Change is Not Always So Simple- It Takes a Team (Not a Village)

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Over the weekend as I was catching up on some LinkedIn posts, one really caught my eye and made me smile. I happen to work at Honeywell, an organization that truly believes in change and fully embraces, a culture of change. So when I got to the third picture within this cartoon, I know that doesn’t represent Honeywell. As a Honeywell employee, my only ‘constant’ is change. We are always looking to improve our efficiencies and effectiveness to drive increased revenues and shareholder value which is at the core of our Six-Sigma-based process improvement culture.

who wants change

It made me think about an ongoing global process improvement effort to ensure that businesses leverage existing Honeywell technology internally, when logical and a business case can be justified. It’s amazing that so many companies never internally evangelize their own technology. As an almost $40b company, we have lots of amazing technology that can help our more 127,000 employees drive greater efficiencies and effectiveness and help increase our value to shareholders. And in true Six-Sigma process improvement style, we measure everything.






The chart below shows the results that numerous internal Honeywell “customers” have achieved through implementing various Honeywell technology solutions this past year. I’ve removed the project team and “customer” names to protect the internal information. However, my point is that Honeywell is able to measure the positive impact of ‘enhancing’ its technology infrastructure.  While culturally, no one wants to “change”, making ‘enhancements’ and seeking to get more out of an investment is an easier way for some to accept what is at the core – change.

Honeywell using its own technology for process improvemet





In addition to being a business that embraces change, I think Honeywell’s success is due to a few reasons:

First, we always equip the “team” leading the change with the resources needed to enable success. Second, we provide visibility to the ongoing efforts well beyond the core change team. Keeping additional internal stakeholders and teams updated is critical to ensure we can measure performance and endeavor to understand the results. And finally, we look to use these measurements to improve our processes to extract greater results from our efforts for our customers.

Change is a way of life at Honeywell – it’s the way we all challenge ourselves to be better; it’s the way we ensure we never become complacent; it’s how we win market share; and at the end of the day, it’s what excites the really talented people at Honeywell.

How do you handle change?



Manufacturing Excellence in America- the converging of the digital and physical worlds

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I spent the last few days visiting with Honeywell Value-Added Distributors and numerous Honeywell customers using our market leading sensing products. While many of us know that the manufacturing industry in America has been hard hit by the changing global economy, there is a manufacturing evolution occurring that is quite impressive. And after my visits this week, it’s easy to understand the growing excitement and momentum in United States manufacturing.  Momentum that is happening with very little media coverage.

I wanted to see how IndustryWeek, a leading publication covering the $2 Trillion U.S. Manufacturing Industry was providing coverage and was surprised to learn that they are now predicting that the United States will once again take the top spot globally in manufacturing by 2020 ( .  Pretty amazing forecast.

IndustryWeek 2020 US Back to number 1 in Manufacturing
















My meetings helped me believe that this forecast is real and credible. Manufacturing in the United States is being driven by advanced technologies and as IndustryWeek states, “the converging of the digital and physical worlds”.

  • Revenue up 19 percent from prior-year period
  • Segment operating profit up 27 percent
  • Order backlog up 39 percent year over year

Impressive statistics. The numbers I share above are from one of Honeywell’s customers using our market leading sensing products. It’s a customer, who by the way, that anyone who flies these days have seen in action… the deicer below is from John Bean Technologies ( and one of the many products from JBT that use Honeywell sensor technology. I must admit, this is one of their products that I hate to see. It means my flight will be delayed.  Ever fly through Chicago in January?

JBT Cargo loader JBT deicer






It was interesting to learn how JBT uses sensing technology to provide superior performance in the field. I was really impressed on my visit to learn each of the cargo loaders is built to order per customer specifications. I had thought that every cargo loading deck was the same. Boy did I learn.  Amazing technology.

At the other end of manufacturing spectrum and another great example of the converging of the digital and physical manufacturing worlds, is Velocomp ( Velocomp is unique because they have developed for those using bicycles (think about the size of that total global market opportunity) a “power meter” with their PowerPod product that not only measures your power, but helps you learn WHY and HOW you produce it. And with the help of Honeywell sensing technology, a pretty amazing product with a very bright future…PowerPro Image on Bike







The product also provides great analytics. I was fascinated to learn that the blue graphic image below shows the impact on  power usage when “drafting”.  For those of you familiar with NASCAR, you always see the drivers drafting to increase their power usage. Well, Velcomp has technology for the bicyclist.

PowerPod Metrics








I enjoyed myself this week learning more about how manufacturing is really leveraging Honeywell sensing technology and thriving to win.

It’s clear to me that US manufacturing is staging an amazing comeback lead by innovation.

Surprised?   Let me know your thoughts?

Working in an Agile Digital Marketing World

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Deutsch_Scott_25aThe greatest change that has occurred in marketing over the past two years is the need for “real” agile digital marketing. While everyone talks agile, too many marketing activities still follow traditional waterfall (serial) approaches. This approach for certain marketing efforts just takes too long to determine execution effectiveness quickly. Welcome to a world where readers have 10 second attention spans and 140 character communications are standard.

The need for speed and feedback was addressed by many technology development teams over the last ten years by adopting an “agile methodology”. This was in response to bloated and delayed projects. If your business is using an agile development methodology, they probably have “SCRUMs and Sprints” as well.  Here’s a link to learn more about the agile SCRUM methodology To align marketing with the business, many of us are adopting this approach. One of the most effective areas that I am personally seeing great success leveraging this agile methodology approach is in the areas of public relations and marketing communications.Agile Image for Scott Blog April 2016Our efforts now are focused on obtaining feedback early and often. Being in market quickly and getting results really makes a difference. Perfection in marketing is not realistic or acceptable, as it often takes too long for that last 5%. And the lost time in market becomes our greatest obstacle to success. I found the graphic below (I cannot recall the source- or I’d give them the credit…let me know if you locate it) which helps begin to crystalize the changing communications behavior needed to complete and win in today’s fast changing online world.

Agile Change of News Cycle- Scott Blog April 2016

I found this graphic to be a wonderful example of how agile digital marketing really makes a quantitative difference. This is the approach we are working to standardize across Marketing Communications at Honeywell S&PS. The exciting aspect about this for me is that it really challenges the team to execute rapidly and forces decisions fast.  I’d rather fail fast than spend weeks and months reviewing elements that at the end of the day, really will provide limited impact on our results.  It’s amazing how projects get side tracked for really no good reason. This approach is helping our marketing team learn and learn fast.

By the way, our product management and development teams now smile at my marketing communications team when we talk scrum and sprints. Who ever thought Marcom could learn best practices from a development team?

Why is Southwest Airlines Disrespecting Flight #93?

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Deutsch_ScottYesterday started like many other travel days. My 4am wake-up call to catch a 6am flight. Off to the airport I go, like many other days of the year. It is a beautiful day for travel on this warm early October day. The 6am flight is on-time and I actually have an empty seat next to me, which is rare on a Southwest flight. I am heading to Atlanta for a connecting flight. Again, a typical travel day. We arrive in Atlanta early. That’s what happens when you depart at 6am and not 6pm.

Once in Atlanta, I locate the gate for my connecting flight. My next flight is on-time and I’m in the proper terminal, so no long stroll will be needed on this fine Tuesday morning. Now is when my day ends being any typical day. I look at my ticket. It’s flight #93! I did a double take and then a triple take. My brain starts going in many directions. My emotions are racing. Do I even get on the flight? For those that know me, they know that I am somewhat superstitious. I do not fly on Friday the 13th or make big decisions on that day, nor do I fly on September 11. Those are set in stone for me. And now I am about to board flight #93.

Flight #93 has great significance, since it was the flight number of the plane that on September 11th 2001 crashed into the western Pennsylvania countryside on that very sad day. I am so disappointed in Southwest Airlines (the owner of this AirTran flight). And why hasn’t the FAA retired this flight number out of respect?

I must admit that so many memories of that fateful day are running through my mind right now. It’s as if that day just happened. I was working in North Jersey then and I recall the receptionist coming into our regular Monday staff meeting at 8:45am telling us that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. No one at that time ever thought of a “jet” crashing into the buildings. It had to be one of those small prop planes. We would learn otherwise.

Airtran Flight 93 at airportMy wife and I visited the Flight 93 memorial, about an hour east of Pittsburgh a few years ago. It was in the middle of no place. This big field with its small memorial telling the story of the planes passenger bravery. One of my good friends from college, Bill Voltmer has been a big supporter of the Todd Beamer Foundation and has been helping to make sure we never forget and that we leave a lasting memory for all those innocent people. I’m proud of him for doing such fine work. I recommend you try to plan a trip to the Flight 93 memorial site. It is quite moving and they have done a fine job at educating visitors.

Oh, by the way, the plane is half empty which is very rare for any flight these days. So maybe others noticed the flight number long before I did and decided to take a different flight option.

Southwest Airlines and the FAA should be ashamed of themselves.

I think they should retire the flight 93 call number immediately. And we’ll they are at, retire the flight call numbers for the planes that struck the World Trade Center (American #11 & United #175) and the Pentagon (American #77).


Omni Channel Order Management- A Personal Experience


Deutsch_Scott_07aI have been writing and talking about omni-channel order fulfillment for the past year with passion. I’ve been one of many leading the discussion around how businesses need to improve systems and infrastructure to support the demands of their customers. The other day, I participated in the execution of an omni-channel order fulfillment process and, boy, was I smiling.

My story begins with me deciding to buy a new TV on a rainy Saturday, so much for sunny South Florida. Knowing that others would also use the rainy day to run various errands, I really was not in the mood to fight the crowds.  For months, I’ve been doing research on what to purchase, now it was time to do some pricing research for the TV that I wanted. After 30 minutes, I found the best price at a well-known and trusted large retailer. 

Normally, I would have just jumped in the car, but this time I decided to try something that I have never done before. I wanted to see if the nearby store had the desired TV in stock. I just did not want to go there and find out that that they did not have it in stock. Think about it, consumers have now been trained to check stock online and they actually trust online information. Linking real time inventory is the heart and soul of successful omni-channel order management. So, I started to place an order and check stock availability. Bingo, the store had the TV I wanted and it was in stock, and I believed them.

Previously, I would have simply abandoned the online order and went to the store to pick it up, but this time I decided that I wanted to have it waiting for me when I went to the store. This store unfortunately is known for its long and slow checkout lines and I was not in a mood to wait 20 minutes to pay for it. So, I decided to select the order option to pick up the web order at my desired store. I also could have had it shipped to my house the next week at no cost, but I wanted to set up the TV that Saturday while it was raining.

To the store my wife and I drive. As I enter the store, I ask where you pick up web orders. The “greeters” were quite helpful and gave me clear directions on where you pick up web orders. As we weave our way to the back of the store, a large sign can be seen clearly indicating that this is where you pick up online orders. Next, I simply give them my receipt that I printed out at home after placing and paying for my online order. Two minutes later, out from the back of the store warehouse comes my TV.

Label from omni channel pickup

It would not have been any easier an experience. I also was impressed that this store had dedicated people in this area. I marveled at how seamless the retailers systems worked. Two years ago, this just was not the case. When people talk about omni-channel order management and fulfillment, this retailer gets it.

A world of Change has occurred in Retail.

Omni channel order fulfillment

As the graphic above shows, our industry has gone through tremendous change in order to reach the present day omni-channel state. My own experience helped me witness first-hand some of these changes. Many of these changes we take for granted. By my TV buying experience, here are some example changes that we take for granted:

·        Real-time linkage between a website and a retail location

·        Access to real-time accurate inventory

·        Back-of-store inventory fulfillment processes

·        In-store signage supportive of another sales channel for the retailer

·        Dedicated staffing from a different channel within the retailer

·        Willing customers to pay for something online and believe it will be ready for pick up as expected

I am enjoying my new TV and was fascinated by the personal experience. I think the next major retail battleground will be brick and mortar retailers fighting back against pure e-commerce retailers and leveraging their local inventory to provide them a competitive advantage.  But, that’s for another column.  By the way, I was not alone picking up an online order. The person before me picked up two new tires.

The Advancement of Vertically Integrated Solutions vs. “end-to-end” Solutions

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A topic that fascinates me is the vertically-optimized integration vs. the horizontal (end-to-end) integration approach a company’s strategy may take.  I think this subject is on management radar screens as we watch the escalating battle in smart phones between Apple and Samsung.
Let me first begin by describing vertically-optimized solutions vs. end-to-end solutions.  Vertically optimized solutions examples could be Apple and now Samsung with smart phone development. This is an approach where all the components of a solution are optimized for a specific use case. To succeed in this approach, the business must be focused on a clear use case and often it requires a significant capital investment in order to effectively compete. That’s because many of the components end up being manufactured directly by the vertically-integrated provider. Horizontally-focused solutions, often referred to as “end-to-end,” cobble together solution pieces from various providers in order to offer a “whole solution.” Some, so-called, “end-to-end” solutions rarely provide solutions that expand a market space or drive market innovation.
Apple and Samsung are showing the world that they able to provide a superior user experience when they are able to offer a purpose-designed solution for a specific use case vs. having to leverage a common multi-use case platform. These organizations are fixated on understanding the user experience and ensuring that their “solution experience” is optimized to drive their market position and greater market share. The warehouse and distribution center space has been a strong participant in technology solutions around the vertically-integrated concept for many years with its strong and growing adoption of voice solutions that are purpose-designed for an optimized user experience.
The iPhone’s greatest innovation was changing the rules of a market. Before the iPhone, the standard “smart phone” offered little change to the user experience and minimal value versus the previous phone experience. The iPhone changed how the user interacted with the technology. This change in user interaction also occurred in the voice market with the introduction of vertically-integrated solutions that changed the user experience. 
These voice solutions challenged the status quo, just like the iPhone challenged the status quo of smart phones. The status quo challenge for the voice market was to change the design concept from being a “Swiss Army knife” to one that optimized the solution for the specific user task. Once the design team focused on the user for a specific use case, they were able to create a user experience that changed the way people work. One must question the real value today provided by a screen and keyboard to visually and manually confirm a workflow task completion, when you can instead speak the same information and keep both hands free. One must question the need for a worker to carry a large device for 95 percent of a worker’s tasks that voice and scanning together could accomplish. Have those devices really changed their ergonomic design in 20 years? Luggable is still luggable. Apple and Samsung are two organizations that offered superior user experiences with their own visions that in their own way challenged the need for screens and keyboards, just like voice-centric devices have in the warehouse market.
The next major change that Apple and Samsung undertook was to optimize the component design of their solution. Whereas others in the smart phone space needed to provide similar components for a solution, Apple and Samsung took their design approach to the next level and began managing the manufacturing process to a much greater level of involvement than anyone else. Both organizations have successfully managed the design and manufacturing process throughout to ensure a superior user experience and to ensure that the solution is not compromised by others’ product time schedules and competing manufacturing commitments.
Vocollect has also been a participant in this vertically-integrated thinking, just like Apple and Samsung have been for the smart phone space. There are components in a voice solution that many take for granted, since one can purchase many of the elements from various suppliers.  Let’s look at user headsets, for example. For years, Vocollect sourced headsets from various suppliers to meet its needs, but always struggled with a vendor’s ability to optimize its solution for Vocollect Voice software. Their headsets may have met all the specification needs in general, but they were unwilling or unable to support thought-leading design requirements for the industrial warehouse worker. By being able to design and manufacture its own headsets, Vocollect has been able to harmonize the headset, the voice software and the worker experience seamlessly; just like Apple and Samsung do for smartphones. Optimizing the user experience and a specific use case helps provide design clarity and simplicity. Vocollect’s SoundSense is an example of innovation that’s possible with a vertically integrated solution and virtually impossible with an “end-to-end” solution, without a dedicated design team working together on the headset and voice software. SoundSense seamlessly helps block unwanted facility noises on the worker’s headset to optimize his or her performance.
While end-to-end capabilities will always enable certain market participants to compete by cobbling together the pieces they need for a solution, it prevents them from leading the innovation of the user experience. It will always prevent them from challenging the status quo and being able to provide their customers with solutions to help them maximize the potential applications of their offerings. Apple and Samsung are examples of organizations that focused on customer value and thus have ensured a superior user experience. We can certainly learn from thought-leading organizations willing to challenge the status quo. It’s fun to see how they are able to leverage their vertically oriented market advantage versus competitors that cobble together solutions without significant design influence.

I love quality research, but I hate faulty research conclusions

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I love to read about our industry. It’s really an exciting place to be as more people place greater value upon their warehouse logistics. The one thing I hate though is faulty research all in the name of marketing. I see too many organizations who have their marketing or PR team make unfounded claims that they think that by cloaking the claims under the premise of “research” that the industry will believe their findings are credible. 

 So what set me off today, enough to write this … I read some “industry” research today that I consider dead wrong in its conclusion. The headline for the research in question stated “…Research Indicates That Most Online Purchases are Returned Due to Retailer Error”.  They go onto state “The research results prove that the clear majority – 65% – of respondents answered that most often the reason they return items bought online or by phone is because the item received is incorrect”.  Their second finding was that “84% of respondents stated that the return process is extremely or very important to their future intentions to shop with a retailer”. With this being the week of NRF in New York, it’s amazing that any retailer would find any credibility in these “research” assertions.

I started to think about my own life to quickly invalidate what I believe to be wrong research conclusions.  The headline states that returns are “due to retailer error”. Wrong! Most retailers have quite accurate order fulfillment systems in place. Many retailers are now achieving order accuracy over 99%. The top reasons why people return items bought online is because the item does not fit or it is not the color that thought or it’s just not a flattering fashion fit. The consumer returns the item not due to an error by the retailer, but because the item is “not right for them”… but, no error was committed by the retailer in their order fulfillment process which is the main faulty assertion in the research findings.  As an example from my own life, my lovely wife buys shoes from Zappo’s and clothes from J.Crew more than you might think. I’m treading carefully here…  The items she orders show up on time and are correct virtually every time.  Remember, retailers are now achieving order accuracy over 99% and our household can confirm these accuracy levels. But, once the shoes or clothes are tried on…it turns out that they are not what she expected and hoped for… and probably 35% of her orders are returned smoothly without effort.  Over the years, she has become educated to know what designers are not a good for her. She knows for example that with a narrow foot, only certain manufacturers offer “narrow” sizes that properly fit her foot. None of the “incorrect” orders is the fault of the retailer.

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