Monday, December 6, 2010
The United States is known as the Land of the Free – we have had the luxury of many freedoms including the right to earn a living however we see fit. When our country was being settled we were a land of entrepreneurs, from the saloon owner to the farmer to the local sundry store. As our country grew so did businesses, consolidating and conglomerating in rhythm with the industrial revolution. Author Jack Beatty’s book: Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America shows how corporations have changed from a mere business model to entities with their own agendas. Beatty provides a deep and insightful picture of the evolution of corporations. The emergence of the current form of corporation served to mobilize the entrepreneurial and managerial energies that filled a sprawling continent and tapped its vast resources. What has occurred over the past century is “an engine of appetite.” There is less room for the romantic notion of individualism and more of a transformation to a piece of machinery which is geared toward self-enhancement, sometimes appearing to have little regard for what is happening around it.
This is a shift that people are taking note of. They are stepping back and deciding if they really want to be part of these corporate entities. As an employee of an organization, you agree to work under certain conditions, to perform tasks needed by the corporation, for a set amount of pay. You may be limited on job progression, hours and opportunities. One avenue to begin loosening the corporate bonds is to become a 1099 contractor. Becoming a contractor has pros and cons, both from the viewpoint of a corporation as well as from an individual perspective.
From the eye of the corporation:
Corporations are their own entities and have pressures of their own. The struggling economy has put additional pressures on corporations to still produce results with less ability to pursue additional resources. Quarterly earnings target loom. One way to make numbers is to reduce workforce. By reducing headcount, corporations can bring in necessary talent and skills through a 1099 arrangement. This works well for the corporation in many ways. Through bringing on independent contractors, they have the skills at hand, can manage them as they want and do not have the overhead of benefits. The corporation can control the length of the arrangements, only paying for what they need at the time.
It sounds like a perfect scenario, but there are downsides to the corporation as well. The fact that contractors are brought in on an as-needed basis, there is a risk that the person they hire may not truly be able to deliver on the necessary skills. Because they are “outsiders” will there be a smooth on-boarding process and meshing with existing employees? Because there is no long term relationship, will the corporation receive the same loyalty and respect as they might from a long-term fully-benefitted employee? Further, employees are able to shift as needed, drawing on different skill sets to meet tasks at hand.
From the eye of the individual:
From an individual’s perspective, corporate life can be fraught with opportunities for frustration. Limited promotional opportunities, low potential to develop particular skill sets, layoffs, bureaucracies and politics, corporate cultures are just a sample of why an individual may opt to work independently. As with many choices, there are positives and negatives that follow this lifestyle.
In the positive category is the fact that you get to choose the companies you want to work. If you have certain restrictions or needs, such as schedule flexibility, days, types of work, you can be selective in what you want to do and seek employment opportunities that match your set criteria. By controlling who you work for, you are now the decision maker. You make the call on schedule, pay rate, vacation schedule and benefits and perks. Because you are the decision maker, you can tap into new skill sets. If you have a passion to deliver a product or service, but have no background in sales or marketing, this could be your chance to try it out. If you are title conscious, by working in a 1099 environment you can create your own LLC and give yourself any title you choose.
Being your own boss, setting a handsome-sounding hourly rate and touting your title of choice are great perks, but living a 1099 life also comes with challenges. Depending on your particular financial situation, shifting to a 1099 lifestyle means that automatic deposit amounts from corporate payroll are no longer in place, ditto for the 401(k) match and, oh yeah, health insurance. Cash flow is now a variable, not a constant. Financial worries are number one on a list of stressors, so this shift can place a toll on you and relationships.
Leading the 1099 Lifestyle:
Personalities that may want to try out this 1099 lifestyle are probably fairly independent thinkers (this is why they were maybe frustrated with corporate life). While this is a fantastic trait, it can have its downside. Spending too much time thinking about what you are going to do, or if it will be successful can lead to analysis paralysis and instead of getting out to the market and offering your services, you may be stuck in your basement or your head thinking about whether it will work or not. While you are sizing up your strengths, you may also start to see your weaknesses, for example, passion and energy are great, but if you have never sold or marketed anything, it can quickly become an overwhelming feeling. Our advice is that the best thing you can do if you want to pursue your new 1099 lifestyle is to get out and talk to people.
As with anything is life, your plan is not static, it will be evolving as you test out ideas, learn and assess market demands. The country is still a land of great opportunity and great people. Figure out what lifestyle works best for you and go make the most of it!
Friday, September 10, 2010
With more and more organizations requiring ISO 14001:2004 EMS Certification, there is an increasing need for training in Environment Management System (EMS) awareness and implementation. This program will provide an overview of ISO 14001:2004 EMS, giving necessary inputs to participants enabling them to understand the requirements of the International standard and acquire skills to implement EMS in their organizations.
Topics will include:
-What & Why of EMS
-Aspects & Impacts Evaluation
-ISO 14001:2004 Requirements and Interpretation
-EMS Policy, Objectives & Targets
-Benefits of EMS
-Summary & QA
September 29, 2010
Sign in: 8:15 amSessions: 8:30 am to 12:00 pm$69 per participant $49 to Group registration of 3 or more participants Register at http://tinyurl.com/24th4j3
OHSAS 18001:2007 Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems
Occupational Health & Safety of people are of prime importance to society in general, to and industries in particular. The ILO estimates that there are over 250 million work-related accidents which result in time-off occurrences every year. With more and more organizations going for OHSAS 18001:2007 Certification, which are BSI standards, but accepted world-wide, there is need for training in Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OHSMS) awareness and implementation. This program will provide an overview of OHSAS 18001:2007, giving necessary inputs to participants, enabling them to understand the requirements of the International standard and acquire skills to implement OHSMS in their organizations.
Topics will include:
-Introduction to Health & Safety Management System
-Hazards Identification, Risk Assessment (HIRA) & Determining Controls
-Awareness of Legal and Other Requirements
-OHSAS 18001:2007 Requirements and Interpretation
-Health & Safety Policy, Objectives & Targets
-Steps in OHSMS Implementation
-Summary & QA
September 30, 2010
Sign in: 8:15 amSessions: 8:30 am to 12:00 pm$69 per participant $49 to Group registration of 3 or more participants Register at http://tinyurl.com/2394cvh
Monday, May 3, 2010
Process Improvement and Best Practices surrounds around several very important concepts; listening to the voice of the customer, identifying the problems associated with a particular process, and then defining the goals for improving the product or service. This analysis will show how Process Improvement and Best Practice’s are linked to high performing organizations, by continuing with those practices that aren’t broken, but improving on those processes that need fixing.
"Every employee has a stake in one or more processes, and the process improvement mentality must be driven from the organization’s top leadership team, and then supported throughout the organization." Says Daymond Cox, Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Founder of ISSSC.
It will take commitment and investment on the front end, but the long term will produce the desired results. “Striving for perfection; and settling for excellence” must be the motto for all organizations today. It’s just not a “Luxury” but a “Necessity" in order to succeed in today's business world.
Friday, April 23, 2010
The sun has been setting on the days of the "paternalistic” organization, offering lifelong employment in exchange for employee loyalty, long before the current recession ever hit us. The recession, however, can be credited with accelerating changes in the work paradigm, as countless businesses were forced to make cost-saving choices and organizational changes to reduce the burden of payroll. The impending recovery, however, won't necessarily translate into systematic rehiring at the pre-recession level, as companies have adapted their structures and processes to the pared-down workforce levels. What these companies need now, to ensure their own economic recovery, is a workforce that can clock in, do the job and then disappear from their labor costs.
There has been a shift in recent years in the way employees view their commitment to their work lives. Out of necessity, workers have adapted to the reality of creating their own nontraditional career paths. While some seek out part-time jobs because of the scarcity of full-time positions, many workers are combining multiple part-time jobs and project engagements to merely make ends meet. At the same time and as importantly, workers increasingly desire more freedom and flexibility in their work lives in order to meet personal and family obligations.
The Reality and The Upside
Labor experts estimate that by 2019 approximately 40% of the workforce will be independent contractors. This on-demand workforce provides businesses with the talent to get the work done while allowing these employers the flexibility to control costs. For workers, the trend brings opportunities for greater flexibility to meet their personal and family needs; and encompasses long-term part-time jobs, short-term assignments, flexible work hours and job sharing opportunities.
Additionally, the Employment Policy Foundation estimates that within the next ten years there will be a 6 million person gap in the number of college graduates versus the number of college-educated workers needed to cover the expected job growth. This is good news down the road for educated workers with high-demand skills, as those professionals with highly specialized skills and market niches will be in a good position to pick and choose their optimal terms of employment.
It is still unclear how this talent shortage will affect the future creation of full-time job opportunities. In the meantime, workers are well advised to take their careers into their own hands, hone their specialized skills and seek out unconventional opportunities in the impending brave new world of employment.
To learn more about "on-demand” workforce and uncover how these resources can support your company's growth contact Gina Kopera with 10 til 2, partner to ISSSC, at CincyStaffing@tentiltwo.com or (513) 403-3197. Any position, from Project Management and Six Sigma to Inventory and Bookkeeping, it can be done "on demand" call Gina now!
ISSSC has the professional development training you need to be competitive in the "on-demand" work world. Courses and certifications in areas such as Lean, Six Sigma, Project Management, ITIL, and Operations & Management are available to help you or your company excel! Visit www.isssc3.com or call 513-834-8332 for a free consultation today.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Location: ISSSC Offices – 9902 Carver Road, Suite 203, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242
When: March 22, 2010 at 9 a.m.
Duration: 5 hours - includes lunch
Call 513-834-8332 to register (Limited to the first 20 registrants)
We will discuss:
1. Projects need management irrespective of size of company or size of project
2. Projects need to be managed - there are goals, people, infrastructure and environment – nothing of these are available in abundance!
3. Project managers need to manage
a. The delivery dates
b. The costs
c. The constraints
d. Uncertainties in teams, resources and ….
e. The customers ever changing demands
f. The myths most of us carry when we manage a project eg–
i. My project is unique
ii. Customers demands are different
iii. My team is peculiar
iv. I require different processes,
v. If I use processes , I am sure to miss out the deliveries
Most of the times the de-mystifying myths become project management!!!
The typical problems a project manager faces are one or many of these -
Delayed deliveries to customer
H/w / S/w Delayed Deliveries from supplier
Late working hours
Last minute rush
Missing pieces of Jigsaw
Return of a bug
Unsatisfied Team members
High employee turnover
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
First we must ask, given a choice, will your customer pay for your time to do inventory? We assume the answer is no, they will not. So how do we reduce the time and expenses related to the inventory process?
The ultimate answer is to eliminate inventories so that there is nothing to count; the next best answer is to drastically minimize inventories so that there is as little as possible to count. But there exists the possibility of another, better way. With the application of Lean Six Sigma Tools, the inventory process itself can be drastically reduced and sometimes even eliminated.
From the perspective of Lean Six Sigma, wherever there is inventory there is a problem. Inventory is typically used to deal with the problems caused by unreliable suppliers or manufacturing processes, issues with poor quality or excessive scrap and manufacturing capacity shortfalls. By using the tools of Lean Six Sigma and complexity management, each of these problems can be addressed and often, completely eliminated. The resulting processes are then capable of delivering exactly what is needed, when it is needed and in the time frame required by the customer. This kind of process redesign and development renders inventory unnecessary.
Six Sigma Black Belts are highly qualified project professionals that can analyze business processes and make lasting improvements. Perhaps one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt is the Value Stream Map (VSM). Huge gains in process improvement, complexity reduction, waste elimination, and work simplification are possible as a result of value stream mapping.
- The first step for a Black Belt in creating a value stream map is to walk the process and observe every step and action that is required to complete the product or service in question.
- Listening to what is described, the next step is to develop as complete and accurate a picture (diagram) of the existing value stream as possible, including all of the work-arounds, exceptions, and rework steps that have been devised to deal with problems.
- Then, by taking the time to carefully assess each step in the process, the Black Belt will work with your team to determine how that individual step performs and whether or not it adds value to the product or the service.
- If the step adds value to the customer, the Black Belt will use the tools of Lean Six Sigma to improve it so it contains no waste and so that it functions as close to perfection as possible.
- If a step or activity does not add value, that step will be eliminated entirely.
- If the step or activity is required due to company policy or government regulation, the application of Lean Six Sigma tools will be used to make that step perform as efficiently as possible.
At that point the Black Belt will have developed a picture of the improved value stream (Future State Map) with as many of the wasteful steps and actions eliminated and implement the new process. Dramatically improved processes and performance are the result of this type of analysis and implantation. Throughput time reductions in excess of 80% and total process step reductions of 50% are both very common.
How does all of this work affect your inventories and physical inventory process? With such significant process improvements, large inventories are no longer needed as a buffer between your customers and inefficient processes. Inventories can be reduced significantly (90%+) and sometimes eliminated altogether as companies develop the capability to “make to order” versus “make to inventory”. With so much less inventory to count, the physical inventory takes only a fraction of the time and man power it once took. Now, you can enjoy the evening at home with your family instead of in the shop counting parts or investigating the variances between the physical count and the “book” inventory!
What steps can you take now? Six Sigma experienced professionals are available help your company improve and complete your next physical inventory. For more information contact Gina Kopera with 10 til 2, partner to ISSSC, at CincyStaffing@tentiltwo.com or (513) 403-3197.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Getting your 10-lbs of ‘stuff’ into your 5-lb Rucksack… yeah right!
Can you relate to the following scenario? You have a deadline on your project and the project leader/boss has given you seven major deliverables to accomplish before the project is delivered. Just to cross all the corporate T’s, there is training that is required of you and your team during this critical delivery time. What do you do? In the military, we call project overloading packing 10 pounds of (fill in the blank) in a 5-pound Rucksack. But, is it uncommon on a project? Not in the least. First, let’s define a project as something with:
- a defined beginning
- a defined end with defined deliverables
- and clear goals
With this definition in mind, many activities that we do can be defined as a project. Strictly defined projects to develop software develop products, plan an event or construct a building would fall into the project category. This would include Six Sigma, Lean, and any process improvement project as well. What it is not, is just the day-to-day activities that you do to complete your job or life.
So, how can you get the project completed while in the midst of the overload?
1. System in place: First, you must have a plan – whether it is a back of a napkin or a sophisticated Project Management software package. I prefer MS Project in many cases because it is readily available and interacts well with other tools I use to communicate, including the entire MS Office Suite.
2. Project Manager: The single, most important tool is not a software package, but the skill of the project manager to Communicate with the person that is driving the deliverables to be complete in the timeline that you feel is over packed and overwhelming.
There are many tools that can help in that process of communication, including the
- project plan,
- a Gantt chart (Yes these two are different),
- a simple risk plan, and
- a simple matrix to prioritize the work in the time remaining.
Sometimes, it is just a matter of talking with the person assigning (or demanding) the work be complete in the given timeline. Other times it will be helpful to define all the tasks, the most realistic timeline required to accomplish the task and the prioritization of those tasks.
It may be that you can add addition staff to get the work done in the timeline defined, but realize that adding staff adds an addition level of burden on the primary resource to train, support and direct that new team member. Even the best of employees may not be able to overcome the lack of intimate knowledge on a critical short-term deliverable/project.
Want to learn more about how to manage projects (and maybe your life)? Call us at ISSSC to learn more about our project management programs, professional development, staff augmentation and consultants. http://www.isssc3.com/ or 513.834.8332
About our author
Daymond Cox is a retired Army officer who is certified as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Project Management Professional. He has worked in a variety of industries including healthcare, construction, federal government, software development and food service. He has co-authored project management textbooks and is the chair of the ISSSC Advisory Board.