Marc, "Conquering Complexity in Your Business: How Wal-Mart, Toyota, and Other Top Companies Are Breaking Through the Ceiling on Profits and Growth"
McGraw-Hill | 2004 | ISBN: 0071435085 | 336 pages | PDF | 1,5 MB
When Thoreau’s injunction to simplify, simplify, is translated into the context of business management, the result is this labyrinthine treatise. George, author of Lean Six Sigma, and "complexity expert" Wilson contend that overcomplication is an insidious drain on businesses. A proliferation of product and service offerings intended to boost business actually imposes hidden costs and masks the unprofitability of stagnating lines, while consumers are often baffled and irritated by the plethora of superficially distinct options. The authors’ cure for complexity, however, seems almost as complicated as the disease. They offer a maze of arcane diagnostic tools for assessing the complexity and profitability of products, services and customers, along with advice on how to simplify, standardize or eliminate them altogether, and pile on mathematical equations, byzantine flowcharts and highly technical case studies ("at 50KW the DC voltage doubled, cutting the current in half—which meant the design for the lower power ratings could be used all the way to 80KW"). They provide a number of useful insights, actually, although lumping them under the trendy rubric of "complexity" doesn’t add much conceptual rigor. Unfortunately, the method of quantitatively analyzing the profit impact of minute components of larger processes seems itself an onerous layer of complexity to add to the project of simplifying business practices. The accountants and process design engineers who might read the book will find much food for thought, but are also likely to put it aside when it comes time to roll up their sleeves and get to work.
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