Category: Profit through People

The Power of the Recognition by Peers

December 4th, 2019

My business partner and co-Executive Director of the Society for the Advancement of ConsultingLinda Popky and I just held our Annual Meeting in New York City. Our association provides growth by association for consultants, coaches and speakers across the globe. Although this is our tagline, it is much more than the typical marketing tagline.  It is how we operate. Every decision goes through this filter.  So, we were especially thrilled to have launched our first annual Advancing Consulting Awards to recognize the best of the best in an emerging category and an established category.

We are thrilled to recognize Amy Segami from Chicago, IL (Emerging) and Andrew Hollo from Melbourne, Australia (Established) with the awards (pictured with the Awards Committee and co-Executive Directors). The core criteria included client success, growth by association, innovation and resilience. Andrew’s comments were particularly noteworthy when  accepting the award: In essence, he said what was most meaningful is that he was selected by a group of top notch peers. Isn’t that what we all want?

One Tip to Implement This Week:
When I think back to the awards and recognition I’ve received that are most meaningful to me, I realize Andrew was completely correct. A short compliment in passing by a respected peer is more meaningful than an elaborate ceremony most of the time. Of course, I wouldn’t turn away both! With that said, when I was nominated for the Community Builder Award by NAWBO earlier this year, this fact was absolutely true. They do the awards ceremony in a BIG way in my neck of the woods.  Yet, what was most meaningful was being recommended by a top notch executive, being supported by a friend and APICS Board member colleague and being cheered on by a client. What else can you ask for?

Are you taking the time to think about recognizing your peers? Who has been particularly helpful lately? Most likely it is someone you take for granted but couldn’t survive without! Why not tell them something specific about what you appreciate? Stop running for a minute to think about who you should recognize.



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!

 

 



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.

 

 



The Future of Manufacturing Is Bright: Harvey Mudd Takes 1st Place in Global Student Case Competition

November 15th, 2019

As President of APICS Inland Empire, one of my favorite activities is encouraging students. We encourage students from all of our local universities to participate in plant tours, symposiums and student case competitions to learn about manufacturing and supply chain, as well as to expand their professional network. Our Board of Directors has been proud over the years to see multiple teams from Cal State San Bernardino, Cal Poly Pomona and Harvey Mudd win regional competitions to compete in the Association for Supply Chain Management International Student Case Competition. And this year, our student team from Harvey Mudd College took home the gold!

Harvey Mudd placed first, followed by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Case Western University. As an audience member during their presentation to the Board of Directors of the case study company, I can assuredly say that my clients would be thrilled to hear this sort of presentation to their Board and it gives us high hopes for the future of manufacturing. There are no limits with students of this caliber! And, as a former co-leader of a highly successful Western region student case competition, I can definitely say a big thank you goes to their academic advisor, Kash Gokli as well as mentors and exemplars that have aided their progress along the way.

Harvey Mudd College facilitates students’ involvement with manufacturing companies as a part of their Clinic program so that students walk away with practical, hands-on knowledge and the company walks away with bottom line results. Another Harvey Mudd team won the Manufacturing Council of the Inland Empire‘s Innovation By Students Award earlier this year for working with manufacturing company, Laguna Clay, to improve processes and drive performance improvement in their manufacturing process. Gone are the days when top notch students think in theory.  Instead, practical manufacturing work experience is the norm and we have many top notch engineers going into manufacturing again!

Additionally, I would be remiss not to recognize that earlier this year another student team from Cal Poly Pomona won the regional competition for the Global Student Challenge and went to the Netherlands to compete in the global competition. There is no doubt that if we provide the tools and education, the future leaders of manufacturing will achieve goals we can’t even imagine at this juncture.

What are you doing to support our future leaders and to encourage the pairing of fresh ideas with solid experience? When paired successfully, it is an unbeatable combination with both the new employee and the tenured employee gaining new ideas and excitement from the process. Take a step back and think about how to make 1 + 1 = 64. And, please refer your friends and colleagues to our APICS Inland Empire chapter as there are numerous opportunities for student involvement and growth.

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Blockchain, IoT, AI, Big Data. Will Anything Stick?

November 11th, 2019

Client Question
Should I really invest time and resources into technologies I don’t know will pay back?

For example, there is a lot of conversation about the value (or lack thereof) of blockchain, IoT, AI and more. This concern continues to arise and is on every executive’s mind. They do not want to be left in the dust “holding the bag” (old and slow) while their competitors race by. On the other hand, they do not want to dump all sorts of money into technology that might not prove effective in their industry. And, in some cases, what they could invest would be a drop in the bucket. It would be like trying to refill the Pacific Ocean with a pail. Remember that fabulous song by Harry Belafonte “There’s a Hole in the Bucket“?

My colleague Diane Garcia and I set out to find the latest answer to this question at the Association for Supply Chain Management International Conference. There were several panels and presentations on each of these topics, along with several exhibitors talking about the latest and greatest technology integrations.

The Answer
Undoubtedly, there is a lot of noise about these technologies. According to Gartner, AI augmentation will generate $2.9 trillion in business value and recover $6.2 billion hours of work productivity. So, it is easy to see why AI is gaining investment with the large companies and with leaders of large organizations.

I love this quote from Harvard Business Review, “Over the next decade, AI won’t replace managers, but managers who use AI will replace those who don’t.” That about sums it up! We need to at least be aware so that we can make good decisions when it comes to these technologies.

As it relates to AI, according to McKinsey Quarterly, across all functions, respondents report that the most significant benefits come from adopting AI in manufacturing! Coming in second is risk with supply chain management just behind in third place. So, if you are in manufacturing, you cannot afford not to at least consider the opportunities. Do you need to do this on your own? NO! We are seeing small companies come together to share resources and invest jointly to drive scale with results (and so they can compete with the large companies). There are also groups that facilitate this type of collaboration. At the most digitized companies, the adoption of AI capabilities is greater including machine learning, virtual agents, robotic process automation, computer vision and more.

According to Forrester, 90% plan greater investments in data and according to MIT Sloan, 85% view AI as a strategic priority. These two technologies cross over and seem to have the upper hand with the most immediately applicable technology.

With that said, there were even more sessions about blockchain and whether it was hype or hope. The bottom line on blockchain is that it is a real opportunity for certain industries such as the food industry (related to food safety).  It is still in early stages and will require a consortium of companies to come together to bring to reality.

According to a leader from FedEx, whether big or small, no one company will be successful on its own. Yet all the “big guys” are interested and participating. Stay tuned to see where it goes. Last but not least, IoT is integrated into many conversations about big data, AI, autonomous vehicles and more because it connects technologies. In manufacturing, IoT is connecting machines and data for predictive maintenance and the possibilities abound.

The bottom line: pay attention but resist exploring technology in isolation. Learn to collaborate.

Food For Thought
As much as these technologies should be on your radar, don’t get carried away and forget your fundamentals.

Do you have a scalable ERP system to support your business growth and profitability? If not, start there!

Do you have reporting and business intelligence systems so that you can slice and dice information to make instantaneous, informed decisions as key customer questions or business opportunities arise? If not, start there!

How about a simple CRM solution? Certainly in the Amazon Effect era, we must pay attention to customers.

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