Tag Archive: aerospace

The Resilient Supply Chain: Do You Have Vendors or Partners?

December 1st, 2018

Since we did research on “The Squeeze” for a speech on the the squeeze in aerosapce (meaning:  how does the supplier in the middle between the Tier 1 suppliers who supply final assembly parts for an airplane and the powerhouse mills survive, or preferably thrive), we have been thinking a lot about the supplier relationship.  Coincidently, we also heard a lot on this topic at the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM/APICS) international conference as it is a hot topic across all industries. There was an almost identical discussion occurring with retail and the consumer goods industry. Last but not least, all of our clients are seeing the relevance of this topic.

What is the “right” answer?  Of course, it depends!
To manage “the squeeze”, one of the keys is to create partnerships with your key suppliers.  The rest can be vendors since they are not core or significant to your success. However, your key suppliers must be partners and collaborators.  For example, one of the best ways to handle the middle position in the aerospace world is to bring your customers and their demand together with your suppliers and their capabilities.  

Here are a few ideas that all depend on being a partner:

  • Collaborate with suppliers on new ideas/design concepts to reduce materials and waste for you AND up your supply chain.
  • Become a partner of your customer and gain access to demand information as it becomes available and help translate that into a benefit for your customer, you and your supplier.
  • Leverage pricing and volume across the supply chain for a win-win-win.

Although these ideas relate to aerospace, the same concept applies with every client.  When I was VP of Operations and Supply Chain for an absorbent products manufacturer, we used these same concepts to find win-win-win solutions in your supply chain.  We partnered with key vendors to redesign materials (that performed better at a lower cost), redesign packaging, reduce waste in our manufacturing process which required teaks and collaboration with both material and equipment suppliers and more.  By following a partnership route instead of the “vendor” negotiation/beat up on price route, we turned our situation around from bad to good.

We found private equity backers who wanted profitable growth.  However, soon after, the market changed and oil and gas prices were continually rising which significantly impacted our material costs (and were unavoidable) while our private equity investors still expected the same profit improvements as before.  Our business was also heavy in transportation cost since the product was bulky which was also an issue with rising oil and gas prices. Thus, we collaborated with customers, material suppliers and freight suppliers for win-win-win solutions. It “worked” and we were able to offset the price increases while growing the business in a profitable and scalable way.

These types of situations are common in today’s business environment.  

Do you view your suppliers as vendors or partners? And who are you hiring to manage these relationships?  Transaction-oriented purchasing folks or strategic relationship procurement resources?

 



Are You Stuck in Silo Thinking?

December 6th, 2016
avoid silo thinking

It is easy to narrow your thinking and stay focused on work at hand, but we need to get our head out of our operations and think big to innovate and grow.

We not only work across many manufacturing and distribution industries such as aerospace, building products and food but we also work across company-sizes ranging from small and medium size owner-operated companies to medium size private equity-backed firms to large, complex, global organizations. Thus, as we see trends across each of these segments, we pay attention. Unfortunately, silo thinking is commonplace.

Traditionally, silo thinking refers to thinking from your department-perspective and not looking cross-functionally; however, we also see vast examples of silo thinking from the company perspective. In this case, the organization falls into the trap of thinking internally and not thinking about supplier and customer impacts. And, it could mean that we think U.S. centric, even though we’d bet significant dollars that no one has a 100% U.S. centric extended supply chain. We need to get our head out of our operation and think BIGGER.

In today’s Amazon-impacted marketplace, extended supply chains are more interconnected than ever before. Thus, we must be aware of the impacts of our decisions on the rest of the supply chain. Actually even more important than remembering impacts, we can grow revenue and profits by looking for opportunities and unmet needs across our extended supply chain. Think about why we say “a supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. Anyone with a problem supplier might have learned this the hard way!

A natural extension of this thinking leads us to remembering that although English is the most spoken language in business settings and even though the U.S. is a big and generally affluent market, there is something to be said in remembering that 95% of consumers live outside of the U.S. And, since our supply chains extend throughout the world, we must be able to have conversations about global impacts, cultural differences and strategic priorities. Flip your silo on its head.

P.S. On a related note, we are going to kick off two new newsletters shortly — one for clients only that discusses these types of thought-provoking topics and one on the latest supply chain trends and news and how to apply it. We’ll keep you in the loop on how to receive them.

 

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

Cross Functional Success 

The Hidden Benefit of Observation

 



Lisa Anderson Presents “The Increased Need for More Control, Speed and Profit”

October 27th, 2016
webinar

Join LMA Consulting Group President, Lisa Anderson, as she hosts an interactive discussion on how supply chain leaders can make their businesses thrive when they’re up against shorter lead times, increasing risks and labor rates.

Lisa Anderson MBA, CSCP, president of LMA Consulting Group and a sought after manufacturing, distribution and supply chain consultant, speaker and writer who works with manufacturers and distributors in aerospace, building products and food is presenting “The Increased Need for More Control, Speed and Profit: How to Thrive in the Environment” in a TalentStream webinar on Wed, November 2, 2016, at 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT. As the recession is long over and manufacturing has been reigniting, executives are re-evaluating their end-to-end supply chains in response to the critical importance of short lead times, increasing labor rates in low cost countries, concerns about “too much” money tied up in inventory due to lengthy lead times and worries about the increased level of risk. This presentation will feature an interactive discussion on how supply chain and operations leaders can re-configure their supply chain and re-focus their efforts to not only remain competitive but to thrive in this environment.

“In today’s Amazon-impacted marketplace, customers expect rapid deliveries and 24/7 accessibility at low prices. Executives are turning previous notions about offshoring upside down,” explains Anderson. “And although there are key challenges, customers don’t want to hear about our obstacles, they just want their orders faster. If we ignore these demands, we risk our customers going to our competitors who can get them what they need when they need it at the right price and level of service.”

“Since service has risen to a level of critical importance, I’m starting to see my clients and colleagues consider what it will take to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. and/or to nearby countries. I’m conducting a research study to dig into this topic in more detail so that my clients can stay ahead of the curve. Success will not follow those late to the party. Customers will go to those who have the right product at the right price at the right location at the right time. Join us for the webinar to find out how supply chain management is becoming strategic to business growth and success.”

Capitalizing on her over 25 years of experience advising manufacturers and distributors on supply chain, operations, ERP and SIOP, Anderson continually provides data that helps manufacturers and distributors focus in on which people, process and system improvements are essential to preparing their supply chains to create a sustainable advantage.

TalentStream, a recruiting company that helps emerging technology companies secure the right people, the most critical piece of the puzzle to build and grow a successful business, is hosting the complimentary webinar. Registration is required.

 



Leadership Will Make or Break Success

September 27th, 2016
success begins and ends with leadership

You may experience short term results with increased project focus, but long term success will fail without effective leadership.

As my HR mentor used to say, “It begins and ends with leadership”. After a 25 year plus career with leadership positions in organizations, trade associations, non-profits and more, it is clear that leadership will make or break success.

 

It is interesting the difference leadership can make. We can go to 2 similar clients with similar products, services, systems and resources with the only difference being the leader, and we’ll see two vastly different environments. In one case, we will be wildly successful and, in the other, we’ll struggle. Even in the best of cases (when they are more closely aligned), one project will have quicker results than the other.  

 

No matter how effective or ineffective the leader, short term results are likely to occur. With focus, things improve. Also, even if the leader has a dictatorial style, he/she can gain short-term results as people do not want to lose their jobs; however, sustainable results will not follow.

 

For example, we’ve worked with quite a few large complex, global aerospace companies. As is typical with any large, complex organization, the leader of an individual facility will be under pressure to perform. We have seen more than our fair share of General Managers, COO’s or Presidents come and go over the years. From time to time, it will be night and day with the change in leadership. One day things seem disorganized and folks are frustrated and struggling on legitimate concerns, and the next, we have direction and clarity. Of course, people do not become less frustrated over night but with clarity and direction, 80% of the people will calm down and performance will improve within a reasonable time frame. The 20% might not be interested in being accountable or they could have crossed the line in terms of frustration levels and need to make a change.

Since leadership will make or break success, make it a top priority!

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

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LMA Consulting Group’s Lisa Anderson Reaches Publishing Milestones

August 30th, 2016
supply chain

The “I’ve Been Thinking” publication, which gives subscribers weekly supply chain industry tips, reached a 125th edition milestone.

Claremont, Calif., August 30, 2016LMA Consulting Group’s Lisa Anderson, a sought after manufacturing, distribution and supply chain consultant, speaker and writer who works with manufacturers and distributors in aerospace, building products and food to make and keep bold customer promises by empowering people with profit-driven strategies has completed major publishing milestones by reaching the 125th issue of her Profit through PeopleSM Newsletter and 100th edition of “I’ve Been Thinking” weekly tips publication. Complimentary to subscribers, both publications offer insights, ideas and expertise on trends including ERP, SIOP, The Amazon Effect and The Skills Gap.

profit-people-newsletter

Subscribers recently received the 100th edition of Lisa Anderson’s Profit through People newsletter where readers get updates on the latest supply chain events and trends.

“I enjoy sharing these strategies to improve business performance – whether it is helping to grow the business, improve service levels, increase profits or accelerate cash flow, so long as my readers pick up on an idea or two that will deliver bottom line business results, I’m pleased,” explains LMA Consulting President Lisa Anderson. “I hope that by providing this information, manufacturers and distributors have the opportunity to stay ahead of the curve. I conduct leading edge research and am continually looking for “what works” so that our industry can thrive. It is far easier to engage employees when business is growing with exciting opportunities around every corner.”

Celebrating its eleventh year, LMA Consulting Group helps growing companies elevate overall business performance while creating a customer service edge. Through a number of proven proprietary processes, LMA Consulting Group can pinpoint areas for improvement with eagle eye precision and develop the strategies to deliver results. Anderson, who was named to the top 100 best global supply chain management blogs by SupplyChainOpz, and also recognized as the 16th most influential in supply chain management and sustainability by technology leader SAP in the “Top 46 Resource and Optimizations Influencers (Plus a Few Others),” started LMA Consulting Group is a regular content contributor in topics including supply chain, ERP and SIOP. Anderson has been interviewed for articles in publications like Industry Week, tED Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. She actively posts educational blogs three times weekly and has two newsletters, Profit through PeopleSM and “I’ve Been Thinking.” For information about Lisa Anderson, go to https://www.lma-consultinggroup.com/ or call 909.630.3943.