Faithful reader Brian Creagan responded to the email we shared with you last week. We liked his insights and thought we would share them:
Very interesting letter from the "phantom".
Actually innovation is alive and well within very specific companies (two right now) that have the vision to do something different. This ranges from repurposing complete mills to finding niche markets and developing new ways to use our forests. The difference I have noted is in the leadership of these companies who are asking "what if" questions and listening and acting on the answers.
Internal corporate engineering is on a comeback but not nearly as strong as the 70's and 80's. I was a bystander in the middle of the dismantling of Scott Paper to make it an attractive purchase. The buyer was in for a real surprise a year later when they realized that ALL of the expertise had all been flushed along with the pilot machines, labs and technology experts. This was the beginning of the end for corporate engineering.
As far as reengineering projects, there is no one to blame other than the owner (management) that opts for the lowest cost external engineering without understanding the consequences and despite being warned by his own engineers. This may sound bitter but this occurs far too often. The ones that get hurt are the owners own engineers because they are left holding the bag. I'm sure that everyone knows of a project or two that have gone down the tube this way.
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