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John  Brandt

John Brandt

Former Editor-in-Chief, IndustryWeek & Chief Executive

Biography

John R. Brandt, CEO and founder of The MPI Group, has devoted more than two decades to studying leadership in effective, purpose-driven organizations. An expert on how companies can adapt themselves to the realities of new markets, new corporate structures, and new customer expectations, Brandt is an accomplished management innovator and an internationally recognized expert on manufacturing and technology. His new book — Nincompoopery: Why Your Customers Hate You — And How to Fix It — is based on research across more than 50,000 companies and business units, and will be published by HarperCollins in July 2019. Read More >

Before founding The MPI Group in 2003, Brandt followed a unique career path combining two decades of experience in marketing, management, and consulting with a passion for journalism that has earned him more than 20 awards for reporting, writing, and editing. He was publisher and editor-in-chief of IndustryWeek (IW) magazine, which garnered more than 70 editorial awards for excellence and doubled its revenues under his leadership. While at IW, Brandt led the development of several pioneering research efforts, including the IW Value Chain Survey, the World-Class Communities Project, the IndustryWeek 1000, the World’s Best Managed Companies Program, and the IW Census of Manufacturers, which was co-sponsored by the MPI Group. Additionally, Brandt served as president, publisher, and editorial director of the Chief Executive Group, publisher of Chief Executive, where his leadership transformed the magazine into one of publishing’s most surprising comebacks.

A frequent lecturer around the globe on topics ranging from leadership and customer value to management best practices and building world-class communities, Brandt’s travels have allowed him to build relationships with leading executive teams and gives him a unique perspective on how organizations can reinvent themselves through the application of proven management best practices. In both his speech presentations and advisory activities, Brandt combines these assets with his wit, research, and insight to help organizations position themselves for long-term profitability.

A recipient of a prestigious Neal Award in 1998, Brandt has also served as a Neal Awards judge. He has also served as a member of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Advisory Board; judge for the National Association of Manufacturers Awards for Workforce Excellence; co-chair of the Northeast Ohio Product Innovation Initiative; advisory board member of both SupplierInsight.com and Ken-Tool Manufacturing; a director of the Work in Northeast Ohio Council; and president of The Press Club of Cleveland. Brandt is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Case Western Reserve University, where he received the James Dysart Magee Award in economics. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Creating Value in an Era of Uncertainty

Where Can You Innovate?

Industrial Internet of Things Deeper Dive

How New Customer Value Leads to New Innovation

The New Ways Clients Are Connecting

Speech Topics

Nincompoopery

Terrible customer service, idiotic business processes, and soul-crushing management practices — surrounds us. We lose time, patience, and profits as stuck-in-the-past organizations actively prevent us (and our customers) from getting the value we (and they) deserve. Read More >

Can’t anybody change this?

Drawing from his forthcoming book Nincompoopery (to be published by HarperCollins in July 2019), CEO and award-winning business writer John R. Brandt says we can. Leveraging research across thousands of companies to show leaders how to find and kill the corporate stupidity that drives customers crazy, he offers concrete examples of how any organization — large or small, regardless of industry — can innovate in ways that delight customers and attract top-level talent.

Brandt has worked with hundreds of companies to help them outwit competitors, and in this blunt (and funny) presentation, he shares his unique blueprint for success. It usually starts by asking a simple question, such as:

  • Why should our customers have to re-key their data multiple times to make a single purchase?
  • Why are there four levels of approval just to order basic supplies?
  • Why can’t we get qualified candidates for open positions, or provide new employees with decent training?
  • In short: How did we become such nincompoops? And when will we stop?

Offering leaders the answers they need — and the profits  they crave — with a scoop of humor on the side. Enjoy! Read Less ^

The Internet of Things Has Finally Arrived (Unfortunately, None of Us Are Ready)

The Internet of Things (IoT) – a superhighway to the future of work, home life, and business – has finally opened. Unfortunately, most of us don’t yet have a roadmap, and many can’t even find the on-ramp.  That’s a huge problem— because using the IoT wisely will be a key strategy for individuals and businesses to improve lives around the globe. Read More >

“Roughly two-thirds of executives think that the IoT will increase their companies’ profitability over the next five years,” says John R. Brandt, CEO of The MPI Group, which conducted the study. “Unfortunately, only one in 10 of these leaders have actually implemented an IoT strategy.” This IoT gap, says Brandt, could limit growth opportunities for individuals, organizations, and the economy over the next decade.

In his keynote address, The Internet of Things Has Finally Arrived (Unfortunately, None of Us Are Ready), Brandt shares the results of one of the largest-ever IoT corporate research studies to explain why we’re so unprepared for the digital revolution that is about to engulf us – and what we can do about.

Brandt says that IoT will lay the ground work for an oncoming wave of smart tech, including Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Systems, and Remote Technologies.  While there is good news – a majority of companies will use or sell smart devices or products with embedded intelligence in the next two years – these companies face massive challenges.  For example, half of all of companies will require significant information technology upgrades or network overhauls to use the IoT within their facilities.

And that’s just the impact on the B2B sector. The B2C ramifications – on personal productivity, satisfaction, privacy, and a thousand other measures of happiness – will be even more profound.

“Today we’re still reasonably aware of how technology affects us,” says Brandt. “We know, for example, that we check our cell phones up to 150 times a day, and we laugh about it. But how does life change when everything we own, or wear, or touch, checks up on us thousands – or millions – of times a day?”

Fortunately, Brandt’s ground-breaking research offers a highlighted GPS fast lane to a happy and profitable IoT future. There are three broad groups of individuals and companies when it comes to their abilities to grasp, leverage, and profit from the IoT:

  • Innovators: These individuals and firms are leaders in using smart devices and embedded intelligence, and set the pace for best practices and performances.
  • Incipients: These individuals and firms have a vision of how they could leverage the IoT, but still have a long way to go.
  • Indifferents: These individuals and firms have no understanding of the IoT. Some are indifferent by design – willfully ignoring a future that will soon pass them by – while others lack the resources or ability to adopt IoT devices or strategies.

By following the examples of IoT Innovators, other firms and individuals – Incipients and Indifferents alike – can transform themselves into beneficiaries of the IoT revolution.

In his presentation, Brandt offers not just compelling data, but concrete examples of how IoT Innovators are enjoying the benefits of the IoT now – both in their companies, and in their personal lives.  Grab the power and control your future. Read Less ^

The Elements of Value: Building Trust, Loyalty & Engagement with Customers, Employees & Shareholders

Everything in our lives is made up of basic elements. Yet the ways in which these elements combine – the critical transformation of hydrogen and oxygen into water, for example —determine the function and value of each element. John Brandt’s research across more than 50,000 organizations and business units has led him to a similarly vital question:  What if each function of an organization was an element on the periodic table? More importantly, which elements are most important to leadership success in increasingly competitive world? Read More >

In The Elements of Value, John Brandt definitively answers this question. Based on 12 years of research across 50,000 organizations and business units, Brandt found three critical elements to long-term organizational success: Innovation (In), Talent (Ta), and Process (Pr). Yet while each of these basic elements of value is important in its own right, John also found a common formula that transforms the elements of value into greatness. The catalyst required for this transformation is Next Generation Leadership – a radically new way of approaching value for leaders and employees alike.

Best of all, the elements of value – and the formula that combines them into a recipe for improved performance – don’t change, regardless of or a firm’s sector, size, or experience.

This presentation is available as a keynote or workshop. It can also be customized to focus on one of the three elements – Innovation (In), Talent (Ta), or Process (Pr) – and its relationship to Next Generation Leadership. In each presentation John Brandt helps leaders and employees to answer vital questions, including:

Innovation (In):

  • What do your customers really want? (Hint: It’s probably different than what you think)
  • With whom do your customers believe you compete?
  • From what organizations do your customers get great value they wish they could get from you?
  • Do all of your employees feel the responsibility and authority to innovate?
  • Where will your customers look for innovation next year?

Talent (Ta):

  • What matters most to your employees? (Hint: You’re probably not managing it well right now)
  • Have you created the space and time for creativity to breathe?
  • How do you train, empower and develop new innovators?
  • How do you reward employee (and leader) success?
  • How will you find, leverage and retain the best talent next year?

Process (Pr):

  • Which processes matter most to your success? (Hint: You’re probably focused on the wrong things)
  • Have you conducted a thorough review of all functions at your organization?
  • Which functions are ripe for innovation? For outsourcing?
  • Does innovation cross departments and functions at your organization?

How will you deliver one great process improvement next year? Read Less ^

Creating Value in an Age of Uncertainty: Managing Into the Next Decade

One of John Brandt's most popular presentation focuses on single question: Where is the hidden value in your business today – and where will it migrate in the next 10 years? Read More >

John Brandt tackles this essential business question from several complementary angles: Read Less ^

  • Brand: What does your brand really mean?
  • Customers: What do they really want?
  • Innovation: How do you create value beyond your product or service?
  • Future: Where will customer seek new value in 10 years?
  • Commoditization: How do you avoid pressures to commoditize your offering?

Strategies for a Livable Community: How Winning Regions Transform People & Passion into Productivity & Profits

John Brandt has studied performance in people, organizations, and regions for more than two decades, first as editor-in-chief of both Chief Executive and IndustryWeek magazines, and now as CEO of The MPI Group, a global research firm. He is particularly interested in the intersection of corporate and community interests, with emphasis on how businesses and community stakeholders – including universities, schools, non-profit organizations, unions, and public officials – can benefit through intelligent regional planning. Read More >

Available as a presentation, a daylong moderated community forum, or as part of a facilitated regional planning process, Strategies for a Livable Community offers corporate and civic leaders an opportunity to work together in creating the community of the future – by understanding how other communities around the world became economic and lifestyle champions. The Strategies include: Read Less ^

  • Focused economic development
  • Investment in education
  • Taking advantage of location
  • Intelligent taxation
  • Work ethic and skills development
  • Managing for quality of life
  • Building business-civic partnerships

Managing Tomorrow’s Employees Today: Embracing Technology, Social Media & the Remote Workforce

Work is fundamentally different now than it was a generation ago. These differences, says John Brandt, can be seen in a variety of ways, both on an organizational and individual level. Yet most leaders – and nearly all organizations – persist in managing as if it were 1975. In this compelling presentation, John offers a new vision for improved employee engagement, productivity, and profitability, including:                    

  • Leveraging technology and the remote workforce: Technology has made it possible for workers to be located anywhere, but how that location is determined or managed – well or poorly – can determine individual engagement and team effectiveness. Simply being "connected" doesn't necessarily make employees collaborative or innovative. Leading organizations turn this challenge into a competitive weapon with forward-thinking strategies.
  • Adapting to changing societal norms: The social contract between employer and employee has changed drastically. Employees can no longer expect their employers to take care of them from the cradle to the grave; instead, they expect to be given opportunities to build their own security, "social compensation," and flexibility in hours and responsibilities. In addition, gender roles at work and at home are changing, and the boundaries between work and non-work are being blurred in confusing ways. Leading organizations recognize these changes with programs that energize employees and promote diversity.
  • Embracing social media and the transparent corporation: Employees now share enormous amounts of information online via social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – and they are reluctant to give up these tools at work. Many executives try to stem the digital tide of the 21st century by restricting employee use of these tools during office or production hours – but there is another way. Savvy organizations are encouraging their employees to use social media to engage with customers and collaborate in fundamentally new ways – and to create new profits.

The New Economics of Manufacturing, Distribution & the Supply Chain

Rapid changes in technology, logistics, and strategy are changing how manufacturing and supply-chain executives make decisions. The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) – in which machines, devices and sensors devices share information across factories and supply chains – means that executives now have real-time data about operations and financial performance. But taking advantage of this data via analytics to make intelligent decisions about where, when and how to make product also involves nuanced strategic thinking that accounts for human factors, supply-chain risks, and political considerations. Read More >

In this presentation, John Brandt advises manufacturing and distribution executives on: Read Less ^

  • How leading manufacturers are boosting margins by incorporating intelligence and intellectual property into their product.
  • Finding manufacturing talent in a post-digital world.
  • Opportunities to explore where production and warehousing should take place (e.g., reshoring and nearshoring analysis).
  • The risks and realities of supply-chain integration.
  • How to manage IT risks with the IoT.

The Healthcare Supply-Chain Puzzle

A well-functioning supply chain is a crucial part of any successful business, but especially in healthcare. It’s no wonder that Amazon and others are eyeing the healthcare supply chain as a major opportunity — but it’s unclear how quickly real change will arrive, or which current companies in the healthcare supply chain will remain standing. Read More >

John Brandt — CEO of the MPI Group — has been studying healthcare and supply chain issues for more than 20 years. In fact, MPI and APICS — the world’s largest association of supply chain professionals – partnered this year on the MPI-APICS Distribution and Logistics Study (MPI is APICS’ global research partner). Brandt himself worked in both pharma and the hospital sector before founding MPI in 2003; MPI engagements since then have included studies of improvement methodologies in hospitals, analyses of costs of dispensing in pharmacies nationwide, and implementation of EHS systems, among others.

Key points that Brandt addresses in The Healthcare Supply-Chain Puzzle include:
• How the healthcare supply chain new model might improve efficiency and cost
• An overview of competing healthcare supply chain players, including potential new entrants
• The impact of new technologies — drones, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, etc. — on healthcare supply chain over the next 10 years
• Case studies and best practices of healthcare supply chains reinventing themselves

“Healthcare providers can leapfrog competitors by adopting best practices and technologies common in other industries,” says Brandt. “Executives who exploit this window of opportunity will put their organizations on the path to long-term competitive advantage.” Read Less ^