Amazon & US Postal Service Collaborate for Success

September 8th, 2014

supply chain


According to today’s Wall Street Journal, Amazon and the US Postal Service are testing a new delivery service for groceries including meat, produce etc. They already partner on Sunday deliveries and are expanding their collaboration efforts to see if this new model can be successful.  What a combination of innovation and collaboration!  Win-lose, collaborate for success partnership thinking (beating your suppliers down on price with no thought to creating gains for them as well) is no longer successful.  Instead, think about how to make collaboration yield 1 + 1 = 21.

One tip to implement this week: Do you view your suppliers, customers and other partners as true partners?  How about your employees?  For example, do you search for ways to help your customer reduce costs regardless of its impact on you?  You should!  If everyone started thinking about how to turn 1 + 1 = 21, we’d have exponentially more successful businesses. Try looking at it from the other person’s point of view?  What would benefit them?  What if your approach started with this perspective?  I guarantee benefits to you will follow.

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…”


Budget Time to Budget: 6 Tips for Financial Oversight for Your Business

September 4th, 2014
invest in your budget

Budgeting may seem like a painful chore but really it’s an opportunity to find motivation in the numbers. If progress is good then celebrate, if not then make adjustments.

Whether as an individual or company, taking financial control is an essential element to success. Many of my manufacturing, supply chain and distribution clients dread budgeting time when they should be looking at it as an opportunity. This is always an appropriate topic but especially when looking forward to the next quarter:

1. Plan – as obvious as it sounds, think in advance about your projected income and expenses. I’m constantly surprised how many businesses and households do not plan and then are surprised at the results.

2. Think big picture – forget the details and think big picture. Is there a significant difference from last year? Why? What is the trend? Do the numbers make sense when you step back from adding and subtracting? Again, I cannot begin to count the times the numbers have been wildly off target and missed, yet they “added up”.

3. Track progress – don’t wait until it’s too late; start now. After all, why bother creating a budget if you do not use it? In my experience, those companies and individuals that create value through the budgeting process, track progress and adjust accordingly.

4. Feedback – this is as simple as celebrating success and evaluating areas for improvement.

5. Do not marry yourself to a budget for the sake of the budget – one of the most common mistakes is being too rigid about the budget. If the market changes, if a new priority or opportunity arises, if it looks like you’ll make your budget too soon; change it. Think smart flexibility.

6. Consider your presentation – one of the largest hurdles of budgeting is when you achieve it. Will you continue to be motivated to achieve 30% more? What can you do to plan yet create accountability combined with flexibility for what makes sense on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? 

Did you like this article? Learn more on how to get your Eagle Eye Focus:

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Project Failure: How to Avoid Top Causes


Manufacturing Connector℠ Eagle Eye Requires Keen Observation, Focus

September 2nd, 2014
determine and focus on priorities

It’s easy to lose track of priorities with so many competing distractions in the supply chain business, but a vigilant and observant team will spot the essential priorities and get down to the business of achieving results.

When I talk about The Manufacturing ConnectorSM, I am referring to the comprehensive process to connect the rapid assessment and identification of key priorities with the execution of results through the right combination of end-to-end supply chain expertise and improvements in people, processes and systems.

When going into additional depth on Eagle Eye, I find that keeping an eagle eye view remains cornerstone to success throughout the process. Slackers are not welcome!  Being vigilant with observation, prioritization, organization and the like must be omnipresent throughout if you’d like results to occur.

In my experience, eagle eye vision boils down to two main areas: 1) rapid synthesis, assessment and prioritization 2) focus.

Let’s start with #1. Who has seen failure take over as analysis paralysis comes into play?  Probably most of us!  How about leaders who are afraid to make the leap? Equally bad, leaders who are lost in a maze and don’t know how to find their way out? Unfortunately, these occurrences happen frequently. Thus, find those experts in your organization and external to your organization who are able to understand, synthesize and rapidly assess large amounts of oftentimes disparate information and be able to determine priorities and develop roadmaps for achieving objectives. No one can focus on 1000 priorities at once (even though we all try); the key is focusing on the “right” priorities.

Even after your top 3 priorities are clear, don’t let your eagle eye rest, which brings us to #2, focus. The critical component to expediting success is to focus on just the intersection of the three key areas (priority content, people, and processes/systems). It is abundantly easy to get side tracked on the non-essential; however, while you are smelling the roses, your competition will be racing by you in the fast lane. Make sure to translate your plans into results by keeping your eagle eye intact. 

Did you like this article? Learn more on how to get your Eagle Eye Focus:

What is an Eagle Eye Strategic Focus? 

Synthesize for Results