Tag Archive: business process

Why Persistence Matters

August 29th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Typically when I talk about persistence, I refer to my Mom because she is very persistent. I’m glad that wore off on me. However, this time, I am referring to several people: an ACA Group colleague, Ellen Kane; a Manufacturing Council of the Inland Empire colleague, Wally Brithinee; and one of my APICS Inland Empire Board of Directors Tony Martinez. I have been involved in the APICS West Coast Student Case Competition since the first year when Ellen Kane founded it with three teams from two schools. Now, I’ve acted as co-chair with Ellen (pictured below with me at the 2017 event), and it has grown into a highly successful competition with 25 teams from all over the world and over 100 students attending our sold-out “West Coast” competition. Thanks to persistence from Ellen and the team.

Lisa Anderson with Ellen Kane

Lisa with Ellen Kane at the 2017 APICS West Coast Student Case Competition

Wally Brithinee wth Harvey Mudd Students

Wally Brithinee with students from Harvey Mudd and the head of their manufacturing program, Kash Gokli








My APICS Inland Empire chapter had one of the original teams to compete (Cal Poly Pomona) and has expanded greatly with multiple teams from Cal Poly and CSUSB, as well as new teams from Harvey Mudd (the 2017 grand prize winner!) and the University of LaVerne. None of this would have been possible without the expert support and generous contributions from our chapter and the Board of Directors, especially Tony Martinez (thanks Tony!). And, after close to 10 years of trying and not giving up (persistence), with a push from Wally Brithinee (pictured below with students from Harvey Mudd and the head of their manufacturing program, Kash Gokli) and Tony Martinez, we have finally been successful in bringing UCR on board as well. We are thrilled to have significant participation of students in the future of manufacturing and supply chain!

One tip to implement this week: 

Have you ever given up? I’d be surprised if you haven’t since we all have! With that said, I can guarantee that most of my greatest success has come after 99% of people would have given up. Sometimes I’m truly successful solely because I’m persistent and keep going until I find a way, assuming someone somewhere has achieved the goal. Because beating your head against the wall for a truly impossible task is not a good plan either!  I definitely wouldn’t have my consulting practice today if I hadn’t learned this skill from my Mom. And we wouldn’t have such a huge involvement of students in manufacturing and distribution without Ellen, Wally and Tony.

Actually, I find that most people give up when on the brink of success. Please have persistence and take a second look at options before giving up. Or, gain help. Note that I wouldn’t have been successful without Ellen, Wally and Tony and a host of other people. Instead, put your mind to work on how to overcome an immediate obstacle and then navigate one step at a time.




A Tour of Skechers and Jaw Dropping Savings (and Innovations)

August 28th, 2017

Supply Chain Briefing

Recently, I went on a tour of Skechers with my ProVisors group. We’ve heard so much about the building and related innovations from the developer, Iddo Benzeevi, and were really excited to see it in action. There are truly jaw dropping savings from the total picture – $25 million a year reduction in operating costs. Who can argue with that? Certainly not environmentally-conscious people as it is also the largest LEED Gold Certified building of its kind to be awarded with this distinction by the U.S. Green Building Council. There is no air conditioning required due mainly to the innovative design. In comparison, discussing topics like solar seems boring! And, of course, it is the picture of warehouse automation. Are you thinking beyond impossible like these folks did?

Touring the Skechers Mega Facility Innovations

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

Innovations like these should definitely get us thinking. First of all, do you see roadblocks like environmental bottlenecks as insurmountable? Or, do you see them as nothing more than a challenge? Although most would have trouble envisioning the goal of saving $25 million a year, if you never think about it, it definitely won’t occur. Think BIG!

Certainly the impacts of this type of building can be seen as amazingly progressive – or problematic, depending on your point of view. Clearly, if we can build this type of innovation into our manufacturing and distribution businesses, we will be vastly more competitive – and more likely to stay in the U.S., and even California. On the other hand, Skechers has far fewer people operating this facility than the multiple facilities they operated previously. And, in order to operate this facility, a higher level of skills is required.   Higher skills can also be seen as “good” and “bad”. There is a lot of talk about the need for higher skilled jobs in the Inland Empire to retain our students with good opportunities, yet it can also be challenging to find these skills.

Either way, hiding your head in the sand will not solve the problem. Why not join the innovators? Get out to see new and interesting ideas. I learn something every day – from every client, every tour, and every interaction. Sometimes the ideas I have do not relate at all to what I’ve seen but it prompts thinking or brainstorming in different directions. Why not consider what you’d need to go down the path of innovation?


If you liked this article, read more about Supply Chain innovation .



The Ladies of Logistics (LOL) & the Power of Networking

August 24th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

On Friday night, I went to the annual LOL (Ladies of Logistics) networking bash, thanks to Elizabeth Warren (we’re pictured below). She brought together many of Southern California’s most powerful women in logistics (and a few men too). It was a great opportunity to talk with industry people from the ports, procurement, rail, trucking, air, policy, distribution and the media. Talk about a powerful network! This event illustrated the power of networks. We could never achieve as much individually as we do by collaborating. And, we propel each other to success! Making s’mores doesn’t hurt either….

Lisa Anderson with Elizabeth Warren

One tip to implement this week: 

Have you thought about the power of a network? Take a step back and think about which networks you participate with. Which networks surround your profession, geography, alma mater, and so on? Networks can be formal or informal. LOL is an informal network but just as powerful as some of the most formal ones I am part of.

Participating with the “right” network can lead to 1+1=64. Thus, it seems worthwhile to take a good look around and find a network where you think you’ll be able to add value. Start by looking for where you can add value. With that motivation and perspective, it is guaranteed that exponential returns will follow. More importantly, you’ll also enjoy it. When I first joined ProVisors (a network of trusted, professional advisers), I wasn’t sure how I’d provide many referrals. Fast-forward several years later and I am able to provide referrals for the most obscure of requests – and love it!

Let me know how networking has worked for you in the comments. And if you liked this article, take a look at a similar post about the value of professional mentoring.



Women in Supply Chain (and Why Men Should Care)

August 22nd, 2017

Supply Chain BriefingWhether you’re a man or woman, if you are in the end-to-end supply chain, you should be thinking about women in supply chain. We’re facing a serious skills gap in the next several years in manufacturing and supply chain circles. Although women make up 47% of the labor force, they compose only 27% of the manufacturing workforce. Thus, logic dictates that if we can raise that percentage, we’ll cover much of our skills gap!

I spoke on “Women in Supply Chain” at the western district conference for APICS (#1 supply chain management association) this weekend. I also am a mentor for Women in Supply Chain at the Drucker School of Management. Since I have been the sole woman in a leadership role in manufacturing circles frequently throughout my career, I don’t even notice it. However, we should pay attention.

Women in Supply Chain

Talking about “Women in Supply Chain” at the Western District Conference for APICS

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

There is no doubt that we should be concerned about the impending skills gap.  Almost every client tells me that they do not have the skills  they need in certain areas of their manufacturing/ supply chain.  And, this issue is not improving – as baby boomers retire, knowledge leaves with them.  Technologies are constantly improving, requiring higher skill levels in every respect – which is also driving the skills gap.  We are in process of researching the current skills gap.  Please provide your feedback with this short survey.

The great news is that there are many people thinking about this topic.  The Drucker School and Toyota created the Women in Supply Chain mentoring program.  APICS, the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte created STEP Ahead.  Harvey Mudd College, the #1 school for engineering attracts an enrollment of at least 50% women.  The attendees at my speech last weekend for the western district of APICS was 50% women.  And the list goes on.

So, what can we do?  Mentor young women in supply chain.  Find ways to volunteer your time, educate and be involved with the women in your company.  Perhaps think about how you see them and make a conscious effort to encourage them to grow, invite their colleagues and friends to join the supply chain field.  And, by all means, do NOT ignore the men.  We need to grow our skills base dramatically to meet the demands of the next century.

SIOP – How Collaboration & Judgment Can Achieve Wonders

August 18th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Earlier this week, I spoke to APICS Ventura County on the topic of SIOP (Sales, Inventory & Operations Planning). It was a great conversation because it was really interactive, with probing questions on not just the theory and concepts but how to “make it work.” Talking more about the secret recipe to achieving results. What became apparent during the discussion is that what we do truly boils down to much, much more than aligning demand with supply or any of the technical aspects of SIOP. Success results from collaboration and common sense with a dash of judgment thrown in at the right time.

Then, later this week, I was with a client who pondered something similar about a completely different topic – how do we “make this happen”? Again, technical concepts are important to start on the right page and to think through the best design or solution. But without collaboration, common sense and judgment, nothing happens!

One tip to implement this week: 

Try hard not to get buried in technical concepts. Do you know anyone that hides behind massive spreadsheets or complex processes? Or, do you find yourself getting carried away with a cool new technology (regardless of the importance to results)? Admit it – we all do!

Instead, success comes by remembering common sense. What do you really need to do to get everyone in the loop? As issues and potential roadblocks arise, think about what makes sense. Forget about the complex formulas and overload of data analysis. Collaborate with your colleagues (not one single person can achieve as much two or more people collaborating and trading ideas) and apply a healthy dose of judgment. Results will follow.