Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Notes Workforce Talent and Suppliers are Critical to Stabilizing the Supply Chain

August 24th, 2020

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – August 24, 2020 –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., tells companies to recognize  workforce talents and take time to partner with the right suppliers. 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.

“Stabilizing the supply chain has been critical these last few months for manufacturers and distributors.  This has been necessary to minimize volatility and keep goods flowing, in turn, fulfilling customer expectations. Customers understand that these are different times, but they will be patient only so long.  That is why it is critical to get the supply chain stabilized,” Ms. Anderson explained.

In past communications, Ms. Anderson has suggested understanding demand by connecting with both the customer and the customers’ customers.  She has also discussed realigning demand with supply through the SIOP process (Sales, Inventory and Operations Planning). Yet, the most critical component in solving problems, disruptions or even expansion of the supply chain is a company’s talent. “I often ask our clients who in the organization, which disciplines and levels, is involved in the SIOP process and collaboration with customers and suppliers. If the answer is simply Supply Chain or Operations, they are missing out on solutions that their talent can bring to the table, and even more concerning is the potential loss of talent due to the lack of involvement in meaningful activities. I also ask about the depth of talent and cross-functional capabilities within a discipline. This is telling, especially when complex solutions are required to satisfy key customer requirements or resolve a situation within the supply chain.  And, one of my final questions lies in the determining the kinds of relationships the company has with suppliers.  Employees and suppliers can create new solutions or products and be champions of an organization,” she continued.

With high levels of ambiguity and volatility, the leader’s role is more important than ever. Ms. Anderson suggests three ways to immediately leverage talent to stabilize the supply chain. “Talent is key to stabilizing the supply chain. 1) Get your salespeople and your customers involved in the forecasting process. Sales tends to be on the outskirts of demand and supply. They need to be as involved and accountable in the demand planning and fulfillment phase as they are in generating orders. 2). To stabilize internal operations, fill gaps and keep teams focused on the customer while maximizing efficiency, formal and informal leaders must monitor progress, adjust plans and stay on top of morale, training and developmental needs. 3) Do not assume the past will repeat. Deep dive into critical supplier relationships and future viability. Make sure you have the right supplier partners, not simply the least costly vendors, and track progress frequently. And, make sure you do not have all of your eggs in one supplier basket” she concluded.

Ms. Anderson recently released a short video, What’s Happening in Manufacturing & Supply Chain: Consider Your Top Talent. Ms. Anderson has also released, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & the Supply Chain Post COVID-19, an eBook that provides practical go-forward insights, advice and experiential value.

 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.                                       

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



The Future of Technology

August 20th, 2020

Technology is a tricky topic. On one hand, almost everyone has put technology and ERP implementations on hold due to concerns about COVID-19 impacts and to conserve cash. On the other hand, it is the best time to gain employees’ attention and focus on upgrading technology to scale the business, create a superior customer experience and deliver bottom line results.

Kellogg or Post?
As I said in my eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19, the Kellogg vs. Post story from the Great Depression provides an excellent example to ponder. In the 1920’s, Kellogg and Post dominated the market for cereal which was still a relatively new and untapped market. Post reigned in expenses and Kellogg doubled its ad budget and pushed its new cereal. Even as the economy hit bottom, Kellogg’s profits rose 30% and they become the dominant player.  Do you want to be Kellogg or Post? The morale to the story is NOT about dollars invested. It is about the opportunities of investing resources (which can be simply in the form of employees’ focus) in future success.

Which Technologies Provide Immediate and Long-Term Value?
Of course, the answer depends on your industry, company, current infrastructure, your customers’ evolving needs, your suppliers’ evolving needs and more. Why not perform a rapid assessment of what makes the most sense for your business and take one important step forward? As I said in my eBook, Newton’s Law is relevant. Objects in motion stay in motion whereas objects at rest will stay at rest. You must take steps forward, no matter how small.

Let’s highlight a few of the more likely technologies to provide immediate value and long-term value:

  1. Further utilize & expand your ERP system: No one uses 80% of their system.  Most organizations utilize only 20%. Find the next 1% that will yield a significant benefit to your customers or bottom line. Clients are gaining significant value from this simple step.
  2. B2B customer portal/ B2C e-commerce: No doubt about it. The ONLY growth area across the board is e-commerce. In addition, what could be more important than visibility of orders for your B2B customers? Delays will result in lost opportunity!
  3. Business Intelligence (BI): We are overloaded with data. The issue isn’t having data, it is making meaningful decisions and formulating plans based on the interpretation of data. BI will bring meaning to your data that translates into customer and profit opportunities.
  4. Artificial intelligence (AI) & Human Learning: In today’s environment, predictive capabilities produce VASTLY greater results than simply analysis and static plans. Demand planning/ forecasting, predictive maintenance, cash flow forecasting, and the automation of tasks are enhanced with AI.
  5. CRM: There has never been a time when understanding, staying in touch with and being on top of evolving customer needs has been more important.
  6. Digital Twins: Virtual replicas of physical devices that technology gurus can use to run simulations before actual devices are built and deployed. Read a fascinating article about the applications in logistics.
  7. Systems to gain efficiencies: WMS (warehouse management), TMS (transportation management), rate shopping, MPS (master production scheduling)/ MRP (material requirements planning)/Inventory planning, replenishment including VMI (vendor managed inventory) and more.
  8. 3D Printing/ Additive manufacturing – If you can produce a customized product on demand close to customers, you win in today’s Amazonian environment. Either way, it speeds up R&D.

Read our eBook, Future-ProofingiManufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19 to read more about technology as it relates to successfully emerging and thriving post-COVID-19. Explore these concepts further as you start thinking through your technology roadmap.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

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

Systems Pragmatist



Automation or Autonomous?

August 16th, 2020

While leading a panel “Building Resiliency in the Supply Chain” with gurus from Georgia Tech, the leading experts in global logistics and associated research, several intriguing concepts arose.

My Association for Supply Chain Management group led a series of webinars on “Navigating through Volatility” including discussions with several logistics experts from distribution, the ports, transportation, technology and more. Many strategies for success arose during these sessions.

And, last but not least, both my top-notch trusted advisor network, ProVisors and our clients have brought strategies to light. A a result, it seemed prudent to share a few highlights.

Automation vs. Autonomy
Automation is definitely on the rise as organizations determine how to thrive post COVID-19. Statistics show that the automation market is expected to almost double in the next 5 years, and experts show that plans to automate are being accelerated. For example, the automation expected in the Inland Empire in the next 10-15 years will likely be compressed into the next five. On the other hand, automation isn’t all its cracked up to be! For example, when one part of the production line breaks down, you could end up with a pile up of product and waste at the bottleneck. On the other hand, will you be the last person typing on a typewriter? What are your automation plans?

The Georgia Tech experts made the case that automation is analogous to the typewriter. The new concept is autonomous so that machines and vehicles can operate independently of human control or supervision. Could these autonomous vehicles take on roles not previously possible, practical or cost effective? Almost all modes of transportation are candidates for autonomous vehicles. We typically think about trucking convoys, cars, drones and sometimes aircraft but are you also considering the impact of autonomous fork lifts, container ships, high speed trains, cranes, last mile delivery, cargo resupply and more? With the dramatic rise in e-commerce, autonomous drone resupply could be quite the win.

What are the Impacts?
Client examples abound. A small aerospace manufacturer automated a critical production process. Prior to automating this process, the area was a constant bottleneck. Work-in-process was stockpiled in front of the work station as high-skilled workers tried to keep up with the incoming flow of material. They ran as much overtime as feasible to try to keep product flowing to the next process step so that they could meet the customers’ ship date, but it was a never-ending battle with no end in sight. After automating the manufacturing process, the high-skilled resources set up the machines to run throughout the night autonomously. Suddenly, our client was running a three shift operation with the same resources, and customers didn’t experience delays. There was upfront investment in machinery and equipment as well as setup and education.  However, it paid back almost immediately with increased output and sales.

From a logistics point-of-view, WMS systems are gaining traction in the current environment. There are countless options for automation, as well as autonomous capabilities within the warehouse. For example, clients have installed conveyor systems which connect directly to the WMS systems and shipping systems which connects to ERP systems to manage order fulfillment processes. With the rise in e-commerce (and the number of small packages and associated labor requirements), automation can be even more relevant to the bottom line. In fact, there are several options to replace pickers with automated processes. The future will look to automation and autonomy. Will a drone resupply trucks that delivering e-commerce orders?

What Should We Do?
Get up to speed on the possibilities and potential of automation, as well as autonomous machinery and vehicles. As you hear about additional examples, think through the concepts, look for additional applications and brainstorm with colleagues on how these concepts could help your company and/or industry. The best ideas come from those who are willing to voice their ideas, test them under controlled conditions and move forward no matter the obstacles. Create this type of environment at your company, and soon suggestions for automation and autonomous processes will rise to the surface.

We discuss these types of strategies in our eBook on Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19. Additionally, follow IEEP, APICS Inland Empire and LMA Consulting as we communicate progress on the consortium for logistics and advanced manufacturing success Check out our articles and webinars, and contact us if you’d like to brainstorm these concepts further.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

Drones are More Than a Pipe Dream

The Strongest Link in Your Supply Chain



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.



Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Recommends Stabilizing Supply Chains to Capture Opportunity

July 31st, 2020

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – July 31, 2020 –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., recommends that manufacturers and distributors increase the focus on stabilizing 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.

“During the last six months, manufacturers and distributors have experienced unprecedented volatility of both demand and supply. Risks that were not fully considered have resulted in supply chain disruptions, extra costs and/or customer service challenges,” stated Ms. Anderson. She insists that customer needs be the driver to proactively managing demand and supply. “Start with your customers and your customers’ customers. Talking with them is key to realigning manufacturing operations and the extended supply chain.  No matter the circumstances, these conversations can lead to opportunities for growth, improved profitability and increased inventory turns and associated cash flow. Simultaneously, increase the cadence and visibility of your Sales, Inventory and Operations Planning (SIOP) process to realign demand with supply and stabilize your supply chain,” she continued.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced most companies to reassess their business model and customer base.  Many found new and different ways to improve upon existing products and services.  Others found ways to leverage existing resources to expand.  “It is about constantly building for the future.  What do you want your business to look like in six months, one year and beyond? Who are your ideal customers? Creating opportunities for these future customers and products will lead to reassessing market plans and product supply strategies.  Revisiting sourcing options, evaluating regional versus global manufacturing platforms, and exploring innovative ideas and the expanded use of technology and automation should all be on the table and analyzed.  Opportunities exist if you look for them. But first, the supply chain must be stabilized and resilient. We can learn a lot from diving deep into critical elements of demand and supply both for the present and more importantly, the future,” she concluded.

LMA Consulting recently sponsored Navigating Through Volatility, a webinar series for APICS (Supply Chain Professional Community) and hosted a recent session: The Future of Manufacturing. Ms. Anderson has also released, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & the Supply Chain Post COVID-19, an eBook that provides practical go-forward insights, advice and experiential value for manufacturers and their supply chains.

 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