Collaboration Rules

March 31st, 2016
LMA Consulting Group, Lisa Anderson, collaboration

Collaborating with customers, suppliers and partners is a win-win-win for all involved. Feedback is immediate and innovation is an outcome that helps business flourish.

Collaboration is pivotal to success for manufacturers and distributors. Supply chains are connected to a larger degree than ever before.  Global is commonplace.  Customers and manufacturers talk frequently.  Suppliers collaborate with manufacturers on developing new products.  Collaborative planning, forecasting and VMI programs are commonplace.  In many industries such as aerospace and distribution, they are a “must”.  Consumers have gained a more powerful voice with social media.  Feedback is immediate.  The bottom line is that collaboration has evolved from a fluffy concept to a vital and pragmatic one.

Certainly, collaboration arises on a daily basis in my consulting practice.  More and more, I am on a webinar or conference call with my client and other partners, collaborating for a win-win-win.  For example, to design and implement any major initiative, it is likely you’ll involve customers, suppliers, ERP partners, logistics partners and the like.  Thus, we should take advantage of opportunities to improve our collaboration capabilities – AND to collaborate more often.  I’ve taken this to heart with my affiliations:

  • Ontario (ONT) ProVisors – a group of trusted advisors (advisors who support commercial businesses such as CPAs, attorneys, and commercial bankers). These types of professionals can make or break success.  Just ask anyone who delayed in protecting critical intellectual property.
  • Innovations Committee for MCIE (Manufacturers Council of the Inland Empire)’s Manufacturing Summit. Innovation is all about collaboration!
  • APICS Inland Empire Chapter – APICS is the #1 trade association for supply chain and operations professionals and spans the supply chain from executives to shop floor workers and from your customers’ customers to your suppliers’ suppliers.
  • Harvey Mudd executive roundtable – I facilitate this group with my colleague Kash Gokli, the head of Harvey Mudd’s manufacturing program. We are creating an invitation-only community of Southern CA business executives.
  • ACA Group – I am part of this alliance of consultants with significant supply chain and operations expertise. We collaborate on client projects to provide a team with deep bench strength and diversity to cover a vast array of services to meet our client’s full scope of needs.
  • 180 Systems Alliance – I am a part of this alliance of ERP consultants who are known to “consultants without bias” to partner with clients to help them select the optimal system for their needs.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to think more about collaboration.  The great news is that there is a GREAT opportunity coming up to collaborate on emerging supply chain trends at APICS-IE’s executive panel and networking symposium.  We welcome you to join us on April 30th at Eagle Glen golf club in Corona.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

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LACI and the Power of Partnerships

March 30th, 2016

supply chain

Last week, I toured LACI, L.A.’s cleantech incubator. It was quite impressive and looks like it has been set up for success. It was launched by the city of Los Angeles and has become a vast partnership of government and private resources. It is uniquely positioned for success in the arts district of L.A., backed by large institutions, universities, businesses and more. It shares space and resources with Los Angeles Water and Power and contains an incubator, a makerspace and a workforce and training center.

With these powerful partnerships, it is hard to imagine LACI as anything but successful.  After only a few years, it has been named #3 in the world. How can we replicate this type of success? Are you thinking about the power of strategic partnerships?

One tip to implement this week:

I am not suggesting we all go out and find a way to start an incubator; however, I am suggesting we can think about strategic partnerships.  Where do we want to go in the future? With our companies? Departments? Careers? And supply chains?

Think about these questions. Then, consider who you would like to build a relationship with to support these objectives? Think about a win-win strategy. Entering into partnerships shouldn’t be considered lightly. Who can you work with 10, 20 and 30 years down-the-road?

Strategic partnerships require risk; however, if you are careful in selecting your partners, you can certainly WIN long-term. I’ve seen more companies and executives achieve resounding success if they thought long-term and developed relationships that could generate win-win, exponential results.

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…”

5 Ideas to Reward Employees

March 29th, 2016
LMA Consulting Group, Reward employees, Motivation

Rewarding employees doesn’t have to be costly, but require your attention and time to make it meaningful to employees.

There is a lot of talk about rewarding employees; however, I see little action. How do you reward employees? Do you consider it a priority? If you are willing to focus attention on this topic instead of completing an analysis for the CEO, meeting with a customer or the like, then it is an obvious priority. How obvious is it to your organization?

Rewards don’t have to be costly. The best require time. Some ideas to reward employees include:

  1. Catch people doing right:  Provide immediate positive feedback. Look for opportunities to find people who are doing a good job. It is easier to find those who aren’t. Have you spent time specifically looking for those who are “doing right”?
  2. Say thank you:  As easy as this is to do, it is rarely done. Take the time to say thank you. Be specific with your thank you. And, of course, be genuine. It goes without saying but I’ve seen it more than once. People will know if you truly appreciate what they’ve done or not.
  3. Publicize wins: I worked with a Director of Supply Chain who was excellent at publicizing wins. She sought out wins and made sure they were written up in the company newsletter. She found pictures, wrote paragraphs and made sure wins were publicized. They were noticed!
  4. Hand out small rewards at a company lunch:  Movie tickets or dinner gift certificates can go a long way. Small tokens of recognition can convey the importance of employee’s actions. Many take them home with them and their family can enjoy in the reward.
  5. Recognize employees with meaningful work: One of the best rewards is to be included in meaningful work. Include your best performers in interesting projects. Don’t bury them in problems because you know they’ll get them done. Give their work meaning, and they’ll thrive.

There are countless ways to reward employees and subsequently motivate them. Start with these ideas, add a few of your own and get started. You don’t have to have a complete list to start. The most important item to success is to tailor your rewards to what will be meaningful to each employee.
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Trends: Are You Looking for What’s Coming?

March 28th, 2016

My most successful clients are constantly searching for what’s around the next corner. You cannot become complacent! Unfortunately, while you are resting on the sidelines, your competition will pass you by. Instead, be vigilant about looking for what is coming around the next corner and spotting trends.

A Supply Chain In a State of Flux

In supply chain, the world is constantly changing. Strikes occur. Storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and the like are very hard to predict. Natural disasters strike. Political unrest is significant. Costs evolve, especially in comparison to one another. Imagine how complex things get with currency fluctuations! Countries struggle – just look at what’s been going on in China. Oil and gas prices can have a great impact. Just look at products and countries dependent on the oil industry. The products cost less to produce but the countries and companies with significant oil exports are struggling. And the list goes on…

There are also strategic changes taking place. Amazon has created quite the stir with immediate deliveries and a membership model. This has created havoc in the distribution industry as e-commerce has become a necessity which also drives completely different warehousing and fulfillment operations to maintain efficiency. The green and sustainability movement has created many new requirements as well. How about water? Talk about a hot topic in California!

APICS-IE Event to Examine Supply Chain Trends

APICS, APICS-IE, Symposium, trends, supply chain trendsWhat is next on the horizon?  To be successful, you must keep up!  Join APICS Inland Empire for our executive panel and networking symposium on “Emerging Supply Chain Trends” at Eagle Glen golf club in Corona on April 30th.  We welcome members and non-members alike.  You’ll walk away with new ideas from top executives and supply chain gurus.  RSVP before it sells out.


Turning Mistakes into “Good”

March 23rd, 2016

supply chainI frequently speak to groups about how we must celebrate mistakes. No one will innovate if they are afraid of being hit over the head if they make a mistake. Unfortunately, it occurs more frequently than imaginable! Yet only those leaders who encourage innovation will thrive in today’s environment. Thus, we must consider mistakes as “good”! And we should encourage experimentation, which will drive more mistakes than the status quo.

With that said, I find myself “not celebrating” that I made a mistake. I was working with a client on several projects and feeling excited with the progress and the value we would achieve; however, I failed to communicate that clearly with my client. I wasn’t following my typical process which builds communication in naturally (which we can partly attribute to innovation and partly just my mistake), and I ended up overlooking this critical step. NOT good. Thus, my objective with this note is to turn it into “good”. We all learn from our failures — and hearing about other’s failures.

One tip to implement this week:

Let’s start with what you can do to proactively avoid mistakes that will have worse consequences than you are willing to live with in order to experiment/innovate. Put guidelines around your experiment or innovation. That way, WHEN you fail (as we are all bound to fail at some point), you know you’ll stay within your planned range of error (and consequences).

If your mistake already occurred, take a step back and think about it. How bad is it? Was anyone else negatively impacted? Perhaps not. In this case, chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. Often-times, this is the best approach.

Or did it have consequences to other people or teams that should be corrected? If so, jump to action and correct them. Don’t argue about it — even if you weren’t solely at fault. Just resolve what should be resolved. Apologize, resolve it and move forward in a positive way. In my case, this is the path I followed

I’ve found this approach to be successful 90% of the time — after all, who doesn’t make mistakes?!? With that said, if you happen to be stuck in the 10%, do your best, resolve it and move on. Don’t get worked up; just chalk it up to bad luck in hitting the 10%, do your best and move on. Now, if you are repeatedly in the 10%, take a step back and figure out why. There is something else going on. Ask your colleagues for advice and feedback.

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…”