Tag Archive: consulting

LMA’s 2018 Advocate Award and Recognition

August 25th, 2018

On the 10 year anniversary of my business, I recognized 10 people for 10 years as LMA Advocates – people who have gone over and beyond, resulting in LMA Consulting’s growth and success.  I truly appreciate their support, expertise, ideas and feedback. I would not be here today without them – and certainly not leading a growing and leading edge consulting practice that partners with manufacturers and supply chain organizations to create BOLD customer promises and profits.  

Ever since my 10-year bash, I’ve recognized one person each year on the anniversary of LMA Consulting.  Recently, on my 13-year anniversary, I announced Kelly Ford as our 2018 LMA Advocate.

 

Kelly Ford and I have worked together at three separate aerospace organizations and at least double or triple that in terms of projects. We have achieved significant results together (improved customer service levels to support business growth, expanded capacity and efficiencies, and right-sized inventory levels to maximize the use of cash and capital), and, most importantly, she orchestrated it so that we achieved these results while valuing and engaging people.

I find Kelly a pleasure.  It is not often that I find a client who is interested in continual improvement, is willing to try new ideas and stick with them as the inevitable obstacles arise and is so well-respected by her team. (So much so, that everyone pulls together to “make it happen” and has fun during the process.)  

One tip to implement this week:
Are you recognizing people who have been instrumental in your company’s growth and success?  Don’t think about this only in terms of direct relationships. For example, don’t just recognize the sales person who bagged the elephant. Instead, think about each person’s contribution to growth and success. Is there someone who is invisible working in the background (perhaps taken for granted) who makes it happen on a daily basis?

Also, don’t just think about sales and revenue growth. Although revenue is clearly relevant, expand your viewpoint – is there someone who “passes the ball” to your sales team?  Most likely – yes! Who has the best pass percentages? Since I went to UNC Chapel Hill (Tar Heels), I have become accustomed to winning at basketball. Solid players that pass are invaluable to the team.

Find the gems in your organization and recognize them.  Thank them in front of their peers. Tailor their ‘award’ to what is meaningful to them.  Perhaps your winner wants to be on a special project team or attend a training session. Why not make it meaningful and demonstrate your appreciation for the contribution to success?

And, Thank You, Kelly Ford!



How You Learn More By Teaching

August 14th, 2018

If you want to learn, teach!  

Recently I taught a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) class for my APICS Inland Empire Chapter, and it reminded me of this fact.  In order to teach anything (whether in a classroom or one-on-one), you need to brush up on the subject matter and think about examples, case studies or metaphors you can use to explain the concepts.  TAs my consulting mentor always says, he learns more than the students when he teaches.

Which topics should you become proficient in to enable success? What have you taught lately?

 

One tip to implement this week:

 

Whether you are the owner/ corporate executive or a team member with no power, you can teach.  Start by picking a topic. Let’s identify two subjects upfront for you to choose from: 1) A topic you are expert and comfortable in.  2) A topic you need to become more proficient in to excel in your career or so that your company will be successful.

Next, begin by developing a short session about your topic.  Identify your audience, and then put yourself in their shoes.  If you were sitting in your session, what would you want to know?  What would be the most benefit to you? The key is to think from the student’s point-of-view. How can you make sure it is clear?  Perhaps examples, case studies or metaphors will add value.

For example, in our CSCP class, we use four instructors because it provides a higher value experience for our students.  One of our instructors provides insightful examples from stories in the news. Another provides a theoretical education and gives excellent helpful hints to remember formulas . The third and fourth provide practical examples from everyday work experiences/case studies from different points-of-view. Each provides a unique value, and the sum is better than the parts.  

Give it a try. You might surprise yourself with how good you’ll be and how much you’ll learn!

 



Boston & Expanding Your Thinking

May 17th, 2018

I've Been Thinking

Last week, I spent a few days in Boston at a consulting convention to expand my thinking on consulting so that I can continually provide more value to clients (which is always spurred on by seeing new scenery like the Boston sites below).  

While at the convention, my business partner and I also launched our newly upgraded and expanded value of our new venture, the Society for the Advancement of Consulting that provides value to consultants and entrepreneurs.  When I agreed to take this role on, I had no idea the value it would bring to my consulting practice with expanded thinking.   

 

 

 

 

 

We have not only strategized on growth strategies which are quite applicable for my clients but we have also expanded our horizons in building a scalable, profitable, lean infrastructure so that the 80/20 of the processes will be seamlessly sustainable once the foundation is put in place.   We have also combined different strengths quite productively for win-win results. I’m looking forward to applying these additional ideas and principles with my clients as the appropriate situations arise!

One tip to implement this week:
Have you thought about how to expand your thinking?  A first good step would be to take a step back and think about ways to expand your thinking.  It is quite easy to get stuck inside your current reality. Consider some ways to deliberately push the envelope.

For example, should you invite someone who is quite different from you to brainstorm?  I have gained some interesting and unexpected insights by partnering with someone new.

Should you attend a different event you wouldn’t typically attend and deliberately set out to meet a few new people and ask them about a trending topic?  Since I was in the limelight explaining this newly enhanced consulting society, I met many people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Can you ask your customers and suppliers for ideas? How about trade associations? After all, that is part of the point of this consulting society within our particular field.  What about you?

 



Are You Achieving Scalable, Profitable Growth?

May 9th, 2018

When we look back over the last 13 years of consulting with closely-held building products manufacturers to medium, private-equity backed food and beverage firms to large aerospace corporations, every single client has one goal in common – achieving scalable, profitable growth.  It sounds somewhat easy but is far from simple in reality.

PROJECTS THAT ADDRESS SCALABLE, PROFITABLE GROWTH

in the last few years, these types of projects have been of particular interest – all of which spur this result.

  • MANAGING GROWTH – How to make sure the back end keeps up with growth – seamless execution of rapid growth is far more challenging (and exciting) than it appears.
  • OPERATIONS – How to scale operational processes to support elevated customer expectations on-time and on-margin targets.
  • SYSTEMS INFRASTRUCTURE – How to scale your systems infrastructure to support your customer experience without adding people and costs every step of the way.
  • TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE – How to scale your technology infrastructure without going overboard and getting caught up in fads while losing your objective.
  • TALENT AND TRAINING – How to scale your people (skills and talent) to support growth – there are a myriad of topics ranging from training and education to cross-training and capacity planning to scale in the appropriate skill areas that will provide the largest impact.
  • SCALING MANUFACTURING CAPACITY – How to scale your manufacturing capacity to support growth – gaining a view in advance can go a LONG way to alleviating a world of service and cost issues down-the-line.
  • SCALING WAREHOUSE CAPACITY – How to scale your warehouse capacity to support growth without expanding into new buildings unless absolutely necessary – after all, warehouse space is at a BIG premium, if you can find it at all.
  • SCALING SUPPLY CHAIN – How to scale your supply chain to support growth – no matter how prepared and perfect your company, if your suppliers, trusted partners and other supply chain partners are left in the dust, you’ll falter quickly.  For example, lately, we’ve heard a lot of buzz about issues causing delays from China, ranging from unexpected pollution controls to government mandates to Chinese New Year.
  • SCALING YOUR CULTURE – How to scale your culture as you transition from a small to medium-size company, medium to large and so on.  It is easy to get stuck in “no man’s land” – NOT where anyone wants to be!
  • And more….

Our best clients are thinking about each of these topics on a frequent basis.  In today’s Amazon-impacted marketplace, you don’t have a second chance. Instead, you’ll see your competition speeding by….

What is your plan to achieve scalable, profitable growth?

 



What Supply Chains and Liberal Arts Have in Common…

April 13th, 2016

supply chainI have been interviewing some VERY impressive candidates for internship positions from Pomona college (which was ranked #1 by Forbes for America’s top colleges in 2015). I enjoyed the interviews and learned a lot from them. This is one of the advantages of my profession — continuous learning is a part of the package!

One of the interns saw the supply chain and consulting in an interesting light. He said, “It is the practical application of liberal arts” as it requires a broad knowledge and experience base. I think he might have hit the nail on the head. I just got back from speaking to a group of supply chain professionals in Ventura, and as we discussed supply chain topics, it became clear that it is a vast topic. When you think of the supply chain as ranging from your customers’ customers to your suppliers’ suppliers with manufacturing systems in between, connected by technology, transportation and distribution systems, the subject matter is broad by any stretch of the imagination.

One tip to implement this week:

Since supply chain has broad appeal, we should be touting the critical importance of the supply chain in our daily conversations. We must pay attention to emerging supply chain trends — if you are interested in hearing more about these, APICS Inland Empire chapter has an amazing executive panel lined up to talk at our executive panel and networking symposium on April 30th, on just this topic. You don’t have to be a member to register.

It can be as simple as describing your company’s supply chain within your company. Just to accomplish this task, you might have to find out more about your suppliers, customers, transportation partners, etc. Wouldn’t it create engaging conversations if people felt connected in the critical link of the broader supply chain?

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…”