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.

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

Coronavirus and the Economic Impacts
The Strategic Use of Data



Where is the Toilet Paper?

April 6th, 2020

I started receiving calls after the lockdown with the key question on reporters’ minds, “Where is the Toilet Paper?”. Thus, I thought I’d share a few conversations with you. First, I was on Rip City Sports Radio about just this topic. It was a lot of fun! I love the fact that we talked about toilet paper on sports radio!

Next, I was on Supply Chain Chats on the supply chain implications of coronavirus. Of course, we talked about toilet paper as well, and we went into more detail about the supply chain impacts and potential lasting effects.

Last but not least, toilet paper is also of keen interest in written news. I was quoted by the Santa Clarita Valley Signal on “Restocking shelves amid the novel coronavirus” and I’m thrilled to be quoted in a positive article related to toilet paper by Courthouse News Service, “Texas Grocery Chain Does a Bang-Up Job Against Coronavirus“.  Did you ever think we’d have so many conversations about toilet paper?One Tip to Implement This Week:

I’m in the process of putting together a whitepaper / e-book on successfully navigating the manufacturing and supply chain impacts of coronavirus, and so stay tuned. With that said, all the conversation about toilet paper brings up the significant impact of spikes in demand on the supply chain. We have been schooled for quite some time to think about lean philosophies. If you took that literally, you would be out of toilet paper almost immediately as supply shortages arose due to the spike in demand.

Thus, my first tip is to remember common sense. Don’t take any concept literally or 100%. It doesn’t matter if it is good or bad, anything in extreme is likely to have gaps. Instead, listen to the experts and apply common sense for your situation, your team, your family etc.  As my brother said, I guess this is when his hoarding tendencies come in handy! But, of course, hoarding in general creates a new set of problems.

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. As an executive director of SAC, we are also hosting a “Thriving Through Ambiguity” webinar series with a nominal fee for non-SAC members. Let us know if you have topics you’d like addressed. We would love your feedback.



Special Report: 2020 Predictions

March 12th, 2020

We received such a positive response to last year’s predictions report that we wanted to add to that value in 2020. It was an exciting process to see what CEOs, executives and thought leaders of manufacturing and logistics organizations think about the current trends, what’s coming, and most importantly, what to do to get ahead of the curve.

A special THANKS goes to our contributors. We’ll be discussing these topics much more in our March newsletter to build upon their predictions and ways we can THRIVE amidst the ambiguity.

For our Profit through People subscribers, we are pleased to provide a direct link. Feel free to forward to your colleagues and friends by sending them our download link.

A Few Highlights
Please pay special attention to my introduction (page 2). I believe we are at a critical juncture in our field. To succeed in 2020, manufacturing and logistics organizations need to become agile, proactive and even disruptive, to merely survive. The most successful organizations are going to do a deep dive into human capital, technologies and strategies that will achieve the trifecta – a superior customer experience, profitable growth and improved working capital, simultaneously.

With the promise of additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, IoT, robotics and blockchain, technology can play a pivotal role.  However, technology alone is NEVER the answer. Instead, it is the smart application of the appropriate technologies by top talent, aligned internally and across the extended supply chain and following a well-thought out strategy that wins the race.

I thought the insights, predictions and recommendations from our experts are worth noting – and taking action! We were careful to gain perspectives from manufacturing and logistics executives and thought leaders, spanning industries (from food and beverage to building products and logistics), specialties (trade, sourcing, technology, human capital, economic development and more), and size and complexity (from family-owned to private equity to large, complex organizations). I’d love to hear your feedback and areas you’d like to deep dive further.

We will continue our webinar series with future-proofing topics and thought leaders, as well as our video series of timely topics such as the coronavirus. We will continue to explore these topics in our blogs and newsletters, as well.

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss your situation and how you can future-proof your manufacturing operations and create a resilient supply chain.



Is it Time to Barcode?

February 24th, 2020

Client Question
If we struggle with process disciplines and performing timely, accurate transactions, should we pursue barcoding? This typically arises with every ERP implementation.  Our answer is generally that we should crawl before we walk before we run.

In fact, I am known for this comment at one client which I think we can chalk up to a “good” and “bad” thing! The key question is, “Is it always true that we should hold off?”

The Answer
Well, we certainly have seen unfortunate circumstances resulting from clients jumping into action to barcode before they are prepared. Unfortunately, well intentioned employees forget to scan or get scan happy, creating worse disruption than existed before scanning. Clearly, that isn’t good. In fact, one client that sped down this road too quickly had to navigate chaos with extra resources and cost because of just this circumstance.

So, as usual, the answer is “it depends”.

Recently, we have seen good reasons to consider starting near-term down the barcoding path, even when process disciplines aren’t fully in place. Starting by replacing key strokes with scanning can be a simple way to simple speed up slow keying and minimize errors. Now that could be quite the success story and worth starting early. With that said, it is always good to ensure success and take a slower path to full integration with your ERP system and related processes prior to strong process disciplines. Just make sure to work with experts to avoid the pitfalls and gain the advantages.

Food For Thought
Are you thinking about barcoding because it sounds progressive, interesting and your people have asked for it? Or are you thinking about barcoding because you have found a business benefit that outweighs the risks and costs?

Make sure you are jumping on the bandwagon for the right reasons, and you will be quite successful.

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

Data, Data, Data

Should I Upgrade Now or Later?

 



Future-proofing Your Supply Chain

February 21st, 2020

Disruptions abound in supply chain circles. Just consider any of the following recent events: the tariff war, global unrest, the Coronavirus, natural disasters such as the volcano in the Philippines, the Hong Kong protests and more.

We have never had a client that could claim that 100% of the extended supply chain (from suppliers’ suppliers to customers’ customers) was inside the U.S. So, we have to be prepared to navigate these types of disruptions and the related impacts.

Disruptions certainly go beyond your physical supply chain. What about your human capital, technologies (accompanied with processes) and strategies? Refer to our article on future-proofing your skills gap and assess which risks might be on the horizon in your industry.

When it comes to technologies, there is no doubt that emerging technologies are gaining steam and are starting to transform supply chains. Just consider the application of collaborative robots, automation, RPA (robotic process automation), artificial intelligence, IoT, blockchain, and predictive analytics to name a few. Big name companies are dropping big dollars into these technologies. When thinking about strategy, remember strategy is no longer a multi-year exercise. We must be thinking in terms of strategic sprints. Who knows what will happen beyond a year out!

Several high-level categories should be assessed as you think about your supply chain:

  1. Sourcing – Are you sourcing from China? Is this a viable path forward to source 100% from China? There are increased risk factors to consider. Listen to an interview I conducted with John Tulac, international business attorney, on future-proofing and doing business with China. It is time to reevaluate your supply chain footprint.
  2. Logistics – There are significant disruptors transforming this industry, ranging from e-commerce and the the Omni-channel to robotics, additive manufacturing and the digitization of the supply chain. If you aren’t incorporating these impacts in future-proofing your supply chain, you will be left in the dust. These are concepts of focus for the consortium for logistics success in the Inland Empire to enable companies to stay informed and keep up with the fast pace of change.
  3. Manufacturing – Industry 4.0 is transforming manufacturing and changing the landscape. It will be a pivotal year that separates the winners vs the losers as advances are made. See what the National Association of Manufacturers’ Leadership Council sees as critical issues
  4. Demand & Supply – There is no doubt, there is a keen interest by business owners, executives and private equity leaders on creating predictable demand and forecasting sales. The more we understand our demand plan, the better our operational performance, supplier performance and customer performance. Read about SIOP (sales, inventory, operations planning) and how it can help future-proof this area.
  5. Inventory – As the disruptions abound and executives fear a slow-down, the proactive management of inventory and advanced collaborative programs are gaining in relevance. Pick up some tips and strategies in our recent article ” Inventory Management as Fashionable as Automated Intelligence for Distributors” for ACHR News.
  6. Metrics & Predictive analytics – Keeping a pulse on performance should remain a top priority while forecasting what will be needed.

Getting ahead of the curve might be the only avenue to success. Consider creating a resilient supply chain and future-proofing your supply chain. Stay tuned and read more about it, and If you are interested in discussing a supply chain assessment, please contact us.

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

Made in Vietnam

Forget About Reducing Inventory; Perhaps You Have the Wrong Supply Chain Strategy