Tag Archive: APICS IE

Getting Organized in the New Year

February 4th, 2019

I imagine I am not alone in thinking about getting organized in the New Year. My 4th grade teacher told my mom that I was the most organized child she had ever seen (far more organized than most adults she knew, even though she owned a business and was in politics in addition to teaching). Given that endorsement, I knew I better get back to living up to my 4th grade teacher’s praises.  So, after returning from Arizona where my mom and I organized a major portion of the house that required focused attention (since my dad passed away a few years ago) I decided I’d return to organization by early January. I am >90% there!

Why does being organized matter? I have found that you are faster, on top of critical topics and focused when organized. As my mom used to complain about her situation, she would have a piece of paper one minute, walk into another room, and it would disappear. Now she is talking about “everything having a place”. It could save you countless hours over the course of a year. Do you have extra time to look for papers or files? Worse yet, are you satisfied providing less than optimal answers and responses because you can’t find it?

One tip to implement this week:
As much as I enjoy that my 4th grade teacher appreciated my organization, it isn’t rocket science. Do you categorize information so that you can find it later? If it is in the computer, is it searchable by key word? Try using easy systems a 4th grader would understand. Color code so you can find what you need easily. Clean up your area so you don’t have to go through sift through clutter. Get rid of junk. If you haven’t used it for a year, do you really think you’ll use it now? Actually one of my global consulting strategy group members prompted me into action on this topic. His garage was more organized than anything I have ever seen. I figured the least I could do was get my work area into good shape after seeing his garage!

Don’t be afraid to spend wisely. My APICS Inland Empire Board of Directors group has APICS-IE emails; however, they forwarded to our personal emails. One of our key members changed jobs at the end of the year.  That prompted us to decide we should upgrade to Microsoft 365 so that we would have a natural archive (and don’t need to spend hours looking for invoices, class rosters and the like in mountains of emails). Worse yet, if someone was sick or changed jobs and didn’t send the files to another board member, we would lose critical information. We are organizing as well! The same is true for the storage of files. If you can’t easily access files, search and upload/download, is the $16 you save really worth it?  NO!

Start small and find a relevant pile and organize it. These “small things” add up. Soon, you’ll have saved a week. By the end of the year, perhaps you’ll have saved a month! Imagine what you’ll do with the extra time.

 



How Resilient Are Your People?

January 17th, 2019

We would be remiss if we went too far down-the-path with supply chain resiliency without pointing out that the ONLY way you’ll have a resilient supply chain is if you have resilient people.  Similar to building a house, without a solid foundation, the best accessories will fail to “hold up” over the long haul without that solid foundation.  Your team is your foundation.  Would you be willing to have your business hang in the balance if your team’s ability to “hold it up” would make or break success?  Hopefully so!

Here are a few questions to think about to determine how comfortable you are with your foundation:

  • If your competition offered your employees slightly more money, would they jump ship without much thought?
  • Are your people willing to take a risk if they know the decision will help move the company forward?
  • Are your people willing to disagree with you?
  • Are your people willing to try new ideas, even if they fail?
  • If a customer presses your people about an issue, will they blame it on “them” or will they take responsibility to resolve the issue quickly regardless of whether it has anything to do with them?
  • If changing market conditions dictate they should follow a new course that isn’t popular or approved, will they bring it up?
  • What do they say to your customers and suppliers when you aren’t listening?

Every executive at our Harvey Mudd executive roundtables and on the APICS-IE executive panel pointed out the relevance of culture and your people on business success.  Technical topics are abuzz but the REAL buzz is who has the strongest team as they will speed on by the competition and be the most resilient as the economy turns, the industry changes, a disruptor emerges etc.  With this fresh perspective, it pays to think again about your team and the priority you give it.



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 Ladies of Logistics & Global Trends

October 9th, 2018

Thanks to Elizabeth Warren for hosting the informal Southern CA group, the Ladies of Logistics (LOL).  We had a fabulous time and made amazing connections.  Where else can you go and see every key connection related to trucking, the ports, freight forwarders, logistics, global trade and all related parties (such as education partners, the media etc.)?  I had great conversations with old friends and I met new colleagues. Business is more successful – and fun- when we come together to celebrate and connect.

 

 

 

 

 

Where do you go to find out what’s happening with your industry?  When it comes to the global marketplace, there were insightful conversations at LOL with perspectives from the following:

  1. Recent graduates from the global public policy program at USC/University of Hong Kong
  2. Freight forwarders
  3. Several different roles related to the ports
  4. CSULB Center for International Trade & Transportation
  5. BCO (Beneficial Cargo Owner)
  6. Logistics industry professionals
  7. Public policy professionals
  8. And many more.  

I learned quite a few interesting trends which I’m planning to turn into episodes of my new series, “The Resilient Supply Chain”.  How do you stay on top of global trends?

One tip to implement this week:
There are many ways to stay on top of global trends (or any trends you’d like to keep track of that relates to your industry).  You can start immediately by implementing any of the following strategies:

  1. Attend a networking event such as LOL
  2. Read an industry magazine such as the Journal of Commerce.
  3. Participate with a trade association such as APICS-IE, ISM, CSCMP and more (all of which were represented at the LOL event). By the way, if you are interested in global trends, put APICS-IE’s executive panel & networking symposium on “Advancing Innovation & Navigating Global Trends” on your calendar.
  4. Ask your colleagues, customers and suppliers.  You’d be surprised what you can learn by asking a few key questions!
  5. Attend a chamber of commerce or related event that focuses on your area of interest.  For example, in Southern CA, the L.A. Chamber and the IEEP both focus on logistics.
  6. Do some interest research.
  7. And many, many more.

Just choose one and get started!

 



What Tours Have You Gone on Lately?

August 27th, 2018

In the last month, I have attended quite a few tours of manufacturing and distribution operations.  The pictures below were taken at an APICS Inland Empire and ProVisors tour of Southwest Traders Foodservice Distribution and Do It American Manufacturing.  Both were excellent.  And I walked away with great tips!

Tours are a great way to see different ways of doing business and gain insights and ideas to apply in your company.  I find that what I see and learn will provide value to clients somewhere down the line.  As often as I hear clients request a consultant with knowledge in their specific industry, I have found that we often-times provide even greater value when we can apply a concept that we’ve seen in a completely different industry that looks like it could be an ideal solution.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
How recently have you gone on a tour?  You might want to start by going on a tour of your company.  As strange as it sounds, it can be eye opening if you take the view of an external tour and see what you observe.  Better yet, take others with you and see what they observe.

Beyond your facility, there are many options for tours of manufacturing and distribution operations.  You can go to customers and suppliers to better understand their operations. Not only will you gain ideas, but you’ll learn about companies that tie directly to yours and collaborate with supply chain partners.

You can also tour by joining a trade association like APICS (trade association for supply chain and operations management), the DMA (distribution management), ISM (supply management), CSCMP (transportation) and more.  Last but not least, why not ask friends and colleagues for a tour.

While you are touring, observe and ask questions.  You are likely to see new techniques, learn about new technologies, see different equipment (such as narrow aisle forklifts which we saw at Southwest Traders), observe robots in action (which we did at Do It American), discuss metrics and dashboards and much more.

Step out.  Take a Tour.  Learn from Others.