Tag Archive: collaborating

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity for Manufacturing, Logistics & CA to Align

July 15th, 2019

Last week, I went to the California Capitol building as a part of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership’s (IEEP) regional leadership academy. It was interesting to hear how the process works. I also am also representing the IEEP’s Logistics Council as it relates to moving forward with the Brookings report recommendations to create a consortium of logistics and advanced manufacturing excellence in the Inland Empire.

We are positioned ideally to scale up and partner with industry, academia and government/non-profit partners to achieve this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of aligning seemingly disparate goals of manufacturing, logistics, California government and the federal government’s interests to achieve a win-win-win-win. Wouldn’t that be a feat!

The idea is simple. The Inland Empire’s predominant high-paying professions include logistics and manufacturing. The IE has been outpacing all of California in job creation due to these industries yet they are not typically supported (to say the least!). Since they are contributing vitally to the IE community and jobs, we have the cards stacked in our favor:

  • IE logistics is #1 in the U.S.
  • IE manufacturing is strong and vast (SoCal is #1 in manufacturing in the U.S.)
  • The IE has access to great talent in the local and surrounding area universities (CSUSB, UCR, Drucker, Harvey Mudd, Cal Poly, Redlands), community colleges (Norco, Chaffey etc.), and partners such as GA Tech
  • And, the IE is in the unique position to leverage advanced technology to increase customer value, improve profit and create clean technologies as a win for the environment, X.

Thus, we are scaling up and collaborating for success.

This opportunity didn’t just fall into the IE’s lap. The leaders saw potential and ‘went for it’. Are you looking for opportunities?

One tip to implement this week:
In our work with clients, it is commonplace for clients to ignore vast opportunities such as this exciting initiative. There are always roadblocks, different interests, money flows to address and lots of other issues that arise. The key question is whether you are looking at each issue as a detriment or if you see the big picture and train your eye to ‘see’ a successful path forward.

Recently, our APICS Inland Empire chapter had the opportunity to provide training and education to Target (thanks to our partnership with the University of LaVerne). When the opportunity arose, we didn’t know how we would scale up and fulfill it successfully. However, we took the leap of faith to create value and had the confidence that we’d figure it out.

At first, we were worried about executing against our commitments.  Yet, it all fell into place. It forced us to be a bit more creative.  So, when the next leap of faith opportunity arose to provide manufacturing and logistics education to high school students to help bridge the gap to a profitable career, we went for it. We continue to evolve as we go but it has allowed us to make a difference in a way we would never had pursued or been involved with previously. Are you taking a leap of faith?



The Value of Collaborating with Strange Bedfellows

February 19th, 2019

The topic of collaborating with strange bedfellows has recently come up repeatedly. There can be significant value and strategic advantage created in collaborating with unlikely partners if there are clear objectives, trust and an open mind. Just think about Amazon’s collaboration with the U.S. Postal service. Amazon is clearly famous for rapid, same-day, even Sunday deliveries whereas the U.S. postal service is definitely not known for agility and speed yet they understand and are proficient with the ‘last mile’.

Kash Gokli & I host the Harvey Mudd executive roundtables, and the topic of collaborating with competitors as well as unlikely partners arose in our recent roundtable. In the ‘right’ situation at the ‘right’ time, it can maximize service and value. Also, I am a Board member of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and member of the Southern CA Logistics council, and this topic of collaboration has come up on multiple occasions. We recently led a collaboration session with 10 academic institutions. Of course, they all compete from several respects yet there are opportunities for 1+1+1 = 25. And this is just the beginning. When it is put together with collaborations with industry and government, perhaps 25 can turn into 100 or 1000. Last but not least, I met with UCR students last night to encourage their involvement in manufacturing and supply chain and invite their participation in APICS-IE. We had this exact conversation about collaborating with their competitors (Cal Poly Pomona, CSUSB etc.).

Are you exploring collaborations with strange bedfellows?

One tip to implement this week:
Perhaps it is as simple as opening your mind to new possibilities. Think about the person or entity you would most want to avoid joining your collaboration. What if you gave it a chance? For example, I remember a distinct time a few years ago when I was involved with a group. Someone in the group brought up a new member who would be the last person I’d want to join our group. I felt like I was collaborating with a diverse set of people, and we were making great progress. I just didn’t like this person. Although I didn’t say it, I cursed my bad luck on the way home because I just wasn’t excited about collaborating.

Fast-forward several months and it turned out that the new participant added unique value that probably would not have occurred otherwise. Although I still wouldn’t want to have dinner with this person outside of our work together, I’m glad I gave it a chance or I would have missed out on fantastic benefits and a learning opportunity. We have all been there, and sometimes we are right to be hesitant. Can you achieve a shared goal? Is trust possible as it relates to the objective? Assuming so, I vote for exploring the opportunity. Perhaps it is the next Amazon/ U.S. Postal Service collaboration.

Collaboration goes hand-in-hand with resilience. In today’s marketplace, there is no doubt the resilient will thrive. If your key supplier or customer is devastated by a natural disaster, power outage or unexpected shutdown or other disruptor, have you thought about collaborating with strange bedfellows to serve your customers? You cannot wait until the issue occurs! Creating a resilient end-to-end supply chain is of paramount importance.

For more information, check out our new resilient supply chain series and contact us if you’d like to have an assessment of your organization.



Collaborating on Economic Forecasts

April 17th, 2017

I met with the Claremont McKenna team that puts together the Inland Empire economic forecast last week. They are well known in the Inland Empire for being on the forefront of the economics forecast and finding ways to bring unique insights into the process. Therefore, they were interested in what I see in terms of outsourcing, nearsourcing, insourcing and other key trends in manufacturing.

economic trends

Economic factors can have a significant impact on your business. I learned quite a lot about this from my Director of Purchasing when I was a VP of Operations many years ago. It was simply amazing — and impressive — all of the economic considerations he assessed on a daily basis to stay on top of supply base trends and potential trends. And, that was just one aspect of the end-to-end supply chain. It is worth taking a few moments to think about economics….

One tip to implement this week:

Since economics can have a dramatic impact on our business, it is worthwhile to pay attention — at a minimum. Attend sessions on economics trends, read economic updates, and dig into the key factors that are most likely to impact your business.

Start by just identifying a few economic factors that are important to your business. Find sources to track progress of those factors — internet sites, trade associations, customers or suppliers, etc. Collaborate with your supply chain partners. Participate with local universities. The bottom line is to stay on top of the trends and be proactive as you see changes.

 

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…”

 



Tour of Combustion Associates & Collaboration

March 13th, 2017

Earlier this week, I participated in a manufacturers’ roundtable and tour at Combustion Associates as an APICS Inland Empire chapter event. It was an enlightening conversation and tour since the products and services are quite unique and the power of collaboration shined through at every point in the process. See a few of APICS-IE Board member colleagues pictured below. (Tony, we missed you for the photo!)

collaboration partners

Not only did Kusum Kavia (EVP of Combustion Associates) make sure it was an interesting event, she invited a wide variety of colleagues from international resources to government officials to local manufacturers to participate with our APICS-IE members. They showed a clip of former President Obama talking about Kusum, and it spoke to her amazing power of collaboration and partnership. Are you thinking about what partnerships can do for you?

One tip to implement this week:

Collaborating can be one of the simplest of goals and one of the hardest at the same time. Somehow, it seems quite simple yet is rarely achieved to a significant degree. Just as Kusum has shown with her participation and support of countless collaboration partners, we should pursue the power of collaboration.

Start with your top collaboration partners. Who is important to your success? Who should you be appreciating? Think about all of them and pick your top few. Next get in touch. Don’t send an email. Pick up the phone and ask to get together. Start your new approach to collaboration by meeting in person. Listen to what your collaboration partner wants to achieve, and think about how you can help him/her. For now, just focus in on how you can add value to your top few collaboration partners. This alone will go a LONG way.

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…”

 



Why ERP Success Has Little to Do with Systems

April 28th, 2016
ERP Success

ERP success depends on the quality and understanding of the people involved, from suppliers to team members.

After partnering with dozens of clients to help them select the “right” system that best fits their business requirements and partnering with many more to design the “right” processes in conjunction with their systems and people to achieve their objectives, it is clear that ERP success has little to do with systems! Counterintuitive but true!

As with almost everything, success boils down to people! That is a large part of the success of selection to cut through the “red tape” associated with ERP demos to look solely at critical success factors in conjunction with the ERP partner. If the supplier doesn’t understand the critical success factors, there is no point in collaborating. That means the people involved didn’t dig into enough detail to understand their potential partner.

In ERP success, suppliers are not good enough. It is hard enough to gain success with ERP as it is a major change initiative; whereas, there is no hope if you view your ERP partner as a “supplier” vs. a “partner”. The same is true if your ERP “supplier” views themselves as a “supplier” vs. a “partner”.

Next, choose your ERP team carefully. It will be time consuming and so dedicate the resources upfront. Figure out how to back up your resources.  Assure them of their career path. The ONLY way to ensure success is to have a high-functioning, dedicated team. It will involve the big picture, details and everything in-between. Make sure to have diversity. Leverage strengths.  Get the “right people on the bus” (as one of my mentors used to say), and it will all fall in line.

If you want to learn more about my new proprietary process ACESM — how to select the best system for your particular needs and/or how to design the “right” processes for your business in conjunction with your system, people/culture and strategy — please refer to our webpage or contact us.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

 

How to Increase Teamwork to Ensure Project Success

 

Why Upgrade Your ERP System?