Tag Archive: customers

Thanksgiving & Going the Extra Mile

November 24th, 2017

 

I recently wrapped up the “holiday” (as they call it here) in New Zealand. Thanksgiving was our last day before heading home. With that said, I’m reminded of the meaning of Thanksgiving because the driver that picked us up from the TransAlpine train station (which is a beautiful ride through the mountains from the west coast to the east cost of New Zealand which also happens to double for the Murder on the Orient Express in the movies we learned today) went over and beyond to ensure we were taken care of and comfortable. The train arrived late so we missed our plane by a few minutes. After amazing assistance by the Air New Zealand manager, we had the last 3 seats and one standby seat on the last flight out. Our driver stayed with us and even went to the gate to see if I would get on stand by before leaving because he would take me to a hotel and arrange for everything so that we would have virtually no hassle. Talk about above and beyond! Are you going above and beyond for your colleagues, customers, suppliers and family?

I found this to be funny so I don’t care that it doesn’t really apply to my story :-). Hey, after all, in New Zealand, I’m on a different drummer anyway – sheep anyone?

 

One tip to implement this week:

Think about went over and beyond for during Thanksgiving weekend and upon your return to work. Perhaps you choose that “difficult” colleague or family member and SEARCH for something in common. Did you find something nice to say? Or just lent a helping hand and didn’t expect credit.

I hope you remembered to THANK your family for supporting you, your colleagues for making 40 hours + per week more pleasant than it would be otherwise (or, who knows, you could really love every minute of your job!), your customers for choosing you…..how about your employees for choosing you too? After all, employees can choose too. Why not be the leader everyone flocks to support?

With that said, I would like to THANK YOU for being important to me and LMA Consulting. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

And, don’t forget, there is still time.  There’s always Christmas!



Getting Out of the Weeds to See the Forest

August 4th, 2017
Turning Everyday Interactions into Profitable Opportunities

I’ve been working with several clients recently who are interested in “getting out of the weeds” so that they can “see the forest”. In a few cases, we’ve talked about strategy and reviewed key information about customers, demand, supply and financials. Although there were benefits to each piece (including being able to make decisions such as in-sourcing/outsourcing, equipment purchases, lease renegotiation, and hiring), it was no comparison to the value of being able to see the BIG PICTURE.   

See the big picture, the forest not the trees!

Similar to driving to work every day and not remembering how you got there, we are often caught in the weeds of day-to-day execution. These events can be vital to the business but we can miss the larger forest by never taking a step back. For example, we could be focused on improving a process like order entry for a specific customer with an eye to making it ‘perfect or ideal’ and miss the point – why are we entering orders for this customer in the first place? It is strategically necessary? How does this step affect others along the process?

One tip to implement this week: 

Seeing the big picture is a sometimes a unique talent; however, you also can deliberately set out to improve your vision of the big picture. Why not dedicate time this week to a few simple tasks? Start by thinking about these questions:

  • Why am I performing this process or step?  
  • Can I see beyond the next step? What is the end goal?  
  • Once you’re thinking more about the forest, take a step back to observe. Have you been “seeing” what is really going on and how what you’re doing fits in?  

Note: seeing the bigger picture isn’t a solo activity. Collaborate with your peers, employees, managers, customers, suppliers, and trusted advisers where appropriate. Be on the lookout for this result – the end goal. Have you ever noticed that if you plan to buy a car, suddenly you see many more cars on the road that look good? Or, if you are having a baby, suddenly babies appear out of the woodwork everywhere you go? The same concept applies as you look for the big picture. Soon, it will emerge – and you will emerge from the weeds.   

 

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Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) – Success Depends on People

June 27th, 2017

Vendor Managed InventoryAs with almost every topic our clients call about, Vendor Managed Inventory or VMI and supply chain partner collaboration programs are no different. Success directly correlates to people.

Questions You Should Ask When Coordinating VMI

1. Do your employees and partners understand VMI and the benefits of VMI? Undoubtedly, success is better when people understand how it matters.

2. Do your employees have relationships with their VMI counterparts? Do they have a good relationship with their suppliers and/or customers related to Vendor Managed Inventory? Have they met them? It goes a long way to meet a few key contacts.

3. Do your employees understand what is expected of them on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? Don’t assume if your customer requested VMI that they have clarified how the process works. Make sure the processes, systems/technologies, and communications are clearly understood.

4. Do all VMI parties understand the measurements? Often, we see scorecards used as a way to track performance. Do you understand what goes into the calculations? What is important to your customers? Have you explained what is important to your suppliers?

5. Have you set up check points? One of the keys to success is to set up time to talk with all VMI-related parties to see what’s working, what’s not working and how you can improve the process and results. 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:
The 4Ps to Collaborative Customer Program Success

 Results Follow People

 



VMI – Do You Need Software?

June 20th, 2017
Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI)

A Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) initiative will improve services levels and may not require supporting software.

Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) – do you need software? Of course, the answer is “It depends.”

A few items to think about to determine if you need software to support a VMI initiative:

1. Are you interested in doing VMI with your suppliers, customers or both? For suppliers, the focus is on the transfer of data. For customers, you’ll need to create orders and transfer data at a minimum.

2. How many suppliers and/or customers and customer locations do you plan to pursue with VMI? If there are few, manual will work just fine. We have achieved vast success with aerospace clients using portal data and manually creating orders.

3. How integrated do you need VMI to be with your ERP system? For example, when I was VP of Operations at PaperPak, we implemented VMI with our #1 customer, Baxter Healthcare/Shield Healthcare and so we figured out what to send to their locations throughout the U.S. We provided such excellent service that we won supplier of the year two years in a row! However, even better, we were able to gain huge benefits on our side with inventory turns, logistics efficiencies, gains in business etc. In our case, VMI was separate; however, the orders had to be visible in both systems, and the forecast had to go to ERP as well. However, we didn’t have to physically scan items at our customers’ locations which might require a direct connection depending on your setup.

4. Are your suppliers/customers EDI capable? Do they use portals? If they use portals, does your ERP system have portal capability? Or do they send spreadsheets? Or emails? Technical capabilities will play an important role.

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to become a Systems Pragmatist:

Leveraging Your ERP System

4 Critical Success Factors Key to ERP Success

 



Are You Ready for a Surprise Inspection of Your Service?

March 14th, 2017
Who is responsible for service in your organization?

A commitment to stellar customer service is an ongoing process in which resources need to be dedicated to continuous improvement and exceeding customer expectations.

In almost every client, trade association and trusted advisor meeting I attend, service emerges as a hot topic. In today’s Amazon-impacted world, our expectations are high. Although we might not complain, good service is no longer sufficient.

If you don’t meet and frequently exceed expectations, you will lose customers. There are countless options available and loyalty runs only so deep. Thus, it makes sense to put aside time to think over key questions with your team:

1. Who is responsible for customer care in your organization? Are they able to impact service?

2. How do you measure servicing success? And how does it align with how your customers measure it?

3. Are your employees empowered to handle requests without annoying approvals that delay the customer?

4. Do you view ALL people who interface with the customer as key to customer satisfaction? For example, the truck delivery personnel, the technician and the doorman?

5. Do you know what your customers value — delivery on-time, in complete, quick turnaround, frequent communications, suggestions that aid the customer, etc.?

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to be the Strongest Link in your organization:

Why Customer Service Trumps All

Why Customers Rule