Category: SIOP / S&OP

Which Business Best Practices Do Top Notch Trusted Advisors See?

October 5th, 2017

In my ProVisors ODAM (Ontario-hosted Distributors and Manufacturers group – don’t you love the play on words?) meeting this month, we discussed business best practices we’ve seen with our manufacturing and distribution clients. It was a fascinating discussion as our group is diverse and consists of the most respected attorneys, CPAs, commercial insurance, business financial advisers, and consultants from around Southern California. Yet, we agreed rather quickly on core best practices. Thanks to Ron Penland for making the meetings engaging and trend-worthy.

Best business practices, this way….

Here are some of the top themes surrounding best practices:

  • Start by understanding financial statements and cost – it’s interesting how often this arises with our clients.
  • Look for the value add.
  • Find ways to scale without increasing costs. There are many options such as leveraging technologies, best practices, trade associations and more.
  • Leadership equals profit improvement. End of story.
  • Don’t start planning your exit “too late”.
  • Consider process improvement techniques such as lean manufacturing, SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning), etc.
  • Be aware of your indicators and metrics.

More Best Practices

Are you reliant on figuring everything out yourself? We hope not! The most successful people find groups, attend seminars and conferences, engage with trade associations and interact with others who are up-to-speed on the latest trends and timeless success traits. If you think you might need to go a step further, feel free to contact us and we’ll suggest a few strategies for you.

 

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

100 Best Practices, Tips to Elevate Business Performance in Manufacturing

 



SIOP – How Collaboration & Judgment Can Achieve Wonders

August 18th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Earlier this week, I spoke to APICS Ventura County on the topic of SIOP (Sales, Inventory & Operations Planning). It was a great conversation because it was really interactive, with probing questions on not just the theory and concepts but how to “make it work.” Talking more about the secret recipe to achieving results. What became apparent during the discussion is that what we do truly boils down to much, much more than aligning demand with supply or any of the technical aspects of SIOP. Success results from collaboration and common sense with a dash of judgment thrown in at the right time.

Then, later this week, I was with a client who pondered something similar about a completely different topic – how do we “make this happen”? Again, technical concepts are important to start on the right page and to think through the best design or solution. But without collaboration, common sense and judgment, nothing happens!

One tip to implement this week: 

Try hard not to get buried in technical concepts. Do you know anyone that hides behind massive spreadsheets or complex processes? Or, do you find yourself getting carried away with a cool new technology (regardless of the importance to results)? Admit it – we all do!

Instead, success comes by remembering common sense. What do you really need to do to get everyone in the loop? As issues and potential roadblocks arise, think about what makes sense. Forget about the complex formulas and overload of data analysis. Collaborate with your colleagues (not one single person can achieve as much two or more people collaborating and trading ideas) and apply a healthy dose of judgment. Results will follow.

 

 

Save

Save



Raising the Bar With Customer Service Through Internal Operations

August 14th, 2017
Teamwork!

Could a simple solution of aligning Sales with Operations with Finance deliver the bottom line BIG win?

Do your internal operations truly have a significant impact on your customer service levels? Yes, for every single client, they can have a dramatic effect!

For example, we recently worked with a client that wanted to raise the bar when it came to customer service levels. Over time, product mix, distribution strategies and buffer capabilities changed which created a gap when compared to prior performance levels. The challenge was to improve customer service and the overall customer experience rapidly – and “make it stick”.

It comes down to teamwork

As is true with every client we’ve worked with over the last several years – when it comes to customer service, no matter how proactive your front line is with customer communications and no matter what heroics your operations folks jump through to deliver product, the “win” or “loss” will boil down to whether your Sales and Operations are on the same page and executing in concert with one another. For example, if Sales is excited to win large orders (BIG wins) and Operations isn’t prepared for these big wins (not enough people, machines, materials, and the like), service will suffer. Add Finance into the mix who is not likely to be prepared for the cash flow impacts, and the situation can become even more frustrating. As apparent as this sounds, it is extremely common.

Could a simple solution of aligning Sales with Operations with Finance deliver the bottom line BIG win? Yes, every time.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on the topic: SIOP/Integrated Business Planning

Save



Forecasting: How Far Should You Look into the Future?

July 3rd, 2017
SIOP S&OP

Setting strategy or designing a sales, inventory and operations planning (SIOP) process requires forecasting. How far into the future do you look and why?

Whether setting strategy or designing a SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) process, one of the most important questions to consider in forecasting is how far into the future will you look? And why?

As we think about whether the answer should be 1 month, 1 quarter or 1 year, check your thinking. When assessing the future it is important to think through the elements that may impact your forecast.

10 Questions to Ask When Forecasting and Designing SIOP

1. Do you have customer contracts in your business/ industry? If so, how far out do they go?

2. Regardless of the commitment level, how far out do you have information that is somewhat reliable? If it changes substantially from month-to-month, is it of any value?

3. How reliable is your forecast by product or customer grouping? Forget about items and sku-level forecasts. How about product category forecasts?

4. Do you have access to demand data into your supply chain?

5. Are you asking questions about what is coming down the pike? If not, why not?

6. How much cushion do you have? Do you have inventory or capacity availability?

7. How prepared is your supply chain? Can they handle volume spikes?

8. Are you willing to dedicate people to gain a view into the future? Why or why not?

9. Have you considered a strategic sprint? Why are you setting arbitrary time frames when customers don’t care what you do? They want what they need when they need it.

10. Are there downsides to looking too far into the future? What are they?

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

Forecasts Are Always Wrong So Why Bother?

4 Excel for SIOP Success

 



Duke University & CFO Global Outlook Survey Suggests Optimism

March 23rd, 2017

According to CFO, Duke University and CFO Global Business Outlook Survey suggests strong optimism! In fact, the survey’s optimism index for the quarter jumped to 69 (on a 100-point scale) which is the highest level in 14 years. This is also significantly higher than the long-run average of 60. Businesses are optimistic.

61% plan to increase their payrolls this year and 4% wage hikes are expected. Even more noteworthy is that capital spending is expected to increase by 6% vs. a median of 3% and a flat/negative spend in 2016. Are you ready?

business optimism

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Good news abounds. However, the tricky part is that the vast majority of our clients struggle to sustain successful growth (profitable, high service levels etc.). We don’t enjoy layoffs and recessions but they can be simpler to manage. Are you ready for growth?

Our most successful clients prepare for growth. They invest in infrastructure with enough lead time to implement successfully BEFORE they must have it. This could refer to systems, technology, people, training and development, process improvement techniques, culture and change initiatives and more — of course, it depends on your business. Undoubtedly, this is easier said than done! One of these initiatives that is geared especially well to growth is SIOP (sales, inventory, operations planning). SIOP programs are focused on forecasting demand, collaborating with customers and aligning with staffing, capacity, systems and process infrastructure, training and development and so on. If you’d like to talk about preparing for growth, contact me.