Tag Archive: advisors

Think Twice About Your Manufacturing Supply Chain

April 11th, 2020

My recent episode from my new video series related to “What’s Happening?” in manufacturing and supply chain addresses reevaluating production outside of the U.S. There has been a lot of activity lately impacting sourcing decisions. Just consider the new phase 1 trade deal with China, offset by a very worrisome law that went into affect in China in December related to data privacy (and lack thereof!) and a BIG win for manufacturers with the new USMCA trade deal with Mexico and Canada. Are you staying up-to-speed on these essential changes and trends?

Our most successful clients are on top of it! In fact, they are typically ahead. In today’s Amazon-paced, customer-centric world, it is no longer an option. You must be proactive just to survive. Get out of your chair and attend a key industry event, join us at our next Harvey Mudd executive roundtable to discuss the digital transformation and related impacts and network with peers, say yes to participating in the latest economic forecast event or the like. In addition, read highlights about the latest technologies and how they might impact your industry, seek out experts who can help you think through the top priorities in today’s Omni-channel world (whether related to you or not; you’ll pick up valuable insights to apply regardless), take your trusted advisors to lunch and ask them for their insights and more. The bottom line is you must be informed, proactive, collaborative and agile.

When it comes to thinking about your supply chain strategy, don’t get side tracked with all the hoopla. As Roy Paulson said in our 2019 predictions document (my favorite quote), “As a view looking forward in these auspicious times, expect to see more talk of tariffs, threats and waving of hands, all the while, those of us in exporting will be busy making deals, signing contracts and getting business done.”  I cannot tell you how true this statement is across the board. Thus, instead of getting into debates and moaning about your current situation, put a plan in place to thrive amidst the chaos.

As it relates specifically to China, China alternatives and our North American neighbors, watch our interview with John Tulac, international business attorney to learn more. We had a great time talking philosophy and throwing out issues and ideas on how to navigate China. I’ve committed to sharing widely to get the word out. I believe fully in being upfront and proactive, and I hope you’ll join with us in spreading the word of caution. This topic also squarely fits with our new theme on future-proofing your manufacturing operations and extended supply chain.  Contact us to discuss further.



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!



All Roads Lead Back to People

December 30th, 2019

All roads lead back to people. In working with executives from diverse industries of aerospace, building products, healthcare and food & beverage, whether a $10 million dollar family-owned business, a $50 million dollar private-equity backed company or a multi-billion dollar global conglomerate, the most successful have the best people. Little else seems to matter. The best strategies are destroyed by poor leaders, and the most mediocre of plans are wildly successful with the right leaders.

Since many of our clients are manufacturers, and October is manufacturing month, we thought it would be the ideal time to remind you that “all roads go back to leaders”. As much as it is relevant to stay on top of the latest technologies (learn more about artificial intelligence and computer vision in our “Just for Clients Section”) and search for the best practices for your business (such as SIOP (sales, inventory, operations planning) and lean manufacturing), it is even more important to think about your people. In fact, if you have the ‘right’ people, the rest will fall into place.

When thinking about people, you should consider several important groups:

  • New hires – Spend more time ensuring you have the ‘right’ person before wasting time and energy on a non-performer! Stop thinking about job descriptions and tasks.  Instead, think about what results you need and whether the person you are interviewing can ‘turn them into a reality’.
  • Your employeesThe most important category is your employees. If your people aren’t involved and interested, how do you expect to create fans of your customers?
  • Your suppliers – Do you consider your suppliers an extension of your team? You should! They can make or break your success.
  • Your customers – Certainly, there is such a thing as choosing the ‘wrong’ customer. Are you just taking any customer that comes your way or are you making sure they are a good fit for your business? Some customers will take you to new heights and others will send you accelerating backwards.
  • Your trusted advisors – Pay attention to who you listen to! Bad advice is far worse than no advice at all. As trusted advisors, we can attest that when our clients find ‘inexpensive advice’.  They come running to us because they tied up people getting nothing accomplished, or worse, the situation has gotten worse! In addition, having the ‘right’ banking, financial and legal advice at the ‘right’ time can prove invaluable.
  • Your trade & professional organizations, alumni groups etc. – The story is very similar to trusted advisors. You can gain invaluable insight and resources if you consider your network an important aspect of your business.

Watch our interview with  Ismael Reyes, Jr. and Cindy Baughman of Ingram Micro, the Manufacturing Council of the Inland Empire’s Innovation Award winners. We talk about the relevance and importance of talent and leadership as well as the dramatic impact it can have on bottom line results. They achieved over a million dollars in savings in process improvements.  And, they consider the key to success to go back to people.

Are you interested in bottom line improvement AND/or developing a superior customer experience? If so, start with your people!

If you are interested in an assessment of how you stand vs. the industry norm and would like recommendations and priorities to drive results, read through our articles for ideas or contact us to discuss further.



Future-proofing Your Manufacturing Success

December 11th, 2019

One of our core roles is to pay close attention to trends, issues and opportunities that will impact our manufacturing and distribution clients so that we can give them a leg up on the competition.

Lately, we have noticed that the next “big thing” will be future-proofing. Although everyone seems concerned about potential recessions in one of the greatest periods of growth ever on record, that isn’t why we have chosen to focus on the topic of future-proofing. Instead, what we have noticed is that the future is simply unknown.

It has an equal or better chance to be ideal for growth. Yet clients will not be able to take advantage of the opportunity if they haven’t been future-proofing their business and customer base. Also technology is a big unknown. Certainly waiting on the sidelines for someone else to figure it out will not cut it! In today’s era of the Amazon Impact, the Skills Gap and the need for a Resilient Supply Chain, your future will still not be secure if you haven’t thought about future-proofing. So, we are excited to launch our next LMA-i, LMA Intelligence topic, “Future-proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain

As we explore this new strategic topic, we always start with the fundamentals. It does not matter how much you spend on the latest and greatest, energy efficient windows for your house if your foundation is cracked, letting in air and sinking. People must be your foundation. No matter how high tech your company, it must be accompanied with high touch.

Have you taken a step back lately to evaluate your people?

  1. Do you have the right players on your team?
  2. Do they understand where they are going and why?
  3. Do they have a coach, mentor and/or adviser?
  4. Are there opportunities for career progression for key roles?
  5. Have you identified your stars and have a fast-track program in place?
  6. Are you recognizing your team?
  7. Do you have bench strength?
  8. Is your team prepared for where you are going currently or are they thinking about where they need to be in a year?
  9. How about your customers, suppliers and trusted advisors? Do they understand their value and how they can contribute?
  10. Are you willing to invest in people before investing in equipment and technology? Why or why not?

To future-proof your manufacturing business, you must know these answers. Of course knowing the answers is not sufficient. Is your team on board? How about your supply chain partners? Moreover, as unfortunate as it seems, being smart isn’t enough. You must apply this knowledge in a way that enables you to successful navigate the future while continually creating scalable, profitable growth.

Stay tuned for more articles on this topic and contact us if you’d like to assess your situation.

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

Manufacturing Month & Interview with an Innovation Award Winner

Profit Through People



Giving Thanks & Why It Matters

December 13th, 2018

Since it is Thanksgiving week, it seems only appropriate to talk about giving thanks.   A BIG THANKS to these people/ groups who have been instrumental in our success – and making it an enjoyable journey along the way:

 

  • Our clients – As much as our clients select us, we also select you.  As my consulting mentor says, it is not worth the efforts you have to go through to run a successful consulting practice if you don’t love what you do and work with people you respect and enjoy!  Thus, a BIG thanks to you!
  • Our associates – When I first started consulting, I dreaded the thought of how to bring someone into a client successfully, and after many years of “collecting good people”, I love it!
  • Our trusted advisors – Just as our clients need experts surrounding them, so do we.  I prefer to stay out of trouble! And we are only as good as the people surrounding us.
  • My APICS Board of Directors & key colleagues – We provide exceptional value to our local manufacturing and supply chain communities, and there is NO way I’d do it without you.
  • My ProVisors executive committee & ONT group – What an invaluable network of trusted advisors.  LMA is exponentially more successful with you!
  • My global consulting strategy group – Nice that I have your support (and kick in the butt) to stay the course, continue to grow and provide more and more value in my consulting practice.
  • And my other professional associations such as the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP), the Manufacturers Council of the Inland Empire (MCIE), Harvey Mudd executive roundtables, Renaissance Executive Forums group, the University of LaVerne advisory Board for the School of Business and Public Management and more.
  • Students – For keeping us fresh and engaged – from CSUSB, Cal Poly, UCR, Drucker, Harvey Mudd, Pomona College, Univ of LaVerne, Norco and more.
  • My SAC business partner, Linda Popky – We have created a value-packed organization for consulting growth.  I’ve learned a lot along the way that has added valued in many other areas of my practice as well.
  • My parents – Without them, I would never have started a consulting firm because I would not have known that anything was possible (as detailed in my backstory) and I would have listened to all those people who said a young woman couldn’t run manufacturing, have a seat at the table with private equity backers or start a consulting firm from the ground up.
  • Friends & former colleagues – Speaking of starting up a consulting firm while knowing close to no one since I traveled 60% of the time as VP of Operations & Supply Chain, I certainly appreciate these valued colleagues in helping to make it possible.

One tip to implement this week:
Who do you appreciate?  More importantly, do they know?  I’m often surprised by how what we think is obvious is NOT to the other party.  It can go a long way – why not think of at least one person to thank!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!