Operations

Aging Infrastructure

President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail last year to launch a $1 trillion program to regenerate the country’s infrastructure. Few dispute the need for a major investment: The Flint water crisis, a 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse and the 2003 Northeast blackout show the dangers of neglecting infrastructure…

Customer Service

When most people think of customer service, they picture an impersonal call center near Mumbai, or a computerized system that struggles to understand the caller’s question and leaves the consumer screaming to speak with a human. Such unhappy images still exist. But—driven by the internet, mobile devices, social…

Product Recalls

Recalls of potentially dangerous or defective products are on the rise, in the United States and around the world. The drivers of this trend include increasingly aggressive government regulators with enhanced authority to pursue recalls, technology that makes it easier for consumers to complain about unsatisfactory products and an ever…

Ethics and the Supply Chain

Under pressure from a growing movement of activists determined to make supply chains more ethical, businesses that once disclaimed responsibility for their overseas suppliers' behavior are re-examining that stance. Companies are scrutinizing the supply chain on questions ranging from environmental standards and product safety to the treatment of workers. Some…

Doing Business With Japan

Since the late 1980s, Japan's economy has struggled to overcome years of recession and punishing price deflation, plus a declining population and aging citizenry. Among the forces pushing against these head winds: a small but growing group of entrepreneurs who are trying to bring creativity and energy to the economy…

Doing Business in Mexico

Seeking to improve its economy and the standard of living for its 122 million citizens, Mexico is undergoing a massive transformation as it courts foreign investors and an array of trade partners. It has embarked on an ambitious agenda of domestic reforms—opening the oil sector to private investors for…

Sustainability

Many companies, mostly large multinationals, are adopting sustainability programs and delivering annual reports on their progress toward creating a new kind of business. Within this burgeoning movement, sustainable companies give the environment and human rights the same priority as profits. Their goals include protecting the Earth to reduce the effects…

Robots and Automation

Fueled by advances in computer and sensor technology, robots are growing in sophistication and versatility to become an important—and controversial—sector of the world economy. Once largely limited to manufacturing plants, robots now are found in households, offices and hospitals, and on farms and highways. Some believe robots are…

Flat Management

Flat management techniques, spurred by the growth of technology companies, are becoming more popular, but it's an approach that can offer advantages to other types and sizes of businesses, too. Although it isn't applicable to all situations, flat management will likely keep gaining ground as the economy continues to evolve…