Made in the USA Gains Momentum

March 29th, 2010

I was recently quoted in a World Trade Magazine article, “Made in the USA Gains Momentum”, and so I thought this would be an interesting topic to discuss on my blog. Read the full article here.

Actually, I am quite interested in this topic, as I believe we MUST find a way to be competitive for non-commodity products in the USA. There is NO way we can thrive based on consuming alone. After all, it makes zero sense. How can that logic make sense to anyone – the more we consume, the better the economy; however, if we consume goods produced in other countries, it doesn’t create jobs here (minimal ones at best). Instead of biting our nails over our consumtpion figues and hoping that our GNP increases (which just seems like a house of cards to me), we should focus on how to be entrepreneurial and be competitive with whatever product or service we are selling – not competitive within our state or country but globally competitive.

If everyone thinks a bit more about this topic, we are bound to be in better shape than we are by purchasing one more toy or piece of clothing manufactured overseas!

Common Pitfalls in ERP Project Success

March 22nd, 2010

There seems to be an increase in interest in this subject matter – perhaps so many companies put everything on hold with the recession that they are just starting to dust off their old upgrade and new ERP selection projects. Thus it seemed like an opportune time to discuss the pitfalls to ERP project success – and how to overcome them.

I’ve been involved in “too many” ERP and other system selection and implementation projects. They can be monster projects to say the least but they can also be quite rewarding and provide significant results if handled appropriately.

I recently wrote an article in Project Times about the pitfalls to success. I’ve found the three most common pitfalls to be the following:

1. Trying to solve process discipline issues with systems.

2. Focusing on bells & whistles instead of core functionality

3. Focusing too much effort on system cost instead of implementation cost and risk

Read the full article here

Connectivity in Today’s World

March 22nd, 2010

I was enjoying Costa Rica with my brother and nephew and so I’m just getting back to blogging. Before I post my latest entry, I thought it appropriate to talk about connectivity in today’s world.

I was riding in a van from the active volcano in Costa Rica to a fabulous Pacific coast beach community (Tamarindo – one of my favorites of all my travels), and thanks to modern technology, I was able to send/ receive emails from my Blackberry. Who would have thought? The only downside was that we were running late and so our driver decided to make up time by driving the mountain roads at a quick pace (thank goodness he knew the roads), and so I was limited in sending/ receiving emails as I had to “hold on” to stay in my seat. Forget about reading!

I’ve been to Costa Rica several times in the past. It wasn’t too long ago that I had to walk to the internet cafe in Tamarindo to look at emails. Of course, the downside is that it is a bit tougher to “get away”. Luckily, I don’t mind (and enjoy) combining my personal and professional lives into one life.

In today’s world, we are more connected than we’ve ever been yet the physical mail and personal phone call is still important – perhaps more so….. That reminds me, we were able to call my parents on a frequent basis using Skype. It sounded like we were next door even though we were in Central America in the jungle, sitting next to a howler monkey.

Cash Management Strategies in Current Economy

March 7th, 2010

As the highlight/ introduction to an article I was quoted in inside Union Bank’s Business Focus newsletter about this topic says, “The silver lining of this economy is that businesses with fast access to cash may be able to take advantage of extraordinary opportunities.” In my experience, business and individuals should listen carefully to this statement, as it will undoubedly become true.

Almost every business I am aware of has significantly slowed down or curtailed capital spending, as it is typically one of the first areas to go when cash is tight. I am an advocate of aggressively managing cash in today’s economy, as those who have cash to invest will be those who succeed. Just think of this example – if your company has the cash to invest in new equipment that will help give you an advantage over the competition while your competitors do not have the cash to invest, who do you think will succeed in the long term? What an opportunity!

The article discusses cash management strategies from more of a personal perspective; however, the same concepts apply in a business. It discusses four tips: 1) Set up a rainy day fund. 2) Leverage your cash. 3) Watch for deals. 4) Schedule your outlays. To read the entire article, click here.