Operational Excellence with Technology

Why Do They Do That?

You cleaned out the closet you call your hard drive, now its time to clean the Windows to speed up your computer.

It seems that every program recently has decided it’s a good idea to install an automatic update program that sits in memory all the time, running and checking for that update that comes out once every month or two.

Most of those same programs also check for updates when you start the program, so why do you need that update "right now?"

Training Sales Reps

Manufacturers using distributors or manufacturers' representatives pay attention!

Salespeople sell what they know (and what sells easily).

Yet most manufacturers' "training" consists of a binder full of catalog sheets and perhaps a plant tour to see yet another CNC (I know you paid a million dollars for that machine, but it really isn't any different than any other CNC machine).

Why not take advantage of new media (podcasting and web video) to organize more comprehensive training? Here's a great video about podcasting:

Forget That File at Work?

You’re traveling and you realize an important files is on your desktop.

Maybe you can get a co-worker to email it to you. Or you can suck it up and do without (SOL).

Or you could plan ahead and realize you are going to need files you may have left back at home.

There’s a program/free service that lets you get any file off your computer using any web browser, Windows Live Sync (

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Brush Your Hard Drive

Is your computer getting slower? I’ve often thought that Microsoft and Intel have conspired to slow computers down over time so you’ll buy a new one every year.

Actually as you use your computer, install new programs and get updates, your computer develops what I call plaque, just like your teeth.

So it’s time to “brush” your computer.

Start by getting rid of all the “bloatware” that came with your computer. The easiest solution to that is PC Decrapifier (yes that’s its name, it’s at

Inspiring Confidence

Yesterday Lorraine and I flew to Palm Springs (where it is still over 100 degrees!).

As we arrived at the gate for boarding I overheard the gate agent tell someone there was a mechanical problem with the plane.

After about 30 minutes our gate agent announced they were looking for a new plane for us.

A few minutes later there's an announcement our gate had changed from 87 to 91.

So we arrive at gate 91 to see the following:

Portable Apps

Everyone has a flash drive, right?

Beyond carrying important documents, like a scan of your passport, you can carry a complete office set up that will run on any Windows computer you can find, such as a spare at a client or the hotel’s business center.

Rather than worry if they have the right applications, carry them with you on your flash drive.

Flash Drives Let You Carry Your Data

Sneaker-net—that’s what they used to call carrying a floppy disk between computers to transfer files. And the highest capacity floppy was 1.44 Megabytes.

In the last couple of years, sneaker-net has resurfaced using USB flash drives. My first held 16 megabytes. Now 16 gigabyte drives are affordable, 1 and 2 gigabyte drives cost less than $10.
And they are handy for more than transferring files. Back up those critical files each day and carry the drive home with you.

Share Your Desktop During Conference Calls

How many conference calls have you been on where the discussion is so off topic the most productive use of your time is playing solitaire?

Having done conference calls for 20 years and webinars the last 4 or 5, I can say that the visual prompting of the webinar improves attention.

The last couple of years we’ve done a number of conference calls using Netspoke, which allowed the call leader to share his desktop with everyone via the web (still using standard conference calling for audio).

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