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Manufacturing Strategy Expert, Lisa Anderson, Predicts Innovation as Catalyst for Inland Southern California “Place to Be” for Manufacturers and Distributors

April 26th, 2018

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – April 25, 2018 –  Supply Chain and Manufacturing Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., sees innovation as key to the success of manufacturing.

“In order to be ahead of the curve and the competition, continuous improvement is no longer enough. Companies must innovate. Innovative products, processes, ideas, collaboration techniques, and technologies such as IOT, block chain and business intelligence allow manufacturers to maximize the customer experience and enable profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth.” explained Ms. Anderson.  In today’s Amazonian environment, we are in the era of the customer.  Innovation, rapid customization and manufacturing agility have led to a resurgence.

“Since the Inland Empire of Southern California is located in an epicenter of the population (larger than 25 states and part of California which would be the 6th largest country), it is an ideal location to provide a superior customer experience, highly customized product and service with rapid delivery. When added with its many advantages – access to high-skilled talent, technological and automation prowess, lower-cost space and labor costs vs. surrounding areas and top-notch manufacturing and supply chain programs and education such as Harvey Mudd, there is no better place to be” she said.

Ms. Anderson recently chaired the Innovation Awards at the 7th Annual Manufacturers’ Summit hosted by the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire. Awards were given for innovation in process, product, human capital and marketing, and included a special award to students.

“There is tremendous opportunity for manufacturers to thrive.  After all, we have set the standards for innovation since manufacturing became a powerhouse in the 1920’s. There’s every reason to believe that we can continue raising the bar and make Inland Southern California “the” destination of choice for manufacturers around the world” she concluded.

In support of manufacturing and the related industries, Ms. Anderson is President of the APICS Inland Empire Chapter and is taking on a greater role in Inland Southern California by becoming a board member for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership. She is moderating a panel at the Southern California E-Commerce and Logistics Summit on April 26th.

About LMA Consulting Group – Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD

Lisa Anderson is the founder and president of LMA Consulting Group, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in manufacturing strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation that maximizes the customer experience and enables profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth Ms. Anderson has been named a Top 40 B2B Tech Influencer by arketi group, a 50 ERP Influencer by Washington-Frank, ranked in the top 46 most influential in Supply Chain by SAP, named a top woman influencer by Solutions Review and subject matter expert by HowDo. She recently published, I’ve Been Thinking, an inspiring collection of 101 strategies for creating bold customer promises and profits. A regular content contributor on topics including supply chain, ERP and SIOP, Ms. Anderson is regularly interviewed and quoted by publications such as Industry Week, tED magazine and the Wall Street Journal.  For more information, to sign up for her Profit Through PeopleTM Newsletter or for a copy of her book, visit LMA-ConsultingGroup.com.



Have You Heard Horror Stories about ERP?

April 25th, 2018

enterprise resource planningSince we are known in ERP circles, it is a topic that comes up in conversation frequently.  Recently, at an Executive Forums meeting, one member talked about a situation he knew about where the company lost half its sales after a failed ERP implementation, and they ended up reverting back to their old system.  Can you imagine? The unfortunate thing is this is not uncommon although it is a more dramatic example.

ERP isn’t bad.  It is essential in achieving scalable, profitable growth although sometimes it can seem bad and have just horrible results.  

Similarly, no particular ERP system is bad; although some are definitely better for your particular situation and growth plans than others. We cringe when we hear about the plans of potential clients who were sold ‘ice to eskimos’ by ERP suppliers.  The challenge is that an ERP system can sound like a significant financial investment and so clients are tempted to not add cost by hiring an expert to assist with the process. However, since it is as significant as it is, when it goes bad, it extrapolates into many times the initial investment with unhappy customers, added cost and more.  Thus, it is no wonder clients stick with a ‘dead ERP’ longer than they should in many cases, which limits their ability to grow – and certainly achieve scalable, profitable growth.

All hope is not lost!  Here are a few things to consider when evaluating ERP and whether you should think about upgrading:  

  1.  Can you support your growth plans two years out? –  ERP isn’t something you slam in place unless you want to experience the horrific stories.  Start two years out. If you will be limiting your ability to grow profitably, it is time. It could be that you are on a system like QuickBooks, or you expect M&A activity or a potential sale, or you have a highly customized system or one that isn’t supportable two years down-the-line.
  2.  Forget about bells & whistles (cool items ERP suppliers show you) and evaluate a short list of critical success factors for your business –  This is #1 to success in evaluating ERP systems.  These critical success factors are items relevant to your profit drivers, maximizing the customer experience, unique to your industry/company, etc.  Once you identify them, tie them to functionality.
  3.  Consider your partners carefully – Although selecting the best system for your situation is cornerstone to getting the appropriate foundation on your house, if you have the wrong partner, you might as well hang up your hat.  The perfect software with the lowest cost proposal from a weaker partner will quickly surpass your highest cost proposal with a so-so partner and double it from there – at a minimum. Selecting ERP partners is quite similar to selecting any good partner – be aware you’ll be happily collaborating or stuck with them for quite a long time.

All businesses will go through ERP upgrades at least once or twice every 10-20 years (if done well, more if not).  Why not pay attention to how to make one of the most significant investments pay off?

 



The Amazon Effect Remains Hot

April 20th, 2018

Our marketing guru asked whether we should start talking about other topics aside from the Amazon Effect since there are a vast number of key topics occurring in manufacturing and distribution, and she wondered if it was becoming stale (and it’s her job to make us look at timely as possible). The answer came in from all angles – conference leaders continue to request this topic, news reporters continue to ask about it (including the Wall Street Journal in a recent conversation) and everyone is STILL talking about it.

For example, when the Ontario Chamber CEO mentioned this topic for Good Morning Ontario, it drew the largest audience to date!  Our Amazon Effect: Pass or Play: the New Sales & Distribution Game and How it Affect Manufacturers panel at the Manufacturers Summit was packed.  It was fun to participate with two heavyweights, BJ Patterson and Dan Vest talking about this hot topic.  Here is a short snippet from that panel:

 

 

 Why is the Amazon Effect so compelling?

  1. We are in the year of the customer – According to the 2018 predictions by the Tech Girl in the Press Enterprise, the customer was a common theme.  You don’t have to read the paper to figure that out; just look around you. Every client talks about elevated customer expectations, stemming from Amazon-like offerings.  Even my Mom’s expectations have been raised significantly – 2 day deliveries are a bit slow in her mind now.
  2. Innovation trumps all – Amazon is constantly innovating and trying new ideas.  Testing drones, delivering food, leveraging technology (with their e-commerce site, in their warehouses and more), and even the classics such as Amazon Prime (one of the most successful subscription services). Are you innovating?
  3. Collaborating with strange bedfellows – From the start, we have been fascinated with Amazon’s collaboration strategies.  Starting with an entity known for the opposite of innovation, the U.S. Postal Service – Amazon has been partnering with them to provide deliveries. Did you ever think you’d see a U.S. Postal truck delivering on a Sunday? Whatever you think about the recent news on this topic, it is an interesting choice for a partner.  It has not stopped there. They are partnering with Kohl’s and Whole Foods – the Whole Foods CEO spoke at the APICS International conference (after the purchase) on the collaboration, etc.
  4.  Sheer size and impact – Amazon is bigger than most brick and mortar retailers put together.  As of Dec 2016, Amazon’s market value exceed Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, Kohl’s, JC Penney, Nordstrom and Sears put together.  Currently their market value is $681 billion. In February, Amazon surpassed Microsoft for the first time. Thus, it is worth paying attention.

Are you paying attention to the Amazon effect?  You should be! If you’d like help in positioning your organization for success in today’s Amazonian environment and the year of the customer, contact us.

 

 



The Economy and the Inland Empire are on Fire!

April 17th, 2018

IE Forecasts
Since we attended not one but two economic forecast events last week (one hosted by Claremont McKenna and one hosted by the Inland Empire Economic Partnership), we thought it made sense to share the take-aways:

 

 

  1. The economy has never looked better especially in the Inland Empire – All the signs point up.  Even though folks are concerned about when the other shoe will drop, from an economic point-of-view, all appears positive.
  2.  Jobs at record levels with the Inland Empire leading California –  We are virtually at zero unemployment. Perhaps we need to be concerned about retaining our top talent!
  3.  Tax law is a boost for manufacturers! The Claremont McKenna economic forecast showed the progression and the definite boost from the tax law.  Not only is it increasing profit but it is also encouraging investment. It is likely to lead to interest rate increases as the Fed meets in 2018.
  4.  The Inland Empire is on fire!  First, did you know that just the Inland Empire is larger than 25 of the 50 states, let alone if we added the rest of Southern California?  It is leading California in many respects – job growth for one. And it is an attractive place to be in business, surrounded by tons of customers/ consumers, lower wages on average, more space availability at lower prices than Los Angeles and Orange County, access to a growing Ontario airport (with a new international direct flight to China soon) and with significant advances in technology and access to skills.We believe the IE is the place to be in manufacturing and distribution today! Amazon agrees since they have 21 of their 26 million square feet in Southern CA in the IE!
  5.  And a few cautionary comments…  There was a panel of CEO’s at the Claremont McKenna economic forecast that spoke about the California minimum wage hikes.  These are definitely not popular with manufacturers and distributors who utilize talent in the lower pay scales – challenging to compete with other states of course. At the IEEP, there was talk about the pace of automation and technology. From a profit, customer and competitive perspective, there are lots of advantages. In manufacturing, this is already prevalent and the impacts aren’t expected to be dramatically different.  However, in distribution, they are just getting started.  Although there are several positive points, it will be disruptive in terms of jobs and there will be a need to redeploy these blue collar employees.Lastly, trade can certainly impact the IE – stay tuned. In talking with two IEEP manufacturers, one said the tariffs helped, and the other said it could go well or really, really poorly depending on a few factors.

The IE is on fire and  growing!



Who Gets the Talent?

April 13th, 2018

The Talent War
In today’s era of growth, talent is in short supply.  Clients are finding that they do not have the talent required to support profitable growth, and so they are searching.  They are in a tough spot because stealing talent away from current employers has proven quite the challenge. Employers are offering incentives to stay put.  The bottom line – there is a war on talent. Who gets the talent?

Qualified Talent
While recently assisting a client to find top notch, technical talent through traditional on-line sources, we can definitely say it is an exercise in frustration.  Although they received many potential candidates, less than 1% were worthy of an interview – AND less than 1% of those were viable to hire.  It certainly isn’t the path to success.

Although it dramatically improves those percentages, hiring a recruiter doesn’t guarantee success either. We have seen examples of three potential employees given offers only to back out after getting a counter offer from their employer.  

The Answer?
So, who gets the talent?

  1.  Good leaders – People work for people; not companies.  Have you been paying attention to your leaders and whether they are attractive to work for?  You better!
  2.  Interesting work – Working for a paycheck is definitely not enough.  What interests your employees? Find a way to tie that into their work.  Give them opportunities to expand their reach.
  3.  Pay for performance – Will your employees receive an incentive for improving the company’s customer service, helping to grow the business, increasing profit or reducing inventory?  If so, they will be more interested in what will directly impact their pay.
  4.  Good reputation – Does your company and your leaders have a positive reputation?  Employees will know. Potential employees will find out. Everyone can look you up on social media channels, talk with colleagues at civic and trade association events etc.
  5.  Develop people – Do you offer mentoring and training opportunities?  Those who do entice employees to learn, contribute and stay.

Why not focus efforts in these areas?  Money and time invested in these pursuits will provide a handsome payoff – and an engaged workforce.