Ryan McCormack’s Operational Excellence Mixtape: May 17, 2024


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News, articles, books, podcasts, and videos about how to make the workplace better.

Operational Excellence, Improvement, and Innovation

Mario Kart Meets Pareto

Most readers are likely familiar with Pareto, ubiquitous in quality for his Pareto chart, and the Pareto principle (or “80/20” rule), and in optimization science for the Pareto front and Pareto efficiency. Pareto fronts and efficiency can be very helpful when faced with finding optimal configurations from many choices or selecting optimal portfolios. 

Antoine Mayerowitz demonstrates how to use Pareto fronts and Pareto efficiency to identify the optimal build of player, cart, tires, and gliders for Mario Kart from 703 560 potential choices.

Quality at The Source

The Federal Aviation Administration has opened an investigation into Boeing to determine whether “Boeing completed the inspections and whether company employees may have falsified aircraft records” for the manufacture of the 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing's quality crisis highlights age-old debates and solution approaches deployed by organizations when defects leave the building. Most resort to adding rigorous training, auditing, and end-of-line inspection to prevent defects from escaping their business. John Shook asks, “What if…each of the 12,000 operators in the factory could be an inspector…what if each engineer (software or hardware) were responsible for ensuring that quality is built in at each step?” Shook shares insights on the conditions required to ensure quality can be built-in at the source.

The Many Uses of the Shewhart Chart

The proliferation of PowerBI and the democratization of data is meant to put more data-driven insights into the hands of managers and employees. Alas, a lot of this pursuit has led to dashboard overload, chartjunk, and unnecessary noise, rather than actionable insights.

Don Wheeler continues to make the case for the Shewhart chart as a method to create context and actionable insights

Creating a Culture of Improvement

The Only Constant is Change

Employees are tired of change. The bad news? It's not likely to slow down. Leaders need to get to grips with change management

Building a Lean Culture at GE Aerospace

“Culture can't be declared,” says Farah Borges, who oversees GE Aerospace's assembly, test and maintenance operations. “You have to build it.” 

Larry Culp continues to walk the walk at GE Aerospace, and it's delivering results

Get Off My Territory

Imagine what can be accomplished if managers spent less time protecting their turf and more time collaborating to solve problems. Why Territorial Managers Stifle Innovation — and What to Do About It.

Coaching – Developing Self & Others


How often do we hear we need to get out of our comfort zone and embrace challenges in order to grow? Many people develop an esteem-preserving response to hold back when faced with a challenge, which, unchecked, can become a barrier to trying anything. Learn to recognize self-handicapping behaviours in yourself and others.

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Ryan McCormack
Ryan is an operational excellence professional with over 18 years experience practicing continuous improvement in healthcare, insurance, food manufacturing, and aerospace. He is an avid student of the application of Lean principles in work and life to create measurably better value.


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