Category: Profit through People

The Strategic Use of Data

December 13th, 2019

Have you thought about the strategic use of data? If not, you are missing a HUGE opportunity. Even in the most fundamental of businesses, having the ‘right’ data at the ‘right’ time in the ‘right’ place can not only enable quicker, more effective decision making but it can transform your business model.

Listen to David Libatique, Deputy Executive Director of Stakeholder Engagement of the Port of Los Angeles talk about the strategic value of data in the video below (thanks to APICS Inland Empire Chapter for the footage from the Executive Panel and Networking Symposium).

This topic is not just related to the vast amount of data the ports could capture (although that could be pure gold to those stakeholders), but data in general. Every client has a system of some sort. Small clients might still be on QuickBooks or are looking for the best “starter ERP” for their situation whereas others require complex ERP for process manufacturing or configure-to-order environments. That system contains vast data that can “collect dust” in the ‘data warehouse’ or be put to good use to drive business value. Which are you doing?

Do not get overwhelmed by data overload! There is no doubt that 80% of clients have voluminous amounts of data that can employ multiple people in creating reports on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. We are definitely not advocating for this end result. In our experience, whether a $5 million dollar family-owned business or a multi-billion dollar enterprise, the strategic use of data is typically not on the radar. Oddly, the big companies might not be the report mavens whereas the small might not be as nimble as we’d think! Almost every client can improve when it comes to the strategic use of data.

Instead of getting lost in the data maze, perhaps we should consider a few questions:

  1. Where do you want your company to go?
  2. Are you assessing the ‘right’ data to know if your strategy holds water?
  3. Are you going in the right direction? How can you tell?
  4. Have you thought about your data source(s)?
  5. Do your sales people have “data at their fingertips” to ensure profitable growth?

Data isn’t going to lose its power. It has been several years since I heard the CEO of SAP, Bill McDermott speak about the value of data especially as it relates to customers. Nothing has changed. In fact, most ERP systems tout the critical importance of data and several have hired what they call “data scientists” to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Will you evaluate your strategic use of data? Then go beyond your internal borders and expand to your customers, suppliers, transportation partners and you might just see a vastly expanded value in the strategic use of data. If you’d like assistance navigating this process, please contact us.

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Why Customers Rule

What’s Ahead for Business

Eagle Eye Strategic Focus



Future-proofing Your Manufacturing Success

December 11th, 2019

One of our core roles is to pay close attention to trends, issues and opportunities that will impact our manufacturing and distribution clients so that we can give them a leg up on the competition.

Lately, we have noticed that the next “big thing” will be future-proofing. Although everyone seems concerned about potential recessions in one of the greatest periods of growth ever on record, that isn’t why we have chosen to focus on the topic of future-proofing. Instead, what we have noticed is that the future is simply unknown.

It has an equal or better chance to be ideal for growth. Yet clients will not be able to take advantage of the opportunity if they haven’t been future-proofing their business and customer base. Also technology is a big unknown. Certainly waiting on the sidelines for someone else to figure it out will not cut it! In today’s era of the Amazon Impact, the Skills Gap and the need for a Resilient Supply Chain, your future will still not be secure if you haven’t thought about future-proofing. So, we are excited to launch our next LMA-i, LMA Intelligence topic, “Future-proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain

As we explore this new strategic topic, we always start with the fundamentals. It does not matter how much you spend on the latest and greatest, energy efficient windows for your house if your foundation is cracked, letting in air and sinking. People must be your foundation. No matter how high tech your company, it must be accompanied with high touch.

Have you taken a step back lately to evaluate your people?

  1. Do you have the right players on your team?
  2. Do they understand where they are going and why?
  3. Do they have a coach, mentor and/or adviser?
  4. Are there opportunities for career progression for key roles?
  5. Have you identified your stars and have a fast-track program in place?
  6. Are you recognizing your team?
  7. Do you have bench strength?
  8. Is your team prepared for where you are going currently or are they thinking about where they need to be in a year?
  9. How about your customers, suppliers and trusted advisors? Do they understand their value and how they can contribute?
  10. Are you willing to invest in people before investing in equipment and technology? Why or why not?

To future-proof your manufacturing business, you must know these answers. Of course knowing the answers is not sufficient. Is your team on board? How about your supply chain partners? Moreover, as unfortunate as it seems, being smart isn’t enough. You must apply this knowledge in a way that enables you to successful navigate the future while continually creating scalable, profitable growth.

Stay tuned for more articles on this topic and contact us if you’d like to assess your situation.

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Manufacturing Month & Interview with an Innovation Award Winner

Profit Through People



The Power of the Recognition by Peers

December 4th, 2019

My business partner and co-Executive Director of the Society for the Advancement of ConsultingLinda Popky and I just held our Annual Meeting in New York City. Our association provides growth by association for consultants, coaches and speakers across the globe. Although this is our tagline, it is much more than the typical marketing tagline.  It is how we operate. Every decision goes through this filter.  So, we were especially thrilled to have launched our first annual Advancing Consulting Awards to recognize the best of the best in an emerging category and an established category.

We are thrilled to recognize Amy Segami from Chicago, IL (Emerging) and Andrew Hollo from Melbourne, Australia (Established) with the awards (pictured with the Awards Committee and co-Executive Directors). The core criteria included client success, growth by association, innovation and resilience. Andrew’s comments were particularly noteworthy when  accepting the award: In essence, he said what was most meaningful is that he was selected by a group of top notch peers. Isn’t that what we all want?

One Tip to Implement This Week:
When I think back to the awards and recognition I’ve received that are most meaningful to me, I realize Andrew was completely correct. A short compliment in passing by a respected peer is more meaningful than an elaborate ceremony most of the time. Of course, I wouldn’t turn away both! With that said, when I was nominated for the Community Builder Award by NAWBO earlier this year, this fact was absolutely true. They do the awards ceremony in a BIG way in my neck of the woods.  Yet, what was most meaningful was being recommended by a top notch executive, being supported by a friend and APICS Board member colleague and being cheered on by a client. What else can you ask for?

Are you taking the time to think about recognizing your peers? Who has been particularly helpful lately? Most likely it is someone you take for granted but couldn’t survive without! Why not tell them something specific about what you appreciate? Stop running for a minute to think about who you should recognize.



Collaboration for Advanced Manufacturing & Supply Chain Success

November 30th, 2019

Our Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM/ APICS) Inland Empire Chapter is knee-deep in planning for our fall executive panel and networking symposium on the topic, “Collaboration for Advanced Manufacturing & Supply Chain Success“. We are finding this to be a powerful topic as executives must not only collaborate with their customers and suppliers to achieve scalable, profitable growth but they also need to collaborate with industry groups, trusted advisors, software providers (ERP experts), and other partners if they want to succeed in today’s Amazon-impacted, globally volatile, complex regulation environment.

We’d love for you to join in on the discussion and Q&A with experts in the end-to-end supply chain. We have manufacturing experts, logistics experts, technology experts and end-to-end supply chain experts on our panel to talk about trends, issues, and how they have collaborated to drive results. Our attendees include students, planners, buyers, operations and supply chain managers, finance and IT resources related to the supply chain as well as executives and the media.

One Tip to Implement This Week:
When I first started consulting over 14 years ago, collaboration was seen as a “fluffy” topic. I always found that the most powerful results came via collaboration but it wasn’t seen as important. Fast-forward 14 years, and if you aren’t collaborating, you aren’t thriving. No one can handle the level of complexity in today’s manufacturing and logistics environments alone while still servicing customers and driving profitable growth.
Of course, there is no point to collaborating for the sake of collaboration. In fact, as my consulting mentor says, if you want someone to like you, get a dog. Instead, collaboration is for turning 1+1 = 22 by taking the best of different ideas and combining into exponential success. For example, when I was VP of Operations & Supply Chain for a mid-market manufacturer, we had to redesign products to show customers we were on the leading edge and “back” (a force in the market) while offsetting significant material price increases due to oil and gas price pressure as well as optimizing our ability to save money on freight. There was no way for one person, 1 department or even 1 company to accomplish this task without collaboration. Instead, we involved customers, material suppliers, freight carriers, packaging experts, equipment suppliers and more. In the end, we achieved the trifecta. You should even add competitors to your thought process as the most successful executives consider this option for certain situations.
Why not pick a “hot topic” and start thinking about collaboration partners where you could achieve a win-win-win? Just asking folks to think outside the box in new ways can stir some powerful energy and bottom line results. If you are interested in discussing an assessment to help find a few of these powerful ideas to prioritize, contact us. Let us know how it goes!

 

 



Clearing the Mind for Innovation & the Santa Barbara Coastline

November 24th, 2019

 

I recently attended a CEO retreat in Santa Barbara. We talked about both our business goals as well as our personal goals and spent two half-days enjoying the area. I took the opportunity to clear my mind so that I could think innovatively.

Everyone clears their mind in different ways. I enjoyed the coast and scenery while catching up on a newsletter as well as walking the area. That put me into the mindset of innovation so that I could figure out how to turn 1+1 = 22 and/or take 15 – 8 = 22.

Whether you increase revenue or reduce labor (work smarter), you achieve a powerful return on investment and might just come up with the next “BIG” idea. After thinking through the session and running ideas by colleagues, I think I have hit upon that next big thing for my LMA-i, LMA Intelligence series that my clients should be thinking about to get ahead of the competition.

You’ll be hearing more about it but the concept is “Future Proofing Your Manufacturing Business” or “Manufacturing & Supply Chain Future Proofing”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Tip to Implement This Week:
We are typically doing at least 8000 things at once, which means we get nothing done well. I am quite familiar with this concept! Instead, try clearing your mind, perhaps focusing on one priority and just setting aside time to think about the future and where you should really focus your time and attention. Undoubtedly, we will ALL find room for improvement.

Leaving the meeting, I was seriously thinking about dropping an important event because I was worried about the labor intensity.  However, it turns out it is quite important to my process for developing intelligence to share with clients (LMA-i) as well as gaining prospective clients and staying on the leading edge of thought leader status. What was I thinking?!?!

See, we all can make mistakes. It took someone I just met but had an engaging conversation with to drop some advice into the mix that corrected my thinking. I was well-intentioned but racing down the wrong path.  So, I have revised a new approach (luckily before I implemented any changes).

Out of this process (including my ‘bad idea’) and related interactions/ collaborations over the next few days popped a great idea. Not only should we take time to think but run your ideas by respected colleagues, new colleagues who might provide fresh insights (which you can choose to use or toss out) and trusted friends. You just might come up with the next sticky pad’ (one of the great inventions stemming from innovation) or the way to repackage or re-position a great idea that will drive dramatic improvement for your business and /or career.