Tag Archive: customer

e-Commerce & the Rise of Online

June 9th, 2020

According to the statistics as well as client commentary, e-Commerce sales and online everything is on fire:

  1. According to data from Adobe Analytics, the second half of March saw a 25% increase in e-commerce sales.
  2. Even more impressive, Adobe said that April saw a 49% increase in U.S. e-commerce sales!
  3. Of ALL our clients, the only unanimous area of growth during COVID-19 was in e-commerce sales.
  4. According to a Gartner CFO survey, 74% intend to shift some employees to remote work permanently.

 

Thus, the key question is whether you are proactively thinking about online opportunities. If not, get ready to see your competitors rush by.

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

Undoubtedly, you should be thinking about online from all angles:

  1. E-commerce (B2C): If you haven’t started offering e-commerce capabilities, you better evaluate rapidly and get on board. There are several options for how to pursue this opportunity. You can offer direct e-commerce with your website. You can go through a partner with key customers and folks such as Amazon. The bottom line is that your customer doesn’t care how you provide the capability but they expect to be able to order easily.
  2. B2B: If you serve other businesses, you cannot ignore these trends because you don’t sell to consumers. Your customers expect a B2B customer portal with the same type of e-commerce capabilities that Amazon provides. We have been helping a client with a systems roadmap, and it is quite clear that the “80/20” from the customer and sales viewpoint is Amaon-like capabilities (with an almost exclusive focus on B2B currently). Nothing else is sufficient.
  3. Supply chain partners: What are your customers, suppliers and other supply chain partners offering?
  4. Employees: Remember, your employees expect you to have Amazon-like capabilities and online capabilities as well. This perception spills over into all aspects of the business.
  5. Online is more than B2B/B2C: Have you thought about how COVID-19 has forever changed the way we do business? After all, if Gartner thinks 74% will change to remote work in some fashion, that is a HUGE change. How will that change your industry, your supply chain and your employees’ needs?

E-commerce was already on the rise, and COVID-19 gave it a strong boost. As with everything, there are advantages (such as the consumer gaining quick delivery of essential items) and disadvantages or challenges (managing freight costs, reconfiguring warehousing operations and space requirements, implementing technology rapidly, figuring out how to be environmentally-friendly delivering to tons of consumers and many more issues). Those who are most successful in proactively thinking through these considerations and creating strategies will thrive whereas the rest are likely to struggle significantly. Which avenue will you pursue? Read more about this topic as well as your strategy, priorities, key trends, and your restart recipe for success in my eBook,  Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19 . If you are interested in a rapid assessment, please contact us.



Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Predicts Proactive Approach to Demand and Diversification of Supply is Key to Future-Proofing Manufacturing and the Supply Chain

May 27th, 2020

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – May 27, 2020 –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., predicts that a proactive understanding of customer demand and diversification within the supply chain will prevent a next round of guffaws as the effects of COVID-19 disruptions to the supply chain begin to subside and the world faces the uncertainty of the return of COVID-19. LMA Consulting Group works with manufacturers and distributors on strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation to maximize the customer experience and enable profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth.

The importance of the supply chain took front and center stage as the COVID-19 pandemic raged throughout the world. “The wrong products were in the wrong places at the wrong time. From bumper crops of vegetables, eggs and other foodstuffs to the infamous toilet paper capers, consumers became very aware of the fine balance within the worldwide supply chain.  Crops and dairy products originally destined for restaurants soon saw their demand disappear while grocery stores had to limit demand to keep up. Hoarding of consumer paper goods like toilet paper and paper towels caused weeks’ delay in replenishments.  And, after nine weeks of shortages, manufacturers are still having challenges in aligning demand with supply,” stated Ms. Anderson.

The key is future proofing the supply chain so that it is resilient to disruptions.  That requires taking a proactive approach to putting strong secondary and tertiary backups in place for every element within the supply chain.  “The supply chain is both simplistic and complex. It is all about satisfying the customer, even before they know what they want.  The complexities start when managing equally important priorities.  From developing strong relationships with core suppliers and identifying customer buying patterns to forecasting inventory needs to satisfy demand, the details are many, balanced with having the right products in the right place at the right time for the right price, all while being profitable. COVID-19 has highlighted that even if your supply chain is complex, it also must be nimble,” she continued.

“We’ve seen the consequences of wringing too much out of the supply chain.  The winners have been those manufacturers who had strong relationships with multiple suppliers, good insights into customer demand, multiple options for transportation and dedicated teams willing to pivot to new ways of doing business to keep and expand the business. We have seen new business opportunities emerge and stalwarts struggle. The good news is that we have, once again, rallied to a challenge,” she said.  The video conferencing tech explosion, brick and mortar retailers becoming online behemoths to satisfy at-home demand and manufacturers retrofitting production lines to make ventilators and sanitizers have demonstrated the strength, innovation and ingenuity of manufacturing during a crisis. “Now, it’s time to take what we have learned and quickly adapt it to the new un-normal.  Manufacturers are already making inroads with new suppliers, forming unusual partnerships to expedite progress, building speed and resiliency into their operations, pursuing industry 5.0 and reshoring production closer to ever-changing customer demand. As much as these initiatives sound proactive and thorough, they are not enough. Manufacturers need to get ahead of the curve and create disruption to thrive in this new un-normal she concluded.

Ms. Anderson recently released, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & the Supply Chain Post COVID-19, an eBook that provides practical go-forward insights, advice and experiential value for manufacturers and their supply chains.

 About LMA Consulting Group – Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD

Lisa Anderson is the founder and president of LMA Consulting Group, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in manufacturing strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation.  She focuses on maximizing the customer experience and enabling profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth. Ms. Anderson is a recognized Supply Chain thought leader by SelectHub, named a Top 40 B2B Tech Influencer by arketi group, 50 ERP Influencer by Washington-Frank, a top 46 most influential in Supply Chain by SAP and named a top woman influencer by Solutions Review. She recently published, I’ve Been Thinking, 101 strategies for creating bold customer promises and profits. A regular content contributor on topics including a superior customer experience with SIOP, advancing innovation and making the supply chain resilient, Ms. Anderson is regularly interviewed and quoted by publications such as Industry Week, tED magazine and the Wall Street Journal.  For information, to sign up for her Profit Through PeopleTM Newsletter or for a copy of her book, visit LMA-ConsultingGroup.com.
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Media Contact
Kathleen McEntee | Kathleen McEntee & Associates, Ltd. | p. (760) 262 – 4080 | KMcEntee@KMcEnteeAssoc.com



Amazon Kicks off the New Year by Creating Disruption

January 30th, 2020

According to a Bloomberg article, Amazon kicked off the New Year by creating disruption. They have abruptly stopped buying products from some of their wholesalers, looking for ways to bypass wholesalers or push the cost to down the chain and increase profit. If your business depends on Amazon, hopefully you have been future-proofing your manufacturing and supply chain operations.

If not, you might be in a world of hurt! With that said, if you are heavily dependent on any one customer or supplier, you are in a risk-ridden situation.  It makes me wonder whether FedEx’s move away from Amazon was brilliant or whether they took on too much risk moving away from Amazon. Listen to a recent video where I refer to this topic. Are you taking these types of strategic questions into account in your 2020 plans?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Although the impact is obvious to wholesalers cut off by Amazon, the impacts are more widespread than that. Will Amazon be able to go direct to manufacturers? Will they be able to increase profits by squeezing their supply chain without impacting service? What happens, if that isn’t as easy as it appears? Will customers just wait? Are they getting too big or will other e-commerce players have an opportunity? It will be interesting to see.

In addition, no matter if you are related to this industry or not, it will impact you! If new players become involved, the manufacturing and logistics footprints will evolve. Will you be ready for opportunities? Undoubtedly, we will be impacted by changes in logistics infrastructure, rates and service requirements. The question is whether we will let this happen to us or if we will proactively address it. It might be too late to future-proof against this particular move by Amazon, but there will be countless more changes coming by Amazon as well as many other disruptors. Will you be ready to navigate changing circumstances and market conditions for a positive customer and bottom line impact or not?

At a minimum, continually re-evaluate your supply chain road map and think through related impacts. These topics certainly relate to our new LMA-i, LMA-Intelligence series including the Amazon Effect, the Resilient Supply Chain and Future-Proofing and contact us if you’d like an assessment path-forward plan to accelerate your bottom line and customer performance.



Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Confirms Manufacturers Focused on Customer Experience Drivers

December 21st, 2019

Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Confirms Manufacturers Focused on
Customer Experience Drivers

 CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – December 19, 2019 –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., confirms that manufacturers are flexible and responsive to changing customer needs and demands. LMA Consulting Group works with manufacturers and distributors on strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation to maximize the customer experience and enable profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth.

“2019 has been a pivotal year for manufacturers.  As turbulence with tariffs, the need to provide immediate response to customer needs and demands and improvements in automation have required capital investments, manufacturers that have responded are coming out ahead. They are near-shoring, reshoring, customizing and focusing on sales forecasting almost to the point of being predictive of demand. And, they are leading in their respective industries,” Ms. Anderson commented.  Nimble response has not traditionally been a term associated with manufacturing.  Artificial intelligence, robots, IoT and 3-D printing have become more mainstream and allow manufacturers to make immediate improvements and reduce lead times.  “We see manufacturers excited about future adaptations of their products, processes and services as well as their collaborations with their extended supply chain to create innovations and make a greater impact,” she said.

The customer experience drivers, awareness of the Amazon effect and the need for a resilient supply chain are messages that Ms. Anderson focuses on when working with clients.  “It’s about differentiating the customer experience while enabling profitability and growth. It may seem that these are diametrically opposed.  Yet, when a collaborative focus with a commitment towards innovation takes place in an organization, great things happen.  Our clients are feeling the impact. Recently, we worked with a client to help them initiate a vendor managed inventory program for their customers, managing the inventory and ordering process.  This allowed for better insight into the extended supply chain which helped them proactively position inventory and build more agile capabilities.  The result was better response to changing customer demand patterns, establishing resiliency in the supply chain and, most importantly, achieving bottom line performance, ” she concluded.

As the calendar rolls to 2020, customers will continue to become more sophisticated and demanding.  The recent squabble between FedEx and Amazon is proof that even the largest of client relationships can change.   In 2020,  future proofing manufacturing operations and the supply chain will fast-track proactive manufacturers to stand ahead of the competition.  Initiatives to position manufacturing are underway, especially in Inland Southern California where Ms. Anderson is involved with the Inland Empire Economic Partnership which is developing a consortium for advanced manufacturing and logistics success. She is also active with the Manufacturing Council of the Inland Empire where she heads the Innovation Awards for the Annual Summit.  “Manufacturing remains a core industry in the U.S. The time is right, and the time is now to focus on future-proofing manufacturing and the supply chain for success” she concluded.

About LMA Consulting Group – Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD

Lisa Anderson is the founder and president of LMA Consulting Group, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in manufacturing strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation.  She focuses on maximizing the customer experience and enabling profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth. Ms. Anderson is a recognized Supply Chain thought leader by SelectHub, named a Top 40 B2B Tech Influencer by arketi group, 50 ERP Influencer by Washington-Frank, a top 46 most influential in Supply Chain by SAP and named a top woman influencer by Solutions Review. She recently published, I’ve Been Thinking, 101 strategies for creating bold customer promises and profits. A regular content contributor on topics including a superior customer experience with SIOP, advancing innovation and making the supply chain resilient, Ms. Anderson is regularly interviewed and quoted by publications such as Industry Week, tED magazine and the Wall Street Journal.  For information, to sign up for her Profit Through PeopleTM Newsletter or for a copy of her book, visit LMA-ConsultingGroup.com.           

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Media Contact Kathleen McEntee | Kathleen McEntee & Associates, Ltd. | p. (760) 262 – 4080 | KMcEntee@KMcEnteeAssoc.com                                                 

 



Have You Thought About Whether You are Maximizing the Use of Your ERP System?

December 19th, 2019

Before jumping to conclusions and pursuing a system upgrade, should we explore whether we are maximizing the use of our current system? Or, is it just not modern enough to support our growth in a scalable, profitable way?

This is often the subject of a client call. After all, no one in their right mind would want to embark on an ERP upgrade unless absolutely necessary. The issue is that the situation can be quite complex. How do we separate what’s important vs. what’s not? In this case study, a client knew they had to upgrade because their system was long out of maintenance. The only question was how compelling was the upgrade to support their customers’ requirements and an efficient operation?

The Answer
Although they clearly required an upgrade to get into the current century, the question we explored is whether they could continue to improve performance using their current system to a degree large enough to delay the upgrade until they were better prepared. Unfortunately, since they had let their current system go for ‘too long’, it was highly dependent on current technical resources, partly tailored to their business processes and customized to their needs. At first glance, that doesn’t sound bad! However, the issue was that it was by no means scalable, would require significant education on concepts so that folks started thinking instead of following the process designed into the current system and they were highly dependent on resources that could leave or “get hit by a bus”. Doesn’t that sound like something you say but it doesn’t happen? Not so> One of my clients had that exact situation occur, even though it is just a phrase for a myriad of issues that could arise.

After digging into their business requirements (current as well as a few years into the future), we found ample opportunity to further leverage already existing functionality to meet customer requirements and delay the upgrade for several months. However, that still wasn’t enough. We also had to take actions to secure at-risk critical resources to the degree feasible (since we clearly cannot plan 100% for the ‘hit by the bus’ scenario). We were successful in proactively addressing the situation so that we didn’t have to leap before we knew if we had a net. Yet, we weren’t 100% comfortable, so we also put together an aggressive plan for ERP selection to find the best fit system to meet their needs (without customizing) and equally important a best fit partner that could proactively understand and think through their education needs (which were VERY different from training needs).

Food For Thought
Although we found a solution, the CEO was on pins and needles once he realized the extent of the situation. Don’t leave your infrastructure to chance. Even though all can seem quite fine at the high level, it is important to know whether you are being held up by a solid foundation or a nice-looking pile of straw. That is before considering what you’ll need at least 18 months into the future. You will not select the best system to support your plans or you’ll skimp on implementation. Every client that cut corners overspent by 20-100% and that is before considering the impact on customer service. Do you have a scalable ERP system to support your business growth and profitability? If not, start there!

 

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

Is Your ERP System Scalable?

Do You Need An ERP Upgrade?

Systems Pragmatist