Category: I’ve Been Thinking

Where Our Best People Are Going

September 1st, 2020

In the last month, almost every client has had some sort of challenge with talent. Most clients and contacts have lost a high-quality person. All have experienced a lack of talent or the appropriate skills to meet customer demand. For example, finding temporary resources has proven quite the challenge. Watch our video on what we’re seeing in the market. Are you paying attention?

 

       

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Since people are on the move, there is NO DOUBT that we must get on top of our human resources. We cannot prevent people leaving because they want to change careers or industries, but we can prevent those who are leaving due to leadership. After all, people don’t leave companies, they leave people!

The good news is that you can improve this situation immediately.

Focus on your people.

  1. Have you clearly communicated where you are headed?
  2. Have your leaders talked with each direct report individually about how he/she fits into the future?
  3. Do you have a performance check-in process quarterly, at minimum?
  4. Are you providing career advancement? Ex. promotions, additional responsibility, training and/or mentoring, etc.
  5. Are you upfront with your people? Communicate what you are able to communicate. Tell them what you cannot communicate but make sure they know you will tell them immediately as you are able. Anytime leaders keep things from employees, employees make up FAR worse stories. Good people exist. Weak people stay and become disgruntled.
  6. How effective are your leaders?
  7. Of course, this assumes you are taking care of the basics such as safety, quality, COVID, etc.

Read more about navigating and successfully emerging post COVID-19 in my free eBook Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19. Please send your feedback and stories. I will incorporate them in an article, video or interview.



The Loss of the Claremont Club & What We Should Take Away

August 25th, 2020

Unfortunately, I am quite saddened that the Claremont Club has decided to close its doors forever. It went from a success story written up by CBS News to a sad story upsetting most of its 10,000 members and residents. I was proud to be associated with the success story as the Claremont Club gained member support as they continued to pay their 260 employees when COVID-19 hit. I went to the hair salon when the club reopened since my group tennis lessons were not yet available. They were following hospital level protocols. In reading the CEO’s frequent emails, it was clear that the hope of the reopening (and all the money spent on cleaning and supplies) came crashing down with the abrupt closing ordered by the Governor a few weeks later. The Claremont Club made the news again with a rally to try to save the club. My tennis game and associated camaraderie doesn’t look promising….

The Claremont Club is a severe loss to the members, the community and the residents. It hosted significant tennis tournaments, was home to swimmers qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials, and it had well-respected programs for people with cancer, spinal cord paralysis, diabetes and cycling for Parkinson’s. The loss of the Claremont Club goes much further than the loss of an athletic club. In addition to the services for the members, it provided essential health services and attracted people from all over the region, filling Claremont’s restaurants and gaining interest in the community. The club was successful and a top club in the U.S. prior to COVID-19. Are you assuming your top suppliers will be fine because they were in great shape prior to the pandemic?

One Tip to Implement This Week:

No one could have predicted COVID-19 and the associated impacts. However, we can evaluate risks immediately. Don’t make assumptions based on pre-COVID conditions. Will your key supplier decide to hang up their hat like the Claremont Club did? Do you know the financials and cash position of your critical suppliers? Are you keeping in touch frequently and finding ways to ensure your key suppliers support your needs? Do you have backup suppliers? More importantly, are you purchasing materials and ingredients from your backup suppliers? If not, what makes you think they will be around when you need them?

Read more about navigating and successfully emerging post COVID-19 in my free eBook Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19. Please send your feedback and stories. I will incorporate into an article, video or interview.

Stay safe & healthy.

 



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.



My Favorite Pre-COVID Travel Destination & Travel During Lockdown

July 26th, 2020

As my long-term newsletter subscribers know, I enjoy traveling. Of course, during lockdown, I haven’t even gone to visit my Mom in Arizona since you never know what unintended germs you might bring along for the ride. So, I thought I’d go back to my favorite recent (within the last few years) travel destination. What do you think about Taormina, Sicily?

 

 

What’s not to like? The smell of citrus trees, cobblestone streets, beautiful seascapes, Mt. Etna serving as a backdrop, and excellent food… I was fortunate to stay both on the hilltop at the edge of town and on the beach with a beautiful view and relaxing atmosphere (favorite hotel thus far in my travels). I saw it as a win-win! I had effective strategy discussions and toured around the area enjoying the country. Because I really enjoyed the trip, I plan to return someday although I’d also like to see new places. Where do you want to travel when the coronavirus is no longer a concern? What should we do in the interim?

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Well, certainly, when it is safe, I look forward to visiting my Mom and family again. With that said, a few short road trips might be a nice option in the interim.

And, you can ‘travel’ around the world on Zoom. I participate in a global strategy group with consultants from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada and the U.S. I am co-Executive Director of the Society for the Advancement of Consulting.  We have Zoom calls with members around the globe (15 countries and counting). I also participate in a Global Supply Chain Think Tank with supply chain experts from the Pacific Rim, Europe, and North America. The list could go on….

While on these Zoom calls, I learn about what is going on around the world and with the people next door, in the next state, across the country and across the globe. Are you curious as to what is going on around you? How about how people are holding up? Perhaps try taking a short trip to the next town, next state, next region or next country. Learn something of value that you can share with friends and colleagues. I’d be curious to know what you learn. Drop me a line.

If you are interested in learning about global trends as it relates to manufacturing and supply chain, read my free eBook Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19.



The Value of Diversity

July 5th, 2020

Diversity has always been core to success. Are you gaining different viewpoints? It has certainly been proven that deliberately bringing diverse viewpoints into projects and teams will lead to greater levels of success. Men will have different perspectives than women. People with different nationalities and backgrounds will bring different viewpoints into the mix. People of different ages will have differing priorities and opinions. Are you bringing diversity into the conversation?

I can definitely tell you it isn’t as easy as it sounds. I didn’t even realize I was the only woman (and also the youngest person) attending the Board of Directors meetings when I was VP of Product Supply until one of my team members brought it to my attention. You’d think it would be hard for me to miss! I also remember a time during my consulting career when I really enjoyed participating in a group. We had a good working relationship and were quite successful. A potential new member came onto the scene. My first thought was “NO!”; however, I agreed, and she turned out to add great diversity, and the group was better for it. Good thing I ignored my inner voice!

One Tip to Implement This Week:

Simply pay attention for opportunities to insert diversity into your projects, events etc. You’ll be surprised by what you miss while focusing on the task at hand. Again, during my career with APICS Inland Empire Chapter (Association for Supply Chain Management), I missed the lack of diversity on our panel. Our audience noticed and commented in our survey. In this case, it was an all male panel. Our chapter has held 15 executive panel and networking symposium events, and this panel was the ONLY panel without a woman. Of course, over time, we have improved upon this metric in addition to male/female (although that can sometimes be tough on its own!) with panelists from multiple countries, backgrounds, age groups, work backgrounds (in addition to manufacturing and distribution, we’ve added healthcare, technology and more), etc.
Start by simply paying attention and giving a diverse group a chance. Be open to the idea, and you might just gain significant value.
Stay safe & healthy.