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APICS-IE Recognizes Contributions in Manufacturing

May 31st, 2016
APICS-IE Spring Symposium

APICS-IE’s Symposiums recognize supply chain innovators who develop industry innovations and add value to the manufacturing, distribution and transportation communities.

The Spring Executive Panel & Networking Symposium focused on emerging supply chain trends and acknowledged those emergent leaders contributing to manufacturers, supply chain professionals and distributors to improve their education, lead times, forecasting, data analysis and supplier relationships.

The Inland Empire Chapter of APICS,  the leading association for supply chain and operations professionals, motivated attendees with its expert panel presentation and discussion on investigating and predicting supply chain trends at its Spring Executive Panel & Networking Symposium: Emerging Supply Chain Trends held April 30, in Corona, Calif. In addition to expert presentations, stimulating dialogue, and industry networking; APICS-IE also recognized individuals and companies for their contributions to the association and improving members’ knowledge base. Six awards were given in appreciation of outstanding leadership and partnership — outstanding board leaders, Tony Martinez and Parizad Sethna; outstanding partner, Monster Energy Company; outstanding APICS partner, APICS San Fernando Valley; outstanding instructor, Susan Franks; and business leader advocate, Kusum Kavia.

While the Spring Symposium’s focus was on recognizing industry innovators, achievers and those who have contributed to APICS-IE’s success in providing value to the manufacturing, distribution and transportation communities; it also challenged attendees to think more strategically about their supply chain.

Award recipients recognized the importance APICS-IE plays in helping area companies stay current, getting access to education and developing human resources. “Riverside County is known for its large manufacturing hub and having the resources that APICS-IE offers is very valuable to our region,” explained business leader advocate award winner Kusum Kavia of Combustion Associates, Inc. “Not only can talent be obtained through APICS-IE, but manufacturers, such as my company CAI, can send their employees for training to this organization. APICS provides value-added supply chain support including research and educational tools that is critical to all manufacturers.”

At the core of APICS-IE principles is education and training of its members to help them better perform on the job for career and company success. Through its support of Student Case competitionswebinars and training, APICS-IE continues to be the destination for skills development, certification and training. Acknowledged as outstanding instructor HourGlass Consulting’s Susan Franks, CPIM, CSCP, Instructor Training, and AIS Master Instructor stated,  “It is always great to be asked to work with this dynamic chapter and be a part of a strong instructor team. This symposium was one of the best-focused on key issues facing today’s global supply chains with great speakers, on target with their comments, and very informative.”

VP Special Projects for APICS-IE Tony Martinez, CPIM, CIRM, was valued for all the contributions he makes as a board member. “This was unexpected, but I want to thank you for the opportunity to work with such a great group of people. The combination of teaching aspiring operations/supply chain practitioners through CPIM and Principles classes, and supporting students in Operations/Logistics majors at local colleges through scholarships, and the Student Case Competition, is a very satisfying use of my operations/supply chain experience.”

Partnerships are extremely important and many of the APICS chapters work together to leverage resources and provide expanded opportunities to its membership base. Thornburg Consulting’s Michael Thornburg, MBA, CPIM President, APICS San Fernando Valley Chapter, accepted the outstanding APICS partner award on behalf of his chapter. “I am honored to receive this award on behalf of APICS-San Fernando Valley. This award is an outstanding example of what we strive for, namely Developing Professionals. Being recognized by the professional community is an unexpected and greatly appreciated surprise for all of us at APICS-San Fernando Valley. I am looking forward to future partnering opportunities with APICS-Inland Empire.”

Expert panelists included Dr. Chris Gopal, Senior Fellow at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, Claremont Graduate University, and Executive Director of the Drucker Center for Supply Chain & Logistics; Brian Reed, VP of Transportation & Customer Service Niagara Bottling; Roy Paulson, President, Paulson Manufacturing; and C.J. Nord, ISM Committee Chairperson for the Port of Long Beach Working Groups, and Supply Chain Manager at California Faucets shared data and trends and explained why companies should be forward thinking and respond to slow moving stock, supplier reliability, lead times and forecasting.

Attendees also had the opportunity to ask questions, network and benchmark with area companies and build contacts within the manufacturing and distribution community to also help them build their career.

Looking ahead to the APICS-IE Fall Symposium — the theme will be Navigating Global Supply Chain and will be held Saturday, October 29, 2016, at the Eagle Glen Golf Club in Corona, Calif. Fees to attend the event from 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM are $15 for members, $25 for non-members and students are free. Breakfast buffet is included.

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SIOP Success is a Straight Line to People

May 26th, 2016
SIOP success

The technical aspects of SIOP still have to filter through people. Success happens when everyone in an organization is operating from a single integrated plan.

As with everything in business success, SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) success is a straight line back to people. Thus, it is the reason I started my business with the “Profit through People” brand and continue with it as one of our service lines and for our newsletter. In the last 5 years, we have completed many SIOP projects and have found the keys to delivering rapid, bottom line results – exceptional customer service, significant growth, improved margins, accelerated cash flow and high morale. These keys to success are built into our proprietary process for SIOP, 4 EXCEL, which drives exponential results.

Even though SIOP is all about aligning demand with supply and has many technical components ranging from demand planning to master scheduling to inventory strategy and cash flow planning, we have gained the most significant results by aligning ALL areas of the organization on one page – the PEOPLE! There is no coincidence that the first of the 4 E’s of EXCEL is ENGAGE.

Some of the most challenging issues we’ve faced while implementing SIOP had nothing to do with the technical components. For example:
• How do we get sales and production on the same page?
• Can R&D and production work to one integrated plan?
• How can we align our customers and suppliers on the same page?
• How can we get finance, sales and operations on the same page?
• And so on…

We find that becoming expert in culture change and collaboration is important to success. Clearly, communication is at the crux of this equation as well. If you are thinking about how to get each of these parties to see how SIOP will benefit them to align on one page, give us a call to learn more about 4 EXCEL.

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Why Planning is at the Crux of Success

May 25th, 2016

IveBeenThinkingBlog-1024x459

I just had a brainstorming session with one of my key clients about the integrated planning process — in essence, how demand and supply match up to ensure customer service (which is #1 for every client in today’s environment), growth, and improved margins and cash flow. It almost doesn’t matter the reason I come into a client — and the reasons can be wide ranging — there is always opportunity to improve the integrated planning process, get everyone on one page with clarity and sync up demand with supply. It sounds much easier to do than it is in reality. Yet it is vital!

Some of the results I’ve seen with this focus include the following: 1) Improved service levels from the low 60%’s to the high 90%’s. 2) Reduced lead times by 30-70%. 3) Reduced inventory levels by 30-60% while maintaining service levels. 4) Improved margins and reduced costs substantially — by millions of dollars, 5-20% and so on. 5) Improved employee engagement — probably the most important of all as happy employees not only ensure happy customers but they also are much more likely to be innovative in growing the business with new products, increasing margins, etc.

One tip to implement this week:

The good news is that there is a LOT you can do this week to improve your integrated planning process. If you are a leader, simply ask questions about this process of the people involved in these areas, customers, suppliers, etc. Listen for common threads. Undoubtedly, you’ll uncover an opportunity or two, low hanging fruit and the like.

If you are “in” the process, take a step back and think about the inputs and outputs of your process. Of all the items on your to-do lists and priorities of customers (both internal and external), which inputs really matter — and are NEEDED to gain the right outputs (results)? Answering this question can be the 80/20 to success.

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…”

 



Filling Worker Skills Gap Remains a Hot Topic

May 24th, 2016
talent gap

Worker skill gaps continue to impact manufacturers and distributors productivity and profitability who don’t make an investment in their human capital

In the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to hear the leading experts in manufacturing, distribution and logistics. There were a few common threads among EVERY expert yet one stood out from the rest — the skills gap remains alive and well.

For example, the Southern California Logistics & Supply Chain Summit keynote speaker was an Amazon executive. When asked what he wanted to talk about at the symposium, he chose “People, Careers and the Supply Chain: the Innovative Practices”.

Whether $8 million, $50 million or a facility / division of a multi-billion dollar company, every one of my manufacturing and distribution clients state manufacturing and supply chain talent as a top concern. I facilitate a Harvey Mudd executive roundtable with the head of the manufacturing program at Harvey Mudd. At every roundtable meeting in the last few years, this topic arises.

What can we do to alleviate this skills gap?

  • Retain top talent – Let’s start with what is often overlooked. Look carefully — you probably have underutilized emerging talent. According to Gallup surveys, only 30% of the workforce is engaged. That is horrific! Imagine the fact that the majority of your people are not engaged; worse yet, there is a good percentage actively disengaged. Thus, there is VAST opportunity to engage and retain talent.
  • Mentor program – With baby boomers retiring, it is wise to consider putting a win-win mentor program in place. We guarantee your long-term employees have more knowledge in their head than you realize — until you try to replace it. And, often, if set up with win-win objectives, the younger workers can be inspired by retiring workers — and vice versa.
  • Training & development – Often-times, offering training and development programs (such as those offered by my APICS chapter on the fundamentals of manufacturing, distribution and supply chain) can be quite valuable in providing a common language, bringing ideas and inspiration to the forefront AND, most importantly, in giving employees the knowledge that leaders are interested in investing in them.
  • Performance management – Who has time? Well, we need to make the time to talk to our people. If we can find time to interview replacements, we can find time to talk with our employees about objectives and performance. Spend a few minutes to help employees think through a career plan. Address non-performers. You’ll be amazed at the results.
  • Don’t hire fast talkers:  It is extremely challenging to be a great interviewer. Be careful not to be enamored with fast talkers. Fast talkers do not equate to results. Ask your network for feedback!

Since those who have the best people thrive, it is in all of our best interest to figure out how to retain, develop and find the best people. In our experience, this is the #1 indicator to long-term, sustainable success. It is worth investing the time in your #1 asset. If you want to talk about ideas to make this happen, contact us 

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Read our Skills Gap Report from research conducts with APICS-IE.

 



Keys to Delegation Success

May 20th, 2016
delegation

With today’s high customer expectations for quick service, 24/7 accessibility and expanded services supply chain managers are increasingly overloaded. Delegation is key to meeting demands and working efficiently.

In today’s Amazon-impacted world, customers have higher expectations of rapid turnaround, 24/7 accessibility, and increased levels of service. These events have contributed to an information-overloaded society.

Not only do we receive countless emails, texts, social media messages, marketing messages and the like, but we also are expected to be able to make sense of it all and execute projects successfully – on-time, on budget and on results. A tall order to be sure!

Survival seems challenging enough, let alone thriving in these sorts of conditions. In taking a step back from the details, it becomes clear that we must employ tools to increase our chances of success. And, of course, we’d like to make the process easier and clearer along the way. One option to achieve these goals is to delegate. Those who properly delegate will have more time to focus on critical priorities while keeping details moving in the right direction. A few tips that will help ensure success include:

  1. Choose wisely– One of the keys to delegating successfully is to select the “right” tasks to delegate. Delegating away your strengths rarely achieves success, and it does nothing for morale. Typically, delegating your areas of weakness can be a good approach; however, it is vital to take a few precautionary steps. Gain expert advice in surrounding yourself with strong project team members and supporters. Leverage those strengths of your team members that happen to coincide with your weaknesses. Don’t waste time delegating “C” items. Ignore them. Every action requires effort. Focus your efforts on what’s most important. Delegate the next set of priorities as you’ll want to make sure those get accomplished. Think about “C” items when all else is done.
  2. Empower– Don’t throw around the word empowerment lightly. It is the rare project manager who knows how to empower his/her team. It means you must start by being a great leader. Provide guidelines. Collaborate on goals. Address the hard issues. Encourage team members to try new ideas. Support them in their failures. Take responsibility for the problems and share successes. Give your project team the ability to make decisions within their guidelines with full knowledge that they’ll be supported no matter the result. Soon, your team members will feel empowered. Once they are empowered, delegation becomes more of a collaborative affair.
  3. Diversity– There are many different tasks required to ensure a successful outcome for a project team. In order to leverage your team members’ individual strengths while minimizing their weaknesses, you’ll need a diverse set of skills and people. Thus, you’ll have a much better chance of success in delegating the diverse types of tasks required if you have a broad set of skills in your team with a wide array of backgrounds. This will also stimulate ideas and debate which can encourage empowerment so long as the leader supports experimentation.
  4. Core Metrics– Undoubtedly, no matter how effective you are in delegating, it will fall apart without core metrics in place. Work with your team to determine which critical milestones should be monitored. Develop leading metrics that will raise a red flag if the project is veering off-track. Put effort into making sure that the metrics selected will provide warnings in advance if needed. Don’t have too many metrics which become burdensome to track; instead, select the “right” few that will be indicators of success. Agree upon them with your team upfront.
  5. Provide training & mentoring– In addition to delegating assignments, it is imperative that you take the time to accompany that task with the proper training and experiences to go with it. Mentoring can be valuable as well. Mentoring provides an example of someone who has “been there, done that” who is also an expert who is available for advice. By providing mentoring and/or helping your project team members find mentors in their area of expertise, you have, in effect, purchased insurance for your delegation. As anyone who has even been in an accident knows, insurance becomes invaluable when you need it.

Delegating project tasks has become a must in today’s new normal business environment. No leader has enough time to “do it all himself”, and no leader has the broad and diverse set of expertise required to be the ideal resource to handle every task. Instead, delegation provides not only a way to make sure the project gets done on time but it also adds to the quality of the result by leveraging team members’ strengths for the collective good.

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