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Being the larger company gives a false impression of being the better problem solver


Why being the larger company has little to do with problem-solving. In both examples, DMI is the much smaller company with employee levels numbering less than ten, and the two companies mentioned each having employee levels in the several hundred. The difference being in the diversity of experience brought to the table by DMI. In the 1990's DMI was producing small cabinets and assemblies for AC, a general aviation aircraft interiors company. AC had won the interiors contract for the presidential aircraft known as Air Force 1. AC had built and installed furniture in AF1, and during testing, the high gloss finish and high-pressure laminate on work surfaces was showing signs of stress and developing cracks. AC company not knowing the cause of the stress and cracking issues called DMI and talked to DJS about the cause of the problem. DJS recalled reading an article that the reason airlines were serving drinks was because of the drastic drop in humidity inside aircraft at cruising altitude. DJS suggested that AC company install a hygrometer and record humidity levels on the runway and then again at altitude. The resulting tests proved that the veneer and solid wood on the furniture was drying at altitude and shrinking, causing the stress-related cracks to the high gloss finish. The solution was to strip the high gloss finish from the furniture and replace it with an oil finish. Oil finishes are not a coating to the surface of the veneer and therefore are not under stress as solid wood and veneers move with sudden changes in humidity. Recently, in having a conversation with an employee of Alpha company, it was brought up they were having an issue with a style of sign they were manufacturing. During the discussion, the employee brought up that Alpha company had started using a high-pressure laminate of the variety used on countertops and cabinets and bonding it to an acrylic substrate. The issue at hand is after they cut the parts from the bonded materials, the parts would warp. Alpha concluded that the adhesive was at fault and began testing various adhesives. It was apparent to DMI the cause of the warping problem, and it had nothing to do with the adhesive. What they are doing is creating what is called an unbalanced panel. High-pressure laminate absorbs and loses moisture far more rapidly than acrylic; this causes the materials to expand and contract at different rates. The difference in the expansion rate would cause one material to pull on the other, causing the warping. The solution to the warping problem is to create a balanced panel by applying the same laminate to both sides of the acrylic. Creating stable panels in this manner was a standard procedure during the period when DMI was building custom office furniture.


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MY BUSINESS MUSE

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The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said.

Peter Drucker

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