Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 2/27/15

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Some of the best learning happens when you read stories about real people and real companies. Read them for ideas, for lessons, and inspiration. This week’s stories and strategies from real life are Bosch, Shake Shack, General Cable, Just Baked, and Target.

From Stephen Chick: Sustainable Improvement Through Big Data

“If managed wisely, big data can help manufacturers make continuous, and ultimately sustainable, improvements in processes and product quality.”

From Daniel Gross: Shake Shack’s Secret Sauce? It Cares.

“Truth be told, Shake Shack’s burgers are good. But they’re hardly transcendent. So what makes Shake Shack shimmy? The difference lies in the design of the business—it simply does things a little better than people expect, given how much they are paying. That has been Danny Meyer’s stock-in-trade since he launched the Union Square Café in the 1980s.”

From Alexander Coolidge: Bigger not better for General Cable

“Bigger hasn’t translated into better for General Cable in recent years as it moved into overseas markets just as the economy slowed, dampening demand for the building materials it supplies. Slumping copper prices and business irregularities in acquired business units that spawned regulatory scrutiny have further tripped up General Cable.”

From Frank Witsil: Just Baked offers cautionary tale for entrepreneurs

“Startups have been heralded as the engines of American job growth and innovation. Just Baked’s story is a reminder, however, that not every company is successful.”

From Lee Schafer: How Wal-Mart succeeded in Canada where Target failed

“This contrast between the two forays into Canada came to mind again a few days ago, when shutting down the Canada operation led Target to lay off 550 people here in the Twin Cities. That happened to be the same day Wal-Mart announced its annual Canadian expansion plan.”

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