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Electric Car Investment Surges Among Big and Unexpected Names

September 29th, 2017

Supply Chain Briefing

Dyson just announced it will build a radically different electric car by 2020. What is particularly interesting is that Dyson is not who you would expect to get into electric cars. They are spending far more (one billion £) to develop the car than they are on the rest of their traditional business lines (vacuums and air filters). Obviously, they see vast potential. Similarly, Mercedes is aggressively targeting Tesla with a $1 billion electric push. Not only that, they are doing it in the U.S. – in Alabama to be specific. Electric car investments are stimulating a billion here and a billion there…

Electric Car Battery Charging

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

Whether your business has anything to do with electric cars or not, you should pay attention. It is obvious that executives see potential benefits and will back these sentiments with money. Noticing where investments are flowing can be critical as it will impact your business in one way or another. For example, if you are in Alabama, you might have a harder time finding skilled talent when Mercedes comes to town. If you need the same materials that are required for electric car batteries, you might slide down the supply totem pole. What will you do? Can you consider the R&D of your own business to get ahead of the curve? Or, at a minimum, perhaps you’ll have to incorporate a price increase into your future plans. That actually came up at a client earlier this week so I’ve seen it in action.

Stay abreast of what’s going on around your industry and your business. Think about the potential impacts. For the noteworthy and high-risk items, dig deeper. Discuss with your supply chain partners and trusted advisers. The bottom line: Don’t be surprised by critical potential impacts to your business.

 

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Styx and the Power of Positivity and Enjoying Your Career

September 27th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Last week, I attended a Styx concert at the L.A. Fair – what a powerful event! The band has been around for 45 years and still enjoys singing together! It was totally apparent watching the concert. They really took the positive spin on their commentary and truly enjoyed singing their classics such as my favorite, “Come Sail Away”. Since I started on a quest to see some of the “greats” while they were still singing over the last few years, I have some performances to compare. Thus, it is obvious that although all of the classics sang their greatest hits, Styx stood out in enjoying their greatest hits. What a difference loving your job can make! Take a look at the grand finale…

Styx in Concert at the L.A. Fair

Styx in Concert at the L.A. Fair – the grand finale!

One tip to implement this week: 

Why not take a positive attitude to your job or career – after all, you probably spend more time doing that than anything else! Try putting a positive spin on whatever happens this week at work and see what happens. You might find that it is a lot more enjoyable. You also might find that there are some interesting people you hadn’t really noticed before. Take a genuine interest and let me know how it goes. If it still happens to be miserable, perhaps you should get out. No job is worth misery!

One way to seek out positivity: “catching your colleagues doing something right”. Recognize them. Beyond your colleagues, perhaps look for where your manager or boss or a board member has gone out of his/her way to make a situation better. Appreciate it. Now for the hardest of all – look for where your most annoying team members (no matter their position) are doing something right. I wouldn’t be surprised if 80% of us have a much better week this week after this exercise! Let me know in the comments.

Read more about promoting a positive work culture…

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Wisconsin Provides HUGE Tax Incentives to Lure Apple Manufacturer

September 25th, 2017

Supply Chain Briefing

The state of Wisconsin granted $3 billion in tax incentives to Foxconn to entice them to manufacture in the midwestern state. This is not only the highest government subsidy ever offered for a foreign company to locate to the U.S., but it also specifically entices production that goes into the Apple iPhone. It certainly proves that blanket statements about innovation in government are just as inaccurate as all others! Wisconsin shows that thinking outside the box can be achieved even in government.

Wisconsin manufacturing

Clearly, it also shows that manufacturing is relevant in today’s environment. Have you thought about whether you are thinking outside the box? And are you searching for what might be available to support manufacturers? There are actually many programs (federal, state and local) where you can gain “free” money for things you already do – perform research & development, provide training (California has incentives), and the list goes on. Feel free to contact us anytime to learn more.

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

What might seem impossible to us might not be! Do you tend to write off ideas before considering their full value? Perhaps we should take a page from Wisconsin’s playbook and look at the big picture, think long-term and mix it up a bit. We should also take a second look at innovation. Do we have a work culture that will support out-of-the-box ideas? If not, we must start there.

And, last but not least, do you consider manufacturing relevant? Although I live on the border of the Inland Empire in California, which is known for big box distributors (Target, Amazon, Apple 3PL’s etc.), it is simply amazing how much manufacturing is also located here. You hear about how everything has moved to China or Mexico and manufacturing is dead but “we are not dead yet” (reminds me of the Monty Python…) Actually, we are far from dead – there is quite a strong push to locate manufacturing closer to customers and leverage innovative collaborative and efficiency programs to ensure profitability to boot. If you’d like to learn more, take a look at programs like APICS Inland Empire‘s session on “Changing Trade Policies and its Effect on Reshoring“. Fascinating stuff no matter where you live.

 

If this topic interests you, take a look at Samsung Expanding Manufacturing in the U.S.

 

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The Manufacturing Forum and the Value of Relationships

September 21st, 2017

Business relationships are the key to success. Although we need to be technically competent, able to communicate our plans and ideas and write a decent email (not as common as you’d think!), we still will not get far in our career if we do not value relationships. Although this is obviously true for sales and marketing resources, it is JUST as true for every professional – from operations to finance resources.

Last week, I spoke about the Amazon Effect on the Manufacturing Industry at the Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing Forum. It is always fun talking with a new group and widening my relationship network with manufacturing companies, as it gives me additional insights into manufacturing trends and what is critical to success. I see it as a win-win – the manufacturing executives gain ideas for success and I gain additional insights that can help my clients achieve greater success. And we ALL gain valuable industry relationships. I cannot take credit for this event idea. Ruby Huey, Vice President, Relationship Manager of Citizens Business Bank and the 2017-2018 Chairwoman of the Rancho Chamber came up with the idea, put the agenda together and coordinated the event. Here we are pictured below.

Lisa Anderson with Ruby Huey

Lisa Anderson with Ruby Huey at the Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce Manufacturing Forum

One tip to implement this week: 

Who do we call when the chips are down? Who do we call if we need fresh ideas? Who do we call if we need a quick turnaround for a product or service? Who do we call when we need bank financing? You might not have “your person” for every one of these scenarios, but I hope you have someone pop into mind. Pick your best suppliers, customers, employees, colleagues, industry association contacts and more. Start with one category that makes the most sense for you. Who do you know? Is there anyone you wouldn’t want to lose touch with? Perhaps that’s a good place to start. Put some effort into your relationships and start by finding a way to help the other person. If you provide value to one additional person this week, you’ll be off to a great start.

 



IBM, MIT & Artificial Intelligence

September 15th, 2017

Supply Chain Briefing

IBM has announced it plans to spend $240 million over the next ten years to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) research lab with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Anytime these two powerhouses collaborate and put their money where their mouth is, we should at least pay attention and consider the significance. AI is popping up in conversations everywhere as all type of organizations and industries are seeing the significance of AI technology. I don’t even have to look very far. My mom said her Amazon Alexa was one of the best presents she has ever received. (And that’s solely for the ease of the alarm!)

The future of artificial intelligence

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

Artificial intelligence is certainly a hot topic! However, it isn’t just hype. Proctor & Gamble improved unplanned downtime by 10-20% with AI. Siemens is using AI to optimize industrial facilities and is employing it for a wide variety of other applications in areas such as energy distribution, electric motors, and rail technology. There are a vast number of uses. It’s time to start thinking about how it could affect your industry.

Are any of your current partners (suppliers, IT/ERP etc.) researching AI?  You do not have to do it alone. Do you want to lead these efforts or pay attention to what is going on around you? Or, perhaps like IBM and MIT, you want to create a new partnership? It is a strategic decision. One way or another, if you aren’t at least paying attention, you will be passed by.

 

Read more about technology trends in supply chain.

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