Category: I’ve Been Thinking

Holiday Sales are Expected to be UP by Double Digits in E-Commerce

December 17th, 2018

Black Friday has already gotten off to a strong start!  According to Coresight Research, holiday sales are expected to be up by 4% whereas e-commerce will be up 16%!   Target had a goal to hire more than 120,000 people for the holiday season which is a 20% increase. UPS planned to hire 100,000 which is up 5,000 from last year (maybe because they had to spent $125 million extra last year to fix delays because they were short staffed).  And FedEx planned to hire 55,000 additional seasonal workers which was a slight increase from last year (and they expect a record-breaking year).

Is your business seasonal?  What are you expecting? Is anyone in your supply chain focused on seasonal business?  Perhaps you should find out!

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Are you prepared for the holiday season?  I find this is somehow a common issue among clients.  The smartest of clients tend to miss holiday season trends.  For example, I worked with one client for several years and key workers took off during the holiday season for extended vacations every year.  Yet, it seemed to be a constant surprise when we struggled to keep up with demand.  Of course, our customer’s demand didn’t decrease, even in a non-holiday industry. Of course, clients focused on consumer products always struggle to predict holiday sales as you cannot start producing in December! When I worked with Coca-Cola Enterprises, employees only got Christmas day off because holidays were always BIG.  

Think beyond your company.  Given the statistics above, do you think your carriers might be a bit busy during the holiday season?  How about your suppliers that might supply other holiday-intensive industries? Your trusted advisors? No matter the supply chain partner, perhaps a heads up surrounding holiday activity and expectations would be a good idea. Holiday season volatility is another good example of why you should create a resilient supply chain to navigate disruption and achieve peak performance.

Check out our new video and article series as well as our soon-to-be offered Rapid Resilient Supply Chain Assessment service.



Giving Thanks & Why It Matters

December 13th, 2018

Since it is Thanksgiving week, it seems only appropriate to talk about giving thanks.   A BIG THANKS to these people/ groups who have been instrumental in our success – and making it an enjoyable journey along the way:

 

  • Our clients – As much as our clients select us, we also select you.  As my consulting mentor says, it is not worth the efforts you have to go through to run a successful consulting practice if you don’t love what you do and work with people you respect and enjoy!  Thus, a BIG thanks to you!
  • Our associates – When I first started consulting, I dreaded the thought of how to bring someone into a client successfully, and after many years of “collecting good people”, I love it!
  • Our trusted advisors – Just as our clients need experts surrounding them, so do we.  I prefer to stay out of trouble! And we are only as good as the people surrounding us.
  • My APICS Board of Directors & key colleagues – We provide exceptional value to our local manufacturing and supply chain communities, and there is NO way I’d do it without you.
  • My ProVisors executive committee & ONT group – What an invaluable network of trusted advisors.  LMA is exponentially more successful with you!
  • My global consulting strategy group – Nice that I have your support (and kick in the butt) to stay the course, continue to grow and provide more and more value in my consulting practice.
  • And my other professional associations such as the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP), the Manufacturers Council of the Inland Empire (MCIE), Harvey Mudd executive roundtables, Renaissance Executive Forums group, the University of LaVerne advisory Board for the School of Business and Public Management and more.
  • Students – For keeping us fresh and engaged – from CSUSB, Cal Poly, UCR, Drucker, Harvey Mudd, Pomona College, Univ of LaVerne, Norco and more.
  • My SAC business partner, Linda Popky – We have created a value-packed organization for consulting growth.  I’ve learned a lot along the way that has added valued in many other areas of my practice as well.
  • My parents – Without them, I would never have started a consulting firm because I would not have known that anything was possible (as detailed in my backstory) and I would have listened to all those people who said a young woman couldn’t run manufacturing, have a seat at the table with private equity backers or start a consulting firm from the ground up.
  • Friends & former colleagues – Speaking of starting up a consulting firm while knowing close to no one since I traveled 60% of the time as VP of Operations & Supply Chain, I certainly appreciate these valued colleagues in helping to make it possible.

One tip to implement this week:
Who do you appreciate?  More importantly, do they know?  I’m often surprised by how what we think is obvious is NOT to the other party.  It can go a long way – why not think of at least one person to thank!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 



Disruption, Innovation, Global Trends & the APICS-IE Symposium

November 20th, 2018

Lately, I’ve attended various conferences and participated in a few events/ panels on a diverse set of topics with different groups (ranging from transportation to public policy to manufacturing and supply chain to consulting to universities/ students to women leaders).  Aside from it being a whirlwind of fascinating conversations, I’ve seen a few themes emerge across every one of these events – disruption, innovation and global trends.

In today’s Amazonian and Uberian environments, disruption is the new normal.  For example, at Mobility 21 (Southern CA transportation coalition), autonomous vehicles and Uber/Lyft type transportation/trucking concepts arose.  At the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM/ APICS) international conference, the idea the IoT, artificial intelligence, Netflix type disruption and more arose.  And at the Society for Advancement of Consulting local event held at Harvey Mudd, almost 50% of the attendees were originally from out of the country and key discussions occurred around global trends and disruption.

Thus, I’d be remiss if I didn’t invite you to join us at the APICS-IE executive panel & networking symposium with an amazing panel discussing “Advancing Innovation and Navigating Global Trends” on Nov 3rd at Harvey Mudd in Claremont.  Click here to learn more and register.

One tip to implement this week:
Since disruption and innovation go hand-in-hand, there are many ways to think about this topic.  One suggestion is to gather your team and business partners/trusted advisors and brainstorm about what disruptions are likely to impact your industry.  Also consider which disruptions are likely to come down the pike. Understanding your environment and how you are positioned is a great starting point – and you’ll be better off than most organizations who might already be known in innovation circles to repeat this exercise on some sort of regular basis!

Additionally, join our unique networking and educational event on “Advancing Innovation and Navigating Global Trends”.  We have an amazing panel including the deputy executive director of the port of Los Angeles, the COO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Chairman/Dept of Surgery at the City of Hope, a senior executive in aerospace and a senior director of supply chain & operations.  It should stir up some really engaging discussions on innovation and global trends! The event is on Nov 3rd in Claremont, CA from 8-11:30am. I hope to see you there.  Learn more and register.

 



California Steel Industries and Whether Progress Follows Passion

November 10th, 2018

Recently, I went on a tour of California Steel Industries (CSI), the leading producer of steel in the western United States.  We walked through the steel mill and the pipe mill.  You’ll see a video of the steel manufacturing process below.

It is quite an interesting process.  However, as amazing as it is to see, what is even more impressive is the dedication and passion of the employees who took us on the tour.  What I thought was most impressive is how the team members enjoyed the culture.

 

 

CSI has never had a layoff although they have used their employees to not just fill temporary roles but also to perform all services during tough years.  This dedication shines through.  For example, the pipe mill supervisor had a lot of pride as he told us about his story and the fact that it is the newest pipe mill in the world yet it is housed in the oldest building at CSI.  Perhaps progress follows passion in CSI’s case….

One tip to implement this week:
Culture seems to be popping up at every turn lately (tours, Harvey Mudd executive roundtables, successful CEO feedback) as key to success.

Have you thought about your culture and the impact on your employees and progress?  For example, on a tour, would your employees talk to the process and leave it at that?  Or would they talk about how much they enjoy working there?  Perhaps we should all “take a tour” of our facilities and find out.

If culture is simply as my consulting mentor Alan Weiss defines it (that set of beliefs that govern behavior), it is quite simple.  The issue is that it isn’t easy to build.

How might we create that set of beliefs that govern behavior?  Perhaps we start by deciding what we are willing to stand up for – and not waver from when the “going gets tough”.

If your influencers start believing in your culture, it will spread.  The trick is the only way I’ve ever seen influencers believe is by gaining their trust and respect and showing them (not telling them) what your new culture supports.

Why not start by simply thinking about what beliefs you support currently (whether intentional or unintentional)?  Can you see the impact of these beliefs in your culture?  The first step to any progress is to fully understand where you are now.

 



My 5-City Cross-Country Trip & the Value of Collecting Good People

November 4th, 2018

 

When I was young, I had a doll collection of the nationalities of my family.  I no longer collect dolls, cats or mystery novels but I have upgraded to collecting “good people”.  Luckily, I have always appreciated “good people” and I’ve stayed in touch.

Over the years, I was amazed and thrilled how many benefits came from this way of looking at life and career.  Last week, I was on an 8-night, 5-stop, cross-country journey where I interacted with some of these “good people” and it made me think…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started in:
1) Arizona to see my Mom and family
2) Chicago for the Association for Supply Chain Management where I collaborated with
LMA Associates, clients, APICS Inland Empire global student case competition finalists from Harvey Mudd, a CSUSB professor and contingent of transportation-related business owners from China and met several new colleagues
3) New York to lead the
Society for Advancement of Consulting annual meeting with my business partner, Linda Popky
4) Atlanta to meet with Georgia Tech and
IEEP colleagues
5) Palm Springs to meet with Renaissance Executive Forums CEOs  

Although exhausted, it did make me think about this concept of “collecting good people”.  Do you collect good people?

One tip to implement this week:
FAR more important than collecting industry trends, company history, technical skills and anything else, GOOD PEOPLE are the most valuable.  You meet people in all walks of life from college to colleagues at a job to customers and suppliers you might interact with along the way to industry and trade groups you participate with and much more.  I’ve found that there are “good people” all along the way. Sometimes, it just takes recognizing them. As life changes, keep in touch. It is easier today than ever before with social media.

When I first started on Linked In, I found the daughter of my first boss from Coca-Cola in order to re-connect with my first boss as well as her daughter (as we worked together briefly near the end).  I am really glad I did as they are definitely in the “good people” category. Other “good people” have become LMA Associates. Others have become clients.  And, others have become trusted colleagues and so on.  

No matter what happens in the future, wouldn’t you rather keep in touch with the “good people” throughout your life? It certainly makes it richer!