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Industry Week’s Salary Survey Finds Good Morale Yet Not Higher Wages

October 17th, 2018

According to Industry Week’s salary survey, almost 70% of respondents are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their current job yet salaries took a 6% dip since last year.   I wonder if the baby boomer retirement ramp up is impacting these numbers as the survey finds that the people with the most seniority make the most money.  

A few interesting statistics:
1) Not surprisingly, bigger companies pay more.
2) Medical devices pay the most, followed by chemicals and food & beverage. Apparel/textiles is at the bottom of the list.
3) VP Manufacturing/Production makes the highest salary ($187,100).

What’s Matters to the Workforce
Yet, the article made a point of saying that salary wasn’t most important to the respondents.  

In terms of what matters most in the job, the respondents said:
1) Challenging work.
2) Base salary.
3) Job stability.

How Employees See It
And, the overwhelming challenge faced in manufacturing by respondents goes back to the skills gap with #1 being the lack of skilled labor.  A distant second (tied) was the adoption of technology and leadership lacking. Lastly, foreign competition and governmental regulation were next. Do you know how your employees feel about their jobs?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Do these survey results surprise you?  We find that our clients largely seem to follow in line.  There haven’t been significant pay increases.  However, they are starting to lose top talent to the competition due to the intangibles (location, vacation etc.) as well as pay.  Thus, it’s important to watch the market carefully – is saving 3% worth losing one of your best employees? I doubt it!

Our clients definitely are experiencing the skills gap.  They are automating as quickly as possible to keep up with demand while also pursuing new strategies to gain employees (such as reducing degree requirements) and mentor, train and educate employees to promote with the needs of the business.  Only the proactive companies with excellent leaders (as everyone can “look up” their new potential boss and see what others’ think) will thrive!

What are you doing to stand out from the competition when it comes to talent?

 



Should We Care If Women Are on Boards?

October 15th, 2018

Last week, I attended a special event about “Women on Boards”, and it was quite interesting to listen to three successful women and Board members.  Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO of 2020 Women on Boards National Campaign led the discussion, and Jan Buchan, former CEO of PAAMCO and Julie Hill, Anthem Board member were panelists.  What I found most interesting is that the board topics were the same that I hear from men yet their experiences were quite different.   

It was interesting to hear their stories as it reminded me of attending Board meetings as a VP of Operations and Supply Chain with our private equity backers.  I was typically the only woman.  I’ll never forget when one of my Directors pointed that out to me.  I didn’t notice it until he did. The conversation also reminded me of a speech by Maureen Berkner Boyt about female leaders.  I thought Maureen made a compelling argument that related to bottom line results.

In essence, there is a shortage of talent, especially as the baby boomers retire.  The companies that embrace female leaders will be more successful.  She cited statistics – female leadership leads to 22% less turnover (which is a BIG bottom line impact), 66% better return on invested capital (with 3 female Directors), 42% return on sales, 2% more cash and more.  Now that is quite compelling and worth paying attention!

When I joined my global consulting strategy group, our leader thought I would add to the group with my diversity. I thought it was just something he said at the time but I have found it to be true.  We have had other women come and go.  All have added a unique view.  I have come to appreciate that our insights can be somewhat different from the norm and can turn 2+2 into 16.

Are you thinking about attracting – and keeping – strong female leaders and potentially adding them to your Board?  You don’t have to take away men to incorporate this idea. Why not add a strong female Board member?

One tip to implement this week:
With that said, you don’t have to start by thinking about adding women to your Board.  Perhaps just start at the beginning. Do you think you’ll gain value with different viewpoints and ideas?  It might stir the pot – which can cause some challenges.  Yet, it can also take you to a new level of performance.  If you think you’ll give it a chance, it makes a lot of sense to start at square one.

Can you attract women to your organization and KEEP them?  Are you able to provide them with career paths that will be interesting? If not, we better start there. Do you have mentors? How can you change the culture to support this initiative?

I’ve found that simplicity “works”.  Why not ask them what would be attractive?  Talk to your best performers and find out what would compel them to stay and grow with your organization.  It isn’t rocket science.  Yet, it isn’t easy to implement. If it were, everyone would just “check that box”. You can’t go wrong by giving it some thought.  Worst case, results are likely to increase.

 



Go Global, the Export Opportunity

October 12th, 2018

95% of consumers are outside of the United States.  Thus, there is VAST opportunity in export – and it isn’t as hard as you think.  

Last week, I spoke at the Riverside County College of Foreign Trade’s Go Global event with Elizabeth Warren on export and global logistics.  There was a lot of excitement about the potential in export.  We talked about cultural differences and opportunities in China, Hong Kong, Africa and Europe, along with simplifying the complexities of global logistics, as the 80/20 boils down to starting with the best partners.  Have you considered exploring export?

 

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Exploring export is quite doable.  There are events such as Go Global.  You can participate with APICS Inland Empire and other trade associations who host tours of manufacturers who are successful exporters.  Ask your commercial banker to refer you to their international division. They are likely to have valuable resources.  Talk with your local manufacturing groups such as MCIE and Riverside County Manufacturers and Exporters.  Contact us and we’ll refer you to international trade resources such as export/trade research, government resources, an international attorney, international marketing and global logistics resources.

We know of multiple manufacturers who have “made their name” and grew their business by focusing on export.  Even if you only want to supplement a robust U.S. marketplace, since we are living in a global, interconnected world, why not at least explore the opportunities in your industry?  You’d be surprised at some of the success stories – exporting successfully to challenging countries, navigating challenging global trade and logistics issues, etc.

Although there is a BIG world out there, you could start close to your country of origin such as Canada and Mexico if you are U.S. based.  Whether NAFTA changes and evolves or not, it is still a great opportunity and one of the best advantages for U.S. companies according to John Tulac, a top notch international business attorney.

Interested?



The Ladies of Logistics & Global Trends

October 9th, 2018

Thanks to Elizabeth Warren for hosting the informal Southern CA group, the Ladies of Logistics (LOL).  We had a fabulous time and made amazing connections.  Where else can you go and see every key connection related to trucking, the ports, freight forwarders, logistics, global trade and all related parties (such as education partners, the media etc.)?  I had great conversations with old friends and I met new colleagues. Business is more successful – and fun- when we come together to celebrate and connect.

 

 

 

 

 

Where do you go to find out what’s happening with your industry?  When it comes to the global marketplace, there were insightful conversations at LOL with perspectives from the following:

  1. Recent graduates from the global public policy program at USC/University of Hong Kong
  2. Freight forwarders
  3. Several different roles related to the ports
  4. CSULB Center for International Trade & Transportation
  5. BCO (Beneficial Cargo Owner)
  6. Logistics industry professionals
  7. Public policy professionals
  8. And many more.  

I learned quite a few interesting trends which I’m planning to turn into episodes of my new series, “The Resilient Supply Chain”.  How do you stay on top of global trends?

One tip to implement this week:
There are many ways to stay on top of global trends (or any trends you’d like to keep track of that relates to your industry).  You can start immediately by implementing any of the following strategies:

  1. Attend a networking event such as LOL
  2. Read an industry magazine such as the Journal of Commerce.
  3. Participate with a trade association such as APICS-IE, ISM, CSCMP and more (all of which were represented at the LOL event). By the way, if you are interested in global trends, put APICS-IE’s executive panel & networking symposium on “Advancing Innovation & Navigating Global Trends” on your calendar.
  4. Ask your colleagues, customers and suppliers.  You’d be surprised what you can learn by asking a few key questions!
  5. Attend a chamber of commerce or related event that focuses on your area of interest.  For example, in Southern CA, the L.A. Chamber and the IEEP both focus on logistics.
  6. Do some interest research.
  7. And many, many more.

Just choose one and get started!

 



The Resilient Supply Chain: Are You Prepared for AI & Automation?

October 6th, 2018

Will artificial intelligence and automation impact your industry?  Most likely the answer is yes. 

The only question is how. At the very minimum, you should be paying attention so you can make sure you are taking potential advancements into account in your strategy.  

In the accounting industry, AI has the opportunity to transform and automate a significant number of jobs.   Manufacturing has already been impacted by automation. Of course, it is likely to continue to evolve and it has the potential to transform the logistics industry. 

Here are a few potential applications:

  1.  Instructions – Artificial intelligence certainly seems to come in handy when it comes to fixing issues and reviewing instructions.   
  2.  E-Commerce – AI certainly helps to find like-products and complimentary products when purchasing through an e-commerce portal.   
  3.  Intelligent Virtual Assistant – AI can learn how you respond to tasks and requests and answer for you with repeatable and mundane tasks.
  4.  HR Recruiting – Although arguably not as good as an excellent recruiter, AI can find qualified candidates and eliminate legwork in the recruiting task.
  5.  Autonomous Vehicles– Starting within the plant and expanding to trucks and elsewhere, autonomous vehicles are being used to increase efficiencies and reduce risks.
  6.  Robotic Picking Systems – This is one of the largest risks in current logistics operations.  Just as manufacturing has been automating, so will logistics operations. It will be a ‘win’ for costs, efficiencies and speed.  Are you prepared?
  7.  Maintenance – Why go through the long and arduous “old school” view of preventative maintenance when you can look at data and predict exactly what needs to be maintained before it breaks down?
  8.  Customer Demand – The better data on customer demand, the better the entire supply chain can run – quick, efficient and low cost.  
  9.  Repetitive Tasks – Anything that is repetitive is a good candidate to automate.  It will be more repeatable with more consistent quality and at a lower cost.  Are you looking for opportunities?

Look beyond what will directly impact your company.  Review impacts to your end-to-end supply chain. What is likely to disrupt your customers?  How about your suppliers? What can you do to get in front of it?  Thinking ahead and taking action could provide set you apart and provide you with significant opportunity.