Tag Archive: eagle eye

The Impact of Supply Chain Strategy

July 22nd, 2017
Collaborate on supply chain strategy

Stay on top of your supply chain strategy.

Can supply chain strategy have a profound impact on your bottom line? Without a doubt!

Recently, we worked with a client that wanted to review their operations strategy and look for ways to optimize and improve. To begin, we evaluated many business options including, but not limited to:

 

 

  1. Do nothing (stay in the same locations).
  2. Transfer distribution operations closer to the port.
  3. Move to a different location in the Inland Empire.
  4. Relocate to Nevada.
  5. Evaluate 3PL options.
  6. Expand and automate the current facility.

In this client’s case, the customer, cost and cash flow impacts of making these changes is significant. Therefore, it’s important to review many potential outcomes thoroughly.

The bottom line

It is smart to refresh your supply chain strategy every few years (depending on the level of change within your company and externally) to ensure it is best fit for delivering optimal results. In conclusion, experience shows that was “killer” one year could leave you in a weak competitive position the next.

Are you staying on top of your supply chain and it’s related impacts? I’d love to hear about your top strategies in the comments!

 

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How Effective Is Your Cross-Functional Collaboration?

March 7th, 2017
cross-functional collaboration

Teamwork, communications and shared objectives are essential for cross-functional collaboration and project success.

Cross-functional collaboration can make or break success. No matter how well a particular department or team performs, it is largely useless if done in isolation. Just like a car won’t go if you press the accelerator and the engine isn’t connected properly, a company won’t achieve results if the units and people aren’t connected properly.

Here are a few questions to ponder:

1. On a cross-functional project with two department teams, can one team/department be viewed as successful if the other one isn’t?

2. Do your teams attempt to talk in the other team’s preferred style or in their own?

3. Do the teams understand the objective and why cross-functional collaboration is required?

4. Are team members rewarded for individual success or for cross-functional success?

5. Are there opportunities provided to learn collaboration and communication skills?

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

Cross Functional Success

The Hidden Benefit of Observation

 



Case Study in Spotting Hidden Opportunities

February 7th, 2017
collaborate for profitability

To take a profitable path forward engage a team to spot hidden opportunities and reward the whole team for its collaborative efforts.

How could they see them? They tried getting together for retreats, sponsoring lean initiatives like kaizen events and several other promising programs but the diamonds in the rough didn’t emerge.

Path Forward: Spotting hidden opportunities is oftentimes a team effort. However, few organizations have true teams. If one member can succeed and gain a big bonus while another performs at an average level and is rewarded accordingly, you have a committee; not a team. A team will sink or swim together.

Thus, there is no reason to get together at a fancy off-site retreat. Instead, what is required is to commit to mutually agreeable objectives and look for opportunities that are best for meeting those objectives regardless of how good or bad for your individual goals. Collaborate and turn 1 + 1 into 5.

For example, if the team found great potential in an exciting new product yet the VP of Operations’ results would decline substantially for a period of time due to new product development trials, should the VP be rewarded for this weaker performance? Absolutely!

Of course, it isn’t a free ticket, and declines in performance can be estimated and tracked. Think about this — as a Board member or a corporate executive walks through the facility with the VP of Sales and mentions issues with operations, how will the VP of Sales respond? Will he/she take the easy road, agree and accept the congrats on the sales growth — or just not respond and focus attention on sales? Or will he/she defend the VP of Operations? Act in accordance with the team and results will follow.

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

Hidden Opportunities for Process Improvement

The Hidden Benefit of Observation 

 



Thinking Long Term

January 3rd, 2017
thinking long term

Don’t be short-sided and make quick fixes that won’t be profitable over the long run. Take a longer, more strategic view, to grow a profitable business.

We all know we should think long term. And we talk about thinking long term. But, do we actually think long term — and live with our decisions even when it’s hard? Not nearly as often as we should!

Since we work with already successful manufacturers and distributors that want to build upon and accelerate success, we have worked with many executives who think long term; however, it remains a rarity. Just think about those executives who make a great long-term decision but waver when the going gets tough. I imagine we all know too many!

One client hired expensive engineers and R&D experts during the worst of the recession when they struggled to find a job. He had no need for them at that time but he realized that longer term, he’d be able to start designing a new product line to enter a new market ahead of the competition and would gain top talent to help with this endeavor. Do you think they left at the top of the market when the competition could have offered a nice pay increase? Not on your life!

Another client could have gained more profit by squeezing a bit more out of suppliers but took the long view instead. The executive team knew that finding win-win solutions would be the better long-term approach even though Board members and private equity partners would have preferred immediate progress. Later, when critical materials went on allocation, we were able to support customer needs when the larger competition (who should have had more pull) struggled due to this long-term view. Imagine how differently the sale of the company would have gone if we couldn’t service our customers?!

Decide which long-term views are worth pursuing and don’t waver. You’ll thrive over the long-term. We find that people tend to “give up” with their long term strategies just prior to huge success. Don’t become one of those statistics. Instead, stick to your long-term view.

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

The 4 Leadership Essentials Required for Long Term Success 

The Hidden Benefit of Observation

 



Are You Stuck in Silo Thinking?

December 6th, 2016
avoid silo thinking

It is easy to narrow your thinking and stay focused on work at hand, but we need to get our head out of our operations and think big to innovate and grow.

We not only work across many manufacturing and distribution industries such as aerospace, building products and food but we also work across company-sizes ranging from small and medium size owner-operated companies to medium size private equity-backed firms to large, complex, global organizations. Thus, as we see trends across each of these segments, we pay attention. Unfortunately, silo thinking is commonplace.

Traditionally, silo thinking refers to thinking from your department-perspective and not looking cross-functionally; however, we also see vast examples of silo thinking from the company perspective. In this case, the organization falls into the trap of thinking internally and not thinking about supplier and customer impacts. And, it could mean that we think U.S. centric, even though we’d bet significant dollars that no one has a 100% U.S. centric extended supply chain. We need to get our head out of our operation and think BIGGER.

In today’s Amazon-impacted marketplace, extended supply chains are more interconnected than ever before. Thus, we must be aware of the impacts of our decisions on the rest of the supply chain. Actually even more important than remembering impacts, we can grow revenue and profits by looking for opportunities and unmet needs across our extended supply chain. Think about why we say “a supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. Anyone with a problem supplier might have learned this the hard way!

A natural extension of this thinking leads us to remembering that although English is the most spoken language in business settings and even though the U.S. is a big and generally affluent market, there is something to be said in remembering that 95% of consumers live outside of the U.S. And, since our supply chains extend throughout the world, we must be able to have conversations about global impacts, cultural differences and strategic priorities. Flip your silo on its head.

P.S. On a related note, we are going to kick off two new newsletters shortly — one for clients only that discusses these types of thought-provoking topics and one on the latest supply chain trends and news and how to apply it. We’ll keep you in the loop on how to receive them.

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

Cross Functional Success 

The Hidden Benefit of Observation