Tag: Innovation

A central puzzle of corporate strategy is whether headquarters can add value to their business units beyond the burden of their own overhead. The record is bleak: On average, corporations trade at a 20% discount relative to their breakup value.

“This is the problem that we want to try fix,” said Anne Marie Knott, Olin’s Robert and Barbara Frick Professor of Business.

Anne Marie Knott

She proposed and tested a theory of how corporations could overcome that record. On November 10, she presented the findings as part of the Olin Business Research Series. More than 60 people tuned in for the virtual event.

The 20% discount could mean that multibusiness firms fundamentally destroy value or that they are poorly managed. Regardless, a whopping $5 trillion economic gain could be had from a better understanding of how headquarters add value in multibusiness firms, Knott says.

Bank One and its return on assets

Bank One, a bank holding company, motivated the theory. Knott and co-author Scott Turner, of the University of South Carolina, explain how in “An Innovation Theory of Headquarters Value in Multibusiness Firms” in Organization Science.

Bank One increased the return on assets of its target banks by 40-70%.

“This would be really easy if they were purchasing underperforming banks,” Knott said. But they weren’t. They were buying well-managed banks.

The theory relies upon dynamics between business units where laggard units improve their performance by imitating leaders. In turn, this “competition from below” stimulates leaders to innovate more.

Knott polls audience members during her Business Research Series presentation.

Beyond demonstrating that headquarters can add value through innovation and growth, the theory offers prescriptions on how to do that. For instance, they can establish systems that create norms for sharing, which eases innovation. They also can offer high-powered incentives to fuel innovation.

In general, Knott’s research examines the optimal environment and policies for innovation, which she summarizes in her book, “How Innovation Really Works” (March 2017). This interest stems from issues arising during an earlier career in defense electronics at Hughes Aircraft Company.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • A $5 trillion economic gain could be had from a better understanding of how headquarters add value in multibusiness firms.
  • Bank One increased the return on assets of its target banks by 40-70%.
  • The theory relies upon dynamics between business units where laggard units improve their performance by imitating leaders.
  • In turn, this “competition from below” stimulates leaders to innovate more.


Jorge Calvo, Professor of Operations Strategy at GLOBIS University Management School and former President & CEO of the Global Supply Chain Management Division of Roland DG Systems, recently sat down with the Director of The Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation, Panos Kouvelis, to talk about Industry 4.0 and its implications on the future of global manufacturing.

Industry 4.0 was a term coined to describe a program to support the local industry in Germany and France. It is considered to be the fourth major phase of the industrial revolution, characterized by its use of emerging technologies to enhance manufacturing techniques and supply chain processes.

In his experience, Calvo has found that there are two different approaches within the scope of Industry 4.0: the German approach, focusing on machine-to-machine production practices and supply chain management (i.e., the “smart factory” and the Internet of Things), and the Japanese approach, which focuses on cloud-based technology designed for process optimization through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and download our app on iOS or Android for access to exclusive content and events!


• • •

A Boeing Center digital production

The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube


John Stroup, President & CEO of Belden Inc., explains the major global trends driving investment in automation for manufacturing. Some factors contributing to automation’s increased adoption are rising labor costs, the need for increased productivity, and changing consumer behaviors.

Automation enables manufacturers to become better at producing to meet consumer demand because it significantly shortens changeover, resulting in greater flexibility. Stroup goes on to explain that, due to rising labor costs in Asia, many manufacturers are moving production to the United States and using automation to replace human labor. Productivity is more elusive than ever in the current post-recession landscape, which increases the need to focus on maximizing productivity and ROI.

All of these factors are generating a great deal of interest in the adoption of automation in manufacturing—a process Stroup says will be “evolutionary, not revolutionary.” Stroup estimates automation adoption will reach 74% in 6-10 years. The automotive industry is already at that mark.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and download our app on iOS or Android for access to exclusive content and events!


• • •

A Boeing Center digital production

The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube


One of the biggest challenges in the healthcare industry is reducing operating costs, and one area of opportunity for cost savings is through the supply chain. In part two of our interview with Jean-Claude Saghbini, Chief Technology Officer at Wolters Kluwer Health (and formerly of Cardinal Health), we focus on technology implementation in the healthcare supply chain. Be sure to check out part one of our interview with Saghbini.

Saghbini explains that although the push to utilize RFID and other inventory management technology initially came from early adopters, he is coming to find that the implementation of such resources is becoming necessary to manage all healthcare networks as they continue to grow. He finds that one of the key benefits realized by hospitals investing in new technology is significant cost savings via inventory reduction. Oftentimes, the reduction in inventory can be as high as 20-25%, which translates to millions of dollars. He also notes a decrease in expiration rates, better product tracking to patients, and an increase in patient safety resulting from enhanced technology utilization. All of these factors can add up to a 150-300% return on investment annually, not just for hospitals, but for device manufacturers as well.

Saghbini also talks about the benefit of RFID’s ability to integrate data across an entire healthcare network (for example, electronic medical records and hospitals’ material management systems). He is also exploring ways to leverage RFID in ways that allow communication with near-field communication in patients’ cell phones. If the two similar technologies are effectively integrated, it would allow the healthcare supply chain to be tracked all the way to the consumer.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and download our app on iOS or Android for access to exclusive content and events!


• • •

A Boeing Center digital production

The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube


Blockchain is an emerging technology that has the potential to create a paradigm shift in the way we think about financial transactions. It has the ability to record transactions via a shared ledger and can be applied across many industries and currencies. The first major application of blockchain was Bitcoin, an unregulated cryptocurrency that was very resource intensive to mine. But business applications for blockchain will likely differ in several key areas.

At The Boeing Center’s 9th annual Industry Conference in October, Ed Corno, Client Technology Leader at IBM, gave a presentation on blockchain from the IBM perspective. He claimed that the technology’s business applications will focus on identity over anonymity, selective endorsement over proof of work, and assets over cryptocurrency.

Ed Corno, Client Technology Leader at IBM

Corno defines the four key tenets of a shared, replicated, permissioned ledger (as characterized by blockchain’s business applications) are consensus, provenance, immutability, and finality. This shared ledger would serve as the one record of all transactions across the business network, and participants would be able to see only relevant transactions.

According to Corno, the requirements of blockchain for business are the aforementioned shared ledger, a smart contract embedded into the transaction database, the privacy to ensure that transactions are secure and verifiable, and trust between all participants.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and download our app on iOS or Android for access to exclusive content and events!


• • •

A Boeing Center digital production

The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube