Tag Archive: APICS

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?

 



Disruption, Innovation, Global Trends & the APICS-IE Symposium

November 20th, 2018

Lately, I’ve attended various conferences and participated in a few events/ panels on a diverse set of topics with different groups (ranging from transportation to public policy to manufacturing and supply chain to consulting to universities/ students to women leaders).  Aside from it being a whirlwind of fascinating conversations, I’ve seen a few themes emerge across every one of these events – disruption, innovation and global trends.

In today’s Amazonian and Uberian environments, disruption is the new normal.  For example, at Mobility 21 (Southern CA transportation coalition), autonomous vehicles and Uber/Lyft type transportation/trucking concepts arose.  At the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM/ APICS) international conference, the idea the IoT, artificial intelligence, Netflix type disruption and more arose.  And at the Society for Advancement of Consulting local event held at Harvey Mudd, almost 50% of the attendees were originally from out of the country and key discussions occurred around global trends and disruption.

Thus, I’d be remiss if I didn’t invite you to join us at the APICS-IE executive panel & networking symposium with an amazing panel discussing “Advancing Innovation and Navigating Global Trends” on Nov 3rd at Harvey Mudd in Claremont.  Click here to learn more and register.

One tip to implement this week:
Since disruption and innovation go hand-in-hand, there are many ways to think about this topic.  One suggestion is to gather your team and business partners/trusted advisors and brainstorm about what disruptions are likely to impact your industry.  Also consider which disruptions are likely to come down the pike. Understanding your environment and how you are positioned is a great starting point – and you’ll be better off than most organizations who might already be known in innovation circles to repeat this exercise on some sort of regular basis!

Additionally, join our unique networking and educational event on “Advancing Innovation and Navigating Global Trends”.  We have an amazing panel including the deputy executive director of the port of Los Angeles, the COO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Chairman/Dept of Surgery at the City of Hope, a senior executive in aerospace and a senior director of supply chain & operations.  It should stir up some really engaging discussions on innovation and global trends! The event is on Nov 3rd in Claremont, CA from 8-11:30am. I hope to see you there.  Learn more and register.

 



The Resilient Supply Chain: Are You the Disrupted or the Disruptor?

November 1st, 2018

At the Association for Supply Chain Management’s (ASCM/APICS) International Conference, almost every presenter mentioned disruption.  It is prevalent in today’s Amazonian, technology-ridden environment.  

Similarly, after attending APICS, I flew to lead the annual meeting for the Society for the Advancement of Consulting. During the first lunch, my colleagues spent the entire time discussing disruption.  One (a former Apple executive) lives it daily and coaches executives on disruption.  Another is a leadership expert who sees the significance and is writing a book on disruptors.  Interesting!

In the interim, we have dealt with a few client challenges – guess what?  You got it. They relate to disruption! And last but not least, the next leg of my trip was entirely about disruption.  Technology has the potential to vastly impact manufacturing and distribution jobs, so it makes a lot of sense to find a proactive approach instead of playing the victim.  

According to a proactive CPA partner, artificial intelligence (AI) is going to transform the industry.  According to a healthcare expert, it has vast potential to disrupt the healthcare industry. Gartner thinks 33% of all occupations will be performed by smart robots by 2025.  Forrester Research says AI will take over up to 16% of jobs in the U.S. And, if that wasn’t shocking enough, Google thinks                                                                     robots will achieve human intelligence levels by 2029.  

So, do you want to be the disrupted or the disruptor? We choose disruptor!

Since I had lunch with two disruption experts, I asked the critical question:  Can we learn to become a disruptor? The great news is that it is possible! Start paying attention to disruptors.  What do they do differently? What would you like to emulate? You don’t have to do exactly what they do. Find your own path but look for commonalities.  One of our colleagues is writing a book on this exact subject. When it comes out, we’ll pass it along.

In the interim, start asking a few questions….

 



Announcing the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM)

October 22nd, 2018

At APICS 2018, the global supply chain conference by the leading trade association in end-to-end supply chain, the CEO of APICS announced the new Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM).

APICS has been leading this field for 60 years focused on end-to-end supply chain management.  Now, they are taking it to the next level as supply chain drives success across the globe.  Listen to the video (click on the logo link below and you’ll gain access to the video.)

 

 

What Happens Next
APICS isn’t going away.  ASCM will continue to provide industry-leading APICS certifications for professionals in the supply chain.  It will be supplemented with an additional focus on corporate transformations and making an impact.

The great news is that this aligns well with ASCM/APICS Inland Empire’s vision to provide value for manufacturers and logistics organizations and related professionals.

If you are in Southern CA, please check us out and join us at our Fall Executive Panel & Networking Symposium on Nov 3rd on “Advancing Innovation and Navigating Global Trends”.  We have a diverse panel including the COO of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Deputy Executive Director, Stakeholder Engagement of the Port of Los Angeles and Healthcare Innovation Leader and Chairman, Department of Surgery of the City of Hope, as well as a well-known Manufacturing/Supply Chain Executive.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
The key takeaway is that the supply chain is growing in importance, relevance and executive power as it relates to business success.  Supply chain professionals and related support systems (including trade associations) must be innovative, resilient and fast to stay ahead of the curve to successfully navigate these waters.  How do you stack up?  Will you be left in the dust?

Clients in multiple industries that are our sweet spot (aerospace, consumer products) are experiencing the “squeeze” (feeling supply chain and cost pressures from both sides in the supply chain).

How can you navigate these waters if you aren’t on top of your game?  Perhaps it’s time to take your game to the next level (or jump a few with radical change)….

 



The Value of Your Cross-Functional Network

November 10th, 2017

Networking Continues to Benefit
One of the keys emerging from APICS 2017 wasn’t from a session; instead, it was seeing the value of your cross-functional network.  Since I’ve been a member of APICS for over 25 years and actively involved for over 10, I see a wide variety of colleagues while at the conference.  This year was no exception.

Have you taken a step back to think about the value of your network?  There is no doubt about it that my network is my #1 asset!  I bet that is true for the vast majority of the most successful executives.  I know it’s true for the ones I talk with on a frequent basis.  Beyond your network, have you thought about the cross-functional nature of your network?  

The Best of the Best Make Key Connections and Long-Term Relationships
For example, I had interactions with many types of people and networks while at APICS 2017:

  • Clients – it was fabulous seeing Shannon Reininger and catching up with war stories and more!  Shannon is top notch (see us with Shannon’s colleague below).
  • APICS colleagues who are top notch trainers such as Sue Franks and Maryanne Ross – they are always on the leading edge of how to gain the best learning from the APICS materials.  My consulting practice is quite different from these folks’ practices.  So, it is always interesting to learn more about the art of training.
  • APICS colleagues with a specialty with large corporations and interactive training events – Debra Hansford stands out in my mind.   And, she is one crazy Broncos fan! 
  • Student case competition participants – one of APICS Inland Empire’s teams – Harvey Mudd College – represented the West Coast at the global student case competition.  It is interesting to hear their thoughts, as well those from their mentor and professor, Kash Gokli (already pictured in my intro).
  • Consulting colleagues who I collaborate with (and only the BEST) such as Diane Garcia (see below)
  • APICS leaders such as Jerry Gonzalez

               

 

 

 

 

Networks of Diverse Backgrounds Result in Great Connections
Several of these folks are dramatically different – not only in profession but also in terms of age, background, interests and more.  There is something to be learned from almost every situation, every supplier, every customer, every employee, every trusted advisor and more.  Are you looking for these opportunities?  

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The Manufacturing Forum and the Value of Relationships