Project 04

While sorting through some books I came upon this Tom Peters publication.

Tom’s focus has always been on business excellence. The title could easily read Project 17. Of course it all began with “In Search of Excellence” published in 1982. 

Fast Company wrote in 2012:

“In the 30 years since In Search of Excellence was published, critics have found flaws in its methodology, its content, and even its writing style. But the case can be made that it is the most influential management book not only in these last three decades, but perhaps ever.”

I would like to think that in our business….we were always striving for excellence. Excellence was no different in 1975 nor 1982….or 2004….and in 2017.

Excellence is excellence and that is what make some businesses very successful.

Assembly Line


1948 ad for Norge refrigerators.

Summer job 1961….working at Norge on the refrigerator assembly line.

Getting a job during the summer was always a challenge in Muskegon. Unfortunately, the Norge plant was closing….yet production was booming as the company was moving south to Arkansas and was building up inventory.

My job on the assembly line was putting 4 small bolts in the back of the refrigerator to hold the compressor unit in place. The line moved fast….I sat on a small stool with the bolts in a container on the side, with an air gun to drive the bolts home. Once or twice….I could only get 3 out of 4 bolts in place. No problem said the full-time guy….QC will catch it further down the line…I wonder if they did!

After several, weeks, on the assembly line….I was reassigned to the warehouse….packaging Norge refrigerators for export. While not wanting a career on an assembly line….it never-the-less was an entry to the classic manufacturing experience.

News Roundup

June 2017

+ Where are they now from June 2012:

+ Making Ping Pong balls: http://www.businessinsider.com/ping-pong-balls-made-manufacturing-table-tennis-video-steps-sport-2017-5

+ Future bookstores: https://www.inc.com/nicolas-cole/what-do-the-future-of-bookstores-look-like-amazon-just-showed-us-and-its-awesome.html

+ More from Amazon: http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-best-products-features-services-2017-5

+ Muskegon Community College – Best in MI   http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2017/06/muskegon_community_college_ran.html#incart_river_home

+ Atomic Object – Grand Rapids, MI:  http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20170611/NEWS/170619994/founded-after-tech-bubble-burst-atomic-object-grows?CSAuthResp=1%3A%3A204502%3A1040%3A24%3Asuccess%3ACB56428B07D051188235641A226E7354

+ Build a trusted brand: https://www.inc.com/katlin-smith/the-five-rules-to-building-a-trusted-brand.html

+ Become the best in your field:  http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-stand-out-2015-4


Family Businesses

100 in NC

The North Carolina “Our State” magazine (May 2017) featured family businesses that have been in existence for decades.


The earliest of these business go back to the 5th generation originating in the 1830’s. Many are locally owned business….however several have become nationally known:

  • Cheerwine….Salisbury….1917
  • Bertie County Peanuts….Windsor….1915
  • Capital Broadcasting….Raleigh….1937
  • Bernhardt Furniture….Lenoir….1889.

Each of the businesses has an  unique story. Each has been successful. There are certainly lessons to be learned from all of them.

If anything….it is more then likely great attention to employees, product and customers. Not too difficult when done right.

Johnsonville Sausage

Build People

From jsonline: http://www.jsonline.com/story/money/business/2017/06/02/jagler-the-question-answer-johnsonvilles-stayer/362202001/

Johnsonville products are prominent in most grocery stores….what is behind the scene is how the business functions and operates.

The jsonline article outlines 7 key questions that were asked on changing the company culture. One of the most important principles :

“We use the business to build people”

A followup article on the consultant that facilitated the changes at Johnsonville:


One of the primary reasons for the success of Southwest Airlines was the focus on getting the right people who could provide their unique customer service. It’s a lesson some businesses (and some airlines!) have yet to learn.



Printing T-shirts is not rocket science….however that doesn’t mean it can’t be a very successful business.

From crains.com:


What  makes Sunfrog distinct in the T-shirt business is the creativity. after all T-shirts are T-shirts….what goes on them is what differentiates one company from the other.

And being in Gaylord, Michigan (Northern Michigan) is certainly an advantage.


Relieved of Command


Within a week….two senior officers were relieved of command at Camp Lejeune.


The reason:  “loss of trust and confidence in his (her) ability to serve in command.”

The article indicates some further reasons for the actions taken. It would seem that both officers….one an O-5 (Lt. Col.) and the other an O-6 (Col.) would have thought twice before their incidents. After all….one should have some common sense after 25 + years in the Marine Corps.

They both will retire….yet with a tainted blemish on their record.