Mexican Chinelo Dancers & Family Tradition

June 30th, 2017

Last weekend, I attended the wedding of a client colleague and friend, and luckily I stayed just long enough to see the Chinelo dancers. I had no idea what a Chinelo dancer was prior to this wedding; however, they were a big hit!


Chinelos is a traditional carnival dance in the Mexican state of Morelos. The Chinelo dancers dance to a brass band — in essence it is a colorful hip hop focused on the family. It is hard not to be cheerful with the family traditions, colorful costumes, big hats and powerful music of this dance. I understand they play at festivals, weddings, funerals and rodeos. Now that reminds me of the New Orleans funeral — quite the festivity! Have you thought about the importance of family traditions and being colorful?

One tip to implement this week: 

I work with many family-owned businesses — and businesses that could learn something by creating family-type traditions, even if private equity backed or a department or facility of a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. What brings your teams together? Similar to this Chinelo dance that brings grandparents with grandchildren and many more together and passes through the generations, what sort of legacy could your team create where your team members would desire to pass it to the next generation, mentee or peer?

Why not think of something fun? Enjoying your day certainly can go a long way to creating a happy environment with happy and productive employees. How about colorful? Why not ignite the creativity within your team? Creativity and innovation can create dramatic results but they cannot be dictated. Your people must feel safe in being colorful, making mistakes and learning from them. Do they? Take a small step and find a way to add a bit of color to your day.


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…”


Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) – Success Depends on People

June 27th, 2017

Vendor Managed InventoryAs with almost every topic our clients call about, Vendor Managed Inventory or VMI and supply chain partner collaboration programs are no different. Success directly correlates to people.

Questions You Should Ask When Coordinating VMI

1. Do your employees and partners understand VMI and the benefits of VMI? Undoubtedly, success is better when people understand how it matters.

2. Do your employees have relationships with their VMI counterparts? Do they have a good relationship with their suppliers and/or customers related to Vendor Managed Inventory? Have they met them? It goes a long way to meet a few key contacts.

3. Do your employees understand what is expected of them on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? Don’t assume if your customer requested VMI that they have clarified how the process works. Make sure the processes, systems/technologies, and communications are clearly understood.

4. Do all VMI parties understand the measurements? Often, we see scorecards used as a way to track performance. Do you understand what goes into the calculations? What is important to your customers? Have you explained what is important to your suppliers?

5. Have you set up check points? One of the keys to success is to set up time to talk with all VMI-related parties to see what’s working, what’s not working and how you can improve the process and results. 

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Fully Autonomous Vehicles Will Be Here by 2020

June 26th, 2017

Autonomous vehicles seem to arise at every corner. Last week, I heard a presentation on autonomous vehicles by the executive VP of Hyundai, and earlier this week, I participated on a panel at Future Ports Annual Conference with a Caltrans researcher on autonomous vehicles. What is clear is that self-driving cars are going to occur. There is substantial testing, money and efforts going into the development of autonomous vehicles. Amazon, Uber, UPS….all the big names are investing. Certainly, this new technology will revolutionize the trucking and transportation industry.

transportation industry

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Start by not burying your head in the sand. Although there are certainly bumps in the road, there is an amazing amount of investment and effort going into autonomous vehicles. The bugs will be worked out eventually. Thus, start thinking about the potential impacts on your industry, your company and your career.

The positive news is that self-driven vehicles will undoubtedly reduce traffic deaths. As they get closer to practicality, the transportation landscape will change. The truck driver shortage may not matter. The amount of time a truck driver can drive at once to avoid getting tired won’t matter anymore. This will speed up transit times. There will also be radical implications on industries and companies. Do you know whether you are likely to become a winner or loser in this reality? What should you be doing to come out on the winning side? There will also be substantial infrastructure and legal changes. Changes abound. Start by taking stock of how autonomous vehicles are likely to impact you.


Lisa Anderson Releases Book to Spur Business Innovation

June 23rd, 2017

Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, known as the Manufacturing Business Transformer(SM) and president of LMA Consulting Group, released her book, I’ve Been Thinking…Turning Everyday Interactions into Profitable Opportunities, as a roadmap for businesses, manufacturers and distributors to infuse innovation into their daily work practices. The book is packed with over 100 of Anderson’s insights and strategies on how to create bold customer promises and profits by transforming business performance while keeping an eye on the global perspective and seeing what others cannot in order to create dramatic customer experiences and profitable opportunities. Anderson relies on her global consulting practice where she draws on her experience and observations to share with readers practical and action-inducing ideas to help businesses make the leap ahead of their competition.

“Lisa Anderson not only engages us, she enables us to engage others. She’s given herself the ultimate gift: the time to think unmolested and undisturbed, emptying her mind of the daily grind and allowing herself to travel outside of the box, to destinations of creativity, insight, and perspective. To stand on great walls,” states Alan Weiss, Ph.D. is the author of Million Dollar Consulting

Anderson has been publishing a weekly newsletter by the same name, I’ve Been Thinking, since 2014, which her clients find to be an invaluable resource. Wallace P. Brithinee, Ph.D. and President of Brithinee Electric, states “I like Lisa’s column, ‘I’ve Been Thinking‘, because it delivers the right mix of suggestions, prodding, and human interest that I find useful.”

The author says that writing her newsletter has expanded her thinking dramatically, “Now, there are a seemingly endless supply of everyday interactions that can be turned into profitable opportunities.” Anderson further states that she now sees everyday occurrences in an entirely new light — there is always some sort of idea or lesson to glean from the most mundane of topics.

“As president of LMA Consulting Group, as well as her leadership positions in APICS and other organizations, Lisa gets to meet a lot of people and gets to visit a lot of companies,” says Professor Kash Gokli of Harvey Mudd College. “That is where she gets her inspiration for ‘I’ve Been Thinking.’ Her writing on a diverse compilation of best practices is both informative and insightful.” 

I’ve Been Thinking is available as a paperback on Amazon and as an eBook on Kindle. To subscribe to Lisa Anderson’s newsletter, click here or copy and paste this link into your browser

VMI – Do You Need Software?

June 20th, 2017
Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI)

A Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) initiative will improve services levels and may not require supporting software.

Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) – do you need software? Of course, the answer is “It depends.”

A few items to think about to determine if you need software to support a VMI initiative:

1. Are you interested in doing VMI with your suppliers, customers or both? For suppliers, the focus is on the transfer of data. For customers, you’ll need to create orders and transfer data at a minimum.

2. How many suppliers and/or customers and customer locations do you plan to pursue with VMI? If there are few, manual will work just fine. We have achieved vast success with aerospace clients using portal data and manually creating orders.

3. How integrated do you need VMI to be with your ERP system? For example, when I was VP of Operations at PaperPak, we implemented VMI with our #1 customer, Baxter Healthcare/Shield Healthcare and so we figured out what to send to their locations throughout the U.S. We provided such excellent service that we won supplier of the year two years in a row! However, even better, we were able to gain huge benefits on our side with inventory turns, logistics efficiencies, gains in business etc. In our case, VMI was separate; however, the orders had to be visible in both systems, and the forecast had to go to ERP as well. However, we didn’t have to physically scan items at our customers’ locations which might require a direct connection depending on your setup.

4. Are your suppliers/customers EDI capable? Do they use portals? If they use portals, does your ERP system have portal capability? Or do they send spreadsheets? Or emails? Technical capabilities will play an important role.


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