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Do You Live By Values Daily?

August 29th, 2018

We decided to participate in Executive Forums (an executive peer group) and Global Growth Cycle (a global consulting peer group) in order to stay up-to-date on what our clients need (sometimes even before they know they ‘need’ it).  After all, understanding what is successful as well as investing in our continual learning are important factors in long-term success.  

At a recent meetings of both groups, the importance of values arose.  Do you have values? And, more importantly, do you LIVE by values or are they just pasted on your wall (and ignored)?

Because we felt it was important for LMA Consulting to stand for something, we have codified our values.  As a part of our communication efforts, we are sharing them with our clients, colleagues, subcontractors, advisors and more.  Of course, we always welcome feedback and input.

To kick off, we have four core values that happen to start with ‘P’ (which we enjoy because of the alliteration):

 

PEOPLE

PASSION

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERSISTENCE

PERFORMANCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

LMA Values

  1. People – As we continually say (and believe), people are our #1 asset.  Our affiliations, LMA Associates, colleagues, clients and advisors fall into this category.  No matter how perfect the process or ideal the technology, it will not “work” without the people.
  2. Passion – It certainly makes life more interesting to enjoy what you do and have a passion for helping clients achieve bottom line results.  We find that success follows applied passion.
  3.  Persistence – No matter the topic in business (or life), persistence has been core to our success.  There is definitely truth to saying ‘persistence trumps talent’. Having both wouldn’t hurt but we’ll take persistence any day!
  4. Performance  – At the end of the day, keeping focused on delivering bottom line business results matters.  In our case, we deliver BOLD customer promises and profits!

Give your values some thought.  Start at square zero. Do you have them?  Do you agree with them? Do you ‘live’ them?  How about your team? Since this is a beneficial predecessor to setting strategy and ensuring results, it is worthwhile.  If you have questions or are thinking about how to get started, contact us .



What Tours Have You Gone on Lately?

August 27th, 2018

In the last month, I have attended quite a few tours of manufacturing and distribution operations.  The pictures below were taken at an APICS Inland Empire and ProVisors tour of Southwest Traders Foodservice Distribution and Do It American Manufacturing.  Both were excellent.  And I walked away with great tips!

Tours are a great way to see different ways of doing business and gain insights and ideas to apply in your company.  I find that what I see and learn will provide value to clients somewhere down the line.  As often as I hear clients request a consultant with knowledge in their specific industry, I have found that we often-times provide even greater value when we can apply a concept that we’ve seen in a completely different industry that looks like it could be an ideal solution.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
How recently have you gone on a tour?  You might want to start by going on a tour of your company.  As strange as it sounds, it can be eye opening if you take the view of an external tour and see what you observe.  Better yet, take others with you and see what they observe.

Beyond your facility, there are many options for tours of manufacturing and distribution operations.  You can go to customers and suppliers to better understand their operations. Not only will you gain ideas, but you’ll learn about companies that tie directly to yours and collaborate with supply chain partners.

You can also tour by joining a trade association like APICS (trade association for supply chain and operations management), the DMA (distribution management), ISM (supply management), CSCMP (transportation) and more.  Last but not least, why not ask friends and colleagues for a tour.

While you are touring, observe and ask questions.  You are likely to see new techniques, learn about new technologies, see different equipment (such as narrow aisle forklifts which we saw at Southwest Traders), observe robots in action (which we did at Do It American), discuss metrics and dashboards and much more.

Step out.  Take a Tour.  Learn from Others.



LMA’s 2018 Advocate Award and Recognition

August 25th, 2018

On the 10 year anniversary of my business, I recognized 10 people for 10 years as LMA Advocates – people who have gone over and beyond, resulting in LMA Consulting’s growth and success.  I truly appreciate their support, expertise, ideas and feedback. I would not be here today without them – and certainly not leading a growing and leading edge consulting practice that partners with manufacturers and supply chain organizations to create BOLD customer promises and profits.  

Ever since my 10-year bash, I’ve recognized one person each year on the anniversary of LMA Consulting.  Recently, on my 13-year anniversary, I announced Kelly Ford as our 2018 LMA Advocate.

 

Kelly Ford and I have worked together at three separate aerospace organizations and at least double or triple that in terms of projects. We have achieved significant results together (improved customer service levels to support business growth, expanded capacity and efficiencies, and right-sized inventory levels to maximize the use of cash and capital), and, most importantly, she orchestrated it so that we achieved these results while valuing and engaging people.

I find Kelly a pleasure.  It is not often that I find a client who is interested in continual improvement, is willing to try new ideas and stick with them as the inevitable obstacles arise and is so well-respected by her team. (So much so, that everyone pulls together to “make it happen” and has fun during the process.)  

One tip to implement this week:
Are you recognizing people who have been instrumental in your company’s growth and success?  Don’t think about this only in terms of direct relationships. For example, don’t just recognize the sales person who bagged the elephant. Instead, think about each person’s contribution to growth and success. Is there someone who is invisible working in the background (perhaps taken for granted) who makes it happen on a daily basis?

Also, don’t just think about sales and revenue growth. Although revenue is clearly relevant, expand your viewpoint – is there someone who “passes the ball” to your sales team?  Most likely – yes! Who has the best pass percentages? Since I went to UNC Chapel Hill (Tar Heels), I have become accustomed to winning at basketball. Solid players that pass are invaluable to the team.

Find the gems in your organization and recognize them.  Thank them in front of their peers. Tailor their ‘award’ to what is meaningful to them.  Perhaps your winner wants to be on a special project team or attend a training session. Why not make it meaningful and demonstrate your appreciation for the contribution to success?

And, Thank You, Kelly Ford!



Ireland’s Lean, Green Forklift Plant Proves Robots & IoT Not Required

August 22nd, 2018

 

According to a new an Industry Week article, you can achieve amazing growth and success without robots and IoT! Combilift has used innovation, creativity and the customer experience to go it alone with amazing results! Safer, simpler, smarter is their tag line. Check out their video….

 

 

An Interesting Example of Improving Process AND Going the Extra Mile for Customers
Combilift is revolutionizing the way companies handle and store materials especially long and awkward loads (sounds like several of our clients….). Most interesting is that they are successful through their attention to customers. They have an eagerness to provide the perfect solution for their industrial customers’ needs.  They “go the extra mile” to provide superior customer experiences in a customized way. Do you?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Certainly if you are in the forklift industry and sell into niche markets, watch out! Just kidding.  Really, we should be able to learn quite a few lessons that we can immediately apply from this intriguing example.

Do you have signs posted about the importance of customers or do you LIVE your passion of the importance of customers? Remember, there is no way you can do any of this without passionate employees so start there.

Next, although it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and which might apply to your company’s future, do not get sucked into that black hole? Instead, remain focused on “what makes sense”, whether that is technology, lean processes, or just plain common sense.

We have partnered with key clients to solve seemingly significant complex issues with a good dose of common sense. Why not take a step back and think about whether what you are doing makes sense.

 



Motocross, the 100% Brand and How Global Distribution Scales

August 20th, 2018

I recently attended the San Diego Distributors and Manufacturers (DAM) group of ProVisors. We had an engaging discussion with Francis Costello, COO and CFO of 100%, a well-respected brand in motocross and mountain biking.  He made a very interesting point about how the value of distribution scales and supports “getting big quickly”.

 

Francis generously provided insightful lessons learned in scaling distribution:

  1. Don’t trust your gut. (In essence, it isn’t enough to run the business) 
  2. Understand the rules and regulations.  
  3. Contracts vs. trust (neither is sufficient alone) 
  4. Choose wisely. 
  5. The only constant in change (after all, Amazon, Alibaba and more continue to change the scene).

Interesting to note that these are good rules regardless of your business!

One tip to implement this week:
Have you thought about scaling your business?  With the tremendous growth in manufacturing and distribution businesses in today’s marketplace, it is certainly worth considering.   In Francis’ case, he is thinking about how to scale quickly and globally. There was no better option than distribution in his case at this point in time (although it can change down-the-line).

Have you thought through your options to scale? There are more than one! Start there.  

While evaluating these options, keep his lessons learned in mind.  Although they pertain to scaling through distribution, I see them as uncommon common sense guidelines to use regardless of which option you choose.  They are certainly worth thinking through as you might find your default option isn’t the best.