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Living in the Land of Exception

Tame the Land of Exception with help from Kurt B. Carr and Visual Manufacturing

The biggest problem that most customized product manufacturers experience when taking new orders is teasing out what is routine and what is it about this order that requires special attention. This is not so much the result of being unable to identify what is abnormal, as it is a failure to define normal!

By failing to define normal for your products, everyone who touches the order is forced to make decisions about it as if they had never seen its like before; which is highly unlikely. When each order is treated as if it is completely different, you are operating in the “Land of Exception.”

"The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought, with some reason, that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor."
-- Albert Camus

The Land of Exception is a tough place to operate, since it minimizes the value of organizational experience and substantially reduces the ability of your organization to learn together. It also centralizes responsibility in the hands of a few deeply experienced people and marginalizes everyone else. Even with the best of intentions, your key people become bottlenecks rather than facilitators.

To stop operating in the Land of Exception you have to shrink it. You must standardize enough aspects of your products that a reasonable and structured process can be built. It will be a process that is designed to allow many orders to be moved straight into production.

When you accomplish this you will have achieved a powerful twofer. Not only have you allowed a significant portion of your orders (and perhaps some portions of all orders) flow directly to manufacturing, you have also freed your bottleneck people to work on special orders more quickly. It is a huge win.

In his newest book The Design of Design (From Fred Brooks (author of The Mythical Man-Month (From ) points out that good design optimizes the scarcest resource in any system.

Brooks uses space flight as his prime example and in space flight the scarcest commodity is weight (though the opportunity to do it over has to be a close second). In your order intake process the scarce commodity is typically engineering expertise and lead-time for purchasing and manufacturing. Your order intake process should be optimized to maximize these constraints.

I can help you shrink the Land of Exception by helping your team identify repeatable, standard portions of your products. Then, using tools in Visual Enterprise, I will help them develop safe, reliable pathways to move many orders directly to production while ensuring that exceptions are still caught and handled in a quick and reliable manner.

I am Kurt B. Carr and I have years of experience in teaching companies how to use Visual Enterprise as a tool to operate effectively and achieve success. Call (941.776.3830) or email me today to learn how to stop taking exception.

I can help...

  Carr Enterprises is not affiliated with Infor Global Solutions.

Quotes on these pages are for illustrative and entertainment purposes only and are used under the fair-use doctorine of U.S. Copyright law. Absolutely no endorsement of Carr Enterprises services should be implied from use of the quote.

This page contains affiliate links to Amazon product pages. If you click on one of those linksand purchase the item from they will pay me a small amount of money (woohoo!). I just thought that you should know. -- Kurt
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Contact Kurt Carr at:   or:    941.776.3830