Solving a True DAM Problem

It’s one thing to be a consultant where you don’t have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult DAM problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed? When I feel that way, I reach for the quotation that my cross-country coach posted on my dorm room door at St. Olaf College.

The man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

                                                             —Theodore Roosevelt

There is something called DMAIC: Design, measure, analyze, improve, and control. It doesn’t really work on solving truly difficult DAM problems. Now many of you may criticize me on this point, but I offer a counterpoint. There are only a few shops in the United States today that have figured out how to thrive with the onslaught of foreign competition and the resultant relentless price pressure. If DMAIC worked, then I submit most of us would have solved this problem. DMAIC may work for a certain class of problems, but for truly complex problems, where an answer has to be creatively generated out of the thin rarified air of true human ingenuity and innovation, DMAIC isn’t enough.

Solving a truly difficult DAM problem requires, believe it or not, understanding humanity, and the quote by Theodore Roosevelt contains exactly the humanity required to solve any complex problem. You could write a book about it, and in fact a book has been written: Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown. In the book, Brené states, in essence, it is only when we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable that we discover innovative solutions.

Read the full column here.


Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of The PCB Magazine.

Back

2014

Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Solving Dam Problems: Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Is Your DAM Job Killing You?

06-05-2014

"The first step in getting better is to admit to the root reality of the true problem. The reality is our jobs have become so demanding and complex that even if we had superhuman powers we would not be able to satisfy everyone all of the time. We likely fail in some way every single week (a multitude of times) or maybe even every single day (at least once)," writes columnist Gray McQuarrie.

View Story

Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Change Your DAM Thinking: Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Are Boringly Predictable Operations Possible?

02-26-2014

We've excelled at developing new technologies, new materials, and new processes, and appreciate the statement, "variety is the spice of life." But, what we have grown to accept in our operations are the unpleasant surprises that too many of us describe as "burning platforms." Is there anything we can do with our operations to make them significantly more predictable?

View Story

Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story
Back

2013

Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Solving Dam Problems: Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Is Your DAM Job Killing You?

06-05-2014

"The first step in getting better is to admit to the root reality of the true problem. The reality is our jobs have become so demanding and complex that even if we had superhuman powers we would not be able to satisfy everyone all of the time. We likely fail in some way every single week (a multitude of times) or maybe even every single day (at least once)," writes columnist Gray McQuarrie.

View Story

Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Change Your DAM Thinking: Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Are Boringly Predictable Operations Possible?

02-26-2014

We've excelled at developing new technologies, new materials, and new processes, and appreciate the statement, "variety is the spice of life." But, what we have grown to accept in our operations are the unpleasant surprises that too many of us describe as "burning platforms." Is there anything we can do with our operations to make them significantly more predictable?

View Story

Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story
Back

2012

Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Solving Dam Problems: Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Is Your DAM Job Killing You?

06-05-2014

"The first step in getting better is to admit to the root reality of the true problem. The reality is our jobs have become so demanding and complex that even if we had superhuman powers we would not be able to satisfy everyone all of the time. We likely fail in some way every single week (a multitude of times) or maybe even every single day (at least once)," writes columnist Gray McQuarrie.

View Story

Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Change Your DAM Thinking: Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Are Boringly Predictable Operations Possible?

02-26-2014

We've excelled at developing new technologies, new materials, and new processes, and appreciate the statement, "variety is the spice of life." But, what we have grown to accept in our operations are the unpleasant surprises that too many of us describe as "burning platforms." Is there anything we can do with our operations to make them significantly more predictable?

View Story

Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story
Back

2011

Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Solving Dam Problems: Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Is Your DAM Job Killing You?

06-05-2014

"The first step in getting better is to admit to the root reality of the true problem. The reality is our jobs have become so demanding and complex that even if we had superhuman powers we would not be able to satisfy everyone all of the time. We likely fail in some way every single week (a multitude of times) or maybe even every single day (at least once)," writes columnist Gray McQuarrie.

View Story

Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Change Your DAM Thinking: Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Are Boringly Predictable Operations Possible?

02-26-2014

We've excelled at developing new technologies, new materials, and new processes, and appreciate the statement, "variety is the spice of life." But, what we have grown to accept in our operations are the unpleasant surprises that too many of us describe as "burning platforms." Is there anything we can do with our operations to make them significantly more predictable?

View Story

Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story
Back

2010

Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Solving Dam Problems: Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Is Your DAM Job Killing You?

06-05-2014

"The first step in getting better is to admit to the root reality of the true problem. The reality is our jobs have become so demanding and complex that even if we had superhuman powers we would not be able to satisfy everyone all of the time. We likely fail in some way every single week (a multitude of times) or maybe even every single day (at least once)," writes columnist Gray McQuarrie.

View Story

Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Change Your DAM Thinking: Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Are Boringly Predictable Operations Possible?

02-26-2014

We've excelled at developing new technologies, new materials, and new processes, and appreciate the statement, "variety is the spice of life." But, what we have grown to accept in our operations are the unpleasant surprises that too many of us describe as "burning platforms." Is there anything we can do with our operations to make them significantly more predictable?

View Story

Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story
Back

2009

Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Solving Dam Problems: Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Is Your DAM Job Killing You?

06-05-2014

"The first step in getting better is to admit to the root reality of the true problem. The reality is our jobs have become so demanding and complex that even if we had superhuman powers we would not be able to satisfy everyone all of the time. We likely fail in some way every single week (a multitude of times) or maybe even every single day (at least once)," writes columnist Gray McQuarrie.

View Story

Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Change Your DAM Thinking: Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Are Boringly Predictable Operations Possible?

02-26-2014

We've excelled at developing new technologies, new materials, and new processes, and appreciate the statement, "variety is the spice of life." But, what we have grown to accept in our operations are the unpleasant surprises that too many of us describe as "burning platforms." Is there anything we can do with our operations to make them significantly more predictable?

View Story

Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story
Back

2008

Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Solving Dam Problems: Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Is Your DAM Job Killing You?

06-05-2014

"The first step in getting better is to admit to the root reality of the true problem. The reality is our jobs have become so demanding and complex that even if we had superhuman powers we would not be able to satisfy everyone all of the time. We likely fail in some way every single week (a multitude of times) or maybe even every single day (at least once)," writes columnist Gray McQuarrie.

View Story

Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Change Your DAM Thinking: Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Are Boringly Predictable Operations Possible?

02-26-2014

We've excelled at developing new technologies, new materials, and new processes, and appreciate the statement, "variety is the spice of life." But, what we have grown to accept in our operations are the unpleasant surprises that too many of us describe as "burning platforms." Is there anything we can do with our operations to make them significantly more predictable?

View Story

Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story
Back

2007

Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Solving Dam Problems: Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Is Your DAM Job Killing You?

06-05-2014

"The first step in getting better is to admit to the root reality of the true problem. The reality is our jobs have become so demanding and complex that even if we had superhuman powers we would not be able to satisfy everyone all of the time. We likely fail in some way every single week (a multitude of times) or maybe even every single day (at least once)," writes columnist Gray McQuarrie.

View Story

Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Change Your DAM Thinking: Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Are Boringly Predictable Operations Possible?

02-26-2014

We've excelled at developing new technologies, new materials, and new processes, and appreciate the statement, "variety is the spice of life." But, what we have grown to accept in our operations are the unpleasant surprises that too many of us describe as "burning platforms." Is there anything we can do with our operations to make them significantly more predictable?

View Story

Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story
Back

2006

Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

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Solving Dam Problems: Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

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Is Your DAM Job Killing You?

06-05-2014

"The first step in getting better is to admit to the root reality of the true problem. The reality is our jobs have become so demanding and complex that even if we had superhuman powers we would not be able to satisfy everyone all of the time. We likely fail in some way every single week (a multitude of times) or maybe even every single day (at least once)," writes columnist Gray McQuarrie.

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Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

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Change Your DAM Thinking: Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

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Are Boringly Predictable Operations Possible?

02-26-2014

We've excelled at developing new technologies, new materials, and new processes, and appreciate the statement, "variety is the spice of life." But, what we have grown to accept in our operations are the unpleasant surprises that too many of us describe as "burning platforms." Is there anything we can do with our operations to make them significantly more predictable?

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Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

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Solving DAM Problems: Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

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Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

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Solving DAM Problems: Solving a True DAM Problem

12-22-2014

It's one thing to be a consultant where you don't have to really do anything, but quite another to be accountable to solve a truly difficult problem. Anybody who has been on the firing line of a tough problem knows the feeling of vulnerability that results. Will I fail? And if I do fail, will I survive or be crushed?

View Story

Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Solving Dam Problems: Why Removing Your Bottleneck is a Bad Idea

08-20-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Some years ago I got into a discussion with a CEO about process bottlenecks. He asked what happens if you don't have any bottlenecks, because his operation didn't have one. I was speechless."

View Story

Is Your DAM Job Killing You?

06-05-2014

"The first step in getting better is to admit to the root reality of the true problem. The reality is our jobs have become so demanding and complex that even if we had superhuman powers we would not be able to satisfy everyone all of the time. We likely fail in some way every single week (a multitude of times) or maybe even every single day (at least once)," writes columnist Gray McQuarrie.

View Story

Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Change Your DAM Thinking: Do We Need to be More Innovative?

04-24-2014

There is a Latin saying, "castigat ridendo mores," which means, "one corrects customs by laughing at them." Should we laugh at those who practice the custom of not innovating while at the same time demanding higher sales?

View Story

Are Boringly Predictable Operations Possible?

02-26-2014

We've excelled at developing new technologies, new materials, and new processes, and appreciate the statement, "variety is the spice of life." But, what we have grown to accept in our operations are the unpleasant surprises that too many of us describe as "burning platforms." Is there anything we can do with our operations to make them significantly more predictable?

View Story

Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story

Solving DAM Problems: Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

01-16-2014

Columnist Gray McQuarrie writes, "Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can't be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate."

View Story
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