Tag Archive: clients

What do UPS, Shamrock Foods, Amazon & a 3PL Have in Common?

March 14th, 2019

In touring multiple facilities, ranging from package shipments to cold storage food service delivery to the e-commerce behemoth to 3PL organizations, it despite the conversations that take place about labor costs and other daily concerns, the #1 concern across the board is transportation costs. The numbers support this sentiment. According to CSCMP, transportation costs are 65% of total logistics spend.

Logically, it also makes good sense. No matter your business, materials, parts sub-assemblies and/or products need to arrive at your facility. Often, especially in industries such as aerospace, the parts make multiple trips around the area (unless you are unlucky enough to require sourcing outside of your local area) for outside processing services such as anodizing and painting. Lastly, every work-in-process part or finished good must go to the next stop along the way to the customer such as a final assembly customer, your distribution center, your customer’s distribution center or the end customer. That makes for quite a lot of transportation, often involving multiple modes of transport from air freight to ocean freight to rail to trucking.

Given these alarming statistics about transportation costs, the question becomes: What can we do to proactively manage these costs as well as reduce the impact on the environment? After listening to several experts on these tours and experts from Georgia Tech, APICS (learn more about the critical importance of logistics in our APICS-IE CLTD, certified in logistics, transportation and distribution certificate program) and CSCMP SoCal (at the state of the industry event), a few ideas emerged.

  1. Collaborate with strange bedfellows:As recently published in an I’ve Been Thinking article, collaborating with strange bedfellows can achieve 1+1+1 = 25 minimally. In terms of transportation, there is no doubt maximizing the space used in your truck, container or plane is vital. Why not collaborate with another business to increase your utilization?
  2. Take the holistic or systems view: It is quite challenging to see the forest for the trees as the old slogan goes. We have all been there! I have worked with clients for extended periods of time and found myself with this same issue.  So, I have to deliberately shake it up to maintain the systems or bird’s-eye view. For example, don’t worry about saving a few pennies on a non-essential element of your transportation infrastructure when you are missing the key point that your mix of modes of operation or something like that is costing you millions.
  1. Utilize technology that focuses on the critical transportation factors: In every case (at every tour, event and in every conversation), leveraging technology where it makes sense came up. Certainly, artificial intelligence is the new craze since it has the potential to transform entire industries including logistics. However, robotics are being considered even in industries such as 3PL where they never were previously due to the nature of managing different customers and products. Of course, IoT is prevalent in the world of logistics and transportation as well as topics such as alternative fuels and automation. And what about the basics of a solid ERP system and TMS (transportation management system)? Don’t panic over the horror stories. Contact us if you want to overcome them.
  1. Be customer friendly:Interesting how often being customer friendly arises, no matter the industry or size company (small family owned to private equity backed to large complex organizations).  With rising truck rates and a shortage of drivers, if you aren’t a preferred shipper, you might just be out of luck no matter how much you spend. What does it take to be a preferred shipper? It depends on your business, carriers, locations and more. However, it starts by thinking about what is important to your carrier (not you). Are they looking for flexibility? A quick turnaround time? Fast payment? Good treatment for their drivers?

Since transportation costs are, at minimum, 65% of your total logistics spend, it requires further thought. With the vast amount of technology options available, the best approach is to start with your foundation (your ERP system) and ensure it is stable. Once you have a scalable base, find the ‘right’ technology for your situation to maximize the value of your logistics infrastructure. However, remember the 80/20 goes back to people. What are you doing to develop strategic partnerships and to ensure you are customer friendly and a preferred shipper? Given the impact, don’t leave this to chance or make assumptions. We all like to think we are preferred but what can we do to take it an extra step further?

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

Systems Pragmatist

 The Sheer Relevance & Impact of Transportation (a Billion Here, a Billion There)The Resilient Supply Chain: Should We Invest in Technology?

 



Giving Thanks & Why It Matters

December 13th, 2018

Since it is Thanksgiving week, it seems only appropriate to talk about giving thanks.   A BIG THANKS to these people/ groups who have been instrumental in our success – and making it an enjoyable journey along the way:

 

  • Our clients – As much as our clients select us, we also select you.  As my consulting mentor says, it is not worth the efforts you have to go through to run a successful consulting practice if you don’t love what you do and work with people you respect and enjoy!  Thus, a BIG thanks to you!
  • Our associates – When I first started consulting, I dreaded the thought of how to bring someone into a client successfully, and after many years of “collecting good people”, I love it!
  • Our trusted advisors – Just as our clients need experts surrounding them, so do we.  I prefer to stay out of trouble! And we are only as good as the people surrounding us.
  • My APICS Board of Directors & key colleagues – We provide exceptional value to our local manufacturing and supply chain communities, and there is NO way I’d do it without you.
  • My ProVisors executive committee & ONT group – What an invaluable network of trusted advisors.  LMA is exponentially more successful with you!
  • My global consulting strategy group – Nice that I have your support (and kick in the butt) to stay the course, continue to grow and provide more and more value in my consulting practice.
  • And my other professional associations such as the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP), the Manufacturers Council of the Inland Empire (MCIE), Harvey Mudd executive roundtables, Renaissance Executive Forums group, the University of LaVerne advisory Board for the School of Business and Public Management and more.
  • Students – For keeping us fresh and engaged – from CSUSB, Cal Poly, UCR, Drucker, Harvey Mudd, Pomona College, Univ of LaVerne, Norco and more.
  • My SAC business partner, Linda Popky – We have created a value-packed organization for consulting growth.  I’ve learned a lot along the way that has added valued in many other areas of my practice as well.
  • My parents – Without them, I would never have started a consulting firm because I would not have known that anything was possible (as detailed in my backstory) and I would have listened to all those people who said a young woman couldn’t run manufacturing, have a seat at the table with private equity backers or start a consulting firm from the ground up.
  • Friends & former colleagues – Speaking of starting up a consulting firm while knowing close to no one since I traveled 60% of the time as VP of Operations & Supply Chain, I certainly appreciate these valued colleagues in helping to make it possible.

One tip to implement this week:
Who do you appreciate?  More importantly, do they know?  I’m often surprised by how what we think is obvious is NOT to the other party.  It can go a long way – why not think of at least one person to thank!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 



Do You Live By Values Daily?

August 29th, 2018

We decided to participate in Executive Forums (an executive peer group) and Global Growth Cycle (a global consulting peer group) in order to stay up-to-date on what our clients need (sometimes even before they know they ‘need’ it).  After all, understanding what is successful as well as investing in our continual learning are important factors in long-term success.  

At a recent meetings of both groups, the importance of values arose.  Do you have values? And, more importantly, do you LIVE by values or are they just pasted on your wall (and ignored)?

Because we felt it was important for LMA Consulting to stand for something, we have codified our values.  As a part of our communication efforts, we are sharing them with our clients, colleagues, subcontractors, advisors and more.  Of course, we always welcome feedback and input.

To kick off, we have four core values that happen to start with ‘P’ (which we enjoy because of the alliteration):

 

PEOPLE

PASSION

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERSISTENCE

PERFORMANCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

LMA Values

  1. People – As we continually say (and believe), people are our #1 asset.  Our affiliations, LMA Associates, colleagues, clients and advisors fall into this category.  No matter how perfect the process or ideal the technology, it will not “work” without the people.
  2. Passion – It certainly makes life more interesting to enjoy what you do and have a passion for helping clients achieve bottom line results.  We find that success follows applied passion.
  3.  Persistence – No matter the topic in business (or life), persistence has been core to our success.  There is definitely truth to saying ‘persistence trumps talent’. Having both wouldn’t hurt but we’ll take persistence any day!
  4. Performance  – At the end of the day, keeping focused on delivering bottom line business results matters.  In our case, we deliver BOLD customer promises and profits!

Give your values some thought.  Start at square zero. Do you have them?  Do you agree with them? Do you ‘live’ them?  How about your team? Since this is a beneficial predecessor to setting strategy and ensuring results, it is worthwhile.  If you have questions or are thinking about how to get started, contact us .



The Importance of Being Top of Mind

July 30th, 2018

 

Last week, I led my Ontario ProVisors group meeting.  It is a top notch group of trusted advisors that I’m thrilled to lead – not only is it a great group of people (professional, smart and funny) but they also provide my clients with “just what they need when they need it”.  It is surprising (and exciting) how often a client will ask for a specific (oftentimes obscure) resource or question, and I can help him/her because I know the best person to answer his question or fill his need.  If you have a need, please feel free to contact me.

Last week, we were brainstorming the best ways to be visible so that clients can find us and the idea of being “top of mind” came up.  I have certainly found being top of mind important as clients need to remember you when the issue arises.

It is quite surprising how visibility plays into success.  I had a few core group members I thought I would NEVER forget because they were awesome, integral to the success of the group and helpful to me personally.  Both moved away/took a different job of sorts.  Fastforward two years later: when I was asked for a referral, they didn’t pop to mind first.  Hard to believe when I realized how true it was!

Later that night, I went to another ProVisors meeting.  One person mentioned that although he sees me on LinkedIn, when he saw me in person, he remembered he had clients that needed my expertise.  Glad I was top of mind!  Are you?

One tip to implement this week:
No matter your role, it is important to be top of mind for your customers, clients, Board members, peers, and more.  Do you purposefully find ways to be top of mind (in a positive way of course)?

For example, do you check in on your key customers every month, week or whatever time frame is appropriate?  Do you send your key supplier a card for an important occasion?  Do you find a way to remember key dates related to your employees, peers etc.?

CRM isn’t required.  Use Outlook.  Write it down on a piece of paper.  Pick up the phone.  The great thing about being top of mind is that it doesn’t require money and resources.  Instead, it requires a little effort!  Do you appreciate the effort others take when you are top of mind to them?  Return the favor.

 



Case in Point – Are You Starting the New Year with Clarity?

March 22nd, 2018

As consultants, when we first start talking with clients at least 80% lack crisp clarity.  Often, this alone is a large cause of their under-performance or limitation vs. full potential.  Thus, why not take quick stock of your clarity of direction for 2018 as we head into working day #1?

It can be quite simple.  Forget about all the buzz words such as lean manufacturing, predictive analytics, SIOP (sales, inventory & operations planning), artificial intelligence and the like.  Although you know we talk about some of these as powerful concepts, they are JUST tools. Instead, think about where you are going and what you need to accomplish in 2018.

Start with what should be relatively simple – where are you going?  Hopefully you’ve thought about strategy. Remember, strategy is no longer a topic to address every 2-5 years.  Successful leaders think of it as a strategic sprint that has to be re-evaluated (rapidly yet effectively) at least once a year.  Of course, this leads to topics such as understanding your market, customers, and business differentiators, and so start with these topics at a minimum.

Once you have clarity of where you are going, the hard part starts – turning your strategy into reality.  You cannot be the only person with clarity for the New Year if you want to be successful. Is your executive team on board?  Are they communicating in alignment as of the first day of the New Year? In today’s Amazon-impacted environment, unless your leadership team is in lock step with clarity of direction early on, you’ll be left in the dust.  After all, if customers expect delivery same-day and powerful customer experiences, they aren’t expecting to wait for you to get your act together after returning from vacation.

Take a quick audit of your strategic clarity, fill any gaps and look for opportunities to fast-track progress.  Let me know how it goes.