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Who Cares about Process Disciplines?

August 9th, 2016
process discipline

Increased margins and company growth are easier to reach when process disciplines are emphasized within an organization

Who cares about process disciplines? All executives say they care but few are willing to focus the efforts on instilling process disciplines. It seems like a less important topic than creating a new product, expanding into new markets or increasing margins; however, it is at the crux of success! No improvements can be made in inventory, service, efficiencies and the like without starting here.

When we see a client with excellent process disciplines, we typically see the following:

  1. Clear understanding of roles and responsibilities
  2. Clear understanding of the process steps and related system transactions that support the business.
  3. Clear understanding of the timing, sequencing and interaction among process steps and functional departments.

We’ve seen some clients with books of process documentation yet very little success with process disciplines. Of course, having a documented process is a good idea; however, that alone will get you nowhere. Instead, think about and communicate the importance of process disciplines. Support the documentation of “what makes sense”. And results will follow.

After 11 years of consulting and 15 years before that in organizational life, I can communicate with absolute certainty that those who emphasize process disciplines will be more successful in growing the business and increasing margins than those who don’t. If you’d like to talk over how process disciplines could be strengthened in your business, contact us.

 

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Successful CEOs/Presidents & Leadership

August 8th, 2016

supply chain

Our APICS Inland Empire chapter went on a tour of Paulson Manufacturing, and it was simply excellent! It reminded me of how powerful the influence and impact of the CEO is on an organization. Roy Paulson, the President, not only spent considerable time with us talking about the market, his strategy, obstacles and technology but he also personally walked us around his facility.

I will dedicate a future Profit through People article to some of Roy’s wisdom; however, one concept that permeated the day was the power of leadership. Roy talked about working in every job at his facility. He learned from all sorts of different people including the government. He isn’t afraid to spend countless hours on what he knows could be important. He is willing to talk about failures as well as successes. And, he has so many ways of giving back to the community — and the nation — that it could take years to wind down some of these responsibilities. Do you think his people follow? Of course!

Here’s our picture at the end of the tour (by his 3D printer):

Paulson Manufacturing

One tip to implement this week:

So, perhaps you cannot join President Obama’s export council this week (since this is one of Roy’s many roles) but you can make progress in terms of leadership. Part of leadership is listening.

If you are in a leadership position, make a conscious effort to listen and walk in a new set of shoes for the day. You might learn something that could have a powerful impact on your business. I’d also like to suggest that you set aside time for thinking about strategy.

If you are not in a leadership position, do not despair. I cannot tell you how people I’ve seen who have had a profound impact — with followers throughout the company — who were not in a direct leadership role. Start building your skills. Ask questions and listen. I bet you’ll pick up on something in short order that you could recommend to leadership or improve on your own, starting immediately. Let me know how it goes. 

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…”

 



The Value of Implementation

August 5th, 2016
change initiative

Successful project implementation requires leadership and hard work to pick up the pieces when something goes wrong – because something always will.

Strategy and plans do not fail in formulation; they fail in implementation.  Time and time again, my clients prove this statement.

Although I am an expert in helping clients select the best ERP system to meet their objectives (and have developed a proprietary process for just this process – ACE), system implementations go awry during implementation. I also happen to be an expert at significant change initiatives in complex organizations (whether merger and acquisitions or culture change) – undoubtedly, they go off the rails during implementation; not formulation.  Thus, it is quite critical to consider the value of implementation.

Because these initiatives are core to success, it is worth thinking about what has the most impact on results. The problem with implementation is that it requires hard work and leadership. There aren’t short cuts on this path to success. For example, when going through a merger, acquisition or selling the business, it is important to think through how you’ll handle issues that arise.  If there is one certainty with these types of projects, it is that issues will arise.  If you haven’t figured out how to address them so that the team aligns with the path forward, damage will be done. Synergies will disappear. Margins will decline. Morale will drop. Customers might hit the road. Thinking through how to handle these scenarios in a way that aligns with “what you said you’ll do” and the company philosophy is important.

If nothing else, consider “thinking before you act” when it comes to implementation. It is easy to slide to the 80% fail rate to meet expectations.  You must be on your toes, proactive and fully understanding the value of implementation for success to consider following you.

 

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Lisa Anderson Reaches Publishing Milestone with Project Times, an Online Hub for Project Managers

August 2nd, 2016

70ProjectTimes

LMA Consulting Group President Lisa Anderson adds another key achievement to her many accomplishments by providing advice, guidance, strategic tips and assistance to those in supply chain, manufacturing, project management and distribution in over 70 blog post articles in Project Times, an online resource for project managers. Since 2009, Anderson has been a regular contributor to this ultimate PM destination for news, tips, resources and articles and regularly publishes on topics of project planning, project management software, project leadership and project manager skillsets.

“I’m partial to the plight of the project manager since so much is contingent on the successful oversight of a project’s implementation,” explains LMA Consulting President Lisa Anderson. “Solid project leadership delivers dramatic – and critical – results for manufacturers and distributors in today’s Amazon-impacted business environment. Thus, equipping your resources with knowledge of the best tools and strategies to ensure success delivers key customer initiatives, improves service, increases profit and accelerates cash flow. Project Times is an excellent resource that project managers can use 24/7, and I’ve been pleased to provide content for the past seven years.”

Celebrating its eleventh year, LMA Consulting Group helps growing companies make and keep bold customer promises while elevating overall business performance and profits. Anderson, who was named to the top 100 best global supply chain management blogs bySupplyChainOpz, 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 as a regular content contributor in topics including supply chain, ERP and SIOP. Anderson has been interviewed for articles in publications like Industry WeektED Magazineand 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.



It Begins and Ends with Leadership

August 1st, 2016
leadership

The key to successful management is good leadership to set the right tone and direction. Devote more time developing leaders by supporting high performers.

As my HR mentor used to say, it begins and ends with leadership. Although we’ve certainly talked about this topic before, it is worth it to dedicate time to it again. After all, results follow leaders.

The leader sets the tone and direction. As consultants, we find that we can make good progress, no matter the leader; however, there is ZERO doubt the progress will be much quicker with a solid leader supporting our initiative.  This has occurred 100% of the time! For example, we are currently working with a client that would like to improve service levels to its customers. We were making progress regardless; however, we moved into high gear with leadership focus. Think of it as pushing a boulder up hill. Assuming you have some athletic ability, you’ll eventually push the boulder up the hill if it is important enough; however, if you have the “right” leaders in place, it feels like you go from pushing a boulder uphill to giving it a small tap downhill.  That boulder will ACCELERATE and build momentum – success follows.

Instead of thinking you’ll “get to” talking to your key resources “when time is available”, MAKE the time. Don’t focus all of your attention on poor performers. Dedicate at least equal time – if not more time – to high performers and your success will gain steam. Remember the basics such as performance management. Recognize progress and results. Appreciate your top performers. Undoubtedly, you’ll be thrilled you did.

 

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