Category: I’ve Been Thinking

McDonald’s Proves Quality Must Be An Assumption

August 11th, 2014

supply chain

According to today’s Wall Street Journal, McDonald’s July sales were DOWN by 2.5% – the worst in over 10 years! A significant contributor to this weak performance was due to the meat-supplier scandal in China affecting its sales in Asia and Africa.  As businesses try to find ways to grow sales in today’s highly competitive environment, fundamentals must remain in place to ensure quality and service.  What could be worse than finally achieving some success with organic growth to have it squashed by quality concerns? (In McDonald’s case, meat expiration date concerns..) Once customers leave, they are far less likely to return.

One tip to implement this week: Check in on your fundamentals.  Typically we are buried in day-to-day survival – managing projects, resolving problems, handling customer questions, preparing for Board meetings and the like.  Instead, set aside time (which you consider to be as important as your top customer, CEO or Board member calling with an urgent priority) to take a pulse on your fundamentals.  Go to Customer Service and Shipping, and ask about customers and service.  Go by a the production line and ask questions about quality.  Pick up your phone to call a key supplier.  Talk with your informal leaders and find out what’s on their mind.  Take stock of your fundamentals and address any potential risks uncovered.  If you don’t, you’ll wish you had as they surface from your customers instead!


Making Your Company Attractive to Potential Employees

August 4th, 2014
supply chain
According to today’s Wall Street Journal, employers have added over 200,000 jobs for six months in a row. Employers are ramping up investment in their businesses again. I’m seeing my clients realize that they need to fill skills gaps especially with today’s complex supply chains. My recent skills gap research agrees. The question is whether they can find top talent.
Those who want to attract top talent need to think about what employees are looking for.
One tip to implement this week: Take a step back and think about what you want as an employee.  Do you want control over what you do?  Do you want to be able to make decisions?  Do you want to have to support people who don’t want to carry their weight? I find the vast majority of managers know about the problem people but don’t want to address the issue.  Of course it is uncomfortable; however, what signal does that send to the high performers in your organization?  To become attractive, you don’t have to spend bunches of money; instead, think about what you’d want and start making choices to make your organization desirable.

I’ve Been Thinking About Innovative Service

July 18th, 2014

supply chain

A Tip to Make Sure Innovative Service Remains Top of Mind 

According to today’s Wall Street Journal, Amazon is thinking of offering an unlimited reading service – a game changer!  Amazon certainly epitomizes innovation as they continue to make waves with Sunday deliveries, the possibility of drones, and now unlimited reading services.  According to my new research study which measures the impact Amazon has on service standards and how manufacturers and distributors should prioritize offerings, 67% have gaps. I find that at least 80% of my clients experience these challenges on a daily basis as customers demand quicker deliveries and elevated service levels.

Those who want to thrive will focus immediate attention on understanding what your customers need and how to set your supply chain and its people, processes and systems up for success.

One tip to implement this week: Pick up the phone and call a key customer, supply chain partner or someone with intimate knowledge of what your customers desire (such as your Customer Service Representative or Logistics Manager) and find out more about what would add value for your customers.  I find that no matter how much I think I understand, I learn something new or am reminded of a value-add which could be immediately implemented to elevate performance.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain talent? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


I’ve Been Thinking about Supply Chain Talent Retention

July 11th, 2014


supply chain

As promised in my 100th Profit through People(TM) newsletter, below is my first “I’ve Been Thinking” brief, weekly tips, tools, trends and top news ideas to transform your supply chain. I’d love to hear your feedback…. 

An Immediately Implementable Tip to Retain Your Top Supply Chain Talent

According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 63% of CEOs in 68 countries are concerned about the future availability of key skills at all levels. This not only supports my firm’s skills gap research but also is proven true on a daily basis with my clients, contacts and trade association colleagues. Not a week goes by where someone hasn’t lost a key employee, doesn’t have the skills available to complete a critical project, or experiences a skills gap due to suddenly increased requirements.

Those who want to thrive in the second half of 2014 will focus immediate attention on ensuring you retain and attain supply chain talent. Start at the beginning – retain your top talent!

One tip to implement this week: Schedule a 30-60 minute session with your top performer to discuss ideas and strategies for moving the business forward. Delay that meeting with your under-performer if necessary. Where you spend your time speaks volumes. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain talent? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”