Tag Archive: best practices

Which Business Best Practices Do Top Notch Trusted Advisors See?

October 5th, 2017

In my ProVisors ODAM (Ontario-hosted Distributors and Manufacturers group – don’t you love the play on words?) meeting this month, we discussed business best practices we’ve seen with our manufacturing and distribution clients. It was a fascinating discussion as our group is diverse and consists of the most respected attorneys, CPAs, commercial insurance, business financial advisers, and consultants from around Southern California. Yet, we agreed rather quickly on core best practices. Thanks to Ron Penland for making the meetings engaging and trend-worthy.

Best business practices, this way….

Here are some of the top themes surrounding best practices:

  • Start by understanding financial statements and cost – it’s interesting how often this arises with our clients.
  • Look for the value add.
  • Find ways to scale without increasing costs. There are many options such as leveraging technologies, best practices, trade associations and more.
  • Leadership equals profit improvement. End of story.
  • Don’t start planning your exit “too late”.
  • Consider process improvement techniques such as lean manufacturing, SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning), etc.
  • Be aware of your indicators and metrics.

More Best Practices

Are you reliant on figuring everything out yourself? We hope not! The most successful people find groups, attend seminars and conferences, engage with trade associations and interact with others who are up-to-speed on the latest trends and timeless success traits. If you think you might need to go a step further, feel free to contact us and we’ll suggest a few strategies for you.

 

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Lisa Anderson Releases Book to Spur Business Innovation

June 23rd, 2017

Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, known as the Manufacturing Business Transformer(SM) and president of LMA Consulting Group, released her book, I’ve Been Thinking…Turning Everyday Interactions into Profitable Opportunities, as a roadmap for businesses, manufacturers and distributors to infuse innovation into their daily work practices. The book is packed with over 100 of Anderson’s insights and strategies on how to create bold customer promises and profits by transforming business performance while keeping an eye on the global perspective and seeing what others cannot in order to create dramatic customer experiences and profitable opportunities. Anderson relies on her global consulting practice where she draws on her experience and observations to share with readers practical and action-inducing ideas to help businesses make the leap ahead of their competition.

“Lisa Anderson not only engages us, she enables us to engage others. She’s given herself the ultimate gift: the time to think unmolested and undisturbed, emptying her mind of the daily grind and allowing herself to travel outside of the box, to destinations of creativity, insight, and perspective. To stand on great walls,” states Alan Weiss, Ph.D. is the author of Million Dollar Consulting

Anderson has been publishing a weekly newsletter by the same name, I’ve Been Thinking, since 2014, which her clients find to be an invaluable resource. Wallace P. Brithinee, Ph.D. and President of Brithinee Electric, states “I like Lisa’s column, ‘I’ve Been Thinking‘, because it delivers the right mix of suggestions, prodding, and human interest that I find useful.”

The author says that writing her newsletter has expanded her thinking dramatically, “Now, there are a seemingly endless supply of everyday interactions that can be turned into profitable opportunities.” Anderson further states that she now sees everyday occurrences in an entirely new light — there is always some sort of idea or lesson to glean from the most mundane of topics.

“As president of LMA Consulting Group, as well as her leadership positions in APICS and other organizations, Lisa gets to meet a lot of people and gets to visit a lot of companies,” says Professor Kash Gokli of Harvey Mudd College. “That is where she gets her inspiration for ‘I’ve Been Thinking.’ Her writing on a diverse compilation of best practices is both informative and insightful.” 

I’ve Been Thinking is available as a paperback on Amazon and as an eBook on Kindle. To subscribe to Lisa Anderson’s newsletter, click here or copy and paste this link into your browser https://www.lma-consultinggroup.com/ibt-index/



ERP Project Success: How to Be Part of The 20%

November 2nd, 2016
ERP Success

More and more clients are pursuing ERP implementation projects as executives realize they need better tools to support business objectives – growth, service, margins, cash and the like.

When implemented well, ERP systems can support substantial business growth without the additional investment in resources. Certainly, as the minimum wage goes up and workers’ compensation and healthcare are such significant issues, it is something many executives are thinking about! However, ERP systems can do much more – they can help collaborate with customers and suppliers. Those with the best-extended supply chains will thrive in the end, and so it makes sense to take a look at upgrading ERP.

Thus, finding a way to successfully implement an ERP system is of paramount importance, yet the statistics dictate less than stellar performance. Typically, 80%+ of ERP system implementations fail to achieve the expected results. As experts in this space, we can attest that several of these are due to unrealistic expectations without the associated resources and efforts to ensure success; however, either way, ERP success can prove elusive.

Therefore, understanding how to give you a leg up with strategies for success can be vital. Ignore all the best practice mumbo-jumbo and focus on what will really matter:

1. It’s all about the people: As with almost every business success, ERP success is no different. It goes back to the leader – and the team. Have you assigned whoever is available to lead the project team? Or have you put thought into it? Have you freed him/her up from their regular activities or made sure he/she can dedicate the time required? Are you saving your “A” players for growing the business and your day-to-day responsibilities instead of ERP? Sound odd? Well, we come across this on a daily basis in our consulting business. How about the software supplier’s project team? Why should you be worried about them? You shouldn’t unless you are interested in success.

For example, we’ve been involved in several ERP selection projects lately and have stayed involved to ensure the process designs would support business objectives in the best way possible, and, unfortunately, we can convey countless examples of the 80% that run into issues with people. For example, in one case, the project leader was on top of things – truly much better than the average project leader for the size company yet the project still struggled due to people issues. The software supplier ran into trouble with their project manager. You never know what can go wrong and so it’s smart to remember to keep your eye on the importance of people.

2. Focus on design: The reason we often stay involved with the design process is that this is one of the critical success factors to ensuring ERP implementation success. The quandary is that this type of role requires a broad and diverse skillset, rarely found in project managers.

The skills required include a broad, cross-functional process expertise, an understanding of database design, an understanding of down-the-line impacts of typical system transactions, an understanding of report writing/ programming and the ability to communicate effectively and bridge the gap between the technical and application resources. In our experience, we run across this type of resource 5% of the time in our clients. On the other hand, we run across this type of skillset perhaps 30% of the time with the ERP resources; however, the really bad news is that even though the capability exists 30% of the time, it is used perhaps 10% of the time. The ERP supplier does not want to dictate the design as it will be “their solution” instead of the “client’s solution”, and it is a trick to communicate effectively enough such that the client believes it is their idea or is accepting of the information.

Is it any wonder ERP projects fail miserably?

3. Focus on what could go wrong: It is often rather difficult to keep the ERP project team positive and moving forward because they are causing disruption to the day-to-day success of the business and pushing the envelope with new ideas (sometimes perceived to be threatening or ill-conceived) and process changes which might or might not be accompanied by organizational changes (another key issue with ERP success). Thus, no one wants to create more havoc by deliberately creating tension, thus, forcing practice when mistakes are made and transactions go awry is overlooked. However, this is exactly what must occur to ensure success. Deliberately try to screw up the system when testing. It is not to be a “naysayer” (which can sometimes be the perception) but it is to make sure the team knows how to back out of bad situations. It is far better to “break” the system in test than with your #1 customer!

We cannot tell you how much nonsense we’ve heard about “system XYZ” is set up to perform best practices and so the team just doesn’t want to deal with change. In 95% of the situations, this statement isn’t true. Instead, forget about all the hoopla about best practices and focus on these 3 keys to success; results will follow.

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Have Your Product Development Efforts Been Successful?

September 23rd, 2016

supply chain

Last week, Kash Gokli (the head of Harvey Mudd’s manufacturing program) and I facilitated our Harvey Mudd Executive Roundtable discussion with executives of Southern California on just this topic. According to best practices, your new product sales should become 30% of total sales within 2-3 years. This seems like a tall order!

Let’s assume you achieve these goals. Just from the numbers standpoint, it will not work if you wait too long! You need to be developing products BEFORE your current products are in maturity and start their downward trend. And, certainly, it is rare for anyone to have only success along the way in product development; thus, it is prudent to start early and expect failures along the road to success.

One tip to implement this week:

So, I bet you are wondering what could possibly be done this week. I wondered that too until thinking a bit further. There is actually quite a lot that could be accomplished in a week. Get a cross-functional team together to discuss your products and services. Think about where they are in the cycle. Are any getting close to maturity? How are they performing? Do you know the market needs? By understanding these answers, you’ll know where to start.

If you are already in a product development cycle, take a step back to think about whether you think achieving 30% of total sales within 3 years is feasible. What can you do to strengthen your possibility of achieving this objective? Who should you involve? Do you feel confident that your customers are on board? Put a team together to ensure success.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”



5P Accelerator to Fast-Track Growth and Profits

April 26th, 2016
5P Accelerator for growth and profits

Energy spent on focus, speed and relationships can help companies chart a course for growth and increase revenue.

Our most successful clients are constantly thinking about where they are headed. They think about why they are going there — how does it fit with their vision? How does it have meaning for their customers? Employees? Supply chain partners?

They also think about emerging trends — what is most likely to impact their business? What do they have control over? What opportunities can they leverage? Can they turn lemons into lemonade? How?

Our role is to stay ahead of the curve so that I can help my clients achieve dramatic results. Thus, we’ve incorporated the following best practices and thinking into the development of our proprietary processes:

  • Best practices across industries (ranging from aerospace to building products to food & beverage to distribution) and company-sizes (from small, family-owned businesses to facilities and divisions of multi-billion dollar, global enterprises)
  • Expert advice from our collaborations and alliances of clients and colleagues inclusive of top-notch trusted advisors, communities of executives and business owners, and trade association experts and professionals.
  • And, most importantly, we’ve bounced these against “what works” and is immediately pragmatic.

5P Accelerator(SM) is our proprietary process that fast-tracks growth and profits.

Our 5P Accelerator(SM) focuses on the core factors of success:

  • People – success begins and ends with people. Do you consider your people assets or costs? Give me a strong leader with a mediocre strategy any day over a weak leader with a strong strategy!
  • Processes – the foundation of success; similar to a house, if you don’t have a solid foundation, fancy curtains will not be sufficient to withstand a storm.
  • Plan – too many executives jump to action and skip the planning step. A plan is not only a part of your foundation (imagine a football team without a playbook) but it also provides an important collaboration vehicle.
  • Priorities – if I only had a dollar for every executive who wasted time on non-essential priorities, I’d be rich! What seems like a priority because your boss or customer happens to be yelling over the phone or a respected boss, peer or Board member is asking about isn’t necessarily so…..
  • Profit drivers – considering what is essential to your strategy, key customers and potential customers, profitability, cash flow or other critical factors should be of utmost importance.

Unfortunately, getting the 5Ps “right” can be challenging enough; however, it might not be sufficient for success. Add in focus, speed and relationships to tip the scales in your favor to fast-track growth and profits.

Please refer to our webpage to learn more and contact us if you are interested in leveraging 5P Accelerator(SM) at your organization. 

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