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Collaboration for Advanced Manufacturing & Supply Chain Success

November 30th, 2019

Our Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM/ APICS) Inland Empire Chapter is knee-deep in planning for our fall executive panel and networking symposium on the topic, “Collaboration for Advanced Manufacturing & Supply Chain Success“. We are finding this to be a powerful topic as executives must not only collaborate with their customers and suppliers to achieve scalable, profitable growth but they also need to collaborate with industry groups, trusted advisors, software providers (ERP experts), and other partners if they want to succeed in today’s Amazon-impacted, globally volatile, complex regulation environment.

We’d love for you to join in on the discussion and Q&A with experts in the end-to-end supply chain. We have manufacturing experts, logistics experts, technology experts and end-to-end supply chain experts on our panel to talk about trends, issues, and how they have collaborated to drive results. Our attendees include students, planners, buyers, operations and supply chain managers, finance and IT resources related to the supply chain as well as executives and the media.

One Tip to Implement This Week:
When I first started consulting over 14 years ago, collaboration was seen as a “fluffy” topic. I always found that the most powerful results came via collaboration but it wasn’t seen as important. Fast-forward 14 years, and if you aren’t collaborating, you aren’t thriving. No one can handle the level of complexity in today’s manufacturing and logistics environments alone while still servicing customers and driving profitable growth.
Of course, there is no point to collaborating for the sake of collaboration. In fact, as my consulting mentor says, if you want someone to like you, get a dog. Instead, collaboration is for turning 1+1 = 22 by taking the best of different ideas and combining into exponential success. For example, when I was VP of Operations & Supply Chain for a mid-market manufacturer, we had to redesign products to show customers we were on the leading edge and “back” (a force in the market) while offsetting significant material price increases due to oil and gas price pressure as well as optimizing our ability to save money on freight. There was no way for one person, 1 department or even 1 company to accomplish this task without collaboration. Instead, we involved customers, material suppliers, freight carriers, packaging experts, equipment suppliers and more. In the end, we achieved the trifecta. You should even add competitors to your thought process as the most successful executives consider this option for certain situations.
Why not pick a “hot topic” and start thinking about collaboration partners where you could achieve a win-win-win? Just asking folks to think outside the box in new ways can stir some powerful energy and bottom line results. If you are interested in discussing an assessment to help find a few of these powerful ideas to prioritize, contact us. Let us know how it goes!

 

 



Food & Beverage and Future Proofing Your Business

November 27th, 2019

As I have been thinking about the food and beverage industry (and process manufacturing) and future proofing your business, I see several examples of proactive clients and colleagues future proofing their business.

As this is my latest, hot-off-the-press LMA-i, LMA Intelligence topic, I thought we’d explore a few trends related to food and beverage.

First, the industry as a whole does provide some level of future proofing because it is more recession proof than other industries. After all, we all need to continue to eat!

Next, since I talked to several attendees of the PMA’s (Produce Marketing Association) Fresh Summit, I was intrigued with the level of technology and complexity. For example, one apple expert (spanning multiple tiers in the supply chain) was keeping up with an incredible amount of detail with crops in a database as it was integral to the view 9-12 months into the future and how he could navigate for success. In essence, he was using predictive analytics to position his company for success in his specialty area. He also mentioned keeping up with technology to evaluate trade-offs to handle the skills gap, costs and more. He was keenly focused on future proofing his extended supply chain. Are you?

Technology and sustainability continue to pop up when looking at future proofing. For example, according to PMA CEO Cathy Burns, the top 5 trends include conscious capitalism, a focus on emotional health and megatrends shaping the industry (which both link back to produce and floral), and how corporate sustainability and technology matter.  Also, certainly all of the largest food and beverage companies are exploring the ‘right’ technology and systems upgrades to improve performance. They know that in order to future proof their business, they have to lead the pack with technology that will return value to their customers, investors and employees. And NONE of these higher level concepts are unique to food and beverage!

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
First, how are you up-to-speed on what is happening in your industry, technology impacting your industry and what you need to do to successfully future proof your company? If you don’t have a plan that is part of your daily, weekly or monthly business cycle, you better re-think your plan!

Next, are you trying to navigate on your own? You certainly are less likely to succeed. I also talked with additional experts who had a clear strategy of partnership and collaboration to maximize impact and minimize risk. Of course, you must choose wisely. Similar to a ‘bad spouse’, a bad partner is definitely worse than no partner at all. Yet, I’m seeing more executives realize that as much as they require more control and even vertical integration to control the customer experience and associated costs, they also need to find ways to make 1+1 = 22.

In today’s Amazon-impacted marketplace, the fast prevail. How can you leverage your extended supply chain and network for exponential success?

And, of course, a big part of future proofing your business goes back to creating resilience. Check out our many articles with ideas to create a resilient supply chain on our blog. Why not pick 2 or 3 ideas and run by your trusted advisors and collaboration partners…

 



Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Advises Future-Proofing the Supply Chain

November 26th, 2019

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – November 25, 2019 –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., is working with clients on Future-Proofing their manufacturing operations and supply chains.   LMA Consulting Group works with manufacturers and distributors on strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation to maximize the customer experience and enable profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth.

“As manufacturers and distributors respond to changing client needs and expectations, they are also working with other unknowns.  Trade wars, tariffs, civic unrest and speculation of a recession are all considerations when trying to manage and scale for growth and make plans for the future,” Ms. Anderson commented.  Future-proofing the supply chain is top of mind as manufacturers are squeezed by even bigger issues like baby boomer retirement, a limited talent pool and the challenge of how best to leverage technology and artificial intelligence.

Innovation and collaboration are key drivers when anticipating client needs. “We work every day with clients focused on being ahead of customer demand. Yet, the realities are changing expectations, budgets, balance sheets and P&Ls. Despite continued growth, it’s important to be vigilant with inventory levels, margins and operational performance. We find that the most successful companies are looking at their end-to-end supply chain and ensuring that every aspect from suppliers to customers are aligned,” she said. Alignment can be achieved in several ways. By working through a S&OP/ SIOP (Sales, Inventory, Operations Planning) model, demand and supply are not only aligned but the teams associated with these internal functions and others such as R&D, Finance and external supply chain partners are aligned as well.

“SIOP looks at the business through a different lens.  We recently worked with an aerospace manufacturer who was able to gain a better view into customer demand which enabled capacity and operations alignment. The result was improved service levels and reduced lead times, leading to increased customer satisfaction and sales growth. Inventory levels were also reduced, freeing up cash to be invested elsewhere. Lastly, with greater visibility into the supply chain, material, freight and operational costs were reduced. By aligning the key stakeholders and plans, the results are substantial. This is one example of future-proofing,” she said.

Panelists at the recent APICS Inland Empire Chapter’s Fall 2019 Symposium, of which Ms. Anderson is President, discussed the need for technical firms and educational institutions to collaborate with internal functions to elevate the performance of the end-to-end supply chain. Ms. Anderson also sees emphasis on manufacturing and supply chain through her involvement with the Board for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership which is developing a consortium for advanced manufacturing and logistics success. She is also active with the Manufacturing Council of the Inland Empire where she heads the Innovation Awards for the Annual Summit.  “Manufacturing remains a core industry in the U.S. The time is right, and the time is now to focus to future-proofing manufacturing and the supply chain for success” she concluded.

 

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.  She focuses on maximizing the customer experience and enabling profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth. Ms. Anderson is a recognized Supply Chain thought leader by SelectHub, named a Top 40 B2B Tech Influencer by arketi group, 50 ERP Influencer by Washington-Frank, a top 46 most influential in Supply Chain by SAP and named a top woman influencer by Solutions Review. She recently published, I’ve Been Thinking, 101 strategies for creating bold customer promises and profits. A regular content contributor on topics including a superior customer experience with SIOP, advancing innovation and making the supply chain resilient, Ms. Anderson is regularly interviewed and quoted by publications such as Industry Week, tED magazine and the Wall Street Journal.  For information, to sign up for her Profit Through PeopleTM Newsletter or for a copy of her book, visit LMA-ConsultingGroup.com.

Media Contact
Kathleen McEntee | Kathleen McEntee & Associates, Ltd. | p. (760) 262 – 4080 | KMcEntee@KMcEnteeAssoc.com   

 



Clearing the Mind for Innovation & the Santa Barbara Coastline

November 24th, 2019

 

I recently attended a CEO retreat in Santa Barbara. We talked about both our business goals as well as our personal goals and spent two half-days enjoying the area. I took the opportunity to clear my mind so that I could think innovatively.

Everyone clears their mind in different ways. I enjoyed the coast and scenery while catching up on a newsletter as well as walking the area. That put me into the mindset of innovation so that I could figure out how to turn 1+1 = 22 and/or take 15 – 8 = 22.

Whether you increase revenue or reduce labor (work smarter), you achieve a powerful return on investment and might just come up with the next “BIG” idea. After thinking through the session and running ideas by colleagues, I think I have hit upon that next big thing for my LMA-i, LMA Intelligence series that my clients should be thinking about to get ahead of the competition.

You’ll be hearing more about it but the concept is “Future Proofing Your Manufacturing Business” or “Manufacturing & Supply Chain Future Proofing”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Tip to Implement This Week:
We are typically doing at least 8000 things at once, which means we get nothing done well. I am quite familiar with this concept! Instead, try clearing your mind, perhaps focusing on one priority and just setting aside time to think about the future and where you should really focus your time and attention. Undoubtedly, we will ALL find room for improvement.

Leaving the meeting, I was seriously thinking about dropping an important event because I was worried about the labor intensity.  However, it turns out it is quite important to my process for developing intelligence to share with clients (LMA-i) as well as gaining prospective clients and staying on the leading edge of thought leader status. What was I thinking?!?!

See, we all can make mistakes. It took someone I just met but had an engaging conversation with to drop some advice into the mix that corrected my thinking. I was well-intentioned but racing down the wrong path.  So, I have revised a new approach (luckily before I implemented any changes).

Out of this process (including my ‘bad idea’) and related interactions/ collaborations over the next few days popped a great idea. Not only should we take time to think but run your ideas by respected colleagues, new colleagues who might provide fresh insights (which you can choose to use or toss out) and trusted friends. You just might come up with the next sticky pad’ (one of the great inventions stemming from innovation) or the way to repackage or re-position a great idea that will drive dramatic improvement for your business and /or career.

 

 



Priorities, Priorities, Priorities

November 21st, 2019

When teaching a CSCP class for a large Target distribution center recently, one of the managers asked me about what drives results across all clients. One of the great benefits of speaking and teaching is that attendees stimulate new ideas and/or insights. I gave him what popped to mind immediately.

However, it got me thinking. Why not share these with my clients as it might stimulate ideas across the board! Here’s what popped into my mind: We gained the biggest benefit when figuring out where to focus attention to achieve the desired end result (such as increasing revenue, profit or cash flow). In essence, what is the priority?

Unfortunately, this sounds so obvious that most people think they have it covered but they do NOT! I’ve yet to meet a client with the following situation:

  • Just a few key priorities that were best suited to drive the results they desired
  • Key players in the organization (and perhaps key supply chain partners) were aligned on this same page.

More typically, there are FAR too many priorities AND the issue is that they all sound like priorities.

  • The Board wants x.
  • Our key customer is demanding y.
  • There are projects to launch new products.
  • There are projects to save costs.
  • Employees need education and training to know how to grow the business.
  • And the list goes on.

So what should we do? If it were easy, it wouldn’t be so commonplace. Yet, it is doable. We start at the end and work our way back. What are the desired results we need x months or years into the future? Then we look at how we get from where we are to where we need to go. Again, it sounds quite simple but, of course, it isn’t. And then, we look over what we see as priorities and how they fit into what we need to get from here to there.

Next, we look at three aspects:

  • What is the impact of the priority?
  • How urgent is the priority? This is often confused with impact. Often, they are NOT the same.
  • If we did nothing, what would happen? Would the situation get better on its own, stay the same or get worse?

Re-think your priorities. Why are you doing what you are doing? I was just reminded of this recently by a partner. She asked about the results we were achieving jointly and wondered if the level of effort was worth the outcome. I had to say, she was right! What were we thinking? Consequently, we are re-evaluating our priorities.

How about you?  It also often takes an outside view to stir the pot to re-think priorities. Are you comfortable? If so, you might want to take another look.