Tag Archive: business growth

Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Forecasts U.S. Manufacturing Resurgence COVID-19 Showcased Technology and Innovation as Key Contributors

June 30th, 2020

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – June 30, 2020 –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., forecasts a resurgence of manufacturing in the U.S.  LMA Consulting Group works with manufacturers and distributors on strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation to maximize the customer experience and enable profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth.

“The COVID-19 pandemic turned the supply chain on end.  It forced manufacturers to rethink their strategy, their products and their future.  Those who took the time to identify opportunities and used this unique circumstance to leverage technology and innovate are already seeing results. Innovation has always been the key driver to manufacturing success.  We are now seeing it pay off, and, it’s just the beginning,” stated Ms. Anderson.

Innovation has opened not only new product possibilities for manufacturers, but also new relationships for cost reductions and improving the customer experience.  From suppliers and 3-D printing to transportation options due to reshoring, manufacturers have an abundance of opportunity for differentiation and growth.

“China has fallen from favor not only due to COVID-19 and the supply chain disruption, but also because of the arduous policies they implemented early in the year which essentially removed all protections of intellectual property and patents. There has been talk about doing more business with Mexico, but Mexico is best at assembly,” she said.  Manufacturing shifted to China and other countries due to high labor costs in the U.S.  Technology and robotics have leveled U.S. manufacturing costs.  “It clearly comes down to innovation and leveraging technology. U.S. manufacturers are strong and smart.  Sometimes it just takes an extra push or, in this case, an event to force out-of-the-box thinking,” she concluded.

Ms. Anderson recently recorded another video in her What’s Happening in Manufacturing & the Supply Chain series highlighting Reshoring.

 About LMA Consulting Group – Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD

Lisa Anderson is the founder and president of LMA Consulting Group, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in manufacturing strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation.  She focuses on maximizing the customer experience and enabling profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth. Ms. Anderson is a recognized Supply Chain thought leader by SelectHub, named a Top 40 B2B Tech Influencer by arketi group, 50 ERP Influencer by Washington-Frank, a top 46 most influential in Supply Chain by SAP and named a top woman influencer by Solutions Review. She recently published, I’ve Been Thinking, 101 strategies for creating bold customer promises and profits. A regular content contributor on topics including a superior customer experience with SIOP, advancing innovation and making the supply chain resilient, Ms. Anderson is regularly interviewed and quoted by publications such as Industry Week, tED magazine and the Wall Street Journal.  For information, to sign up for her Profit Through PeopleTM Newsletter or for a copy of her book, visit LMA-ConsultingGroup.com.                                        


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Media Contact
Kathleen McEntee | Kathleen McEntee & Associates, Ltd. | p. (760) 262 – 4080 | KMcEntee@KMcEnteeAssoc.com



Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Predicts Proactive Approach to Demand and Diversification of Supply is Key to Future-Proofing Manufacturing and the Supply Chain

May 27th, 2020

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – May 27, 2020 –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., predicts that a proactive understanding of customer demand and diversification within the supply chain will prevent a next round of guffaws as the effects of COVID-19 disruptions to the supply chain begin to subside and the world faces the uncertainty of the return of COVID-19. LMA Consulting Group works with manufacturers and distributors on strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation to maximize the customer experience and enable profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth.

The importance of the supply chain took front and center stage as the COVID-19 pandemic raged throughout the world. “The wrong products were in the wrong places at the wrong time. From bumper crops of vegetables, eggs and other foodstuffs to the infamous toilet paper capers, consumers became very aware of the fine balance within the worldwide supply chain.  Crops and dairy products originally destined for restaurants soon saw their demand disappear while grocery stores had to limit demand to keep up. Hoarding of consumer paper goods like toilet paper and paper towels caused weeks’ delay in replenishments.  And, after nine weeks of shortages, manufacturers are still having challenges in aligning demand with supply,” stated Ms. Anderson.

The key is future proofing the supply chain so that it is resilient to disruptions.  That requires taking a proactive approach to putting strong secondary and tertiary backups in place for every element within the supply chain.  “The supply chain is both simplistic and complex. It is all about satisfying the customer, even before they know what they want.  The complexities start when managing equally important priorities.  From developing strong relationships with core suppliers and identifying customer buying patterns to forecasting inventory needs to satisfy demand, the details are many, balanced with having the right products in the right place at the right time for the right price, all while being profitable. COVID-19 has highlighted that even if your supply chain is complex, it also must be nimble,” she continued.

“We’ve seen the consequences of wringing too much out of the supply chain.  The winners have been those manufacturers who had strong relationships with multiple suppliers, good insights into customer demand, multiple options for transportation and dedicated teams willing to pivot to new ways of doing business to keep and expand the business. We have seen new business opportunities emerge and stalwarts struggle. The good news is that we have, once again, rallied to a challenge,” she said.  The video conferencing tech explosion, brick and mortar retailers becoming online behemoths to satisfy at-home demand and manufacturers retrofitting production lines to make ventilators and sanitizers have demonstrated the strength, innovation and ingenuity of manufacturing during a crisis. “Now, it’s time to take what we have learned and quickly adapt it to the new un-normal.  Manufacturers are already making inroads with new suppliers, forming unusual partnerships to expedite progress, building speed and resiliency into their operations, pursuing industry 5.0 and reshoring production closer to ever-changing customer demand. As much as these initiatives sound proactive and thorough, they are not enough. Manufacturers need to get ahead of the curve and create disruption to thrive in this new un-normal she concluded.

Ms. Anderson recently released, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & the Supply Chain Post COVID-19, an eBook that provides practical go-forward insights, advice and experiential value for manufacturers and their supply chains.

 About LMA Consulting Group – Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD

Lisa Anderson is the founder and president of LMA Consulting Group, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in manufacturing strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation.  She focuses on maximizing the customer experience and enabling profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth. Ms. Anderson is a recognized Supply Chain thought leader by SelectHub, named a Top 40 B2B Tech Influencer by arketi group, 50 ERP Influencer by Washington-Frank, a top 46 most influential in Supply Chain by SAP and named a top woman influencer by Solutions Review. She recently published, I’ve Been Thinking, 101 strategies for creating bold customer promises and profits. A regular content contributor on topics including a superior customer experience with SIOP, advancing innovation and making the supply chain resilient, Ms. Anderson is regularly interviewed and quoted by publications such as Industry Week, tED magazine and the Wall Street Journal.  For information, to sign up for her Profit Through PeopleTM Newsletter or for a copy of her book, visit LMA-ConsultingGroup.com.
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Media Contact
Kathleen McEntee | Kathleen McEntee & Associates, Ltd. | p. (760) 262 – 4080 | KMcEntee@KMcEnteeAssoc.com



The Million Dollar Project Manager

May 31st, 2017
million dollar project leader

Project managers drive initiative results yet they aren’t often treated with the respect nor given the support they need to thrive.

In our experience working with manufacturers and distributors from small, family-owned businesses to medium-sized, private equity backed companies to global large, complex organizations, projects account for 80% of the improvement. There are projects to improve efficiencies, reduce inventory, grow sales, expand into new regions, consolidate operations and the list goes on. Thus, if we must rely on projects for business growth and profitability, should we think about our project managers as million-dollar project managers?

Most likely the answer is yes. However, in our experience, project managers are not often treated with much respect. Oftentimes, they are seen as lower level resources responsible for executing initiatives, coordinating resources and reporting progress up the chain. But, is this how we should treat our resources who can have such a far-reaching impact?

Let’s think about the reach of project managers’ impact. There are several key points to consider:

  1. Impact on resources:Undoubtedly, the number one concern from all levels of leadership relates back to resources. There are “too many,” “not enough,” “not the right skills,” “not allocated properly” and so on. Thus, anyone who has a significant impact on resources should be considered valuable.
  2. Daily decisions on which tasks gain priority:Similar to the impact on resources, determining the priority of tasks is crucial. As a project manager, there is a constant need to prioritize among tasks, collaborate with departments, etc.
  3. Ingrained in the business:Project managers are in the “thick of things” on a daily basis. In order to complete tasks and achieve results, project managers are involved in a wide array of activities. They are familiar with what is working and what isn’t working in each department as it relates to project tasks. There are very few projects which are confined to a singular department.
  4. Communicate across the organization:In order to complete their tasks, the project manager must communicate and collaborate across departments and layers of the organization. Since high-quality resources are hard to come by, it is vital to keep communications in a positive light.
  5. Impact on profit:Certainly, almost every project relates back to profitability in some respect. Whether we are growing the business, increasing margins, automating key processes or improving efficiencies, there is a direct impact on profit.

So, since it is clear that project managers have a substantial impact on business success, it is wise to think about how to maximize their performance. As a metaphor, the million-dollar project manager is appealing since there is often million-dollar impacts. Thus, what should we do to ensure project managers are treated more like million-dollar project managers?

  1. Provide clarity of the big picture:Project managers will be more invested in their projects if they understand the impact on the organization. Make sure to provide clarity of the big picture and how they fit in.
  2. Give them discretion:There have been countless studies as to what is most successful in keeping valuable employees (like your million-dollar project managers), and the net conclusion is that employees want some ability to affect the outcome of their work. We must give them some level of discretion to make decisions and guide their projects within reasonable parameters.
  3. Recognize small wins:Managing projects can be a slog into details with little to show for it. Find small wins to celebrate. Make a big deal of the importance and tie it back to the project manager and their team.
  4. Support their decisions:There is nothing more important than supporting your project managers. Of course, providing constructive feedback is essential; however, when in the heat of the battle, it is vital to support your project manager’s decisions. Without this support at critical junctures, the project will suffer, and the project manager will become dismayed.
  5. Promote the project:Promoting the project throughout the organization can do quite a lot for its chances of success. How do you get resources to want to join your project team? Start by being attractive. This oftentimes goes back to how compelling the project seems. Make it so! Do you think the best leaders’ projects for improving margins happen to be more enticing than the average leaders’ projects of the same type? No; perception becomes a reality.

Since projects will have a substantial effect on your customer loyalty and bottom line – the two most critical aspects of any business – it is worthwhile taking a few steps back to think about the project managers driving these results. If you think about their impact, a million dollars might not be sufficient. Therefore, start thinking about your project managers as though they have a million-dollar impact and results will follow.

 

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

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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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M&A is on the Rise

July 28th, 2016

supply chain

A few weeks ago, I attended a ProVisors ODAM (Ontario-region based distributors and manufacturers group ­— don’t you love the name?!) session on the current state of the M&A market in Southern California — and specifically in the Inland Empire for manufacturers and distributors. The bottom line is that it remains a good time for M&A.

However, what I see frequently is business owners who think about M&A “too late” — if you want to sell for top dollar, you must start strategizing YEARS in advance. It can make a significant difference to the multiple of EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation) or revenue earned. For example, in the first quarter of 2016, the low multiple for EBITDA was 9.6 and the high end was 11.0. If you have even just a few million in EBITDA, this difference is interesting. And, this doesn’t get into the fact that if you have the right advisors and are proactively thinking about these concepts, you can significantly raise the multiple over the top end. There are countless examples.

Even if you don’t plan to sell, shouldn’t you be interested in increasing the value of your business for an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan), to recognize your top talent and to reinvest in business growth? There is something to be said for acting as though you will sell no matter your plans. When I was VP of Operations, we went through a preparation for sale process, and it was invaluable in understanding the business and profit drivers — something we should have dug into regardless of any potential sale!

One tip to implement this week:

So, I bet you are wondering what could possibly be done with M&A in a week. You wouldn’t be alone; however, you have to start sometime.  Why not this week?  If you are a business owner or executive of a privately held company, think about your long-term plans — what do you want to do with the business eventually?  Or what can you do to help realize these plans? I’m sure there are countless activities. Pick one that you think is particularly important and start there. Gather your team and talk about it.

If you are in a public company, the key is to think about stock value. Almost all of the same initiatives are important to increasing the value of your stock. Pick one and start.

If you are not in a leadership position, don’t despair. Do you know what the plans are within your organization? If not, find out. Ask questions. Find out how you can contribute. If you are in the loop, find a way that you can contribute to increasing the value of the company and start doing it. Run it by your manager if you need resources and to keep him/her in the loop. But, who is going to stop you from increasing value? To increase value, you have to provide better service, discover new markets, increase profitability, find ways to automate, etc. Aren’t they all “no-brainers”?

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…”