In the past few years it has become more difficult to start and run a successful small high technology business due to a variety of factors. It is now becoming necessary to consider business strategy as a central function of Management in times of economic and social uncertainty, material and capital limitations, and competition from other small and large business. After introducing strategy, management involvement, and kinds of strategy, the paper relates strategy to objectives, strengths, and constraints. Here one needs to think out what his continual involvement with the business will be as it progresses. This paper also deals with particular strengths and weaknesses of small business and particular characteristics of high technology business which can be used to advantage. A proposed methodology for strategy formulation is presented. Outside help for outward and inward visibility is encouraged in functional areas where an organization is weak. Implementation of strategies are discussed relative to short term actions and long term planning. It is concluded that good strategy is needed for growth, stability, and even survival.
In the business of high precision optical components, whether in prototype, small or intermediate quantities, certain characteristic difficulties are frequently encountered affecting both customer and supplier. Among them are misinterpretation of specifications, erratic pricing, late bids, inability to perform, economic losses on the part of vendors, and, especially, late deliveries. Problems, and occasional disasters, may be expected when state of the art optical fabrication projects are undertaken, but many of these frequently recurring syndromes should be reduced through the application of some management principles. These include 1) assessment of relative capabilities within the industry, 2) clarification of project requirements through discussion with customer prior to submitting proposal, 3) codified baseline pricing guidelines from which to make pricing decisions, 4) radical review of project at time of order, 5) establishment and monitoring of procedures and milestones, and 6) open, knowledgeable, and objective communication with customer when questions or difficulties arise. Examples and detailed suggestions for putting these principles into operation are provided.
Companies embark on new product development (NPD) for a variety of reasons. The evaluation of new product ideas, therefore, must begin with an understanding of the underlying stimulus. This is discussed in the next section. After the rationale for NPD is clear, the central issues confronting management are to determine whether the new product can be made and, if so, whether the effort is worthwhile. Each of these questions is discussed. The paper concludes with a checklist that is designed to assist managers to evaluate new product proposals.
This three-hour, future-oriented session dealt with a methodology for planning for the preservation and growth of businesses into an uncertain future. Specific problem areas raised by the audience were addressed.
A problem of organizational inefficiency resulting from a lack of continuous and thorough evaluation of the computer based Management Information System (MIS) was suggested to have developed from the difficulty a technical specialist encounters in conducting complex organizational research. The evaluation complexity was attributed to the fact that organizational decisions are a function of individual differences and social influences as well as the MIS. As a conceptual solution to system improvement it was suggested that system's analysts adopt a "Black Box" research paradigm focusing on organizational level effectiveness variables as one of three types of outputs while varying one or more of a set of six MIS related parameters shown impactful in basic behavioral science learning research. As a practical solution, collecting information outside the established MIS was suggested in addition to "flagging" MIS transactions in developing a continuous evaluation system. An example was reviewed which indicated substantial return on investment through application of the approach to an appropriate problem.
In early 1975, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, Government Products Division (P&WA) developed a management system that provided such improved management visibility, flexibility, and control that it was soon adapted to all major programs. An important element of the system is the establishment of management reserves in budget and schedule to offset the risks associated with development unknowns. Program tasks are defined and controlled through a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Functional budgets are established for time-phased tasks within each WBS element. Technical requirements are built into detailed milestones that are planned to meet contract and internal program schedules. These budgets and milestone schedules are firmly established as the performance measurement baseline. Simple and timely tracking techniques are utilized to monitor program progress. Daily meetings are held in an Action Center where all work elements, functional budgets, milestone lists, and critical items affecting technical performance, schedule, and cost are reviewed. Milestone status is updated daily and actual costs are posted weekly for monitoring cost trends and variances against budgets. Program performance is summarized monthly and reported in terms of a Performance Index (PI) defined as follows: PI = completed milestones / actual costs PI = planned milestones / planned costs. A PI of 1.0 indicates the full value received for dollars spent. The PI trends are posted to indicate an improving or worsening condition.
Patent ailments are in some respects like physical ailments: a. Some patent problems are like cancer. If they're diagnosed properly in early stages, quite often the cure is not all that difficult. b. Other patent problems are like heart attacks--arriving suddenly and without warning. But a healthy patent program can reduce the risks. c. Year after year the same physical ailments, heart attack, cancer, etc. are the big killers. Likewise, we see the same sort of patent ailments as being the same major problems year after year. This paper takes you through a series of questions to diagnose your latent patent ailments. It also places you in one of three "risk" categories and then gives a short "patent fitness test". If you end up in a high risk category with a low patent fitness rating, hopefully this will give you the motivation to adopt a healthy patent program. Before getting into the "patent checkup", this paper briefly covers some highlights on: a. the new copyright law which became effective January 1, 1978, b. the new developments in obtaining foreign patent protection, namely the European Patent and the Patent Cooperation Treaty.