Deloitte Survey Says Talent Gap Jeopardizes Success

February 22nd, 2017

According to the 2017 Deloitte Global CPO Survey, 85% of those surveyed felt that talent was the largest factor in driving procurement performance yet 60% think they have a skills gap to deliver on their procurement objectives. My clients are experiencing this same phenomenon, no matter the role within manufacturing and supply chain. What are you doing to find, retain and develop your talent?

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

We are in a volatile business environment – global trade is evolving, risks abound, regulations are changing, supply chains are complex and significant change has become the norm. Instead of complaining or burying our head in the sand, we must find a way to get ahead of the curve. This starts with TALENT.

I am constantly asked to help clients, trade association contacts and alliance colleagues find, retain and train talent. No matter the technical topic, it will not succeed without talent. Thus, we better pay attention. Due to this continual feedback, I have dusted off my Skills Gap research from late 2013 and am refreshing it. I’d appreciate your feedback and insights for my research. I’ll keep you in the loop on the results.

In the interim, start thinking about the skills gap. What will you need a year down-the-line? Are you positioned to not only succeed short-term but to leverage opportunities as they arise over the next 12-24 months? If not, you have a skills gap. Put off spending cash in other areas but do not skimp on your talent.

Think about your objectives and back into your plan. Should you hire employees or fill expertise gaps with consultants? Will top talent WANT to work with you and in your company culture? Don’t assume the answer is yes — think about it and find out. What should you do to attract and retain top talent? That might also lead you to the third option which you should pursue regardless — developing talent. What training, education and mentoring programs do you offer?

 



Case Study in the Power of Design

February 21st, 2017
power of design

Taking a big picture view while simultaneously eyeing execution when implementing an ERP system will help companies not only achieve desired results, but do it quickly.

Situation: Our client had implemented an ERP system several years ago. As is typical when a system is implemented, they implemented the basics and then took a break to run the business. Although you start out thinking of vast improvements and how you’ll automate all sorts of processes, getting the foundation working effectively with high levels of customer service and some level of efficiency typically takes quite a lot of effort. The team is tired and needs to smooth out the day-to-day business. Understandable.

The good news is that they were set up for the future with an improved base. The bad news is that they didn’t know how to get from this new base to utilizing the improvements that would start to yield a return on investment. Their ERP partner moved on to other customers. Although they would return to work on improvements, our client wasn’t sure how to best utilize the ERP supplier’s expertise to jump to a new level of improvement. Instead, they stressed as they watched dollars fly out the window as hours passed, discussing these improvements. What could they do?

Path Forward: The key challenge is in translation between business objectives, process improvements and utilizing advanced functionality to support them. Most clients want to jump to one particular software feature (specific functionality) as the path forward that will cure all ills. In 80% of the cases, the software alone will only automate a less-than-desirable process, providing substandard results faster. Thus, the key is to find those resources in your organization or outside of your organization who can take the big picture view simultaneously with an eye to execution to figure out the best path forward, given your ideal business outcomes, your current situation (technology, process and skills-wise), technology advancements etc. Clients that pursue this path not only achieve improved results but they also achieve them rapidly.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to become a Systems Pragmatist:

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The Right Combination of Technical & Communication Skills ROCKS!

February 20th, 2017

I am the Chair of the APICS West Coast student case competition, and we just wrapped up our 2017 event. We had 104 students from around the world fly into San Diego to compete. It was a really impressive group of students!

technical and communication skills

The competition is judged 50% on the technical score (the return on investment achieved after several rounds running a business simulation game) and 50% on the presentation to the Boards of Directors of the company. I have to say….some of the best presentations were those who didn’t perform as well on the ROI because they learned from it, took the positive attitude and used a creative mindset to show how they would improve in the future. With that said, just as is true in real life, you MUST have both the technical side (no empty suits can be successful long-term) AND the communications to back it up.

The team that won not only 1st place in the undergraduate division but ALSO was the top scoring team of undergraduates and graduates and so will represent us at APICS 2017 was Harvey Mudd College. Although I’m the chair of the competition and excited about how amazing EVERY team performed at the event, I am especially thrilled because Harvey Mudd is an APICS Inland Empire Chapter student team. CONGRATS Alexa LeJoe SinopoliShaan Gareeb and Katherine (Yoo Jeong) Shim! (And Kash Gokli, your academic advisor).

Harvey Mudd College

One tip to implement this week:

Take what these students did to heart and think about how you can continually improve your technical skills AND your communication/presentation skills. I find that my clients often think about investing in technical skills but rarely think about communication and presentation skills yet one without the other doesn’t work.

Deliberately sketch out a plan. Select 1 technical skill and 1 communication skill you’d like to improve. Even if you have a long list (we all do!), just select one in each category that you think will be especially beneficial to your career in the next year. My clients find that if they select intelligently and FOCUS in execution, they succeed. Let me know how it goes.

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…”

 



Manufacturing Expands at Fastest Rate Since 2010

February 15th, 2017

According to the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, manufacturing is on an upswing. The composite index rose in January, making it the fifth straight monthly expansion. New orders and production grew strongly! And the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank reported that manufacturing activity expanded at its fastest pace since April 2010 — more importantly, leaders are positive about the next six months. In fact, the forward-looking outlook measure jumped to a level not seen in 12 years! Are you ready?

manufacturing growth

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

Although this is great news for manufacturing, we should make sure we are prepared for success. Do we have the capacity and staffing to meet our customer requirements? Do we have the skills and talent to grow successfully? And, are we building agility and flexibility into our systems? According to my recent outsourcing research, 70% of executives are considering near-sourcing and in-sourcing strategies. Thus, I expect these numbers to continue to grow.

Many of my clients struggle to find, retain and train talent. Thus, I have dusted off my Skills Gap research from late 2013 and am refreshing it. I’d appreciate your feedback and insights for my research. I’ll keep you in the loop on the results.

In the interim, start thinking about the skills gap. Are you partnering with community colleges? Trade associations like APICS? Other local companies? Even competitors? Consider involving top notch executive recruiters, partnering with temporary agencies and supplementing with consultants and contractors. Success will come to those companies ready to serve the customer when the customer wants it! We cannot afford to delay.

 



Case Study In Increasing On Time Delivery Performance

February 14th, 2017
on time delivery

Do you have a bottleneck that is impacting service to your customers? Finding the source and fixing that bottleneck will accelerate improvement and customer service.

Situation: Our client struggled with low customer service levels since they cut back with inventory on the ‘wrong’ items during a time of tight cash flow. Of course to add fuel to the fire, the customer also wanted product to be delivered at least 20% earlier, ideally 50% earlier.

If our client didn’t find a way to respond quickly, they would risk losing key customers.

Path Forward: Upon looking at the order fulfillment flow, there were countless areas of opportunity. However, simultaneously working on these solutions would tax already-maxed out resources (who also were frustrated by angry customers) and accomplish nothing.

If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. And, if you wait for all the details to align perfectly, you’ll start long after your key customers start looking to replace you. Instead, take a step back and do nothing except observe and take a fresh view of the people, processes and systems. Where are the vulnerabilities? Undoubtedly, each person/department will have a pet project. Eliminate all the noise and just look for the bottleneck.

Of course there could be more than one bottleneck but there will be one that is most significant. Start there. Find the source of this bottleneck and put all your resources on eliminating that bottleneck. If the bottleneck is in a particular area of your operation, the related supervisor is the most important person in the facility. If she/he needs help on a Saturday, everyone from the CEO to the line manager will find out how he/she can help. Solving these one at a time will accelerate improvement in delivery performance.

 

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