Strategy or Execution?

February 11th, 2016
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strategy and exection

Strategy and execution are equally important for business success. If you find yourself stuck on one find a way or a designated person to attend to the other.

strategy and exection

Strategy and execution are equally important for business success. If you find yourself stuck on one find a way or a designated person to attend to the other.

If you looked at the last day, week or month, how much of your time are you spending on execution vs. strategy? Is it a surprise? A disappointment? How does it align with your best skills?

Also if you think about your energy level – how are you feeling?  Does this relate to where you are spending your time? Are you excited about your area of focus? Should you adjust the amount of time you are spending on either?

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the answer relates to your position!

Although CEO’s are likely to spend more time on strategy, it is something we all should focus on. Actually when I ask CEO’s this question, the answers are not much different than the rest. They wish they focused on strategy but get sucked into execution. Of course, execution is critical – the best strategies fail in execution. And, we need people who love both. If you aren’t going to focus on one of these, you will need to hire, train and develop people who do.

This topic isn’t one to gloss over. There is no wrong answer. Dig into what will work for you. And consider what is needed for the success of your company or supply chain? Put the two together and develop a path that achieves a win-win.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to be the Strongest Link in your organization:

Why It’s Important to Take Time to Think

Challenging Bridge and Execution Strategy

 



Inventory Management Remains Core to Success

February 9th, 2016
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cycle counting inventory management

Inventory management may be a less exciting supply chain topic but it is the linchpin in a manufacturing or distribution business.

 

cycle counting inventory management

Inventory management may be a less exciting supply chain topic but it is the linchpin in a manufacturing or distribution business.

 

No matter how many engaging conversations I have with clients, contacts and trade groups about emerging supply chain trends, the less exciting topic of inventory management often-times can deliver a higher value than the latest and greatest most-talked about trend. As the Programs chair of APICS Ventura Chapter said when requesting this topic for a recent speech, inventory management is core to success and remains a timeless topic.

3 Reasons Inventory Management Matters

This prompted me to think about what I see across all types of clients: Whether a $5 million fast-growing manufacturer in the building products industry, an $80 million dollar food processing company or a multi-billion dollar aerospace company, I’ve found inventory management to be vital to bottom line results. Three of the top reasons inventory should be seen as core to success include:

  1. Inventory accuracy – If you cannot find the product, you cannot ship it. It can be as simple as that; however, it often goes much further. If you think you have more inventory than you do, you will not purchase or produce what you need to in order to fulfill customer needs. Certainly, this will prompt higher costs, poorer service and a host of other issues. Additionally, a critical asset is not valued correctly. Do I need to go on?
  2. Inventory levels – Most accountants prefer to hold less inventory as it ties up precious cash. Most Sales folks prefer more inventory because they don’t have to worry about it being available to sell. Most Operations folks prefer to run larger quantities so that they can optimize efficiencies and minimize downtime. Lean gurus prefer to resolve process issues so they can reduce changeover times to run less inventory. Managing risk could dictate more inventory if you are concerned about service if natural disasters or political events hold up your inventory. Managing cash flow certainly dictates less inventory. No wonder it can be such a tough challenge for often-times under-appreciated planners!
  3. Customer service – One of the goals of inventory management is to have the right product in the right place at the right time. It sounds easy enough yet rarely is easy. Oftentimes, inventory is available somewhere in the system but isn’t at the right facility at the right time to satisfy customer requirements. What good is it if you have inventory in Miami when you need it in Seattle? Worse than none since you have cash tied up without the benefit. Since customers have little patience as there are typically competitors waiting in the wings, poor customer service (or even mediocre service vs. the competition) can have a detrimental effect on your business.

Inventory can be a strategic advantage or a weight around your ankles when treading water.  Take a proactive stance to take charge of your inventory and planning processes. If you are a distributor or manufacturer, there is nothing more fundamental to success. If you’d like to talk about your inventory strategy, email me. 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to be the Strongest Link in your organization:

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Warehousing Thoughts

 



The Super Bowl and Your Brand

February 5th, 2016
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supply chainSo, other than being a bit depressed that the Arizona Cardinals are not in the Super Bowl, I am thinking about the Super Bowl (hard not to since the hype is everywhere). You’d have to be hiding under a rock to not know that it is Super Bowl weekend. If nothing else, it is a good excuse for a party and to get together with family and friends. The Super Bowl has become much more than a game.

Many people (myself included) are more interested in the commercials than the game — it has become “the” opportunity to stand out from the crowd with advertisements. If your ad is popular, it will go viral. Social networks can have a powerful effect — similar to Super Bowl commentary and ads, the same vehicles will have an impact on our brand. What is said about you will show up to potential employers. You might have thought about that; however, did you think about potential employees? Before deciding if they want to work at your company, they will check the company out — and you. After all, people do not leave companies; they leave leaders. The same is true for customers and suppliers. How are you perceived?

One tip to implement this week:

One easy tip related to personal branding is to act as though everything you say, your leadership style behind closed doors, etc. will be published in tomorrow’s New York Times (or placed on an advertisement during the Half Time show of the Super Bowl). It could be — or at least the equivalent. This does NOT mean that you should hide under a rock and do nothing. Doing nothing is the equivalent to saying your approach/leadership style is to “do nothing”. Is that how you want to be known?

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…”

 



Observation

February 4th, 2016
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observation

Make a conscious effort everyday to stop what you’re doing and look around your workplace and beyond. By becoming observant you’ll soon spot people and areas that need your attention.

 

observation

Make a conscious effort everyday to stop what you’re doing and look around your workplace and beyond. By becoming observant you’ll soon spot people and areas that need your attention.

 

 

It is worth it to take a step back on a daily basis, if not more frequently, to observe. There is a significant power in observation – for your business, your career and your life.

Although observation sounds easy, it isn’t nearly as easy in reality.  A few strategies for success include:

  • Start off your day by looking out the window – what do you see? It can go a long way to clear your mind and just observe.
  • As you walk around your workplace, keep an eye out for what others might “step over” – a classic example of this is trash on the production floor. Instead of walking over it (and not noticing it), pick it up. This sounds really simple but can go a long way. Train yourself to “see” what is around you. Do you see oil on the floor? Do you see orders that could be missed?
  • Watch for trends – assuming you see the same people each day, watch for noteworthy changes. Is someone who is always happy down one day? The same holds true for machines, products, etc. If the production line always runs in a certain way and it is slightly different one day, take note. Find out what is going on so you can avoid larger problems down-the-line.
  • Take a step back and “look” at your supply chain – how are your customers, suppliers and other partners? Are there any trends going on?
  • “See” your team – whether they report to you, they are peers or they are your superiors, pay attention. 80% of success boils down to people so please pay attention to people!

Getting used to observing can be more challenging than it sounds. I often drive by countless people, cars, situations, etc. that I don’t notice.  Practice observing so that you don’t drive by your career, business or life.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

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Keeping an ‘Eagle Eye’ on Priorities

February 2nd, 2016
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eagle eye on priorities

Assessing and spelling out priorities should always be at the top of your list to gain clarity and ultimate business success.

 

eagle eye on priorities

Assessing and spelling out priorities should always be at the top of your list to gain clarity and ultimate business success.

 

I’m frequently reminded of how critical priorities can be. Of course, this is why it is one of the pillars in my 5P Accelerator model for fast-tracking results. Do you pay attention to priorities? You should!

In today’s Amazon-impacted world, my clients want — and need — quick results. Fast progress will not occur if you are working on the wrong priorities. It seems apparent; however, it is worth noting as it is such a common occurrence. Here are some recent examples and types of priorities to ponder:

  1. Priority clarity: I’ve been working on an ERP project design and implementation. Priorities are absolutely essential in this case. There are always countless tasks that need to be completed in order to go live. How do you know you are working on those most critical to an on-time, on-budget, on-results implementation? Take the time to wade through priorities to obtain priority clarity.
  2. Skill set priorities: On another ERP project, skillset related priorities are cornerstone to success. In this case, there are limited resources with specific skills. Thus, the priorities related to these specific skills must be elevated in importance. This is similar in concept to focusing on the bottleneck of an operation with the theory of constraints. Elevate the priorities surrounding the scarce resource to ensure success.
  3. Cross-functional priorities: In a SIOP project, the goals of different departments created the need to focus in on cross-functional priorities. Instead of working on whichever priority was most important to the department we happened to be talking with, we had to evaluate the business as a whole and look for cross-functional priorities. Which priorities would provide the largest win overall even if some departments or individuals were negatively impacted? Look for the win-win-win.

The bottom line is that if you are interested in success, you must keep an eye on priorities. Don’t get lost in details; look for the priorities.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

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