According to David Simchi-Levi, Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT Sloan, “a growing number of U.S. executives are moving some production operations back from overseas.” While there are a great number of factors driving that trend, one is the need for supply chain flexibility. Today’s global supply chain presents a significant amount of risk, mostly due to the combination of geographically diverse supply chains and Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing that results in low inventory levels. Continue reading
As work environments become more complex, scientists continue to search for ways to improve how technology can enhance the performance of individuals and help groups work together most effectively.
According to an interview on the Smart Planet Blog with MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Malone, the crux of the matter is what he refers to as “collective intelligence”—how people and computers connect so that collectively they act more intelligently than any person, group, or computer separately. Continue reading
Why is it that some organizations can successfully diversify, while others cannot? Some businesses can increase their complexity by expanding into new markets, creating new products or services for new audiences and succeed, while others seek to do so, and fail.
Ezra Zuckerman, Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management at MIT Sloan, claims that there are identity-based limits to diversification that have more to do with a client’s perception of the organization than the actual integrity of the services delivered by the organization. In other words, an organization can have superior talent, the best operations, and a delivery of new services or products that is top notch, but if somehow this new direction clashes with a client’s perception of the firm, they may lose the client. These factors should be closely examined prior to a company’s diversification. Continue reading
Last month, a new, legally binding labor agreement that requires French employers to make sure staff “disconnect” outside of working hours was all some of us could talk about—whether out of disbelief or pure envy. Media outlets around the world ran wild with this news, declaring that the home of the 35-hour workweek limit had now banned checking work email after 6:00 p.m. Those of us who feel chained to our email inbox immediately fantasized about sipping Sancerre at an outdoor café at 6:01 p.m., effectively barred from all electronic communication with clients, colleagues, and employers.
Many of those media outlets have since issued amendments to their previous reports, having learned that the agreement, signed on April 1st by unions and employers in the high-tech and consulting field, covers only an estimated 250,000 autonomous employees whose contracts are based on days worked, not hours, and thus for whom the country’s famous 35-hour limit does not apply. The agreement does refer to an obligation to disconnect communications tools, but only after an employee has worked a 13-hour day—not at any particular time of day.
Nonetheless, a 6:00 p.m. ban on email communication is not implausible in a country like France, and perhaps that’s why we can’t stop talking about it. C’est l’exception qui confirme la règle—it’s the exception that proves the rule. Why does disconnecting—whether by mandate or by choice—seem so impossible for the rest of us?
Thanks to the data revolution—big data coming at light speed from internal and external sources—we have moved beyond the Internet era into the information era, and according to experts, the data revolution is going to make the Internet revolution look like a movie trailer to the main attraction.
But what does this mean for the future of business? How will the information era change business organizations? According to Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor of Information Technology at MIT Sloan School of Management, organizations that can diffuse the outside and internal communication streams into crucial information delivered to key employees will be the most productive and the most profitable.