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!



Coronavirus Spurs Supply Chain into Prominence

March 13th, 2020

The House of Representatives has launched a new Congressional Supply Chain Caucus. The coronavirus is spurring supply chain into the limelight. Because China is impacted, the effects to the supply chain will be felt throughout the world in 2-3 months (and sooner for countries closer to the source). We are already starting to see these effects. In addition, it is creating a panic resulting in virus-related supplies already being scarce. If nothing else, it is definitely highlighting the impact of the supply chain.

On a related note, listen to my video about the coronavirus where I talk about, establishing backup plans and future-proofing your supply chain. I’d love to hear about your situations, your ideas and plans so we can exchange ideas. Please email me.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
The supply chain was already starting to gain prominence in the C suite. Since the supply chain is responsible for the vast majority of cost, it has always been relevant.  Now, it has gained in relevance as its impact on the customer experience has come to light. And, with disruptions like the coronavirus spread, the critical nature of the supply chain has been highlighted. We cannot leave our end-to-end supply chain to chance or we will be left in the dust at the first sign of disruption.

Instead, we should not only proactively look at backups but we should also diversify across countries/geographies, size companies, industries and more. We should build solid relationships to proactively and successfully navigate disruptions. In fact, we will be publishing the 10 ways to Keep Your Supply Chain Moving shortly. Stay tuned…

In the interim, keep focused. Don’t panic. Look for solutions.  Don’t be deterred by roadblocks. In essence, create a resilient supply chain. There are several ideas in our new LMA-i, LMA-Intelligence series including the Resilient Supply Chain and Future-Proofing.

Contact us if you’d like an assessment of how well you have future-proofed your manufacturing operations and extended supply chain.



Special Report: 2020 Predictions

March 12th, 2020

We received such a positive response to last year’s predictions report that we wanted to add to that value in 2020. It was an exciting process to see what CEOs, executives and thought leaders of manufacturing and logistics organizations think about the current trends, what’s coming, and most importantly, what to do to get ahead of the curve.

A special THANKS goes to our contributors. We’ll be discussing these topics much more in our March newsletter to build upon their predictions and ways we can THRIVE amidst the ambiguity.

For our Profit through People subscribers, we are pleased to provide a direct link. Feel free to forward to your colleagues and friends by sending them our download link.

A Few Highlights
Please pay special attention to my introduction (page 2). I believe we are at a critical juncture in our field. To succeed in 2020, manufacturing and logistics organizations need to become agile, proactive and even disruptive, to merely survive. The most successful organizations are going to do a deep dive into human capital, technologies and strategies that will achieve the trifecta – a superior customer experience, profitable growth and improved working capital, simultaneously.

With the promise of additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, IoT, robotics and blockchain, technology can play a pivotal role.  However, technology alone is NEVER the answer. Instead, it is the smart application of the appropriate technologies by top talent, aligned internally and across the extended supply chain and following a well-thought out strategy that wins the race.

I thought the insights, predictions and recommendations from our experts are worth noting – and taking action! We were careful to gain perspectives from manufacturing and logistics executives and thought leaders, spanning industries (from food and beverage to building products and logistics), specialties (trade, sourcing, technology, human capital, economic development and more), and size and complexity (from family-owned to private equity to large, complex organizations). I’d love to hear your feedback and areas you’d like to deep dive further.

We will continue our webinar series with future-proofing topics and thought leaders, as well as our video series of timely topics such as the coronavirus. We will continue to explore these topics in our blogs and newsletters, as well.

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss your situation and how you can future-proof your manufacturing operations and create a resilient supply chain.



Coronavirus and Impacts in the Supply Chain

March 7th, 2020

I was talking with a Los Angeles Times reporter about the coronavirus a few days ago, and it spurred several thoughts about down-the-line impacts beyond the obvious. According to the Epoch Times, the coronavirus impacts will hit within the next few months. This makes perfect sense since lead times are typically between 2-3 months for our clients.  So, expect current shutdowns to have impact in a few months.  While you should obviously spring to action if impacted, you should be thinking about future-proofing your supply chain regardless!

 

 



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.