Tag Archive: business process

Robots, IoT, AI, Autonomous Vehicles and More – Update From APICS 2017

October 18th, 2017

Supply Chain Briefing

I’ve been attending APICS 2017 in San Antonio, and there is LOT of talk about the digital transformation of the end-to-end supply chain. I listened to executives from J&J, Cisco, Microsoft, Whole Foods, Caterpillar, and innovative high-tech, rapidly growing companies, and the consensus is: Pay attention to technology. There is an opportunity to learn about the latest technologies such as robots, IoT, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, blockchain and more at APICS Inland Empire‘s executive panel and networking symposium on “Leveraging Technology for Supply Chain Success“. More important than understanding these cutting edge technologies, is thinking about how to apply them for end-to-end supply chain success. Are you taking the time to think about the impacts to your business and your career? Join us on Nov 4th.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

To get the juices flowing in advance of this important industry event, start thinking about the potential impact to your business. For example, IoT has a lot of benefit for predicting machine maintenance needs. However, it can go far beyond this simple use. I’ll dedicate another article to just this topic as the APICS 2017 speaker from Microsoft had several compelling examples which will not only radically change how we perform jobs but it will also radically change the types of people we look for and the background/training that might give an interested candidate an exciting job.

Blockchain can have an enormous impact when considering the increasing need for transparency and risk mitigation with all the security issues that have occurred lately. The potential impact could be enormous for connecting partners and transactions in the end-to-end supply chain in a fast, secure and informed way.

Autonomous vehicles for all intensive purposes are “here”. It will take some time with testing and regulations but there will be interesting impacts when considering some of the issues that plague transportation today. For example, drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours a day; however, an autonomous vehicle could.  What would that mean for the speed and cost of deliveries?

Join us to learn about these technologies and more.

 



Styx and the Power of Positivity and Enjoying Your Career

September 27th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Last week, I attended a Styx concert at the L.A. Fair – what a powerful event! The band has been around for 45 years and still enjoys singing together! It was totally apparent watching the concert. They really took the positive spin on their commentary and truly enjoyed singing their classics such as my favorite, “Come Sail Away”. Since I started on a quest to see some of the “greats” while they were still singing over the last few years, I have some performances to compare. Thus, it is obvious that although all of the classics sang their greatest hits, Styx stood out in enjoying their greatest hits. What a difference loving your job can make! Take a look at the grand finale…

Styx in Concert at the L.A. Fair

Styx in Concert at the L.A. Fair – the grand finale!

One tip to implement this week: 

Why not take a positive attitude to your job or career – after all, you probably spend more time doing that than anything else! Try putting a positive spin on whatever happens this week at work and see what happens. You might find that it is a lot more enjoyable. You also might find that there are some interesting people you hadn’t really noticed before. Take a genuine interest and let me know how it goes. If it still happens to be miserable, perhaps you should get out. No job is worth misery!

One way to seek out positivity: “catching your colleagues doing something right”. Recognize them. Beyond your colleagues, perhaps look for where your manager or boss or a board member has gone out of his/her way to make a situation better. Appreciate it. Now for the hardest of all – look for where your most annoying team members (no matter their position) are doing something right. I wouldn’t be surprised if 80% of us have a much better week this week after this exercise! Let me know in the comments.

Read more about promoting a positive work culture…

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How To Know If Your Old Business System Is Just Fine

September 8th, 2017
Time for an upgrade?

Is it time to upgrade your business systems?

We cannot tell you how many clients call thinking they need a new system to support their business when they simply don’t! Certainly, there is a time to upgrade to a new business system, when you’ve outgrown your old one (for example: QuickBooks with add-ons like Fishbowl), or your old system is highly customized and unsustainable, or when you are in the midst of a merger or acquisition. However, before jumping to the conclusion that your system must be upgraded, think twice.

Any ERP transformation project will be expensive (more than you think!) and resource intensive. With that said, it is an absolute must to support business growth and success in some situations. Just make sure yours is one of them!

To upgrade or not to upgrade? That is the question.

It is also quite possible to extend the life of some systems. Is there a way to extend the life of your current system? We often find during analysis that there are options worth considering. It is smart to think about the timing of your upgrade and whether you can impact it. When can you dedicate the resources to ensure success? Of course, from one perspective, sometimes there is never a good time. And, on the other hand, we have seen clients wait “too long”. You don’t want to be in that club either.

Instead, complete a simple strategic analysis of your business situation and ERP needs and balance them against your current capabilities. An answer will emerge and just might “save you” either way. Perhaps you’ll be able to extend the life of your old system and maintain focus on your business OR you’ll find out that if you wait any longer, your competition will pass you by. Either way, it is better to be in front of it.

If this article was helpful, Continue reading on this topic:

Should You Upgrade Your ERP System?



Emerging Technologies for Supply Chain

September 7th, 2017

There is an ever-increasing interest in emerging technologies for supply chain. When thinking of your end-to-end supply chain – from your suppliers’ suppliers, through your manufacturing and distribution operations, to your customers’ customers – you must consider technology to have any hope of achieving success.

In today’s Amazon-impacted environment, rapid information and product flow must be accompanied with low-cost and efficient supply chains to maximize the customer experience, profitable growth and cash flow. Trending technologies to consider in your strategic discussions include the following:

  1. Additive manufacturing such as 3D printing – it is no longer just for R&D. The progressive distributors are printing to order for items that used to require vast inventory and lead time.
  2. Collaborative customer technologies – programs such as vendor managed inventory, collaborative planning and innovative logistics partnerships can drive tremendous value.
  3. The internet of things is certainly taking on a life of its own – how do you plan to utilize it in your supply chain?
  4. If you support retail (and even if you don’t) and don’t have e-commerce, you have missed the boat!
  5. Robotics – there are plenty of uses for robotics throughout manufacturing and supply chain. Have you considered what might add value for your business?  Robotics could give you a 24/7 flexibility…
Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies in supply chain from e-commerce to robotics are more important now than ever

What Emerging Technologies in Supply Chain Mean To You

Staying on top of emerging and/or trending supply chain technologies is imperative in order to succeed in today’s Amazon-impacted world. Don’t get carried away with the latest fads. Instead, take a step back and think strategically about what will support your business today, tomorrow and five years from now. Selectively integrate the appropriate technologies to accelerate your growth and success.

 

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Hurricane Harvey & Supply Chain Impacts

September 5th, 2017

Hurricane Harvey has been wreaking havoc on Texas and is now threatening parts of Louisiana. Flooding is tremendous and many people are still trapped in their houses. Refineries are shut down and basic necessities are being rationed. Unfortunately, this is the devastation caused by a hurricane and it reminds us about natural disasters and the global impact. The earthquake in Japan had an impact for several months. In Houston’s case, businesses in the city and surrounding areas are shut down or, at a minimum, affected without access to local suppliers, logistics networks etc. Gas prices are higher with the closure of the refineries and oil-related businesses are also being impacted negatively. Taking this national catastrophe into account, are you planning for the most likely supply chain impacts that could hit your business?

Hurricane Harvey and Supply Chain

Hurricane Harvey hammers Texas

 

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Supply chain disruptions are commonplace and often unavoidable. Certainly, we didn’t know Hurricane Harvey would show up in Texas last month or last year, when we would have had time to address potential supply chain disruption. But there are few, if any, places immune to natural disasters. Snow storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, fires… There are also political unrest and strikes that we cannot control – perhaps we can anticipate them to a degree but that’s all. Instead of sticking our head in the sand, we’re better off preparing and planning for what to do in these situations.

Think about the disruptions most likely to occur in your business supply chain based on your geography. Remember that you could still be shut down if a key material is supplied from an area affected by a natural disaster or disruption. Next, consider ways to mitigate the most likely and severe risks. You will have to invest to minimize risk, so addressing all potential risks is just as bad as addressing none of them because you might go out of business due to lack of funds. Note a few options for addressing the most likely risks. For example, should you have a backup supplier? Or collaborate with a competitor proactively in some sort of win/win way to strategically locate inventory? Pick one or two to start, present a complete case to the executive team, corporate or Board of Directors. It will give you a great start!

 

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