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    I am now using this blog to re-post some comments I make other blogs. For my full management blog see the Curious Cat Management Blog

    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    Lean Manufacturing Webinar

    Plant Design for Lean Manufacturing - view webinar archive

    This webinar archive is a series of slides with an audio track (my guess is the slides should be flipped as you listen though this didn't happen for me). Use of webinars to present management improvement content over the web is fairly limited at this time. And archived webinars that are available on the public web (not hidden behind locked doors (login required) - whether they are free or require a fee).

    I think there is much to improve in how we take advantage of this technology. Over time this method of presenting information could prove very valuable. It is good to see people trying to figure out how we can use this technology to deliver information more effectively.

    It is good that they make an archive of the webinar available online (it would be better if it were not hidden behind a login system - even a free as this one is) but still I am glad to link to them which provides them potential customers.

    The business model used by those providing the content will determine if they should charge for the content, or give it away. I strongly believe that in almost all cases it is best to make significant content available for free on the public web (not behind login systems).

    In some cases that free content may serve to market other similar content that is available for sale. For example if an organization had webinars they wanted to sell I would strongly suggest having an entire webinar online available for free (an archive of the webinar). It could also serve to market other products or services (books, consulting, etc.).

    Webinars can have great interaction. Providing significantly useful free archived webinars (live webinars could be provided for free too if the reward was worth the cost) covering some content. If the public finds that free content valuable it can be about the most effective marketing in many ways including for gaining customers for live interactive webinars on more advanced topics.

    Webinars also allow the presenter to do multiple two hour sessions for different clients anywhere in the world in the same day. So you could customize your content to specific client needs. Also each of those sessions could include employees from multiple sites around the globe.

    I think this lean webinar is an example of the very early stages of what can be developed into a valuable tool used to improve the adoption of lean thinking and management improvement. My guess is 5 years from now several management improvement organizations will be using this technology very effectively in their business (and it will help them grow). I believe those that choose to provide significant content, for free, on their web sites will have a significant advantage in becoming one of those organizations.

    This is especially true for any organization that is not a huge consulting firm already. Those huge firms can get away with poor use of the internet (it still isn't wise but they have the "fat" to choose not to take advantage of the internet effectively). I believe the advice, to provide significant free content, would be valuable for the large consulting firms also. But they often have personal relationships with those who will buy and so are in less need of marketing help.

    If you go to major management consulting firms it is amazing how poor their web sites are. They seemed to be designed by people that read emails that their secretaries have printed out for them. I don't understand how they are hired by companies to provide very high paid advice on how to manage in the internet age but they seem to.

    How about this explanation by Accenture on why you should hire them: Supply Chain Management Services: Six Sigma. That doesn't tell me much. At least Accenture has opened up a little bit and provides some articles online without having to sign in.

    Wipro has been saying they are applying Toyota's methods and can help you do so to if you hire them. Go to their web site and search for Toyota: 3 results - 2 are the same news release and one tells you where their booth will be located at a conference. Search for Deming, Lean Manufacturing, Lean Thinking and Six Sigma were similarly useless. This "case study" is about the most informative (which it is not at all).

    Try to download a white paper from Wipro and they force you to fill out a form (I can't tell if they want to charge you or not) and you are asked for various things including "Please enter Organization email id" - I don't know what that even means. I have mentioned to the weaknesses I saw with Wipro's site to an employee who wrote me about adding Wipro to our Management Improvement Directory but I guess Wipro decided they knew better than I, which is, of course, their right.

    Those two examples are emblematic of my experience that the larger consulting firms provide the almost nothing of any use to those interested in management improvement on their sites. And it is largely the case that consultants with the highest name recognition have the least valuable information on their sites. I think this is a mistake, but it makes it very easy for even a single consultant to provide a more useful web resource than the largest consulting firms.

    And webinars are one more tool that give small firms the opportunity to reach a large market. And I think over time this interactive web learning will be very effective. If you know of good webinars available online please let me know.

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