The Value of Strategy Discussions in Fiji

November 13th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

I just wrapped up strategy discussions with my global, growth-focused group (of top-notch consultants) in Fiji.  Since we are a group spanning multiple countries from the US to Australia and Japan, we meet in interesting locations throughout the Pacific Rim and western North America.  Interestingly, we all felt as though this was our best meeting to date.  Although there are several reasons, a contributing factor is certainly the location.  We were all “on” in such a beautiful setting.  This was our view from dinner one evening.  Do you think you would come up with more powerful insights in a setting like this?

One tip to implement this week: Settings, Creative Ideas, Strategic Insights, Successful Outcomes

I’m not suggesting everyone hop a plane to Fiji………although it might be fun.  At the minimum, think about what settings are conducive to creative ideas, strategic insights and successful outcomes.  What do you think?

In my experience, it is rarely the same ideal setting for each person.  If not, what would be the value without diversity?  We have a good diversity of people, professional focus areas, cultures and more in our group.  Thus, we also have preferences as to ideal locations; however, we found one that would raise the bar for the collective group.  Why not think about doing the same for your work team?  What settings surround you?  

I’ve seen some of my clients decorate inside their offices and stimulate new thought.  That is certainly doable, inexpensive and can be great fun.  Other clients go to a historic hotel such as the Mission Inn in Riverside for a special meeting.  And, others go to an ideal setting such as the beach (regardless of the hotel or conference room).  Perhaps you can suggest that your customers or suppliers use a conference room next to an interesting restaurant or setting.  Think outside the box and you’ll find that strategic insights follow.  

For example, I remember one situation of a particularly exciting work group in 1994 where we drove success in the most mundane of locations.  We were motivated, came up with new ideas and achieved dramatic results – working from the kitchen of a colleague.  

Remember, it can sometimes be the subject, the team, the learning opportunity and more.



Leveraging Technology for Supply Chain Success

November 11th, 2017

Supply Chain Briefing

My APICS Inland Empire chapter hosted our 11th executive panel and networking symposium on Leveraging Technology for Supply Chain Success.  We had interesting discussions with top notch panelists spanning the end-to-end supply chain from Disney to OceanX.  The panel covered diverse supply chain topics such as autonomous vehicles and machine learning – thanks to  Terrie Dean, Craig Young, Stephen Richie, Thomas Jelenic and Matt Weinberg .  The event was a complete success thanks in large part to our Board of Directors (pictured below) – Valerie Ladd, Kevin Manning, Lisa Anderson, Parizad Sethna, Phil Elhai, Pamela Scrivner , Tony Martinez, Kate Loin-Barron, and Helen Arambulo.    

The Impact Technology is Having on our Economy
It is compelling to think about the BIG impact technology is having on manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and more.  Robots are taking over several aspects of manufacturing and distribution to speed up the process and reduce costs, so that we can be more competitive and successful in Southern California.  Have you thought about what this could mean to our economy?  Machine learning and artificial intelligence is also prevalent.  What could we accomplish by having the “right” data at the “right” time in the “right” place?  The down-the-line impacts of the strategic use of data are staggering.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Leveraging technology for supply chain success is a vast topic. So, it makes sense to start by absorbing the relevance and importance of the topic.  Our most successful clients are constantly looking for ways to leverage technology to not only deliver products and services more quickly (think the Amazon effect) but also to remain viable from a cost perspective.  Have you thought about the value that can be gained by IoT?  The internet of things can capture data so that repair folks can be ahead of the game, parts can be available much more quickly, items can talk to one another (such as cars to traffic lights) and much more.  

The least we should do is be aware of the dramatic impacts technology could have on our businesses and to our customer experience.  Have you considered how to utilize technology to stand out from the crowd and deliver exceptional service so that your customers don’t even think of buying from anyone other than you?  Can you utilize data to better understand their needs?  Can you use technology to provide additional value?  What else could you do?  Gather your team and brainstorm.  Involve your customers in the conversation as well.  

Let me know how it goes.   

 



The Value of Your Cross-Functional Network

November 10th, 2017

Networking Continues to Benefit
One of the keys emerging from APICS 2017 wasn’t from a session; instead, it was seeing the value of your cross-functional network.  Since I’ve been a member of APICS for over 25 years and actively involved for over 10, I see a wide variety of colleagues while at the conference.  This year was no exception.

Have you taken a step back to think about the value of your network?  There is no doubt about it that my network is my #1 asset!  I bet that is true for the vast majority of the most successful executives.  I know it’s true for the ones I talk with on a frequent basis.  Beyond your network, have you thought about the cross-functional nature of your network?  

The Best of the Best Make Key Connections and Long-Term Relationships
For example, I had interactions with many types of people and networks while at APICS 2017:

  • Clients – it was fabulous seeing Shannon Reininger and catching up with war stories and more!  Shannon is top notch (see us with Shannon’s colleague below).
  • APICS colleagues who are top notch trainers such as Sue Franks and Maryanne Ross – they are always on the leading edge of how to gain the best learning from the APICS materials.  My consulting practice is quite different from these folks’ practices.  So, it is always interesting to learn more about the art of training.
  • APICS colleagues with a specialty with large corporations and interactive training events – Debra Hansford stands out in my mind.   And, she is one crazy Broncos fan! 
  • Student case competition participants – one of APICS Inland Empire’s teams – Harvey Mudd College – represented the West Coast at the global student case competition.  It is interesting to hear their thoughts, as well those from their mentor and professor, Kash Gokli (already pictured in my intro).
  • Consulting colleagues who I collaborate with (and only the BEST) such as Diane Garcia (see below)
  • APICS leaders such as Jerry Gonzalez

               

 

 

 

 

Networks of Diverse Backgrounds Result in Great Connections
Several of these folks are dramatically different – not only in profession but also in terms of age, background, interests and more.  There is something to be learned from almost every situation, every supplier, every customer, every employee, every trusted advisor and more.  Are you looking for these opportunities?  

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

The Manufacturing Forum and the Value of Relationships



Logistics Innovation – Where is it Going?

November 10th, 2017

The global logistics industry will grow from its current hefty size of $8 trillion to $23 trillion by 2023 – what a sharp contrast!  Have you thought about how to be viable with these massive shifts going on?  If not, you sure should as it is coming and will just pass you by. 

Key Aspects in Upcoming Logistics Innovation
What is noteworthy in logistics innovation?  Several keys to success include:

  1. Interestingly, blockchain arose again.  It could completely change the landscape, so it’s worth paying attention.
  2. Next generation technology and machine learning – there is more and more discussion on this topic everyday.  This gets into artificial intelligence, as well.   
  3. Autonomous vehicles – last we heard, it will be here by 2020.  Time flies – undoubtedly, it will be here before we realize it.  There is vast opportunity to address a critical component of speed in the supply chain – keep trucks moving more frequently to deliver goods more quickly in a safe and automated way with minimal human intervention.  It isn’t all theory; there are road tests being performed in Southern California in conjunction with governmental entities.
  4. Capacity aggravation / visibility – there is a large potential for this topic.  One example is in reviewing large amounts of data for carriers.  Convoy has built an app to match trucking companies with shippers that need to move freight.  The speaker talked about how they could even tell which trucker might be interested in a particular route or to get home for a special occasion.  Very interesting!

Disruption and Progress
There is vast disruption with emerging technologies in this rapidly growing $8 trillion dollar industry.  Perhaps we should pay attention.

 



Blockchain Anyone?

November 9th, 2017

One of the most fascinating speakers at the APICS conference talked about the value of blockchain.  I knew to pay attention because the former head of the Drucker supply chain program also specifically noted the down-the-line value of blockchain, and I’m glad I did! 

Immediate Benefits of Blockchain
Blockchain had some immediate potential down-the-line application for a key client.  It is certainly good to be on top of emerging technologies and related applications.  Are you considering out-of-the-box applications you might have dismissed previously?

Bitcoin and Blockchain
The first application of blockchain was bitcoin – which didn’t really inspire my interest.  On the other hand, when you look at it like a revolutionary shared ledger technology which is immutable, immediate, collaborative, secure and permanent, it opens the mind to many possibilities.  Who wouldn’t wish to track something like fish or paintings from origin through transportation to delivery and have technology close the loop with payment, knowing it is authentic?  It is interesting that there is a counterfeit prevention aspect tied into this technology, as well. 

Blockchain provides benefits to complicated processes.
Blockchain provides a potential solution for complex, multi-party, high-friction processes.  There seem to be vast possibilities such as VMI, conflict minerals, customs clearance, cold chain for foods, supplier certification and much more.  Do any of these types of situations apply to you?  Or could they? 

Why wait until the technology is officially launched before exploring.  It could become an integral aspect of supply chain technology, and you do not want to be left in the dust.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

Robots, IoT , AI, Autonomous Vehicles and More – Update from APICS 2017