Sell your own services
  • Sell the services of others
  • Sell an automated service

Selling Your Own Services Online

Each of us has specific talents, abilities, and skills which can be useful to other people. These things which we have can be offered to others over the web. Perhaps you are a lawyer, a web designer, or a painter. It should be the easiest thing in the world to create a web page to tell the world about who you are and what you can do for them.

The key to success in selling your own services over the web is to focus on the needs of your customer. For every sentence you write about yourself online, write an entire page about what you can do for your customers.

Selling the Services of Others

Selling the services of others allows us to leverage a larger workforce, and ultimately to build revenue more quickly.

Perhaps you run a lawn-care business where you sell monthly lawn-care packages to home-owners. Your lawn-care staff may be employees, or they may be independent subcontractors who do business with you at pre-negotiated rates. In fact, you may not be in the lawn-care business at all, you may simply be in the business of being paid for generating referrals to existing lawn care firms.

Selling Automated Online Services

Selling automated online services presents a very lucrative business proposition, because it represents a potential revenue stream with very low maintenance costs. The trade-off is often in the form of considerable up-front development cost.

If you have the right idea, and the determination to follow it through to a successful conclusion, there can be no better business opportunity than selling an automated online service.

The first step, of course, is to determine what people want and what people are willing to pay for. Will people pay $9.95 for an online personality test? Will they pay $19.95 for an online personal wardrobe analysis? What would someone pay for a personalized online horoscope? How about an automated resume writing tool?

Selling Products Online

If you choose to sell products, you are not limited to selling products which you manufacture. If you are already in the manufacturing business, that is a significant advantage and the web is an excellent sales outlet for many products.

Greater opportunities exist for the rest of us by working with the distribution channel. We may buy products from manufacturers and sell then over the web, or we may buy products from wholesale distributors and sell them over the web.

We may inventory our products and oversee their shipment to customers, or we may send a request to have the products drop-shipped from our suppliers to our customers. We may never even see the products we sell.

Setting up IT

Information technology is daunting to many entrepreneurs. Each little sub-field of IT has its own culture and terminology. It is difficult for the novice to understand all of the jargon and to determine truth from hype.

You will not be successful if you try to separate yourself completely from the technology, but you will also not be successful if you immerse yourself in it. You must understand IT decisions from a business level in the same way they you understand decisions which your business makes in terms of setting prices or acquiring real estate.

The most obvious need for your new online business will be a company web site. This will introduce you to the professionals known as web designers. If your business sells more than a few products online, you will also have to work with database administrators. If you want to sell an automated service online, you will find yourself working with software architects and software developers.

From there you will learn about shared and dedicated hosting and about the plethora of services (and pricing) available to you as a hosting customer.

The key in these communications is that each of these professionals owes you, as their customer a clear explanation of the business value which they are providing for the money which you are paying them. This may be an unfamiliar concept to many techies who grew up in the public school system. Remember, there are always more vendors for a willing customer.

In many ways, IT is the easiest challenge you will face, because so many entrepreneurs have trodden the path before you. An entire industry exists to market IT services to entrepreneurs. You only have to decide what to buy.

Selling Online - Successfully

Once your have negotiated with your suppliers and you have you distribution system arranged -- now comes the difficult part. Now you must bridge the gap between your business and your customers.

Most Internet traffic is currently brokered by search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN. To do well in business on the Internet, you must do well in the search engines.

This means appearing very early in the search results for the key words or phrases your potential customers will use to shop for your good or services.

Very few potential customers will look for you by name. You must determine the phrases which potential customers will type into the search engines and make sure that you rank well in the result listings for those phrases. Product types or names are common search phrases, such as "sleeping bags" or "bumper stickers." Key phrases for services often include a geographic component, such as "real estate kansas city" or "house painter colorado springs."

Once your key phrases are defined, you must make certain that your company's web presence is optimized for those phrases. This consist of two sets of tasks: on-site optimization and off-site optimization.

On-site optimization is designing your web site to be focused on those key phrases. This is where your web site designer will work with a professional in the field of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Off-site optimization consists of networking with others in your field to make sure they know about your web site -- and that they link to your web site. The top search engines use the number of links to a web site as one of the criteria for determining which web sites to rank highly in the search results. A SEO specialist can help you in this task, but no one will know your industry as well as you.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical to the success of an online business. The difference between ranking third and thirtieth for your key phrase is significant revenue for your business.

The eBay Alternative

The tasks involved in setting up a web site and driving traffic towards it can be time consuming and resource intensive for a small business. The time delay imposed by website development and search engine marketing can require many months to begin to deliver ROI.

Many web entrepreneurs use eBay and other online auction houses to short-cut this process and begin selling to online customers almost immediately.

On eBay, you create auctions for the products you are selling and potential buyers bid to determine what they will pay. You are able to set minimum prices to ensure that you will not sell products at prices below your necessary profit margin. You are also able to set up dutch auctions where you are able to sell large quantities of the same item.


The options involved in becoming a successful entrepreneur on the web are extensive. Picking the right path for you own journey is your first step on the road to online success.

About the Author

Will Spencer is the webmaster of Entrepreneur Support.


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