The Design of Everyday Things PDF Summary

The Design of Everyday Things PDFThe Cognitive Psychology of Good Design

“The Design of Everyday Things” is hard – especially if it is good. Learn the process that yields good and intuitive design, that users can easily grasp.

About Donald A. Norman

Donald A. NormanDonald Norman is an author, the director of The Design Lab at University of California, and Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Science at the same University.

“The Design of Everyday Things PDF Summary”

Have you ever struggled to grasp how a simple everyday object works?

If you have, you are not the only one!

In fact, many people have problems using seemingly simple everyday objects.

However, no matter how simple the product, the problem is never the person who uses it – the problem is always bad design.

Bad design happens when designers oversee the relation between users and the product.

Good design is the complete opposite and brings products and people together.

But, why do bad design happen?

Well, one of the primary causes is the rapid technological advancement.

The continually changing technology makes it hard for designers to develop complex products that are easy to use.

However, no matter how many functions a product can do, and how revolutionary it may seem, if a user cannot use it, it is worthless.

Hence, designers should always strive to develop products which are user-friendly.

User and learner friendly products allow people to learn how to operate them as they go, instead of trying to comprehend thick and complicated manuals.

So, what can designers do to make the design good?

Well, they should create products which have clear clues that show users how to operate them.

The product needs to communicate with users by giving them feedback in the form of sounds, vibrations or signs.

Signs also help the user understand if the device is turned on or off.

And what happens when you try to make your design good, but users still find it difficult to use it?

When users have a hard time using a product, you need to search for the root-cause of the problem.

A quick fix will not do in the long run.

So, if you get bad feedback on the easiness of use of the product, do not blame your customers, but listen to them.

The keys to good design are having patience and practicing design thinking.

Only that way you can find out why users encounter problems and how you can make your design better.

Key Lessons from “The Design of Everyday Things PDF”

1.      The Three Psychological Levels Users Engage With a Product On
2.      The Role of Constraints
3.      Creating Human Centered Design

The Three Psychological Levels Users Engage With a Product On

  • The visceral level, connected to unconscious actions
  • The behavioral level, linked to quick, conscious reflexes
  • The reflective level, related to problem-solving and planning

The Role of Constraints

Constraints are clues that show users how to use the product. They can be physical or cultural.

They also remind people about some ways of using the product that they did not think of.

Creating Human Centered Design

  • Study how users interact with a product
  • Generate ideas to solve the problem
  • Build a prototype
  • Test the prototype

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“The Design of Everyday Things Quotes”

Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating. Click To Tweet Rule of thumb: if you think something is clever and sophisticated beware-it is probably self-indulgence. Click To Tweet Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible. Click To Tweet A brilliant solution to the wrong problem can be worse than no solution at all: solve the correct problem. Click To Tweet Cognition attempts to make sense of the world: emotion assigns value. Click To Tweet    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Toyota Way PDF Summary

The Toyota Way PDF14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer

Find out more about the Toyota’s rise to the top from reliable sources.

About Jeffrey K. Liker

Jeffrey K. LikerJeffrey K. Liker is in charge of the Japan Technology Management Program, and he is also a professor of industrial engineering at the University of Michigan.

“The Toyota Way PDF Summary”

Jeffrey K. Liker emphasizes fourteen core principles paved with good intentions to shape the Toyota Way. Applying such strategy gave the company the edge to thrive on new possibilities and create real leaders.

According to experts, these 14 altering principles of “The Toyota Way” are challenging the conventional management methods and prompt you to expand your horizons.

Adopt an out-of-the-box mindset and use these proven laws to achieve victory in the market:

  • Apply a long-term philosophy — Short-oriented companies are not aware that their shallow perspective will stumble and destroy them. Designing a long-term strategy is key to remain competitive even when you are trailing behind your competitors in terms of finance.
  • Create continuous flow — Don’t hide the issues underneath the carpet. Bring them to surface so that you can maintain a constant flow, absent obstructions. Follow one tempo because you don’t want to risk shutting down of the production lines.
  • Use ‘pull’ systems and avoid overproduction — A push system is mainly concerned about transferring all the products onto a retailer, regardless of whether it’s beneficial. A pull system is more reliable because it provides the retailer with a specific line of products.
  • Level the workload — The Japanese management stands out from the rest for many reasons. One of them is leveling the workload also known as “heijunka.” Production levels must match the needs, and in such situation, the pace of production must remain stable and balanced.
  • Build the right culture — The correct culture takes good care of everyone involved in the process – all stakeholders. Fixing internal issues with transparency is the only way to stop quality reduction.
  • Standardize tasks — Employees don’t prefer too many changes, so keep things consistent and try to avoid frequent modifications. Standardization minimizes defects and makes things go smoothly.
  • Use visual control — Some goods are jammed with various types of inventory, which actually hinders the actual outlook. Manage the processes and stay on track.
  • Use only tested technology — Toyota, unlike other vehicle manufacturers, doesn’t like to try out new technologies. Instead, it prefers proven cutting-edge capabilities that are generating positive results.
  • Grow leaders who live the philosophy — Executives and other departmental managers must not allow their ego to stand in the way of mutual growth and progress. Serving the organization’s interest means to focus on customers by incorporating various ideas coming from all members that match the TPS philosophy.
  • Develop people and teams — Evidently, great personnel makes an even better group or organization. Stimulate group cohesion by showing respect and appreciation for everyone’s work. Teamwork is vital for following the corporate vision.
  • Respect your extended network — Truly, every company finds strength in the links it has with its trusted partners and suppliers. Help your associates, motivate them to improve and build a long-term partnership.
  • Observe the source — The power of observation is used in various fields. Toyota executives, frequently observe the business processes until they get the big picture, “why, how, and what.”
  • Decide slowly, implement rapidly — A well-organized company doesn’t rush to conclusions. Taking time and analyzing all options is what makes them so great.
  • Practice relentless reflection — Relentless reflection, also known as “hansei,” often leads to kaizen or never-ending improvement.

Continuous reflection means being focused on enforcing root-cause analysis to see what the problem is and afterward implement a solution.

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“The Toyota Way Quotes”

Toyota’s success derives from balancing the role of people in an organizational culture that expects and values their continuous improvements, with a technical system focused on high-value-added flow. Click To Tweet Toyota designed autos faster, with more reliability, yet at a competitive cost, even when paying the relatively high wages of Japanese workers. Click To Tweet In the Toyota Way, it’s the people who bring the system to life: working, communicating, resolving issues and growing together. Click To Tweet Of all the institutions I’ve studied or worked for, including world-class companies and major universities, I believe Toyota is the best learning organization. Click To Tweet Service processes are often complex and involve hundreds or thousands of activities. If you try to map everything all at once, it leads to a mess. Click To Tweet    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Phoenix Project PDF Summary

The Phoenix Project PDFA Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

“The Phoenix Project” explains the basics of DevOps.

About Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford

Gene KimGene Kim is an author, a researcher and an award-winning chief technology officer. 

Kevin Behr is chief science officer and general manager of Praxis Flow and founder of the Information Technology Process Institute.

George Spafford is a research director for Gartner.  

“The Phoenix Project PDF Summary”

DevOps is an innovative IT management system that is created to help coordination and collaboration among business units, products owners, and different IT operations.

The authors explain DevOps by wrapping it up in a business fable about Parts Unlimited, an auto parts company that DevOps saves.

But, do not be skeptical: although it is structured as a story, the book offers an overview of DevOps, before it gives functional details and a technical rundown.

A few main lessons can be extracted from the book.

First, the authors argue that traditional project management does not work with IT operations since it cannot alleviate issues that happen between software development and IT operations.

Second, as its name suggests, DevOps integrates IT operations and software development together in a productive unit.

Third, DevOps is based on a “set of techniques” and “cultural norms, processes, and practices.” It is a pragmatic approach to managing IT operations, and under this system, information security, product management, development, IT, etc, can all work together.

DevOps first tries to remove bottlenecks before making any improvements. It also uses rapid feedback loops to reduce or even eliminate future production problems.

Hence, IT professionals can notice problems quickly and immediately fix them, therefore avoiding disruptions to work.

Finally, the authors explain the three ways from which DevOps derives its principles.

The first way is creating a fast and uninterrupted workflow “from development to IT operations to the customer.”

“The Second Way” is implementing a “flow of fast feedback,” which allows IT professionals to be proactive and avoid problems by fixing “quality at the source.”

“The Third Way” is allowing space for “continual experimentation” by promoting a corporate culture of innovation.

Key Lessons from “The Phoenix Project”

1.      DevOps is Not “Only for Start-Ups and Unicorns”
2.      DevOps is Not “Only for Start-Ups and Unicorns”
3.      Misconceptions that Can Cloud the Understanding of DevOps

DevOps is Not “Only for Start-Ups and Unicorns”

Every so-called unicorn started out having the same problems of a conventional horse.

These unicorns did not use DevOps from the very beginning – they graduated to it.

The authors believe that DevOps is even more significant to horses than it is for start-ups and unicorns.

DevOps Purpose

DevOps is created to help increase customer satisfaction, improve product quality, and fuel and speed up experimentation and innovation.

All of these points lead to enhancing the company’s competitiveness on the market.

Misconceptions that Can Cloud the Understanding of DevOps

  • “DevOps replaces Agile.” 
  • “DevOps replaces ITIL.” 
  • “DevOps means NoOps.”
  • “DevOps is only for open source software.”
  • “DevOps is just ‘infrastructure as code’ or automation.” 

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“The Phoenix Project Quotes”

Improving daily work is even more important than doing daily work. Click To Tweet Being able to take needless work out of the system is more important than being able to put more work into the system. Click To Tweet Any improvements made anywhere besides the bottleneck are an illusion. Click To Tweet A great team doesn’t mean that they had the smartest people. What made those teams great is that everyone trusted one another. It can be a powerful thing when that magic dynamic exists. Click To Tweet We need to create a culture that reinforces the value of taking risks and learning from failure and the need for repetition and practice to create mastery. Click To Tweet    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Power of Six Sigma Summary

The Power of Six Sigma SummaryAn Inspiring Tale of How Six Sigma is Transforming the Way We Work

Have you heard about Six Sigma?

If you have, you already know its power. If you have not, it is time we introduce you to it.

Who Should Read “The Power of Six Sigma”? and Why?

Now before we tell you what “The Power of Six Sigma” is about, let us tell you what this book is not: it is not a guideline on the steps of implementing Six Sigma. It is also not written with the intention of the authors advertising themselves to you.

Then what is it?

It is a theoretical introduction to Six Sigma, and how it is continually transforming the business world.

It is a truly insightful book, which will unveil to you that the notion that Six Sigma has a hidden practical meaning which only some people know is untrue.

We recommend “The Power of Six Sigma” to anyone who has been or is becoming involved with this quality enhancement strategy.

About Subir Chowdhury

Subir ChowdhurySubir Chowdhury is an author, which has received many awards for his leadership in quality management. He is currently executive VP of the American Supplier Institute.

“The Power of Six Sigma Summary”

Many companies started adopting Six Sigma over the past few years, although they did so without fully understanding the commitment it required.

As a result, many of them were disappointed at the end, not getting what they were expecting. But that outcome came as no surprise since companies were not acquainted enough with the practice, although they assumed they had enough insight to make Six Sigma work for them.

Instead, they followed Six Sigma success stories such as General Electric and Allied Signal and assumed it would automatically make their businesses thrive as well.

So far we have talked about the wrong ways of adopting Six Sigma, but we still haven’t explained its concept. We will cover that next: what is Six Sigma and what makes it so powerful?

Simply put Six Sigma is a system that combines process and people power.

In an ideal world, a company’s pool of employees will consist of productive and competent workers and brilliant researchers.

These researchers are not only focused on inventing intellectual capital, but they are trying to avoid costly errors as well.

In other words, with Six Sigma, money saved is money earned. Quality control is constant, and anyone can contribute to it.

So, whenever a company enters a Six Sigma project, it begins a task which needs to create more efficient operations.

If you are the one heading the project, then you should focus on saving as much money as you can, and the company will surely reward you.

In other words, your company will thank you for making its operations less costly.

But Six Sigma is not a one time project. It is a management philosophy which allows the people who implement it to measure the exact impact of the changes they brought in the usual processes.  

Although Six Sigma is a philosophy that, once comprehended, guarantees success, many employees and companies are hesitant to try it out, since during their careers they have seen many initiatives designed to improve operations fail.

However, even the greatest skeptics cannot negate the power of Six Sigma once they adopt it.

Of course, the impact of Six Sigma will vary depending on each process the company performs. But, that is completely normal, since no company ever succeeded producing a product with 100% consistency.

Now, during your life, you may have accepted the misconception that there is always a trade off between lower costs and better quality, and that may be keeping you back from adopting quality enhancement strategies.

If you are in such a mental place, it is time to change your mindset – you will not benefit from it.

Go even a step further and teach your employees that improving quality and reducing costs is not only possible but needed.

Another thing Six Sigma will do for you, except saving you money, is increasing the customer satisfaction levels. Your employees (especially your accountants) will be happier too since fewer warranty reimbursements and discards will mean that the tug of war between the employees and the customers will no longer exist.

If we managed to convince you that you can solve your problems with Six Sigma, we need to warn you not to try to address all your issues at once.

Instead of trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, listen to the market. Your customers and their experiences will show you where you need to improve.

We understand that you may want to fix everything at once, but believe us; it will work against you.

So, stop multitasking and focus on one project at a time, until you are completely satisfied with the outcome.

Key Lessons from “The Power of Six Sigma”:

1.      Where Should You Start?
2.      Defining Roles
3.      Start at The Beginning

Where Should You Start?

When starting out, pick the most easily solvable item.

When you solve this problem, you will present the value of the program, easily create savings and increase customer satisfaction.

Then you will have a greater motivation to move forward.

Defining Roles

It is important for Six Sigma for your employees to know their roles. But, although a project needs a leader and employees that support the leader it is not just another top-down initiative.

However, each project needs to have someone who will maintain the direction until the very end.

Some of the roles are:

  • Project champions
  • Black belts
  • Green belts

Start at The Beginning

When you start Six Sigma, do two things: define the issues you face and set a numerical goal.

Do not focus on the final problem – focus on the process that causes it. And remember, Six Sigma’s goal is not only improving quality but also saving money and increasing customer satisfaction.

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“The Power of Six Sigma” Quotes

The main thrust of Six Sigma is to reduce errors and waste in every kind of business endeavor to please customers and fatten the bottom line. Click To Tweet Sigma is like a measurement, used to determine how good or bad the performance of a process is; in other words, how many mistakes a company makes, doing whatever it does. Click To Tweet Six Sigma companies learned that quality saves money because there are fewer throw-outs, fewer warranty payouts, and fewer refunds. And doing all that, in turn, increases profits. Click To Tweet Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what you want to be done, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity in getting there. Click To Tweet Pick the problem that’s giving you the most trouble, the one that’s costing the company the most, the one that’s making customers unhappy. That’s the one that will reward you the most if you can fix it. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Power of Six Sigma” is an excellent outline of the theory behind Six Sigma, and is a recommended read for all people who want to get introduced to this method and its principles.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The GE Work-Out Summary

The GE Work-Out SummaryHow to Implement GE’s Revolutionary Method for Busting Bureaucracy and Attacking Organizational Problems – Fast!

In today’s post, we will talk about the Work-Out program which General Electric (GE) used to successfully cut costs, reduce bureaucracy and create a better corporate culture.

Stay with us for the next thousand words, and find out how you can achieve the same.

Who Should Read “The GE Work-Out”? and Why?

It is clear that the Work-Out system is efficient since it helped General Electric immensely. However, many companies still do it wrong.

“The GE Work-Out” is an introductory guide that explains what the Work-Out is, and summarizes the success story of Jack Welch who introduced it in GE.

We recommend this book to all readers who are thinking about embracing change.

About Dave Ulrich, Steve Kerr and Ron Ashkenas

Dave Ulrich, apart from being an author, also teaches at the University of Michigan School of Business.


Steve KerrSteve Kerr, is a former vice president of leadership development and chief learning officer of GE. He is currently head learning officer and managing director of Goldman Sachs.  


Ron Ashkenas is an author and a managing partner in the Robert H. Schaffer & Associates consulting firm.

“The GE Work-Out Summary”

During the 80s and 90s, GE was under the governance of CEO Jack Welch, otherwise known as “Neutron Jack.” These were the times when the Work-Out program appeared.

Welch got his nickname because of the ruthless cuts of bureaucracy and levels of management, and his management principles by which GE either had to be the top one company of each market it ever entered or else it stopped doing business in the market.

By the end of his glory days, he had got rid of more than 200 000 people.

The seed of the Work Out idea was rooted during some of the listening sessions he had with GE’s Crotonville development campus.

Listening to the managers talking about the changes that were happening in GE Welch realized that although he decreased the number of administrative levels and had financially improved results, the culture of GE screamed “bureaucracy.”

People were stuck in their comfort zones and were afraid to take risks. They made decisions slowly and carefully. Managers avoided responsibility.

The layoff of so many employees did reduce the costs, but the workload stayed the same, which meant that those that were left working for the company were overburdened by obligations.

At the beginning of the nineties, a group of managers decided to raise the voice and told Jim Baughman, then GE’s director all their problems. He then went to Welch to look for a solution. Their meeting resulted in an agreement: it was crucial to reduce unnecessary tasks, and hence they created the Work-Out.

The Work-Out had a strange start. On the one hand, it was mandatory, since all were required to participate, and on the other hand it was voluntary since no one could make someone tell the truth. So, if people wanted to give you their actual opinion – they had to decide to do that themselves.

The first thing the program required was for the business leaders to do cross-level, cross-functional meetings, in which people would state their worries.

As expected, the feelings and thoughts that employees had after seeing many of their friends fired and the informal networks destroyed, were full of mistrust, suspicion, and resentment.

Moreover, they did not think that the Work-Out could help. They believed it was just another program that would make things harder for them. They could not believe that the talk of empowerment and teamwork is honest.

However, as time went by, the employees started participating in the brainstorming sessions and began giving their suggestions.

The brainstorming was on factors that limited progress, and on easy cost reductions which could be achieved by eliminating bureaucratic bottlenecks and unnecessary tasks.

However, those were only the early stages. Soon Welch was finding ways to use the Work-Out more creatively. He pushed for making the three operating values “speed, simplicity and self-confidence” a fact, instead of wishful thinking.

Overall, the Work-Out makes people do things they would not do, like, for example, making decisions. People avoid being in a situation in which they have to make a decision since choices come with a portion of the risk.

The Work-Out forces people to stand in the center of a room and make a decision, learning to live with the intimidation that comes with the risk. It also makes things faster, and more efficient.

To implement the Work-Out successfully, everyone in your company must be involved.

Usually, people will not want to Work-Out, since their comfort zones are much more comfortable than change. They will come up with a few objections, but you need to be persistent and patient enough to explain what the Work-Out involves, and let them see the results themselves.

You can do this by creating a simple one-day Work-Out, at any level, as a trial run.

Then, when it comes to the actual full Work-Out take your time with the preparation and presentation.

The most important thing to remember is that change is scary until it becomes a routine.

Key Lessons from “The GE Work-Out”:

1.      Stretch
2.      Systems Thinking
3.      Lateral Thinking
4.      Empowerment and Accountability
5.      Fast Decisions


Push yourself. Set higher goals than your mind lets you believe is reasonable. Stretch as much as you can.

Systems Thinking

Teach your employees to look at the entire process instead of just the endpoint. Saving costs is great, but maybe the thing you are trying to eliminate to achieve that is indispensable in some other unit of the company. Look at the whole picture and not its separate pieces.

Lateral Thinking

Brainstorm. There is no such thing as a stupid or weird idea. Create a culture of sharing suggestions and opinions.

Empowerment and Accountability

Let people lead. Put them in charge. Ideas are not enough – you need results. So let people not only make suggestions but make their ideas happen.

Fast Decisions

Speed is essential. Fast decisions mean fast action.

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“The GE Work-Out” Quotes

One of the ways we’ll know that Work-Out has been successful is that my style of leadership will no longer be tolerated in this company. Click To Tweet Speed is better than perfection. Make it clear what the expectations are – even if they are aspirations that are not yet achieved. Click To Tweet Whether you’re building a house or organizing a Work-Out session, you need good plans. Click To Tweet As with any change process, the best way to understand Work-Out is to dive in and do it, rather than just talk about it. Click To Tweet Left to themselves, Work-Out groups have a tendency to combine too many ideas that are similar – but not identical – into one. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The GE Work-Out” is a well-organized book which proves its clear points and conveys its messages, making it possible for anyone to implement the Work Out in just about any organization.

However, you should bear in mind that what you will find in this book are tips, but it fails to truly warn you against the commitment that is implementing the Work-Out demands.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Purchasing Machine Summary

The Purchasing Machine SummaryHow the Top Ten Companies Use Best Practices to Manage Their Supply Chains

Who Should Read “The Purchasing Machine”? and Why?

As time goes by, the importance of purchasing increases.

Authors of “The Purchasing Machine” have spend a significant amount of time in purchasing and certainly know what they are talking about. They argue that since most companies nowadays outsource their parts and equipment, properly managing the process of purchasing can result in massive savings.

We recommend this book to purchasing managers, as well as to corporate executives and everyone who wants to gain some knowledge in how they can save money in daily corporate operations.

About Jonathan Stegner, Patricia E. Moody and Dave Nelson

Dave Nelson is the former leader of Honda’s purchasing sect and is currently a vice president at Deere and Co.

Patricia E. Moody is a consultant and one of the 10 pioneering women in manufacturing according to Forbes

Jonathan Stegner has practiced supply management for more than two decades, and currently is a director of supply management at Deere.

“The Purchasing Machine Summary”

The modern times pose new requirements as the markets and the business world change.

Procurement is a subject to change as well, and you should stop regarding it as a minor function that is just a necessary evil which cannot help in boosting the competitiveness of your company.

During the 60s, manufacturing changed thoroughly, but many companies failed to notice that this evolution affects traditional purchasing as well.

Generally, three aspects shifted:

  • Money: As companies turned to outsourcing, more money started flowing through the purchasing structure.
  • Power: The previous internal power balances moved towards areas which were not included in traditional manufacturing.
  • Intelligence: Outsourcing changed the need for employees with hands-on skills to workers with less traditional expertise.

In the 21st century, procurement and supply-chain management are essential functions for companies which strive to capture a bigger market share.

So, if you haven’t already addressed the procurement process of your company, now is the time to do so.


Because in the next decade or two manufacturing professionals will concentrate on supply management, which will consist of:

  • Purchasing Materials flows
  • Acquisitions Sourcing strategies
  • Movement and control of intellectual property

Okay, you know the answer to “why”, but what about “how”?

To achieve real supply change and purchasing management improvements, you need to create change and come up with out-of-the-box ideas.

You need to create a corporate culture where knowledge sharing is normal, you need to institutionalize best practices and pay attention to each step that makes up the supply chain.

But, let’s not forget that the first step is always recognizing that these functions are important.

Once you do, you can come up with high-performance goals – and achieve them.

Another thing to have in mind is investing enough resources in human assets.

Every, and we mean every company, should have a VP of supply management or purchasing.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Programs) do not have the right tools to address factory-flow issues, so they cannot solve purchasing problems. Hence the answers to the supply chain problems lie on the shop floor.

Companies that decide to change along with the environment and use best practices can expect up to 30% cost reductions in purchasing.

Other things that companies can expect in the future, apart from productivity savings is an increased amount of variety and lockdown.

Variety will increase since customers will be given the change to design their own products on site, or in transit. This will strengthen the need for supply chain professionals to save more in the pipeline, and become knowledgeable about outsourced ideas and royalty schedules.

The lockdown will happen when big companies will integrate smaller and midsized suppliers out of evolution, as well as a necessity.

Below, in the key lessons, we cover the best and worst practices as well as the purchasing challenges that purchasing professionals face.

So, read on.

Key Lessons from “The Purchasing Machine”

1.      Twenty Best Practices
2.      Ten Signs of Worst-Practices Purchasing
3.      The Challenges Purchasing Professionals Face

Twenty Best Practices

  • Cost Management.
  • Supplier development.
  • Value analysis.
  • MRO management.
  • Supplier circles.
  • Training.
  • Supplier information sharing.
  • Supplier study groups.
  • Supplier conferences.
  • Supplier performance reporting.
  • Supplier surveys.
  • Delivery improvement.
  • Tool and technical assistance centers.
  • Supplier support (SWAT) teams.
  • Loaned executives.
  • Early supplier involvement.
  • New Model Development Groups.
  • Written strategies for every supplier, every part, and every commodity.
  • Strategic planning, administration, career-path and academic outreach programs.
  • Purchasing systems.

Incorporate all of these practices, but don’t work on them all at once.

Ten Signs of Worst-Practices Purchasing

  • Your company’s highest level purchasing executive is the purchasing manager.
  • Your buyers or planners earn less than one-third of your highest purchasing professional’s salary.
  • No representative of the supply chain is a member of your board of directors.
  • You do not guarantee strategic alliances by written contracts.
  • Engineering has the concentrate of all of your new product expertise.
  • Your purchasing planning systems are very loosely connected to manufacturing planning and execution software.
  • Faxed requirements determine supplier delivery schedules.
  • Cost date determines the compensation of purchasing professionals.
  • Ten percent of receipts are point-of-consumption deliveries of certified materials.
  • Manufacturing thinks it can assure product quality by commodity and part classification.

The Challenges Purchasing Professionals Face

  • They must comprehend and direct the completion of many high-technology tasks.
  • They must lead their teams in material and intellectual property acquisition and use.
  • They must continue to keep costs down and become tech gurus and experts in communication and costing.

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“The Purchasing Machine” Quotes

As manufacturing changed, so did the needs for traditional purchasing, but the buying function in most organizations missed the change and continued to structure and build systems to support a massive batch and queue production process. Click To Tweet Twenty best practice points will change the purchasing profession. Click To Tweet Moving a single organization, and then an entire supply chain, along an aggressive improvement journey that started about 150 years ago in manufacturing can be a blinding challenge for a single dedicated individual. We don’t recommend… Click To Tweet Use best practices as the launching pad, not the destination. Click To Tweet Bad practices will take your team nowhere. They will drain energy and responsiveness, leak hard-earned profits and prevent you from capturing the gold from brilliant and well-intentioned new product initiatives. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

If you are a purchasing professional, you probably already know the things that this book is trying to teach you. You will surely come across new thoughts and ideas, but overall the material consists of general rules of thumb and purchasing concepts that you can encounter in many supply chain books.

Apart from that, because of its examples focused on mass production environments, only those in such an environment may benefit from the concepts presented in the book.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Design to Grow Summary

Design to Grow SummaryHow Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too)

Design can get your company and product noticed and increase its scale and agility.

In our summary of “Design to Grow” we show you how you can use design principles to create a balance between scale and agility. You will also learn why it is essential for every employee to contribute to your company’s design efforts.

If you decide to read the book, you will find this information wrapped in the story of the Coca-Cola Company’s utilization of design, which helped them expand from one to hundreds of products.

But, let’s take it slow and begin with the basics.

Read on.

Who Should Read “Design to Grow”? and Why?

The design is vital for each part of your operation. In “Design to Grow”, David Butler and Linda Tischler argue that design, because of its importance, should be everyone’s responsibility.

According to them, the design is an intentional connection between things for the purpose of solving problems.

The most significant problem of your business is balancing agility and scale. The solution for it is designing all aspect of your business to support each other and your brand.

We recommend “Design to Grow” to marketers and entrepreneurs who want to develop and grow by design.

About David Butler and Linda Tischler

David Butler, vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Coca-Cola Company and its former VP of global design, leads the Coca-Cola Founders initiative, which helps start-up entrepreneurs.

Linda TischlerLinda Tischler is an editor at Fast Company magazine.

“Design to Grow Summary”

Design can do many things.

It can solve the problems you face by making things less complicated. It can help your firm adapt and grow. It can make things easier to use.

To use its power, think of your concept of design.

Most people think that design and aesthetics are the same things.

However, the design is much more than just packaging, logos or the look of products. Design means connecting all elements of a particular system in a way that shows increased efficiency.

In other words, there are two parts to design. First, a visible design which consists of everything that your customers can see: your offices, your website, your customer service. And second, invisible design, which consists of everything that your clients cannot perceive, but that is an indivisible part of the way you deliver your product: your company culture, internal processes, strategic partnerships et cetera.

The only way to have a great design is to make a right combination of the two.

Hence, apply this concept of connection that defines good design in every aspect of your business, including manufacturing, branding, packaging, and distribution.

Create a culture in your company that pushes everyone in it to think like a designer. Enable your employees’ participation in the process and build your internal design process as an open system.

This means that you should provide simple templates, formats and software tools which will enable anyone to create designs and create a harmony with your brand.

In the contemporary market, you have to adapt and develop, while at the same time remaining flexible enough to respond to changing events and conditions.

Design can create a balance between these at times conflicting ambitions.

Businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to established multinational companies, work hard to balance between scale and agility.

Start-ups are naturally agile. They can quickly change their direction by starting to follow a new business plan or recreating and rebranding products. As a result, they are great at innovation.

However, they do not excel at having a scale that would ensure their long-term survival on the market.

To go beyond the start-up stage, organizations have to work on building its team of employees, win and keep customers, and start generating profits.

Big companies, on the other hand, have the complete opposite problem.

They are capable of leveraging scale by utilizing the power of their customer base, brands, and their distribution system, all of which allow them to pursue global expansion.

However, they have to work on cultivating agility, so they do not risk losing their competitive edge when they are faced with fast technological advancements and challenges posed by the innovative environment.

Key Lessons from “Design to Grow”

1.      Design for Scale
2.      Design for Agility
3.      Codesign

Design for Scale

Most of all start-ups fail. The scale is usually the reason why.

In other words, start-ups frequently fail to meet increasing demand without decreasing their service or product quality or their earnings.

Designing for scale is a process consisted of three parts:

  • “Simplify”
  • “Standardize”
  • “Integrate”

Design for Agility

Being flexible means that you can learn quickly. One way of doing it is learning by doing, a process which you can implement a strategy of planning backward.

What do we mean by this?

Well, instead of thinking of a plan and measuring its results, do the opposite: start with the results and create your plan around them.

To get the results, launch a rough, working version of the product, measure its performance, and use what you learn to improve the product.


The next significant development in doing business could be a new kind of collaboration between small startups and large corporations. This kind of partnership would help companies leverage their scale and agility.

Together, small and large organizations could work on codesigning strategies and products that could not be launched otherwise.

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“Design to Grow” Quotes

Bad design is the default mode, since it takes the least effort to create. Click To Tweet We’re all designers now. It’s time to get good at it. Click To Tweet In 2013, for example, a seventeen-year-old Australian teenager living in England built a content-shortening app, called Summly, in his bedroom, which he promptly sold to Yahoo for a reported thirty million dollars. Now, imagine the next… Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Butler and Tischler present a significant amount of theory in their book “Design to Grow.” They illustrate their ideas with particular stories at Coca-Cola.

They write in a conversational style and stay away from using design jargon, which makes the book understandable for any reader.

The only slight problem is that they tend to bounce among topics unpredictably.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Supply Chain Cost Management Summary

Supply Chain Cost Management Summary

The Aim & Drive Process for Achieving Extraordinary Results 

It’s rarely a problem when you have a sales increase, but what about your costs?

It’s best if we start from the beginning.

We briefly summarize Anklesaria’s methods and proudly present this comprehensive outline of “Supply Chain Management.

Who Should Read “Supply Chain Cost Management”? And Why?

In reality, the embodiment of team success is finding the gap in a system that creates “tension.” As soon as you overcome that problem, the company should be able to perceive things from a different perspective.

With this in mind, we warmly advise management students, and knowledge seekers to read “Supply Chain Cost Management.”

About Jimmy Anklesaria

Jimmy AnklesariaJimmy Anklesaria is an author, and also a cost-management expert, who over the years shared many insightful tips with the audience on cost-reduction. He was hired by many innovative companies to conduct seminars in order to reveal some of the fundamentals on the subject.

“Supply Chain Cost Management Summary”

Nowadays, companies spend more time trying to figure out a way to reduce costs, then attempting to increase sales.

Such approach isn’t entirely clear, so let’s hit the books and investigate why. In general, we believe almost any person is aware, that cost control is not an optional process, not only it’s mandatory but highly essential.

However, not many enterprises have mastered the technique to control and ultimately reduce them. Regardless of the type, it’s only logical to aim at the decrease, and consequently earn higher profits.

How it all started at IBM:

Right after, things began to get a little rough, Lou Gerstner and Gene Richter both experts in various fields were brought to the company to inspire every organizational layer to apply a new system by which all sectors will become cost-centric.

This resulted in an immediate turn for the better.  The real question is – What was this strategy all about?

The goal was to follow one highly efficient and simple program – the five-step plan known as “The Cost Reducer” because in every step there was the same objective.

Afterwards, the procurement team of experts had no other choice than to really indulge this method, designed by the supply chain expert Gene Richter.

IBM took over the market by increasing their profits and gaining a competitive edge.

Here’s the deal:

Don’t go running around if you don’t have the expertise; it’s always better to rely on outside help, in order to reduce costs in the long-run. The real issue most companies have is slightly linked to their ignorance about the cost structure.

Are you aware that one mistake pulls others, a misleading information can produce supply chain issue and so on?

For that purpose, we present or in this case – Jimmy Anklesaria gives you the “Aim & Drive” process. A great way to start working on cost-reduction – an eight-step process ready to take your supply chain knowledge, to the next level. The ultimate goal is linked to satisfied end-customers at a smaller price!!

Let’s start counting:

  • Agreeing” to foresee and thereby reduce any unexpected costs with a practical supply-chain attitude.
  • Identifying” when new costs give birth to others, and you develop a strategy with your suppliers to collectively deal with this mess.
  • Measuring” also categorized as second-class costs, in other words – not so important.
  • Defining” understanding the cost drivers driven by previously defined strategic options.
  • Reducing,” revamping those processes or activities that are responsible for these costs.
  • Implementing” The new foundation, that you’ll build on – the action plan.
  • Verifying” Approval of the strategy and begin monitoring any unwanted cost fluctuations.
  • Eternally” redesign the cost structure and process selection.

The team of experts especially those in charge of the supply chain, should begin analyzing the project’s feasibility and define goals.

Which directions should you follow?

There are several things that you should not consider doing. For example, what is the purpose of lowering supply chain costs, if in the near future you’ll pump up those numbers by accepting inferior goods or commodities at a greater expense? You have to have a vision.

“Supply Chain Cost Management” suggest each company to track the progress in a specially designed worksheet, where anyone with access can gain insights and up-to-date information.

Key Lessons from “Supply Chain Cost Management”

1.      The recreation of a map
2.      Several ways to measure success
3.      Think twice about cost-reduction

The recreation of a map

First and foremost, any company should focus on mapping those processes which are the greatest contributors to the “cost-table.”

Only then, you can consider about removing some of them, or embark on a full-scale remodeling journey.

In either case, listing all these elements will give you the upper hand in the struggle to cope with cost increases!!  

Several ways to measure success

Generally speaking, to launch an evaluation process, the company must own, possess, installed or have in store, at least one of two systems – allocation or management – based system.

It’s not forbidden to use others, but most firms depend on these.

Allocation systems, on one hand, are highly dependable of applying cost-figures to company’s products or services, while management systems are more open to various types of evaluation models, plenty of alternatives.

Think twice about cost-reduction

Don’t be surprised to know how many companies come to a stage, where they can really put their skills to the test, and then hesitate to act.

Even though they have all the help in the world from both suppliers and customers, they do nothing.

If you wish to avoid a similar scenario, you need to create an effective plan and stick to it, no matter what. Make sure it’s realistic, and feasible so that it speaks on everyone’s behalf – in other words, verify that all employees are comfortable with it.

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“Supply Chain Cost Management” Quotes

The journey of cost management...never ends. I have yet to see a company that sends a message to its supply chain saying, ‘We are making too much money, please stop managing cost. Click To Tweet As strategies are completed...document, to the best of your ability, the monetary savings. Click To Tweet Customer-supplier relationships can become partnerships or strategic alliances where there is a common focus on improving yields at the customer’s site. Click To Tweet The key question to ask about improving a cost ‘Will the technology, quality, safety, cycle time, or total cost of the product or service be jeopardized if you achieve the theoretical limit. Click To Tweet The real power of cost management is to know from the creation of a new part, product or service what the true purchased costs are. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

This book emphasizes the importance of a relationship, neglected by many – the bond between companies and suppliers. In our opinion, cost-reduction is the topic of the century, so in this case, we believe that “Supply Chain Cost Management” has the perfect material in store – on this problematic.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Supply-Based Advantage Summary

The Supply-Based Advantage Summary

How to Link Suppliers to Your Organization’s Corporate Strategy

We bet that you don’t even pay so much attention to suppliers – a mistake that fortunately can be corrected. Building relationships with them is the key element to prosperous future.

We summarize the main discoveries found in “The Supply-Based Advantage” for you to gain insights on supply.

Who Should Read “The Supply-Based Advantage”? And Why?

It’s best to start with a clearly-defined vision, or what you intend to do. Nowadays, it’s virtually impossible to succeed while being half-interested about the topic. Ignite that fire, and learn the ropes of “The Supply-Based Advantage.”

As such, we warmly prescribe this set of stories to people involved in businesses, which intend to learn and grow.

About Stephen C. Rogers

Stephen C. RogersCurrently, Stephen C. Rogers serves as a Senior Consultant in a consulting company, called – Cincinnati Consulting Consortium. As a supply-management expert, he offers his expertise to numerous enterprises worldwide in the realm of a supply chain.

“The Supply-Based Advantage Summary”

After working for three full decades at Procter & Gamble, Stephen C. Rogers decided to share some of the stories that marked his amazing career. Everything he learned, is briefly sum up in order for the readers to get the big picture of suppliers. However, this fascinating journey mixed with risk and challenges started way earlier.

Before you emphasize the value of maximizing supplier relationships, you need to dive into the background processes of supply chain management.

Let’s start slowly:  Shall we?

Obviously, many companies refuse to provide guidance to individuals who are eager to get the hang of “Supply.” In other words, one must be prepared to plunge into the heat of battle, absent instructions. In reality, mentorship is the critical element of growth, but time after time we’ve been proven wrong by numerous self-taught masters.

Here’s an interesting idea:

Rogers brightens up the place with personal adventures, various case studies and extensive research. Generally speaking, the supply-based advantage is hard to achieve, but highly helpful once you’ve done it. To make a long story short, he describes the supply chain strategies which brought him success and gradually lifted the company as well.

With this in mind, we set foot in a desert – meaning that in front you there is nothing other than sand, but if you know where to look, you’ll probably find a source of water supply. This metaphor illustrates the difference between an average “complainer” and “problem-solver.”

For instance, Rogers’s efforts to display these amazing supply-chain strategies is based on one very simple conviction. For example, if you are importing coffee into Europe, the first thing you should do is pour yourself one, get relaxed.

Feeling confused?

In fact, to get your business flowing, you don’t need to play on the safe side, but on the fun side. A theory referring to maximizing your suppliers’ contributions, and long-lasting relationships forged in the importance of profits, and trust.

Supply-chain management is aware of how crucial is the process of maintaining a competitive edge. From a different standpoint, why should we be concentered about this? Beware of decentralization, because at the end, all operations matter equally in pursuing that vital advantage.

If you are set out to deliver value to the end customers, you must rebuild that broken trust and revive the supply-based relationships.

Do you wish to enhance professionally?

Adopt the same attitude, and enforce enthusiasm in your organization. Flexibility is the tool for positioning yourself better than the competition. Regardless of how you plan to make your presence felt on the market, from customer service, branding, shopper experience, marketing perfection, it all comes down to – your positioning.  

Supply chains offer incomparable methods for reaching that stage and guides you to step aside from the idea to rely on quality alone. Your suppliers are gold miners; your suppliers are profit-markets! Why would someone want to jeopardize that kind of relationships? – Out of ignorance, there is no other answer.

The bottom line is:

Many companies lack the expertise to foresee profitable relationships and thereby think of supply-based connections as matters of lesser importance. In general, they are viewed as expenses in order to reduce short-term costs, without realizing that this kind of attitude complicates long-term productive links.

Stay with us for the conclusion:

Not every corporation reaches its maximum, not every startup overcomes the tough years, but all of them are driven by the same notion. Remember, putting words into action, requires planning, cooperation, and most importantly trust.

Key Lessons from “The Supply-Based Advantage”

1.      New times require new measures
2.      The ultimate goal
3.      Give respect to earn respect

New times require new measures

Today’s companies are still stuck in the same old-school perspective, that purchasing is an unavoidable, mundane, monotonous back-office function. Nonetheless, stats show that more than 70% of any firm’s tangible products, services or other commodities derive from outside suppliers or their partners.

The ultimate goal

Once again, we come across the same burden which drives the corporations crazy. They don’t know how to establish or build the foundation for long-lasting, profitable relationship. Stephen C. Rogers advises giving something valuable in exchange for their material or capital contributions. Regardless of who is pulling the strings, every member of the organization that maintaining a competitive edge is an ongoing, criss-cross process.

Give respect to earn respect

Saving money at the expense of achieving sustainable relationships is not a good deal. This bargain contradicts any company’s vision – to expand, improve, and thereby gain an advantage. As much you expect from your suppliers to distribute quality materials to your doorsteps, they share the concern and demand to be treated with respect, in return

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“The Supply-Based Advantage” Quotes

A company that stands still in a competitive marketplace is probably moving backward. Click To Tweet Virtually every supply management article or book urges creation of a business case for use in selling strategic sourcing to senior management. Click To Tweet Unbridled power at any position in the supply chain can change the dynamics throughout the chain. Click To Tweet Sometimes, executives simply don’t ‘get it’ when dealing with suppliers. Click To Tweet Supply management is a family of complex processes that includes an amazing number of tools and skills in order to span the range necessary to manage the full supply base. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

You are entitled to be a little skeptical, don’t fall too much under the command of your ego. For example, top-notch companies each day talk about how they can increase productivity and improve end-to-end processes related to the supply-chain. “The Supply-Based Advantage” is all about that, and according to us, it’s a perfect-read for you.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Connected Corporation Summary

The Connected Corporation Summary

How Leading Companies Manage Customer-Supplier Alliances

After the oil crisis in the 70s, the economic progress took its turn. All are aware that those companies fortunate to survive the collapse, were forced to create new strategies and prepare themselves for the worst-case scenario.  

This book summary answers the questions related to this issue. We lay out some fundamental theories for weakened companies to rise from the ashes.

Who Should Read “The Connected Corporation”? And Why?

The Connected Corporation” is perfect for those working their way through the business world and people who want to apply organizational changes.

In either case, you should be aware that this book comes without warning, and immediately exposes the weaknesses of many brands, leading to a discovery that alliances act as a route to financial heaven.  

About Jordan D. Lewis

Jordan D. LewisJordan D. Lewis is a worldwide authority on leadership, management, alliances, and consultant. He is also an author that used to teach at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. At this moment Lewis is a fellow of the World Economic Forum and a visiting scholar at the University of California.

“The Connected Corporation Summary”

Every now and then, corporations or companies are compelled to redevelop their strategies. The reasons for doing so are linked to achieving the best benefit/cost ratio. Obviously, it makes perfect sense of trying to take any company to a point where the cycle time, quality of products/services, and profits, will be at its best. Nevertheless, this procedure takes time; it’s a process consisting of 100% commitment and vision.

Why should you be customer-centric, instead of focusing around – the improvement on all company’s layers? – Stay with us:

Jordan advises that businesses should create strong bonds with suppliers as well, and form B2B alliances. Marching towards certain victory is a rare scenario in the business world, not even unions can guarantee you prosperity, but they’ll surely reduce the risk.

In either case, a partnership of this kind is the beginning of a new Age for your firm. Double your chances of victory with insights deriving from “The Connected Corporation” book written in the mid-90s. Perhaps, a dose of skepticism exists among the readers. Not many are willing to follow tips written more than two decades ago but don’t be foolish. Even though some of the methods are conventional, the overall experience is up-to-date.

You might be wondering: – Why emphasizing alliances?

Top-notch corporations owe their success to a well-designed strategy. Let’s look at things from an impartial standpoint. Any business goes after new markets which call into question, company’s vision, mission, and long-term strategy. What does this mean? – It indicates that if you don’t allow your business to grow by forging customer-supplier alliances, you’ll only end up in the bottom of the corporate chain. Increasingly more time and resources allocated to tasks of the highest order will allow the business to reduce costs, improve quality, and ultimately increase profits. The real measurement of your work is nothing other than a customer satisfaction.

Stay tuned for more:

Generally speaking, even in the digital age or the era of information, there are plenty of companies that refuse to share info, and participate in the process that contributes to the common good. The strategic alliance is not just a concept for creating value!! It represents the essence of success due to massive technological improvements these days. Filling the gap is a term used to showcase the unions and ties between societies, institutions, and companies to solve problems like lacking information, resources, creativity, etc.

The author of this classic – Jordan D. Lewis offers his expertise and the experiences of four major brands – Motorola, Marks & Spencer, Philips Consumer Electronics Company, and Chrysler – to demonstrate the benefits emerging from creating alliances with suppliers. The book, which is transparent and acceptable to most economies, nowadays.

The good thing about this classic is the table content, probably not relevant to the subject talked earlier, but highly beneficial if you are in a rush. Unless you have the time, it’s advisable that you digest this book piece by piece, section by section.

We feel honored to illustrate some of the critical aspects of  “The Connected Corporation”. Every question is answered with utmost sincerity and openness in the hope of reaching an agreement between the companies and their suppliers. Forging alliances is the thing of the 21st century as well – it’s a money-making trend.  

Key Lessons from “The Connected Corporation”

1.      Equal potential
2.      Integration to the rescue
3.      The end-goal

Equal potential

In reality, not much can be done about people’s beliefs – which are often based on superstition, lack of knowledge, or previous experience. One such theory worth sharing is that – only big “dogs” or companies such as Chrysler or Motorola are able to profit from beneficial partnership deals. Although small businesses have a lower potential to influence the market, it’s not true that they lack the ability to form alliances with limited resources.

Integration to the rescue

Integration is the key element to sidestep all external, and harm influences that enforce new practices to overshadow your company in a long-run. Probably, that’s part of the game, which puts you in the position to speed up the negotiations for “merging” with other companies and form economic ties between two or several firms.

The end-goal

In fact, there are no many other ways for increasing profits, then satisfying customer’s needs better than the competition. However, don’t take this the wrong way!! – It’s one thing to practice customer-oriented strategies, and something way different for finding enough room to implement these methods.

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“The Connected Corporation” Quotes

Every company is both a customer and a supplier Click To Tweet Collaboration is the tool for achieving dramatic results Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We sincerely recommend this classic, because it allows you to read it in thousands of different ways. You can skip chapters, return to them, go back and forth, without losing the essence of the book.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF: