Category: Eagle Eye Strategic Focus

Keeping an Eye on Global Markets

September 1st, 2018

If there ever was a strategic topic of critical importance no matter your position in the supply chain, it is keeping an eye on global markets.  We’ve worked with clients who ONLY source materials, components and products from U.S.-based suppliers.  Yet, even they must pay attention to global markets to thrive.  Are you making this a priority?

There are countless reasons to stay informed of global markets.  First and foremost, we live in a global society. It isn’t practical to go through a day without coming into contact with products, services, people, currencies and more from around the world.

A few additional reasons to keep an eye on global markets:

  • Interconnected world – We live in an interconnected world.  A political risk in Asia can impact the price of your materials.  Or, a shortage of oil or gas (as an example) in one country can impact the price and availability elsewhere.
  • Economy & currencies – Currency exchange rates will have an impact somewhere in your supply chain whether or not it touches your product or service.
  • Tariffs & trade – Tariffs certainly can have an impact.  The impact can be far reaching and can be from areas that don’t directly touch your organization. In this case, you might have short-term pricing impacts or long-term strategic impacts of where to locate manufacturing or which countries and markets to pursue.  Hopefully, you are considering both.
  • Global customers – There might be unique opportunities in one part of the world to utilize your product or service with a greater benefit realized than in another part of the world.  Are you considering your options and expanding your mind to the possibilities?
  • Risk – There’s no doubt that mitigating risk alone is reason to keep track of global markets.  For example, earlier in my career when there were issues getting materials out of Brazil, we wouldn’t have been able to service customers if we hadn’t planned for a backup supply elsewhere in the world.  Similarly, we would have gone out of business if we relied on only local suppliers when a major hurricane hit our manufacturing plant.  Every local business was under water except us and even with a plan we were affected – were shut down for a short period of time because our employees could not get in or out of our facility.

Keeping an eye on global markets can become a full-time job. Clearly, few, if any, clients can afford that.  Thus, pursue ways to collaborate with customers, suppliers, trade associations and more to leverage insights. Minimally, put aside some time on a daily basis to watch for key trends.

 



Weigh in on Outsourcing, Near-Sourcing and Insourcing Trends in Research Survery

November 3rd, 2016

We need your help. Just as we have conducted previous research studies on Skills Gaps and The Amazon Effect, we are now working on a study that examines outsourcing, near-sourcing and insourcing trends for manufacturers and distributors. It has arisen as a hot topic within our clients and so our goal is to be able to provide timely expertise and trends to help our clients navigate this topic in the best way to achieve growth, customer loyalty, profitability and cash flow.

In the last several years, it has become obvious that we are living in an Amazon-impacted world. Customers expect rapid deliveries, 24/7 accessibility and products and services tailored to their needs. Thus, the traditional sourcing from Asia (with the longer lead times associated with it) has created a significant challenge. Additionally, for non-commodity products, the total costs of outsourcing are rising to parity with North America sources. And, of course, risks abound. Thus, executives are reacting to these factors and re-thinking their strategies about outsourcing, insourcing and near-sourcing.

Have you outsourced, thought about sourcing or plan to in the future?

outsource, research, survey, manufacturing, outsourcingWe want to hear from you. As manufacturing reignites, executives are re-evaluating their end-to-end supply chains in response to elevated customer expectations, increasing labor rates in low cost countries, concerns about “too much” money tied up in inventory due to lengthy lead times and worries about the increased level of risk and disruption in the supply chain. Combinations of outsourcing, insourcing and near-sourcing solutions are increasingly popular as a way to optimize customer service, cost and cash flow. What have you done and/or learned? What are you currently doing? Do you have outsourcing, near-sourcing and insourcing future plans? Complete the survey and help others facing the same decisions make better decisions.

Register to Get the Outsourcing Research Results

Again, I thank you in advance for participating. I always receive great feedback from these studies and we can’t do them without your input. Don’t forget to register for the free report that we will send upon completion of the outsource research. And feel free to let me know of any other topics we should consider researching.



Global Is “In”

July 5th, 2016

profit through peopleOne of the reasons my global advisory board has been as valuable as its been is because it is global. We have people from the U.S., Australia and Japan with experiences from all around the world, and we are supported by a wider community with people from almost every continent. Looking through a U.S. lens might seem expansive to someone who has spent his/her lifetime in one state or on the east coast or the west coast yet it is narrow as compared to global impacts surrounding business on a daily basis.

No matter what you think in terms of politics and the like, it is imperative that you understand global impacts. For example, with the China struggles going on earlier this year, manufacturers should be on high alert for future quality issues. Have you been considering that? When I was in Australia for my strategy session, we discussed the impact of the strong U.S. dollar. Certainly it made my trip less expensive; however, it has far reaching impacts. Which countries should companies source from? Should they hedge? Should they in-source? There are vast numbers of questions to think about.

Within the last week, Europe has certainly had a strong impact on not only the stock markets but the global economy. What will Brexit mean? What decisions should companies be making now for impacts that will occur within the next 1-5 years? How should they mitigate risk?

The Olympics is another global topic. The Zika virus has certainly impacted attendance. How will companies protect their employees? Are athletes willing to take the risk? Money was poured into preparation for the Olypmic games. What will happen if it falls short?

It doesn’t matter what you think about globalization. It is all around us. The only question is whether you’ll be prepared and thinking ahead on how to best prepare and leverage for likely global impacts.

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

The Impact of China’s Slowdown

The Hidden Benefit of Observation 

 



What Is Company Culture?

June 1st, 2015
company culture change

Many executives can tell you precisely the company culture they want to have. However, creating that culture becomes increasingly difficult without communications, change agents and action.

I wholeheartedly agree with my consulting mentor Alan Weiss with how he defines culture – “It is that set of beliefs that governs behavior”.

Culture seems like such a mysterious topic and executives spend millions to try to create culture change and the like. Yet when you boil it down to the basics, it is really quite simple. What set of beliefs does your company run by? Where did they come from? Are they helping or hurting you?

When you look at culture with this viewpoint, it becomes easy to determine how to change your corporate culture; however, the devil is in the execution. For example, one of the companies I worked with merged with another. The strategy was “perfect” – great synergies and opportunities to leverage strengths. The vision was communicated effectively but fell apart in execution.  As I’ve heard Alan say about one of his clients, “Bill, do you believe what you read on the walls or what you hear in the halls?”  In this case, the set of beliefs and values that govern the day-to-day behavior were not modified.  Thus, the fabulous strategy could not occur as the former company philosophy prevailed.

Stay tuned for articles about how to change culture; however, to give you a few tips to stew on in the interim:  1) Communicate consistently, frequently and with different media.  2) Align communications with actions.  3) Find exemplars to lead the culture change.  Much of my consulting practice’s success is based upon these principles for the simple reason is that RESULTS FOLLOW.  And you have a happier work environment to boot.

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

Lost in the Culture Change Maze? 4 Strategies to Succeed 

Are You Working on the Right Priorities?

 



Are You Working on the RIGHT Priorities?

August 14th, 2014
priorities

Make time to examine and rank priorities to make sure you are focused on the most important aspects of your business.

In today’s new normal business environment, executives run from meeting to meeting, call to call and rarely have time to THINK.  How do we know we are working on the right priorities?

I’ve found that my most successful clients plan time to think about strategy, growth, innovation and topics such as these.  It cannot be an after-thought!  Actually, this is one advantage of the horrible traffic in the L.A. area – sometimes it provides quality thinking time about your business.  However, who would hope for bad traffic?!  Instead, set time in your calendar to think and brainstorm about these types of topics.  This will develop your Eagle Eye.  I’ve found that developing this skill is critically important to allocating your time to the most beneficial items – those which will have the most impact, are most urgent and which require attention.

One opportunity to achieve this would be to attend an upcoming invitation-only executive roundtable discussion at Harvey Mudd College, moderated by me and my colleague Kash Gokli, professor of Manufacturing.  If you are an executive in the Southern California area who is interested in innovation, please review more information about our event on August 28th and let me know if you are interested in attending.

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