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The Outliers Inn


The Outliers Inn is a place where people from all businesses and roles within business can examine goings-ons from different and hopefully humourous perspectives. It’s a place where we can be a lot less serious about ourselves, what we do, what our businesses do, and the manner in which they do it.

Whether you are in finance, sales, logistics, production. operations, human resources. facilities management. information technology – whatever your role might be – business people are always taking themselves too seriously – or are taken too seriously by others. All that ends here.

It’s a place where respectful irrevernce and self-deprecating humor is the order of the day.
We release a new podcast at least once a month though when during the month that is varies based on everyone’s schedule. Please consider subscribing to the podcast so as not to miss an episode.

Sep 24, 2019

Topic: An eclectic bunch of visitors visited The Outliers Inn sharing a myriad of challenges.

It was another successful Open Mic Night at The Outliers Inn.  Word is spreading of the new format of having random call-in guests is taking hold with the guests being greater in number and in energy.

We start with Antlerboy and JP talking about attending and participating in conferences and whether they are worth it.  Generally speaking, the consensus supported by experience is that the expectation should be a longer runway before a connection becomes a transaction – but that keeping in front of people and share (and gaining) wisdom is essential.  The exception might be (the evidence is anecdotal) those who attend and are selling a specific and tangible solution (like software or some widget).

Then JP goes on a rant about how people don’t read the words of what they are reading – they just skim.  Then they inject their own bias and pre-conceived notions of what should have been written and engage in a rather impolite way – playing a weak game of “Now I Got You, You Son-of-a-Bitch (NIGYYSOB)”.  JP reminds us that reading is fundamental, but comprehension is important too.

Our first guest to step-up to the microphone is David, who share the challenges facing the nascent hemp and marijuana industry – not the least of which is the government regulations that exist – many of which are incomplete, conflicting, non-existent, and mis-understood (or all of the above).  It’s no small wonder the government of Ontario in Canada lost $42million trying to sell the stuff.  This is compounded by regulators and law enforcement not always understanding the difference between hemp (from which you can make many useful products) and marijuana (from which you can get high).

Next up is Stephane who talks about the challenges implementing Operational Excellence.  He shares several frustrations including challenges born of cultural differences, people being fixated on tools, and trying to be someone else (like Toyota) rather than focusing on the intent and ambition of what continuous improvement and operational excellence could be – something greater than the sum of its parts.

And last is Don who shares his experiences in the field of circuit-board assembly – chief among them being a de-emphasis on effective preventative maintenance programs and the lack of skilled labor.  Especially in the low-volume and high mix manufacturing environment which is perfectly suited for manufacturing in the States, he ponders the wisdom of having a KPI on boards produced and not on good boards produced.  The cost of rework is crushing.

Don also shares that he is an amateur brewer who makes less than 200 gallons per year (wink-wink) and some of the challenges there.  Fortunately, we Stephane has a PhD in Chemistry – and from Belgium – and is able to offers some helpful guidance; not the least being that a degree or so plus or minus will not really matter.

This is a high-energy episode and I am sure everyone will enjoy it immensely.  Cheers!


Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies
  Benjamin Taylor,  Managing Partner of RedQuadrant.