Reshoring: Is It All Hype or Action?

September 20th, 2020

According to a Thomas survey about COVID-19’s impact on U.S. manufacturing and industrial production, 64% of manufacturers are likely to bring production back to North America. It has gone beyond talk to action. Clients and colleagues are seeing an increase in inquiries related to reshoring and expanding manufacturing capabilities.

Even before COVID-19, executives were interested in reshoring. The total cost has come into alignment (and is often preferred) in North America for non-commodity products. Tariffs exaggerated the situation, prompting executives to consider the investment of capital to repurpose, expand and build manufacturing capabilities. When inventory carrying costs, transportation costs, intellectual property costs, management and overhead costs, logistics costs and many others are considered, the equation often flips on its head. Excess inventory also ties up cash unnecessarily.

Although costs are relevant to remain competitive in the global economy, it is even more compelling when executives look at the customer side of the equation. In today’s Amazon-impacted, fast-paced environment, customers expect immediate delivery of customized products and services with the ability to change orders based on the latest customer and consumer requirements at the last minute. The last mile has become the last minute. In fact, customers not only expect to change orders while products are out for delivery, but they also expect easy returns and replacement products as a typical standard of service.

Continue reading….. on Brushware or LMA and watch our video on reshoring (also below).

Read more about product supply strategy and related concepts in our eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19. If you’d like a rapid assessment and recommendations for your situation, please contact us.

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Your People During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Eagle Eye Strategic Focus



The Rise of E-commerce & WMS Popularity During the Pandemic

August 4th, 2020

According to Forbes, COVID-19 accelerated e-commerce growth by 4-6 years. Smart players are taking advantage of the opportunity. Only Amazon takes in more money than Shopify’s websites, and analysts are predicting a 75% annual rise in the next five years.

The ONLY item in common across all clients and colleagues across the board is the rise in e-commerce during COVID-19. In fact, it has been the only bright spot in many cases. As a result, there is an increasing interest in B2C AND B2B software to support improved customer satisfaction and efficient order processing and fulfillment. You do NOT have to sell to consumers to be interested in providing increased value to customers and increasing internal efficiencies!

On a related topic, warehouse management software (WMS) is also gaining in popularity. Not surprisingly, as e-commerce increases, smaller, more frequent shipments become commonplace. So, executives and supply chain leaders are thinking about how to effectively and efficiently handle this increased volume in the warehouse. It is a completely different model than pallet and case shipping in the traditional warehouse. Additionally, unrelated to e-commerce, as manufacturers and distributors work to manage costs to offset the negative impacts of COVID-19, they want to further utilize WMS systems to increase their efficiency and cost effectiveness.

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Although e-commerce and WMS are hot topics in supply chain management, they may or may not be relevant to your situation. The key is to be thinking about what is integral to creating a superior customer experience with increased profitability and cash flow. Does technology support your objective? If so, which technology?

If you have the opportunity to serve customers directly or the opportunity to encourage your B2B customers to place orders through a customer portal (giving them better visibility and accessibility), now is the time to launch a B2B/B2C software. Do a quick review of your situation so you have the facts to assess the best path forward but do not delay. Invest quickly and reallocate/expand resources to take advantage of the opportunity while the iron is hot.

An an example, check out the story of what e-commerce did for the Great Lakes Brewing Company.

Similarly, the proactive ERP partners are pursuing WMS and related business analytics to provide extra value to their clients during these turbulent times.

If you are interested in a rapid assessment of your situation and/or an e-commerce, WMS, BI or ERP-related selection to support your growth plans, contact us.

If you are interested in learning more about these types of trends and impacts for manufacturing and supply chain, read my free eBook Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19.



Being Featured on Bloomberg & the Rise of Reshoring

June 3rd, 2020

Of course, it was very exciting to be featured on Bloomberg’s ‘What’d You Miss?’ show! It speaks to the rising popularity of reshoring that Bloomberg is searching for supply chain experts to talk about reshoring and whether it makes sense.

NOTE: I am about half-way through the segment if you’d like to watch the show.

As I said on Bloomberg, of course, the answer of whether you should reshore is “it depends”; however, it is becoming quite attractive for many industries and situations. At a minimum, review whether it makes sense to source manufacturing closer to your end customers. If you need a push, look no further than the Amazon-like customer requirements, increasing labor costs in China, the lessening importance of labor costs as the Future in Manufacturing panel discussed, the risk of disruption (tariffs, COVID-19, natural disasters etc.) and more. I discuss this topic in depth in my eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19.

 We have also launched a rapid Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain assessment if you’d like assistance in evaluating for your particular situation. Contact us if you are interested. Stay safe and healthy. We continue to post coronavirus resources, write blog articles on navigating coronavirus as well as “beyond lockdown” strategies, and we are sponsoring APICS Inland Empire‘s “Navigating Through Volatility” webinar series. Join us and learn more here



IT/ Tech

May 13th, 2020

Does Technology Have a Seat at the Table?

Do you consider your technology leader an integral member of your executive team? If not, why not? Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, technology was starting to take over the world. With the acceleration of e-commerce, the expanded use of ERP systems, artificial intelligence applications to create predictable demand and automate repetitive tasks (and of course Amazon Alexa), the internet of things to connect objects and applications such as those used in autonomous trucks, blockchain to trace the chain of custody from farm to table across the globe and robotics to automate manufacturing and warehousing processes, IT was critical.

Now that the pandemic has hit, technology is playing an even more pivotal role. The world has gone remote. Users are gaining comfort with technology at a record pace. Additionally, because there are many complications in navigating coronavirus with employees (rules, regulations, social distancing protocols, and many more), executives are starting to see a greater advantage in proceeding more quickly with their technology roadmaps. By taking advantage of the opportunities to grow the business and improve the customer experience, employers can reallocate employees from repetitive tasks (which also can require close proximity to one another) to ones that will add value to the business.

Read our eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19 to dig into these concepts further as well as to debate whether to move forward with ERP upgrades or hold off to preserve cash and to be reminded of the critical importance of cyber security and protecting against cyber criminals. Also, one of our favorite topics is addressed, the MacGyver approach to moving forward with your systems infrastructure while navigating the slow ramp up following the pandemic. It is NEVER all or nothing. Invest smartly. Utilize already-existing talent and tools. You’ll speed on by your competition.

Join our Navigating Through Volatility webinar series to learn about how ESRI is using cutting edge technology and location intelligence to drive supply chain resilience and recovery. It certainly will stretch your mind when it comes to using IT/ technology to drive business value, and more importantly, value to the community. Perhaps it will inspire you to think about technology differently.

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Immediate Strategy

May 7th, 2020

Do you want to be Amazon or Sears? Sears used to be the Amazon of its time, but they failed to change with the times. There is little life left in this former powerhouse of retail. On the other hand, Amazon continues to evolve and is clearly doing quite well in these trying times. In fact, our clients are experiencing growth across the board in only one category – e-commerce. Amazon continues to rule the day!

As I state in my eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19, if you want to be more like Amazon, you will rethink strategy but NOT like you might think. It should not be a lengthy process that looks across multiple years. Instead, create an ‘immediate strategy.’ What does that look like? Read about an immediate, 3 and 9-month strategy in the eBook:

  1. Immediate Strategy: Focus on establishing immediate priorities, assessing risks and understanding your customers, suppliers and other partners.
  2. 3-Month Strategy: Focus on how to keep moving forward and increasing value
  3. 9-Month Strategy: Focus on how to redesign to take advantage of the opportunities

As you think through the strategies outlined and determine your path forward, please keep us in the loop. We are interested in your journey, what works, and what pitfalls to avoid so that we can share insights and ideas. Don’t worry. We will protect the innocent; however, keep in mind one of the tenets of the eBook is to fail forward with innovation. Those who innovate will have a unique opportunity to sail past the competition as the world creates a new normal over the next year. If you’d like to discuss your strategy, please contact us.

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