Leadership: Finding Your North Star

Leadership seems to be such a popular topic covered at industry association and company meetings and seminars, as well as the focus of study by countless consultancy and academic agencies. Thirty years ago, I do not remember there being such a concentrated focus on it. Clearly, it has become a more important aspect of what organizations do to compete and succeed.

Transportation Trends in Manufacturing

From Austin Consulting

Last month, I wrote about supply chain trends that are affecting manufactures. This month, I will focus on the transportation trends that all manufactures must also take into account.

Trends in Transportation:

A Little Respect and Common Courtesy

So I am kind of struggling with this one.

Over the past year or so, business emails from strangers trying to interest me in something start off with the salutation, "Hey Mike". Growing up, my Dad – who was the consummate gentlemen – would have been embarrassed to hear one of his kids show disrespect, rudeness even, to a stranger by using such a casual greeting, especially in a professional environment.

Building Trust and Keeping Clients

“You start losing a client the moment you get it.” ~ Jay Chiat

Regular readers of my blog know that I like to post some quotes at the end that are relevant, sometimes amusingly so, to the topic. In researching appropriate quotes for this post, I came across this one by Jay Chiat, Advertising Executive and co-founder of TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Integrated Project Teams: 5 Steps to Improve Project Performance

A recent study by KPMG, reported in Building Design & Construction, indicated that more than half of the Owners who contracted for projects last year suffered underperforming projects – defined as being more than 10% over budget or 10% over schedule. Many attributed this more to a shortage of talent, rather than poor planning.

KPMG International offered five steps for owners to improve the performance of their projects:

Supply Chain Trends, Part 1

From Austin Consulting

Manufacturers are facing many trends and challenges these days, including those from both the supply chain and transportation sides of their business. This two-part series will examine these issues, so companies can be better prepared to address them.

Risk Management

Managing risk is a key component to running a sound business. It is also a key component in managing supply chain. Many businesses were affected by the West Coast Ports labor standoff, which is estimated to have cost retailers as much as $7-billion. To manage risk successfully, shippers need to ask themselves a few questions:

Leading with Industry Loyalty

Recently, while at a conference in an industry we serve, I was asked by a prospective client why they should choose The Austin Company over a competitor for their next project. It is an awkward question since first, you are being put in a position where anything you say can be interpreted as bashing the competition and that can always backfire on you. And second, in our industry, we do not know our competition as well as say, Coke knows Pepsi.

Emotional Intelligence on an Aircraft Carrier

I attended two industry conferences last week and was struck by the similarities of the underlying theme of two of the keynote address speakers.

The first speaker was Brent Darnell, a noted author and trainer on developing Emotional Intelligence in the workplace. The second speaker was John Bourneman, F/A-18 Fighter pilot, Top Gun graduate, and CEO of the Corps Group, a consulting firm made up largely of former military officers with a focus on building high performance teams.

Creating Expectations: Building a Foundation for Success

I recently participated in what was potentially a very challenging meeting with an excellent prospect. The design of the plant we had been schematically developing was presumably well over their budget.

Yet, the team working on this accomplished a number of important tasks in the development of this opportunity. Within these tasks lies a process that is the foundation for greater success in sales and, yes, in relationships in general.

Scrutinizing Incentives: Perception vs. Reality

By Brandon Talbert, Senior Consultant with Austin Consulting

Over the past few years, there has been an increased level of scrutiny placed on incentive packages offered by many state and local governments to entice companies to create new jobs and invest capital in their area. A lackluster national economy, increases in government spending, the passage of a major healthcare reform bill, and growing deficits have likely contributed to taxpayer concerns and much of the negative press around some incentive deals. Many companies have been blasted in certain media outlets for negotiating or accepting incentive offers. Needless to say, this can become a public relations nightmare for the incentive recipient, as well as municipal governments and politicians. 

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The Austin Company

The Austin Company offers a comprehensive portfolio of in-house services, including planning, architectural design, engineering, design-build, construction management, and construction, as well as site location and operations improvement consulting, for commercial and industrial companies throughout North America, Europe and Asia. 

Founded in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1878, we continue to uphold our founder's Core Values and believe in providing, "Honest work, well done." Our facility solutions are developed and implemented to improve your operations and make them more efficient - the results you receive are more than just shade and shelter for your business.

In addition to services for the built environment, Austin offers value-added strategic planning services, such as site location, transportation and distribution consulting, and facility and process audits. Our Results, not Excuses® approach provides you with expertise and innovative solutions for your facility challenges.

Check out our blog for Austin's insights on everything from site location to leadership in the design, engineering and construction industry.   

The Austin Company headquarters remain in Cleveland, with additional offices in Irvine, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and St. Louis, Missouri; in addition to Mexico City and Leon, Mexico. Austin became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kajima USA Group in 2005 and is a proud member of the Kajima family of companies. Kajima Corporation is a leading global engineering and construction contractor. 

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