Category: I’ve Been Thinking

The Economy & Where It Is Headed

April 20th, 2020

Since I dressed up for my webinar with Eileen Angulo on “Navigating Coronavirus Impact with our Employees,” it seemed a great time to do a quick video for I’ve Been Thinking on the economy and where we go from here. 

One Tip to Implement This Week:As I said in the video, consider how you can help. Turn your focus from panic and worry to creativity and innovation. Focusing on innovation is the best path forward if we’d like to turn our situations toward the positive, and it is certainly is what will turn the U.S. towards a positive future. Anyone can innovate. Perhaps we aren’t all as skilled as MacGyver in utilizing pencils and paper clips but we each have unique talents and capabilities. Spend an hour focused on innovation and let me know how it goes. To learn more about innovation,

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.



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.



Coronavirus: Resources for Businesses & Individuals

March 20th, 2020

What else could we be thinking about this week?!?!

Of course, the coronavirus is top of mind. I met with a group of top notch trusted advisors yesterday (via Zoom) and we shared resources. We had trusted advisors including CPAs, attorneys, HR consultants, bankers, insurance providers and many more. Because it was so valuable for each of us, I wanted to share these resources with you. Click here

We will continue to add links with valuable information in each section. For example, there are articles on FAQs for employers, working remotely, how to keep your sales team motivated and several more. We will continue to add articles as well.

Now that the basics are covered, I’ll also be adding manufacturing and supply chain specific articles and videos. Stay tuned here.

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Although the news is quite unsettling, the key is to follow the guidelines for social distancing, be extra careful but do NOT stop.

Some of our clients cannot keep up with the volume (for example, food processors/manufacturing).  Some have seen a quick slow down (for example, those supporting schools).  Others are concerned with the 90-120 day likely slooooow down from China (The latest reports show that China is back up to around 50%; yet, it depends on your unique situation as some are 70-80% and others much worse) and some are seeing a mixed bag.

No matter your situation, there are strategies you could use to move forward successfully. Spring into action!

Of primary focus is to get in touch with your supply chain. Talk with customers and suppliers. Don’t just stop there. Find out about your customers’ customers and your suppliers’ suppliers. Understand your landscape and put action plans in place. There was never a better time to extend a helping hand into your supply chain. We’ll talk about many more actions in a special series to be launched in the next few days but start here.

Last but not least, it is a stressful time for many and please try to remember with each interaction!



Going Live on a New ERP System and the Importance of People

March 16th, 2020

With a client going live on a new ERP system shortly, it is top of mind. As is ALWAYS the case, as you get close to the finish line, issues pop up and it feels like one nightmare after another. With that said, the team is doing well and we are tackling what arises.  I am confident that we’ll be successful!

Yet, going through the process certainly highlights the critical importance of people during projects of significant organizational change. All people matter in these types of significant projects – the business owner or executive, the ERP project team, sponsors, the day-to-day troops and related parties.

 

How do you respond as you are sleep deprived and maxed out? Perhaps we should all think twice about how we respond to situations and whether we let bias and the lack of sleep cloud our judgement because it certainly has an impact on people!

For example, on the positive side, the business owner we are working with is very supportive to the team. He showed up with Customer Service to key orders on the weekend and is willing to spend money on tools and technology that will make it easier for his team. He also tailors his style to the person. For example, he saved a particular type of coffee for one of the project team members because she mentioned she would like it. This type of support goes a long way to encouraging the team to carry on through the typical trials and tribulations. On the other hand, there is always a negative Nellie or stress creator.

How do we navigate these types of waters successfully? And do we realize the power of people?

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Take a step back from what you are doing and think about how you are perceived. In our experience, people do not perceive themselves the same way that others perceive them. In fact, they might think they are fine but the frown on their face, the tone of their email or their attitude carries a different story. We find that people see through non-genuine comments. For example, if you say one thing but it is clear the opposite is how you really feel, what you really feel is going to shine through. You also have to be consistent or people wonder what is going on even if you are good with them.

The opposite also holds true. There have been times when it is clear the executive was concerned about something but presented a positive, can-do attitude, and the mood shifted to a bright outlook. In this case, the executive truly believed the situation can be navigated even though he didn’t know how (at the moment), and so his belief in the future shone through. Your attitude will spread. Have you checked yours lately?

Remember the power your comments, attitude and actions have on others. Are your going to spur the team to success or hold them back? Each person makes a difference. Don’t think because you aren’t the project manager or the business owner, you don’t have an impact. You will!



Economic Forecast For 2020

March 2nd, 2020

Manfred Keil a longtime economics professor at Claremont McKenna College and the chief economist for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, spoke at a manufacturing and distribution group of trusted advisors on what we can expect for 2020. It was a fascinating discussion. The bottom line is that there is only 1 worrisome indicator of a recession offset by many positive signals. Putting aside disasters that could occur such as the coronavirus expanding, although we are in the longest period of expansion ever, almost all signs point to continued expansion.

The following are a few highlights of the discussion, tailored for the Inland Empire yet relevant for CA and the U.S.:

  • It became the longest expansion ever in June 2019!
  • The yield curve went negative again with the coronavirus. This is the negative indicator for a recession.  However, it was fueled by the outbreak andwill depend on what occurs since China is 20% of the world economy.
  • The unemployment rate is at an all-time low! We have surpassed the jobs lost in the great recession.
  • Consumer sentient index is good
  • Housing starts and stock is quite positive and could point to a differentiator as to why the bottom might NOT fall out even in the longest expansion. In essence, we have surpassed the average starts per month, but it hasn’t been a steep ramp up curve, meaning we haven’t overbuilt.
  • When it comes to the IE, we are the 13th largest metropolitan statistical area with 4.5 million people (just after San Francisco and bigger than San Diego) but with low baccalaureate attainment levels. Although jobs have returned (and are growing significantly), the inflation adjusted income levels have gone down. He suggested that we embrace our strength in logistics (#1 in the U.S.) as well as the other Brookings recommendations such as advanced manufacturing, cyber security, etc. to thrive.

One Tip to Implement This Week:
We certainly hear plenty of fears about potential recessions, tariff impacts, natural disaster disruptions and now coronavirus concerns. However, the numbers aren’t showing this picture, yet. So what should we do?

We are definitely recommending that our clients future-proof their manufacturing operations and extended supply chains. Are you prepared for a downturn? Or perhaps even more likely short-term, are you prepared for an unexpected increase in business? It is something to evaluate!

How agile is your business? There are many options to consider. Just start with a few immediately. The basics are very often overlooked.

  • Do you have backups: For key positions? For sites? For sources of cash? For your data? For your suppliers?
  • Are your backups solid? For example, if your supplier backups are in the same country as your primary supplier, you might just not have any backup. Currently, much of China is shutdown. If both are in China, what have you accomplished?

Start here.