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NOVEL SOLUTIONS


Behind Best Decisions


SHANNON WETZEL, SENIOR EDITOR I


f you like business case studies, “The Great- est Business Decisions of All Time,” by Verne Harnish and the editors of Fortune


magazine, will be a pleasing read. The book is a compilation of 18 game-changing business decisions CEOs have made that propelled their businesses to profit and popularity. Many of the stories you have already heard


about: free shipping at Zappos, daydreaming at 3M, and Toyota pursuing zero defects. But each case study is discussed with focus on the mo- ment when the person in charge made a deci- sion that significantly changed the course of the company. Often these decisions were made with little support and little evidence it would work. As author Harnish writes, “the choices great


leaders end up making are often counterintui- tive and move companies, industries and even nations in entirely new directions.” None of the companies featured are met-


alcasting facilities, but metalcasters can take note of how Intel avoided the commoditization of its microprocessors or Boeing staked its busi- ness on creating an airline jet before any airline was interested. Sometimes sticking to what makes “sense” keeps you from seeing the big pic- ture. Why market to consumers a componenent within a final piece of equipment, like the chip in a computer? Intel found it could show the value of its specific microprocessor to consum- ers. Seeing that Intel logo on the frame of your hard drive means something to you. Could the same be done for cast compo- nents? Could farmers show preference for tractors featuring seeding components from ABC Casting Co.? Could teenagers insist their cell phones have the durable housing of XYZ Diecaster? A quick read, “The Greatest Business Deci-


sions of All Time,” is not groundbreaking, but it offers several inspiring and motivating stories. Often, the greatest business decisions are made when the company is almost bankrupt, inves- tors are drying up, and times are desperate. If anything, the book encourages those who find themselves in similar situations. Who knows? Your next big decision could be your company’s greatest turning point.


40 | MODERN CASTING April 2014 ABRIDGED


Relevance to Metalcasters Technical Diffi culty Self-Help Fluff Profi t Booster


“T e answer is the culture, the norms and values that pervade daily life in the company and that say we can balance the contradictions in those


paradoxes; we know they’ll all work out—we know the big-picture strategy works. ”


Metalcasters’ Translation: When you implement a new method or company-wide strategy


within your metalcasting business, you can expect some things are not going to fi t easily into properly shaped holes. But faith in the system (provided it’s a system that works) can smooth over the contradictions.


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