Category: Project management

Featured on Supply Chain Chats about Coronavirus & Where We Go From Here

April 5th, 2020

I was featured on Netstock’s “Supply Chain Chats” about the coronavirus impacts in the supply chain, latest trends and what changes might occur long-term due to the coronavirus challenges. We talked about the bullwhip effect and how companies are likely to respond. See the video here.

For additional coronavirus information, resources and strategies, please visit the coronavirus resources section of our website.



Quoted in Courthouse News Service About the Success of a Supermarket During Coronavirus

April 4th, 2020

I talked with the Courthouse News Service about the supply chain impacts retailers are experiencing with the coronavirus pandemic, and was quoted in their article “Texas Grocery Store Chain Does a Bang-Up Job Against Coronavirus”. It is an uplifting story about a supermarket that is navigating this crisis successfully, and it speaks to preparation and collaboration. I love that they struck deals with their beer distributors to help deliver eggs. The food industry is somewhat used to these types of issues with recalls etc.; however, it is great to see H-E-B do well! Read the article here.

For additional coronavirus information, resources and strategies, please visit the coronavirus resources section of our website.



Have You Thought About Whether You are Maximizing the Use of Your ERP System?

December 19th, 2019

Before jumping to conclusions and pursuing a system upgrade, should we explore whether we are maximizing the use of our current system? Or, is it just not modern enough to support our growth in a scalable, profitable way?

This is often the subject of a client call. After all, no one in their right mind would want to embark on an ERP upgrade unless absolutely necessary. The issue is that the situation can be quite complex. How do we separate what’s important vs. what’s not? In this case study, a client knew they had to upgrade because their system was long out of maintenance. The only question was how compelling was the upgrade to support their customers’ requirements and an efficient operation?

The Answer
Although they clearly required an upgrade to get into the current century, the question we explored is whether they could continue to improve performance using their current system to a degree large enough to delay the upgrade until they were better prepared. Unfortunately, since they had let their current system go for ‘too long’, it was highly dependent on current technical resources, partly tailored to their business processes and customized to their needs. At first glance, that doesn’t sound bad! However, the issue was that it was by no means scalable, would require significant education on concepts so that folks started thinking instead of following the process designed into the current system and they were highly dependent on resources that could leave or “get hit by a bus”. Doesn’t that sound like something you say but it doesn’t happen? Not so> One of my clients had that exact situation occur, even though it is just a phrase for a myriad of issues that could arise.

After digging into their business requirements (current as well as a few years into the future), we found ample opportunity to further leverage already existing functionality to meet customer requirements and delay the upgrade for several months. However, that still wasn’t enough. We also had to take actions to secure at-risk critical resources to the degree feasible (since we clearly cannot plan 100% for the ‘hit by the bus’ scenario). We were successful in proactively addressing the situation so that we didn’t have to leap before we knew if we had a net. Yet, we weren’t 100% comfortable, so we also put together an aggressive plan for ERP selection to find the best fit system to meet their needs (without customizing) and equally important a best fit partner that could proactively understand and think through their education needs (which were VERY different from training needs).

Food For Thought
Although we found a solution, the CEO was on pins and needles once he realized the extent of the situation. Don’t leave your infrastructure to chance. Even though all can seem quite fine at the high level, it is important to know whether you are being held up by a solid foundation or a nice-looking pile of straw. That is before considering what you’ll need at least 18 months into the future. You will not select the best system to support your plans or you’ll skimp on implementation. Every client that cut corners overspent by 20-100% and that is before considering the impact on customer service. Do you have a scalable ERP system to support your business growth and profitability? If not, start there!

 

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

Is Your ERP System Scalable?

Do You Need An ERP Upgrade?

Systems Pragmatist



Why Join A CEO Group?

December 6th, 2019

We recognized Ron Penland as our 2019 LMA Advocate. Ron has added value to our business in many ways over the years ranging from insights on what’s relevant to manufacturers and distributors and their bottom line to valued connections. Since Ron runs CEO groups, I thought it made for a good segue to discuss the value of interacting with peers. Are you drinking your own Kool-Aid or do you get push back when you need it?

You might want to consider the unpleasant idea of gaining input even when you don’t want to hear it. The proof is in the pudding. Certainly, Ron’s CEOs have been FAR more successful than even the average CEO group as his CEOs get 2 to 3 times the multiples for the sale of their businesses when compared to the industry averages. That alone is noteworthy. I joined one of his groups simply to better understand what is on our clients’ minds. Of course they tell me what relates to our project but if I understand more about the broad spectrum of issues, I can ensure LMA provides an even more powerful return. That is an important win-win – the more value we help our clients create, the better for both of us!

Do you have any venues for interacting with top notch peers? After all, just interacting with someone in a peer position willing to talk to you could be even worse than being a hermit! Kash Gokli, head of Harvey Mudd’s manufacturing practice and Director of their clinic program and I gather CEOs a few times a year to help foster a community of executives and to discuss timely topics in our Harvey Mudd executive roundtables. Of course, we don’t go into depth and specifics of company performance like you do in a CEO group. Yet, it can add definite value. Contact us if you are interested in joining us.

There are other options as well for building these invaluable connections. Think about volunteering for a community benefit to provide expertise. In the Inland Empire and surrounding areas of Southern CA, we are starting a consortium for advanced manufacturing and supply chain success. We are currently looking for manufacturers and exporters who would be interested in being involved from the ground up in an advisory capacity. Please contact the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP) or me if interested. And a local manufacturing executive asked me to participate in CAIEDEC which is an organization supporting export. CEOs are involved in both of these initiatives and these groups are the first to pop to mind.

There are plenty of opportunities to gain ideas, insights and push back. Are you seeking them out? If not, why not? Wouldn’t you like to exceed corporate objectives to fast-track your career or sell your company for double the industry average? Pick just one item to test this month, and results will follow.



Manufacturing Summit Recap: Innovation & Top Talent

August 27th, 2019
My videos from the Manufacturing Summit, had key themes along with insight into the exciting opportunities for the Inland Empire and advanced manufacturing and how it all tied in with LMA Consulting’s “2019 Predictions from Manufacturing & Logistics Executives” document.

 

I’ve included the quote from Roy Paulson, president of Paulson Manufacturing to kick us off on the state of manufacturing. As Roy says, US manufacturers are thriving and will continue to thrive, assuming they have a focus on innovation.
Innovation is one of the key themes that emerged from the keynote speakers at the summit from Fender and Tesla as well as through the innovation award winners. Going hand-in-hand with innovation is a focus on people. Listen to my recap about the summit and what’s relevant to manufacturers today:
As Lance Hastings, CEO of California Manufacturing & Technology Association said at the summit, the Inland Empire is thriving. There was greater growth in the Inland Empire than any other area of California.  However, far more impressive than that is that the IE beat out the nation (in a state that typically isn’t too keen on manufacturing).
The Brookings Institute agreed with the conclusion in their recent study on the Inland Empire. One of the key recommendations was to create a consortium for advanced manufacturing and logistics success. You’ll be hearing more about this exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the coming months. In addition, Governor Newsom is supportive of this path forward and so we are ‘jumping on it’.
If you are interested in staying in the loop on this initiative, please email me so I can add you to the distribution list.