Amazon Is Going to Australia!

May 24th, 2017

Amazon has announced plans to go to Australia in a big way — of course! This has many Australian retailers unnerved while simultaneously providing Amazon with a new beachhead for its global distribution network. And, it appears as though Amazon might have a supportive regulatory environment for testing deliveries via autonomous drones and road deliveries since there are vast remote areas for potential deliveries. It certainly seems like Amazon is a company to watch…

Amazon expands to Australia

I asked my Australian consulting colleagues about this announcement, and their response was “Bring it on!”. Retail prices have been higher for quite a while and so it should definitely stir the pot. According to the Wall Street Journal and a Citigroup Inc. analyst, Amazon’s sales could grow 8 fold medium-term in Australia — definitely not pocket change. Undoubtedly, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

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

As we have said repeatedly, we live in a global business environment and so we must stay abreast of trending factors. Amazon’s strategy to gain a beachhead in Australia is noteworthy. Additionally, their continued focus in looking for ways to test drones and other technologies keeps innovation as a priority. And, certainly not to be overlooked, their ability to create disruption remains alive.

Disruptions are becoming part of the new normal. The key is to be aware of potential disruptions and incorporate them into your strategic discussions. What happens if Amazon becomes a player in the UPS and Fed Ex world? Once drone deliveries are proven, how will that change the landscape?

And, from the other viewpoint, ask your team — what disruptions might you initiate? Push the envelope a bit and think outside of the box. In my experience, the only way to pursue this path successfully is to start by creating a culture of innovation in your company. Have you thought about how to do that?

 



Are You Asking Good Questions?

May 23rd, 2017
asking good questions

If you are struggling to improve operations, you may be missing the obvious answer – asking good questions.

There is a shocking number of clients and colleagues that struggle, gather teams, run kaizen events and do all sorts of other activities (and throw good money after bad more frequently than anyone cares to admit) to improve operations (improve the customer experience/service levels at greater profit and margins levels) while missing the most obvious answer — asking good questions.

We’ve found that asking good questions can be the “secret weapon”. Thus, we’ll ask questions about asking questions…

1. Before leaping to a standard toolkit such as “run a kaizen event,” have you asked common sense questions? Is common sense uncommon in your company?

2. Before scheduling more meetings to discuss topics (several of my clients run from one meeting to the next ALL day, every day), have you thought about asking if anyone has gone to “see” the issue? What did he/she see?

3. Do you think there is an art in formulating a question? If you’ve ever talked with an effective questioner, you’d know there is more to asking questions than just asking questions. What thought have you put into your question?

4. Do you think about the objective of your question? If you try it for a week, do your questions and meetings become clearer?

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:
Lessons Learned: Asking Questions Isn’t Enough

Project Success is All About the People

 



A Simple Follow-Up Increases Your Success by 20%…. Are You Doing It?

May 22nd, 2017

I attended the Renaissance Executive Forums all-members meeting last week, and one of the keynote speakers was a consultant I know from my affiliation with a global consulting association. It’s a small world! His name is Alex Goldfayn, and he is the author of the Revenue Growth Habit. He is a successful consultant on, not surprisingly, increasing revenue, and I was especially intrigued by how easy he said success can be — it’s just whether we choose to follow the plan. One of his tips is simply to follow up. Somehow I don’t think we need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out; however, how many people follow up? Not nearly as many as you’d think! According to Alex who has worked with countless organizations, a simple follow up will increase revenues by 20%. It certainly seems worth it. Obviously the same type of statistic holds true regardless of why you are following up. Why not give it a try?

follow-up

One tip to implement this week:

I have a special affinity for this tip because it has been one of the reasons behind my success. I gained this insiders tip from my mom, and it has certainly paid off. I can’t tell you how many millions follow-up has created for my clients’ bottom lines. It seems almost too simple to be true but it is just not a common practice. Thus, the good news is that we all can make a dent in implementing this tip immediately.

Look through your tasks for the week. Are there some that will more likely be successful or set up to be successful if you followed up? Start there. Think about last week’s activities. Should you follow up on any items? I am sure you have at least one! Consider how you could help your manager, colleagues or Board members/corporate officers be more successful if you were to follow up on an important project. Don’t delay — move at least one item forward an inch TODAY!

 

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…”

 



New Survey Says Manufacturing Key to American Prosperity

May 17th, 2017

According to a survey by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, more than three quarters of Americans surveyed believe the U.S. should invest in the manufacturing industry. Nice to see what I see on a daily basis come to life and gain momentum! Specifically, more than 80% see manufacturing as vital to America’s livelihood, 76% believe the U.S. needs a more strategic approach to developing its manufacturing base and 90% believe industry jobs will require a higher level of technical skill.

manufacturing

Interestingly, the overall public ranked manufacturing 3rd, just after technology development centers and health care facilities, in terms of the country’s leading sectors for job creation. The bottom line is that manufacturing is “in”! Are you thinking about how to leverage this opportunity?

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

Manufacturing is riding a popularity wave. While Americans are seeing its relevance, there will be more interest, investment and education in the sector. Take stock of your professional career and of your company’s position. What can you do to get ahead of the curve so that you’ll be ready for opportunities?

For example, from a career perspective, what is your ideal job? Do you have the skills, experiences and behaviors required to move up the ladder? There will be vast opportunity with manufacturing’s popularity, which will be heightened as baby boomers retire. Sign you and your team up for relevant classes. For example, APICS Inland Empire has several classes in manufacturing processes. Become a mentor and simultaneously find a mentor. I find being a Drucker Women in Supply Chain mentor, a Pomona College mentor and an APICS student case competition chair and mentor rewarding, and I learn just as much as my mentees. On the other side, I wouldn’t be nearly as successful without my consulting mentor and business mentors. There is no better way to learn than from someone who has “been there, and done that”.

From a company perspective, shore up your skills, resources, processes, technologies and the like so that you are the ideal source for new business. Tailor your approach to the most likely opportunities. Do you have capacity availability to jump on opportunities? Think strategically about what will arise down-the-line and put your company in a proactive position purposefully. Think about your supply chain partners and include them in your plans.

 



Are You Thinking About Cyber Security?

May 16th, 2017
security threats

Are you developing strategies to address cyber security concerns? If you aren’t thinking about the relevance and risk, you should pay attention.

Cyber security has taken over the news and trade magazines lately as risk levels are elevated and cyber crime is a real threat. Are you developing strategies to address cyber security concerns? It is no laughing matter as you listen to what could happen….

Tonight, we attended a ProVisors (group of trusted advisers) cocktail reception. In two hours, we ran into multiple people who talked about the relevance and risk associated with cyber security. If you aren’t thinking about these questions, you should sit up and pay attention:

  1. Does your company have the appropriate security and protocols in place to fend off hackers? If each of us thinks we aren’t important enough for a hacker, someone will be surprised.
  1. Have you thought about your supply chain partners and cyber crime? It can be a vast topic. Although the risk might be low, the impact can be high. Just ask folks like Target and Home Depot.
  1. Have you thought about cyber security and your manufacturing machines like CNC machines and manufacturing execution systems? Suddenly the topic got a lot bigger!
  1. How about the internet of things? Have you thought about how to prevent cyber crime from non-work devices that can connect with work-related devices?
  1. Do you have cyber security insurance?

 

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

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