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The Value of Clear Communication

August 31st, 2016

supply chain

In the last two days, several of my clients have experienced the havoc created with miscommunication or just the lack of crystal clear communication. And, this is to say nothing about the fact that 80%+ of potential clients talk about symptoms of this same issue. Why is it so hard?

As a former VP of Operations and Supply Chain, I can attest to the fact that consistent, clear communication is actually much harder than it sounds like it should be! It boils down to a few simple facts: 1) Things change (and we all have our own perceptions). 2) The game of telephone — perhaps I’m getting older but we used to play the game of telephone at my childhood parties. You’d tell the person on your right something, and then they’d tell the next person and so on. By the time the message got to the last person, it was garbled. How often does that happen at our jobs? ALL THE TIME!

telephone

One tip to implement this week:

So, what can we do this week to improve upon the clarity of our communication? Quite a lot. Start by not assuming what we’ve said is clear to the recipient. I cannot tell you how many times a client has complained about a topic, and after digging further and asking questions, everyone was on a different page, even though each person thought he/she communicated the next step.

So, how can we be clearer? Ask for the other party to confirm what you’ve said. Or summarize what you think you’ve agreed upon in different words. Often one of these two approaches will resolve any miscommunication. You could also summarize the plan in an email; however, it is much better to follow one of the first two options and re-confirm with the email. Don’t make the email lengthy. A few bullet points to confirm key actions/agreements will suffice.

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…”



LMA Consulting Group’s Lisa Anderson Reaches Publishing Milestones

August 30th, 2016
supply chain

The “I’ve Been Thinking” publication, which gives subscribers weekly supply chain industry tips, reached a 125th edition milestone.

Claremont, Calif., August 30, 2016LMA Consulting Group’s Lisa Anderson, a sought after manufacturing, distribution and supply chain consultant, speaker and writer who works with manufacturers and distributors in aerospace, building products and food to make and keep bold customer promises by empowering people with profit-driven strategies has completed major publishing milestones by reaching the 125th issue of her Profit through PeopleSM Newsletter and 100th edition of “I’ve Been Thinking” weekly tips publication. Complimentary to subscribers, both publications offer insights, ideas and expertise on trends including ERP, SIOP, The Amazon Effect and The Skills Gap.

profit-people-newsletter

Subscribers recently received the 100th edition of Lisa Anderson’s Profit through People newsletter where readers get updates on the latest supply chain events and trends.

“I enjoy sharing these strategies to improve business performance – whether it is helping to grow the business, improve service levels, increase profits or accelerate cash flow, so long as my readers pick up on an idea or two that will deliver bottom line business results, I’m pleased,” explains LMA Consulting President Lisa Anderson. “I hope that by providing this information, manufacturers and distributors have the opportunity to stay ahead of the curve. I conduct leading edge research and am continually looking for “what works” so that our industry can thrive. It is far easier to engage employees when business is growing with exciting opportunities around every corner.”

Celebrating its eleventh year, LMA Consulting Group helps growing companies elevate overall business performance while creating a customer service edge. Through a number of proven proprietary processes, LMA Consulting Group can pinpoint areas for improvement with eagle eye precision and develop the strategies to deliver results. Anderson, who was named to the top 100 best global supply chain management blogs by SupplyChainOpz, and also recognized as the 16th most influential in supply chain management and sustainability by technology leader SAP in the “Top 46 Resource and Optimizations Influencers (Plus a Few Others),” started LMA Consulting Group is a regular content contributor in topics including supply chain, ERP and SIOP. Anderson has been interviewed for articles in publications like Industry Week, tED Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. She actively posts educational blogs three times weekly and has two newsletters, Profit through PeopleSM and “I’ve Been Thinking.” For information about Lisa Anderson, go to https://www.lma-consultinggroup.com/ or call 909.630.3943.



Leaders and “They”

August 26th, 2016
leaders

Weak leadership is prevalent but surmountable by starting with an attitude adjustment. Instead of thinking of other leaders as “they”, remember that it’s a team effort and collaborate as “we”.

80% of leaders are not living up to the task! We come across hundreds of leaders every year – at our clients, non-profit work and while connecting with former colleagues and key contacts. It is unimaginable how many weak leaders there are out there! If you have some of the stronger ones, HANG ON tight!

The amount of wishy-washy leaders is simply mind-boggling. How can we get a grasp on this BIG problem rapidly? Start by taking a step back and think about “they”. When you catch yourself saying, “They won’t let me” or “They want xyz”, think about they. Who are they? Put a name to “they”.

If you are a manager, perhaps it is your boss, a Director, the CEO or CFO. Do you know? When I became “they”, it was amazing how often I had to catch myself thinking “they”, correcting it to “me or us” — even if it was the executive team, I was responsible to collaborate with this group so it was still up to me to resolve. Or, is there really no “they”? It becomes just something we say. What if we have to start owning “they”?

If you are an employee, who is “they”? Insist upon a name or group of names. The roadblocks are suddenly less complicated if we can identify the roadblock (the “they”). If you are the CEO, perhaps you are “they” – unless you are thinking of the Board of Directors or corporate (if you are a General Manager). As in my example, it really circles back to you to address the “they”.

Once you know specifically who “they” is, repeat your statement again. Do you really think “they” will not allow you to proceed with what you think is best for the company, your customer, etc.? If so, go talk to your manager.  Perhaps you and your manager can go to “they” together.

In our experience, “they” disappear quite quickly. Results will follow. And, leaders will begin to soar.

 

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

Collaboration Platform: Valuing Team Input

It Begins and Ends with Leadership

 



Big Customer Promises

August 25th, 2016

supply chain

Last week, I met with my marketing team on several topics. One of the key areas, stemming from the strategy session with my international advisory board in Sydney is “what is my unique differentiation and value proposition”. I have always been passionate about providing exceptional service which ONLY can occur if you have empowered and engaged employees. Thus, we decided upon “I work with manufacturers and distributors (with deep expertise in aerospace, building products and food industries) to make and KEEP bold customer promises by empowering people with profit-driven strategies. From my point-of-view, the promises and profit have to go hand in hand.

As we developed this statement, my marketing guru asked me about my bold customer promise. I thought that was a great question (and I had never thought about it for me) yet it was easy to answer — my clients will get results.

So, what does this have to do with pancakes?!? The weekend prior I went on a food tour of La Jolla — quite amazing! We went to Richard Walker’s Pancake House on the tour, and returned the next day for a pancake spread. Richard Walker is known for gourmet pancakes, and they refuse to expand beyond the capabilities in San Diego and IL (their flagship store is in Schaumburg, IL, which coincidentally is where I grew up!) because they want to maintain their bold customer promise of high quality gourmet pancakes and breakfasts. Although I am definitely a wheat pancake with nuts, chocolate chips and bananas person, we tried several and this German pancake is simply amazing (see below).

customer promises

One tip to implement this week:

So, what is your bold customer promise? We ALL have customers, whether our customers are other departments within our company, our boss or traditional customers for product and services.

For this week, don’t get too worked up trying to think about your bold customer promise. Start by thinking about your view of your customers. Do you know what they want? A fantastic-sounding bold customer promise does nothing for them if they don’t care about it! If you get to know what your customers want and need to be successful, it will go a long way.

For example, my customers typically want growth, improved customer service levels, increased profit, quicker cash cycles and engaged employees. However, each customer is different. Making these assumptions will be useless if I meet a customer who just wants to improve repute.


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…”



Congratulations to Kash Gokli – 2016 LMA Advocate

August 23rd, 2016
LMA Advocate. LMA Consulting Group, Harvey Mudd

Kash Gokli, Director of Engineering Clinic in the Harvey Mudd College Department of Engineering, is presented the 2016 LMA Advocate Award for his contributions to support supply chain, manufacturing and engineering.

We are thrilled to announce that Kash Gokli, professor of manufacturing and engineering management, and the Director of Engineering Clinic in the Harvey Mudd College Department of Engineering, has been recognized with the 2016 LMA Advocate Award!

We would not be successful if it wasn’t for the support and expertise of our LMA Advocates. These folks have gone over and beyond and contributed significantly to LMA Consulting’s success — and, more importantly the significant positive impact we’ve been able to make with our clients.

Kash and I have partnered together over the last few years to create and host the Harvey Mudd Executive Roundtables. Together, we have created a valuable community of top notch CEOs and senior leaders that meet to learn, discuss and debate timely topics for business success. Kash also gives freely of his time supporting our APICS-IE supply chain, manufacturing and distribution association chapter with presentations and serving as a valuable resource for members. Kash and I also have the opportunity to collaborate on client success since part of his focus at Harvey Mudd is to partner with students and manufacturers to help develop new products and design machinery and process improvements.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People and join me in my appreciation of the people who have helped LMA Consulting Group to continue to grow.

Thanks to my LMA Advocate Awardees