Memphis, Sun Studio & Following Your Heart

June 25th, 2018

 

I made a quick stop in Memphis since I was nearby and had never experienced the birthplace of rock’n’roll – and, from all appearances, some amazing fried foods.  Of course, I had to do the typical tours of Graceland (including seeing Elvis’ vast automobile collection and private plane) and Gibson guitars; however, I was most impressed by the tour of Sun Studio.  See a few shots of the memorabilia below.

 

 

 

 

 

Sun Studio is the place many greats were discovered including Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and more.  The owner, Sam Phillips discovered these amazing talents by stopping them from playing for him – and what they thought he would want to hear.  Instead, he asked them to play what they love and follow their heart. Are you performing for your boss, your Board or you?

One tip to implement this week: Passion
Think about the question – are you following your passion/enjoy what you do?  Or, can you incorporate some elements of your passion into what you do? I have no doubt you can!  Just think a bit longer about how you can incorporate some aspects of your passion – the imagery, in metaphors, etc.  There is always a way to add some aspect into your daily routine.

And how about the question Sam asked – are you performing specifically for your boss?  Can you include some aspect of what you enjoy in your communications? Similarly to Elvis and Johnny, undoubtedly, you’ll improve your chances of that next promotion, innovation or BIG discovery by being yourself.

Wouldn’t that be more pleasant – and potentially more successful?



Raising the Bar With Customer Service Through Internal Operations

August 14th, 2017
Teamwork!

Could a simple solution of aligning Sales with Operations with Finance deliver the bottom line BIG win?

Do your internal operations truly have a significant impact on your customer service levels? Yes, for every single client, they can have a dramatic effect!

For example, we recently worked with a client that wanted to raise the bar when it came to customer service levels. Over time, product mix, distribution strategies and buffer capabilities changed which created a gap when compared to prior performance levels. The challenge was to improve customer service and the overall customer experience rapidly – and “make it stick”.

It comes down to teamwork

As is true with every client we’ve worked with over the last several years – when it comes to customer service, no matter how proactive your front line is with customer communications and no matter what heroics your operations folks jump through to deliver product, the “win” or “loss” will boil down to whether your Sales and Operations are on the same page and executing in concert with one another. For example, if Sales is excited to win large orders (BIG wins) and Operations isn’t prepared for these big wins (not enough people, machines, materials, and the like), service will suffer. Add Finance into the mix who is not likely to be prepared for the cash flow impacts, and the situation can become even more frustrating. As apparent as this sounds, it is extremely common.

Could a simple solution of aligning Sales with Operations with Finance deliver the bottom line BIG win? Yes, every time.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on the topic: SIOP/Integrated Business Planning

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Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) – Success Depends on People

June 27th, 2017

Vendor Managed InventoryAs with almost every topic our clients call about, Vendor Managed Inventory or VMI and supply chain partner collaboration programs are no different. Success directly correlates to people.

Questions You Should Ask When Coordinating VMI

1. Do your employees and partners understand VMI and the benefits of VMI? Undoubtedly, success is better when people understand how it matters.

2. Do your employees have relationships with their VMI counterparts? Do they have a good relationship with their suppliers and/or customers related to Vendor Managed Inventory? Have they met them? It goes a long way to meet a few key contacts.

3. Do your employees understand what is expected of them on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? Don’t assume if your customer requested VMI that they have clarified how the process works. Make sure the processes, systems/technologies, and communications are clearly understood.

4. Do all VMI parties understand the measurements? Often, we see scorecards used as a way to track performance. Do you understand what goes into the calculations? What is important to your customers? Have you explained what is important to your suppliers?

5. Have you set up check points? One of the keys to success is to set up time to talk with all VMI-related parties to see what’s working, what’s not working and how you can improve the process and results. 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:
The 4Ps to Collaborative Customer Program Success

 Results Follow People

 



Recognition & 2017’s LMA Advocate Award Winner

June 19th, 2017

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. Who doesn’t want to find the win-win-win of customer growth/loyalty, profits and accelerated cash flow?!

Ever since my 10-year bash, I’ve recognized one person each year on the anniversary of LMA Consulting. Thus, on my 12-year anniversary, I’m thrilled to announce Parizad Sethna, VP of Member Services for APICS-IE and Supply Chain Manager at Nestle.

Recognition

Parizad and I collaborate on the APICS-IE Board of Directors, and she has been instrumental in our communications, executive panel and networking symposiums and raising the bar in terms of the value we provide members. She also stands out from the crowd with her creativity, innovation and determination in taking on new areas of responsibility that might be considered outside of her core area of expertise, which I have found particularly valuable with both APICS and LMA Consulting.

One tip to implement this week:

There isn’t a bad time to take stock of whether you are recognizing people enough! Start with those that report to you. Who stands out from the crowd? Make sure your feedback and recognition is specific. Although I went big with a nice award, a simple thank you can go a long way. Of course, you can do both. Don’t recognize too many people as it might deter from the significance. However, you could add another category. For example, I am thinking about adding a category for a high performance manufacturer or distributor. You’ll likely see this coming soon….

Don’t stop with your direct reports! I think an often overlooked opportunity is to recognize your peers and managers. There are many ways to recognize them by putting in a good word, by sending an email, writing them a recommendation on LinkedIn, taking them to lunch etc. Start your juices thinking about recognition.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”

 



The Million Dollar Project Manager

May 31st, 2017
million dollar project leader

Project managers drive initiative results yet they aren’t often treated with the respect nor given the support they need to thrive.

In our experience working with manufacturers and distributors from small, family-owned businesses to medium-sized, private equity backed companies to global large, complex organizations, projects account for 80% of the improvement. There are projects to improve efficiencies, reduce inventory, grow sales, expand into new regions, consolidate operations and the list goes on. Thus, if we must rely on projects for business growth and profitability, should we think about our project managers as million-dollar project managers?

Most likely the answer is yes. However, in our experience, project managers are not often treated with much respect. Oftentimes, they are seen as lower level resources responsible for executing initiatives, coordinating resources and reporting progress up the chain. But, is this how we should treat our resources who can have such a far-reaching impact?

Let’s think about the reach of project managers’ impact. There are several key points to consider:

  1. Impact on resources:Undoubtedly, the number one concern from all levels of leadership relates back to resources. There are “too many,” “not enough,” “not the right skills,” “not allocated properly” and so on. Thus, anyone who has a significant impact on resources should be considered valuable.
  2. Daily decisions on which tasks gain priority:Similar to the impact on resources, determining the priority of tasks is crucial. As a project manager, there is a constant need to prioritize among tasks, collaborate with departments, etc.
  3. Ingrained in the business:Project managers are in the “thick of things” on a daily basis. In order to complete tasks and achieve results, project managers are involved in a wide array of activities. They are familiar with what is working and what isn’t working in each department as it relates to project tasks. There are very few projects which are confined to a singular department.
  4. Communicate across the organization:In order to complete their tasks, the project manager must communicate and collaborate across departments and layers of the organization. Since high-quality resources are hard to come by, it is vital to keep communications in a positive light.
  5. Impact on profit:Certainly, almost every project relates back to profitability in some respect. Whether we are growing the business, increasing margins, automating key processes or improving efficiencies, there is a direct impact on profit.

So, since it is clear that project managers have a substantial impact on business success, it is wise to think about how to maximize their performance. As a metaphor, the million-dollar project manager is appealing since there is often million-dollar impacts. Thus, what should we do to ensure project managers are treated more like million-dollar project managers?

  1. Provide clarity of the big picture:Project managers will be more invested in their projects if they understand the impact on the organization. Make sure to provide clarity of the big picture and how they fit in.
  2. Give them discretion:There have been countless studies as to what is most successful in keeping valuable employees (like your million-dollar project managers), and the net conclusion is that employees want some ability to affect the outcome of their work. We must give them some level of discretion to make decisions and guide their projects within reasonable parameters.
  3. Recognize small wins:Managing projects can be a slog into details with little to show for it. Find small wins to celebrate. Make a big deal of the importance and tie it back to the project manager and their team.
  4. Support their decisions:There is nothing more important than supporting your project managers. Of course, providing constructive feedback is essential; however, when in the heat of the battle, it is vital to support your project manager’s decisions. Without this support at critical junctures, the project will suffer, and the project manager will become dismayed.
  5. Promote the project:Promoting the project throughout the organization can do quite a lot for its chances of success. How do you get resources to want to join your project team? Start by being attractive. This oftentimes goes back to how compelling the project seems. Make it so! Do you think the best leaders’ projects for improving margins happen to be more enticing than the average leaders’ projects of the same type? No; perception becomes a reality.

Since projects will have a substantial effect on your customer loyalty and bottom line – the two most critical aspects of any business – it is worthwhile taking a few steps back to think about the project managers driving these results. If you think about their impact, a million dollars might not be sufficient. Therefore, start thinking about your project managers as though they have a million-dollar impact and results will follow.

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

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