Trump’s Transportation Nominee Kicks Up Infrastructure

January 17th, 2017

Trump’s pick for transportation secretary faces the least amount of scrutiny of any nominee; thus, it is very likely Elaine Chao will be approved. Her vision for transportation supports Trump’s vision — we need a heavy boost of infrastructure improvements because our current deteriorating roads, bridges, airports, grids, etc. will jeopardize the economy. The key is that she is seeking private investment to support these initiatives. Public-private partnerships are on the rise. Are you thinking creatively about financing the essential building blocks for your supply chain?

As one who drives the Los Angeles freeway system on a daily basis (nice aerial view of my driving complexities above), it is obvious we need improvements; however, we also do not have time to deal with anything but a quick delivery of these improvements. Can you imagine what happens when one of these connectors closes down during rush hour?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

There are a few items to think about related to infrastructure. Let’s start with whether your business is dependent on infrastructure — and to what degree. I’d be hard pressed to think of a manufacturing or logistics industry business that isn’t somewhat dependent on infrastructure. In manufacturing (in its simplest form), we receive deliveries of materials and purchased parts (delivered over the road, via rail, to/from the airport, and possibly via the port), add value to them and deliver them to customers (again via several modes of transportation).

Next, think about whether your business supplies materials and services that could support these infrastructure projects? Perhaps you should expect a sudden jump in business — assuming you are prepared to successfully handle it. Or, do you also rely on these types of materials for your business? If so, could you suffer a shortage? What could you do to prevent suppliers from downgrading your importance if/when materials go on allocation?

And, given the significance of the private-public partnership, where else could this type of agreement take place? Or what other agreements will this likely spur on?


Forget Data Cleanup and Find a Measure to Start NOW!

January 17th, 2017

Are you mired in data cleanup and not focused on measures that can immediately help you? Stop searching for the “right” data lever and look for measures to track and improve processes.

If you have the systems to measure your ideal metric, go for it but don’t let it become an excuse! Find one that will measure progress and start immediately!

For example, in one of our clients, not only were the run rates incorrect but they were wildly different for similar items which would make planning an utter nightmare!  However, there are still ways to measure progress and plan. Find a metric that won’t change and stick to it. In this case, we used earned standard hours, and we are able to measure improvements in the metric. Of course, as data is cleaned up, we should put better metrics in place but it doesn’t have to hold up progress! And we were able to plan to the expected earned standard hours as well. All is solved to an 80/20 standpoint which is all that is needed.

This type of scenario has come up on multiple occasions – actually almost every client has some sort of situation that fits in this mold (the only question is how significant). It could be that measuring inventory levels is challenging because the system reports aren’t set up correctly. In this case, it could be that you count pallet rows or something else that is visible and easy. It could be that your system doesn’t support run rates effectively (unfortunately that was true with one client). In this case, we found a manual process to keep the load visible while storing information in the system.

What is in common in all these examples is to start immediately with what you have and find a way to make progress. It certainly doesn’t sound like rocket science but it drives results. If it was common, so many of our clients wouldn’t make significant progress once we find the “right lever” to pull, similar to these situations.

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Hidden Figures & Providing Value

January 16th, 2017

supply chain

I went to see the movie, “Hidden Figures” last weekend and really enjoyed it! It was an uplifting story about what perseverance can achieve. Three brilliant African American women were the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit at a time when women, let alone African-American women were not considered important or involved in anything important.

One of the women ran the group of African-American women known as human computers (although wasn’t recognized as a supervisor). As a new contraption came on board (an IBM computer), she realized they would be without a job. Instead of digging her head into the sand or complaining, she found a way to continue to provide value. She taught herself Fortran (computer language) and developed the group into computer operators. Do you take this approach with much less threatening situations?

Hidden Figures movie

One tip to implement this week:

I find that we have gotten into a bit of a rut — there is a lot of complaining, talk about “they” causing problems, and looking for blame in organizations. This week, let’s jar ourselves out of this rut!

The next time you think about a frustrating topic or someone brings up a topic and wants you to commiserate about the sad state of affairs in your company, department, government or whatever else might arise, STOP. Think about these brave women in Hidden Figures who were at a much higher risk for just doing a good job. How could you respond to the situation more productively?

Can you find a solution? Can you brainstorm with your colleagues to contribute to a solution or path forward? If nothing comes to mind, perhaps follow the old school route of these women — get a book to stir ideas. You probably won’t even have to steal one from the library! These days, we can find almost anything we need on the Internet. Or, get in touch with a trade or industry organizations. There are countless resources available — and we don’t have nearly the roadblocks on our road to success that these women in Hidden Figures experienced. Think solution; not roadblock.

Persevere and I bet success and personal fulfillment will follow.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


Lisa Anderson Named to Business College Board at University of La Verne

January 12th, 2017
Lisa Anderson

LMA Consulting Group’s Lisa Anderson named to the University of La Verne Board of College of Business and Public Management.

Lisa Anderson MBA, CSCP, president of LMA Consulting Group has been named as a board member for the University of La Verne College of Business and Public Management (CBPM), which includes undergraduate programs in business, public administration, and health management as well as masters’ degrees in business, organizational leadership, health, and public administration (NASPAA accredited) and a doctoral degree in public administration (D.P.A).

“I’m honored to have been selected as a board member for the University of La Verne in which the faculty and student are so engaged in business growth,” shares Lisa Anderson. “I am equally excited to share with faculty, students and CEOs how to leverage their supply chains at the upcoming CEO Summit.”

Along with her contribution to the board, Anderson will be leading a panel discussion at the 4th Annual CEO Summit at the University of La Verne. The Summit is focused on helping CEOs and company presidents successfully grow their business and seek remedies for business hallenges. Anderson will tackle the increasing importance of supply chains and how the end-to-end supply chain from your suppliers’ suppliers through manufacturing and to your customers’ customers, can contend with global supply chain forces, innovate and find ways to provide Amazon-like service levels while increasing profitability and accelerating cash flow in her “Leveraging Your Supply Chain for Growth and Profitability” panel discussion.

The 2017 CEO Summit will give area leaders a chance to learn and network and will be held Wednesday, March 15, 2017. For more information, visit the CEO Summit Website or cut and paste this link into your browser.

Obsession with Your Customer

January 10th, 2017
customer service

Become a little more obsessed with what your customers want even before they know what they want to keep them your customers for a very long time.

One of our clients has a healthy obsession for the customer! It might drive some of his employees a little mad but it is effective. Adopting a bit of healthy obsession for your customers can go a long way!

In this case, our client was particular with every customer-facing document, interaction, piece of information and the like. This owner would keep track of who ordered what throughout each day, kept a pulse on what was going on vs. prior years, like years and would ask his employees who interacted with customers for customer feedback and the pulse of customers multiple times a day. Every employee and business partner/trusted advisor knew customers were important.

In today’s Amazon-impacted marketplace, keeping a pulse on customers is even more critical. Are you assuming what customers told you a year ago still holds true? Do you think it does? Probably not! Or are you relying on your salespeople to communicate changes to you? Do you prompt them or follow any proactive measures to make sure you find out what your customers prefer? Change is occurring on a rapid basis. Are you asking? For example, I’m sitting in first class on a flight to Dallas and they handed me a cookie for dessert. He didn’t ask whether I’d want it heated up (which is the first time that happened). That small difference made a huge difference to me. It wasn’t worth eating cold yet I’d have loved it heated up. I suppose it might be good that I didn’t eat it but this small question could have gone a long way with customer service.

Technology for technology’s sake is expensive and useless. Put it to work. If you have a CRM system, find a new way to use it that will give you valuable intelligence on your customers. If you have an e-commerce site, find a way to find out more about your customers — and potential customers. If you have access to business intelligence tools, use them to gain business intelligence on your customers’ needs. And, if you have Excel, you can still track key characteristics about your customers. Who doesn’t at least have Excel?! Become a little more obsessed with your customers.

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