Articles by Debra McMahon


Debra McMahon is a founding Partner at R3D2 Consulting. R3D2 advises commercial printers, in-plants, outsource print and mail providers, and fulfillment companies. Using a proven hands-on process optimization methodology, R3D2 client companies develop a culture of repeatable and sustainable process improvements, through assessments, training, and implementation. Deb has over 25 years of experience in the production of marketing and customer communications, in companies ranging from small, privately-held and entrepreneurial, to large and public. Many of those years were spent running Operations in companies that produced multi-channel direct marketing communications, critical mail, and transpromo communications, or in companies buying those component services. Deb has presented at a variety of conferences on continuous improvement. Contact her at www.R3D2Consulting.com

To 3D or Not To 3D – Is it Time for That Question?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

In a recent Wall Street Journal, I read an article about Intel preparing to launch a paid Internet video service with set-top box, and a separate article about Comcast buying the remaining 49% of NBC/Universal that it did not already own, from General Electric Co.  The Comcast story made the front page; the country’s largest…

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Don’t Just Do It

Friday, June 15th, 2012

When we talk about helping companies with process improvement, people seem to think it is not very exciting.  Something that is incremental, or, in other words . . . slow. Some companies like to buy their process improvements – just get a new piece of equipment, and it will force some internal change while providing…

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What Makes a Great Company?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Do you know which stock is the top performer of the past 25 years? Guess again. (You said Apple, didn’t you?) After you’ve exhausted your list of high-tech guesses, I will point you in the opposite direction. Think nuts and bolts. Fastenal, a hardware supplier founded in 1967, is up a staggering 38,565 percent since…

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Driving Out Waste for a Better 2012

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

I was looking for some inspiration in this New Year; a way to look differently at the world of process improvement that I live in. I especially wanted to make it relate better to those that are often the most difficult to convince of the desirability, even “good-ness” of processes, those in the “front end”…

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Simplicity Begins With Ugly Pictures

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Several years ago, Rob Carter, CIO of FedEx, looked out at the web of mind-numbingly complex systems around the company, and knew they were not sustainable. Some came from mergers and acquisitions, some were developed internally, and all were “necessary” to various business silos around the company. He knew it would be a tough job…

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A Tangled Web: USPS, FedEx, UPS

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

I drove past my local post office yesterday morning, one that is not closing, as far as I know, and noticed a FedEx drop box about ten feet from the main entrance door. It was clearly on USPS property. Or rather, on my property, and your property. I never noticed it before, in the way…

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Do your suppliers make the grade? Do you?

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

In this economy and with all the pressures, are your key suppliers delivering the performance you expect? Have you run into any of these issues: Inconsistent quality throughout a production run or from shipment to shipment? Product not packaged or labeled as specified? Quantities are short or there are excessive overruns? Late deliveries? The impacts to your company are bad enough, affecting your costs due to rework, inspection, or slowdown in production, but the real and lasting impact is failure to meet your customer’s delivery or quality expectations. These are just a few of the purchasing and supplier challenges facing organizations today. What can you do about it?

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Expand Your Sales without Expanding Your Sales Force

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

There has been evidence in many companies that the state of the economy is improving, however the pressure to feed the sales pipeline will never lessen. Businesses have always placed a premium on the sales effort and on accomplishment in bringing in more revenue.  Even when there is “no hiring” going on, most companies would…

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Doing More for Less: Mystery of the Vanishing Profits

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Communicating to the client the changes and additional work being performed can minimally be used as a way of creating good will and improving the relationship, but can also be an objective way of identifying and communicating additional costs. You decide in advance of discussion whether these are costs you wish to pursue with your client. Most importantly, you know that the work and costs exist.

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You Landed the Big Deal, so Everything is Wonderful … Right?

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

You’re walking the production floor, smiling, remembering the intense, long hours and the crunch of getting the programming done to meet the client’s drop-dead start date – and then the next version came in, and then the next. The file formats were different, the documents were different, and your team just hunkered down, not sleeping much for about a month, working with the client on specs, coding, testing, proofing, and finally getting five versions into production.

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