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Talent Transformation: People or Robots?

August 23rd, 2019
As much as I’m seeing last month’s feature article on the bedrock topic of inventory continuing to ring true (clients are gaining more interest in reducing inventory levels to free up cash), the promise of technology (automation and robots) is enticing many clients to at least assess what they should be doing when it comes to the topic of the talent transformation. I cannot think of a client that doesn’t have some sort of a talent gap.
It appears as though this trend is only going to gain steam as more and more clients assess automation, AI, IoT and more to keep up with customer expectations, to try to address the squeeze on costs while also dealing with the lack of employees. As baby boomers retire (which I’m seeing at an increasing pace with some TOP talent), the gap is bigger than most executives realize. It turns out not all of the key information, decision-making capabilities and leadership abilities are easily absorbed by the next generation managers without a significant effort. What is worse is that if he/she gets fed up, you might not have a lengthy transition provided by the more dedicated baby boomers.
Our APICS Inland Empire Chapter had an executive panel discussion on just this topic at our spring symposium last April. I’m especially excited the vast experience of our diverse and experienced panel:
  • Navin Shetti – Director of Engineering, Honeywell Aerospace
  • Cindy Elliott – Global Go-to-Market Strategy, Manufacturing & Logistics, ESRI
  • Paul Granillo – CEO, Inland Empire Economic Partnership
  • Jerry Hsiung – Robotics expert, Carnegie Mellon & Harvey Mudd
  • Jermaine Waltemeyer – Recruiter/ Practice lead, Aerotek
To throw out a few ideas this month, which will definitely be supplemented and expanded upon in future months…..
  • Do NOT wait too long to consider which type of technology will add value to your ability to achieve your business strategy and objectives. Although there is something to be said about an organization that can perform manually, it will not achieve scalable, profitable growth in this Amazon-impacted business environment.
  • With that said, do NOT be a blind follower of your Board’s or Executive Team’s ideas. I have heard from countless clients that they outsourced when it was popular. Some have turned out great whereas others made no sense, didn’t make money and didn’t improve service. Can you afford to make preventable mistakes in this fast-paced world? Most likely NO!
  • Appreciate your hidden talent. 80% of the time, I find hidden talent at a client. They are typically underappreciated and utilized to 20% of their potential. If you’d like help in identifying them, contact us.
  • Find your internal best practice processes. Again, I find clients under appreciate best practices of certain departments, individuals or sites and instead focus a bunch of attention on bench marking to the industry. Do you really want to be average in your industry?
Put some thought into your talent pool, where it will be in 5 or 10 years and whether you are proactively addressing your situation to create sustainable and scalable growth.


Recognition and the 2019 LMA Advocate Award

August 20th, 2019

 

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.  Thus, on my 14-year anniversary, I’m thrilled to announce Ron Penland as our 2019 LMA Advocate.

Ron Penland and I have known each other for over 10 years.  We have collaborated for the mutual benefit of manufacturers, distributors and significant service organizations. We got to know each other well in ProVisors (where I lead the Ontario group) and Renaissance Executive Forums (where Ron leads Inland Empire groups). Not only has Ron been instrumental in introducing me to several key clients, but he also provides significant value with his leadership. His numbers speak volumes. For example, his member CEOs sell their companies for significantly higher multiples than peer companies/ executives. I appreciate the expertise  and advocacy Ron has contributed over the years.

One tip to implement this week:
Are you recognizing people who have been instrumental in your company’s growth and success?  More importantly, are you paying attention to the contributions along the way that result in the ‘big wins’? I grew up outside Chicago, and my brothers played hockey. My mom read us all a book on Wayne Gretzky who set the record for goals (894) as well as assists (1,963). The best players (Gretzsky) pass the puck in hockey! USA Hockey recognizes not only people who score multiple goals but also the people who achieve multiple assists. If you get 3 or more assists, you earn a “Playmaker” in hockey. Who is your “Playmaker” at work?

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 conference. Why not make it meaningful and demonstrate your appreciation for the contribution to success?

 

 



Manufacturing is on the Move

August 17th, 2019

 

Reshoring was at record levels in 2018! Manufacturers are starting to return as they see the total costs of offshoring combined with the rising costs in China and improved competitiveness of the U.S.

According to an Industry Week article by Harry Moser, almost 1400 companies announced the return of 145,000 jobs in the last year. This trend was starting to occur prior to the tariffs. Now, the tariffs are expediting the return. Manufacturers are also realizing they can gain a competitive edge with rapid customization close to their customer base.

Additionally, even in commodity products, companies are reevaluating how to remain competitive and diversified. Hasbro is the latest company to look at diversifying away from China. According to Industry Week, Hasbro, the largest toy maker globally, said that it planned to move from 75% to 50% production in China by the end of 2020. They are looking at Vietnam and India.

There is a transformation occurring. Executives are more concerned about relying on any one source of production (China), and are diversifying. Intel is reviewing its global supply chain.  And, there are rumblings that Apple and Amazon are working on a plan B.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Speed and agility are critical to thrive in today’s marketplace. Start thinking about how you can radically reduce lead times while accelerating cash flow (reducing inventory levels) and increasing profitability. It is no easy task . Yet, it is what is required to thrive in today’s Amazon-impacted world. What can you do to get ahead of this curve?

Like the big dogs from the Industry Week article, should you be thinking about diversification? Or should you be re-shoring? Or should you buck the trend and offshore while everyone else is re-shoring? There are many companies who would be in far better shape if they had taken that approach 10-20 years ago when every Board member wanted to see an increase in outsourcing. There are no perfect answers except to be thinking about these impacts on your industry, your supply chain partners and on your company so that you can take a proactive stance instead of a reactive one. What will you do to successfully navigate these waters?

Certainly, re-shoring, near-shoring and diversifying are topics related to creating a resilient supply chain. If you are interested in an assessment of your situation, contact us. You’ll find more information on these types of topics on our resilient supply chain series.



Is Your ERP System Scalable?

August 14th, 2019

erp successSince we happen to be working on 3 or 4 ERP system projects concurrently, the topic of ERP is top of mind.

Let’s start by saying upfront that we turn down ERP selection project requests. Not everyone needs a new system. Perhaps a process upgrade and better utilization of your current system will sustain your business for 3-5 years. If so, why divert attention? On the other hand, waiting “too long” will quickly spiral into disaster. How do you know which of these is your situation?

An ERP upgrade is one of the most significant initiatives a company can undertake, and the statistics aren’t good. 80% fail to achieve the expected outcome! Yet, if your ERP system isn’t scalable, hiding your head in the sand will lead straight to unmitigated disaster. Thus, it’s best to be proactive, diligent and strategic when it comes to this topic.

Selecting a system isn’t something to delegate to your IT person. Instead, it is something you must “own”. After all, if your system will support your resources so that you can grow the business with the peace of mind that your system will enable a high level of customer service with additional customer-friendly capabilities (such as a customer portal), support your #1 asset (your employees and partners) behind the scenes and allow your business to scale with minimal if any investment of time and resources, it suddenly becomes quite relevant.

The 80/20 of success relates to just two items:

  • Your critical success factors – what is unique to your company or industry and/or what drives customer differentiation and profitability
  • Your design and implementation partners – although the focus typically goes to the software, as with business, the 80/20 of success is with people and partners.

Having an ERP system that supports your business objectives is another key component of creating a resilient supply chain. If you’d like a rapid assessment on whether your ERP system will support your growth and business objectives, contact us. And please check out our resilient supply chain webpage.



Do You Have a Resilient Supply Chain?

August 11th, 2019

supply chain strategyThere is extreme volatility in today’s end-to-end supply chain.  Are you keeping up with all the changes?  For example, think about the following:

  • Tariffs & trade impacts
  • Data & security breaches
  • The Amazon Effect
  • New technologies such as 3D printing
  • Natural disasters, port strikes and more

The Resilient Supply Chain
Instead of allowing each of these incidents to impact you, we must create a resilient supply chain.  Are you proactively thinking about these topics?

  1. Agility– Instead of seeing agile as an IT or project management concept, we should be thinking about how to incorporate agility into every step / every piece of our end-to-end supply chain.  If a customer changes his mind, are we flexible enough to handle it?
  2. Speed – Is your supply chain set up for speed?  Customers are unwilling to wait.  I’ve found that I’m unwilling to wait anymore.  If I wait for a trusted advisor, service provider, subcontractor or even a client, it delays LMA Consulting. For us to be on the leading edge with clients, we must be ahead of the curve; not waiting for something that will be obsolete before we get it!  That is one thing we appreciate about our webmaster; he is speedy and understands priorities which is how we are able to announce a major content upgrade (thanks Scott).
  3. Predictive – In today’s complex world, we must also be predictive so that we are prepared from an 80/20 standpoint for the most likely unexpected events, trends and bumps in the road.  Thinking three steps ahead can go a long way in creating resilience.
  4. Collaborative – One of key components to creating a resilient supply chain with multiple partners is to collaborate.  There is no time to establish relationships and find ways to navigate volatility together if you haven’t already set a collaborative tone.
  5. Adaptive team – No doubt; the core to resilience is having an adaptive team where each members understands where he/she is headed and feels empowered to handle obstacles as they arise.

Have you thought about each interrelated partner, piece or parameter in your end-to-end supply chain?  How can you set it up to be resilient?