"Would I had phrases that are not known, utterances that are strange, in new language that has not been used, free from repetition, not an utterance which has grown stale, which men of old have spoken."
–– Inscription attributed to Khakheperresenb about 4,000 years ago.
Anyone who has ever faced a blank piece of paper and wanted to write something powerful and memorable knows exactly how this Egyptian scribe felt 1,000 years before Homer. No one ever said creativity was easy.
One of managers' more creative activities is when we—because markets change and company direction has to change with it—have to come up with new visions, mission statements and slogans. The experts say that such statements need to be as short as possible to be powerful and unforgettable. If people don't remember them, the thinking goes, there's no way the words will have any impact on decision-making or behavior.
The problem is that the shorter such statements get, the less meaningful and unique to a particular organization they become. Which is why you read the same bulleted phrases and sentences in the mission statements posted on the walls of so many corporate lobbies. Still, creating them can be a useful team-building exercise, and every organization needs some expression of its core strengths and purpose.
In last month's editorial I wrote about change, about how it's inevitable, how nobody likes change, and if your business isn't changing and trying something new, you have no chance of growing and responding to the market. Some changes will pan out, some won't. But if you don't keep trying there's no way your product, your operations or your company will ever improve, or grow.
With the new, regular-sized format of this issue, you can see one way that we are changing at Material Handling Management. There are many more changes on the following pages. Changes in fonts and style to keep up with current tastes and make the pages as accessible as possible. Changes in content and organization to present the information and stories you have told us that you need. One of the changes that I am most excited about is our new tagline: Manage Inventory Better. Because material handling spans many industries and levels within organizations, our readers have a dizzying array of job titles. But no matter what industry, or what size a company might be, or how broad your responsibilities are, every single one of you is trying to manage your inventory better. You want to manage and track the flow of raw material and work-in-process inventory better within your factories, the flow of materials and components in your supply chain, and the flow of finished goods through your warehouses and distribution centers to your customers.
Not only is your objective to manage inventory better, that's also the promise of the industry's software and equipment suppliers, service providers and consultants. Every single one of them promises that their product or service will help you manage your inventory more cost effectively and efficiently.
Manage Inventory Better achieves the goal of being simple, powerful and memorable. Has such a phrase ever been uttered before? Of course, thousands if not millions of times. Maybe even for thousands of years. Will these three not very revolutionary words help guide what we do here at MHM? You bet.
Manage Inventory Better is our promise to our readers, from the executive level to the warehouse floor. By reading this magazine, going to our website, or tuning into a webcast, you will find out how to manage your inventory better. That's our core strength and our purpose.
Let me know how you think we are doing.