Tag Archive: education

Harvey Mudd Student Projects & Innovations Related to Cancer

February 22nd, 2018

Earlier this week, I attended some clinic presentations at Harvey Mudd (student projects with companies / partners), and the value of innovation hit home!  

For example, there are students working on innovations to improve on the success rate of breast cancer surgeries – talk about relevant!  There are many tangible and impactful projects the students work on throughout the year in a wide variety of industries.  Marrying up practical experience with book knowledge can go far in preparing students to be successful in careers after college.  Do you provide well-rounded education and experiences?

One tip to implement this week:
What type of education and experiences do you provide for your employees and team members?  I see a distinctive difference between training and education whereas education is a much broader concept so that your employees will be able to interpret and carry forward.  Do you explain the whys?  Do you provide practical examples?  Do you allow your team members to try new things?  Even if they fail?

Although education can be quite valuable, it might not be enough.  Do you find a way to provide an experience?  A kaizen might do the trick …or at least get the process started.  Or, have you put together a cross-training program?  Shouldn’t a planner or logistics resource understand the trials and tribulations of talking with customers on a daily basis?  Dealing with an angry customer can do wonders for opening your eyes.  And how about vice-versa?  Are your customer service resources committing to whatever the customer requests regardless of whether you can deliver it?  Why not give a more comprehensive experience approach a go?

Regardless, continuous education is critical today as everything seems to change in a nanosecond!


Best Practices and the Bellagio Fountain

February 2nd, 2018

The Value of Best Practices
Kash Gokli (head of Harvey Mudd’s manufacturing and clinic programs) and I led our 12th Harvey Mudd executive roundtable last week on the topic of best practices.  One of the executives from
WET (from designer to maker of the Bellagio fountain and many others like it) kicked off the evening by discussing best practices at WET.  Aside from a VERY impressive video that showed their design and water experiences), she talked about the critical importance of human capital.  They have an impressive on-boarding and ongoing emphasis on collaboration, education and investing in talent.  Clearly, with this creative and unique best practice, spectacular water experiences follow……

One tip to implement this week:
Undoubtedly, our long-term readers know I wholeheartedly support investing in top talent.  Whether we are working with an large complex aerospace manufacturer or a rapidly growing food and beverage company or a private equity backed medium-sized building products value-add distributor, our most successful clients have an unrelenting focus on talent.  They start by retaining top talent and expand by developing, training, educating and always being on the lookout for top talent.  

If you are an executive, put aside an hour this week to meet with your executive team to discuss your talent.  Although an hour sounds short, it also probably sounds quite impossible to fit into your schedule yet it is likely to be the most valuable hour spent this week.  Start with your talent and the rest will follow.  Throw a bit of WET’s creativity into the conversation and see where it takes you.

If you are an employee, take the proactive approach and seek out your manager to discuss where the company is headed.  Find out how you can add more value.  Think about how you can grow – with or without money invested.  There are many approaches that will not cost a dime.  Think about finding a mentor and offering value to a potential mentor.

Regardless of where you are, best practices are well-worth the investment.

Deloitte Survey Says Talent Gap Jeopardizes Success

February 22nd, 2017

According to the 2017 Deloitte Global CPO Survey, 85% of those surveyed felt that talent was the largest factor in driving procurement performance yet 60% think they have a skills gap to deliver on their procurement objectives. My clients are experiencing this same phenomenon, no matter the role within manufacturing and supply chain. What are you doing to find, retain and develop your talent?

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

We are in a volatile business environment – global trade is evolving, risks abound, regulations are changing, supply chains are complex and significant change has become the norm. Instead of complaining or burying our head in the sand, we must find a way to get ahead of the curve. This starts with TALENT.

I am constantly asked to help clients, trade association contacts and alliance colleagues find, retain and train talent. No matter the technical topic, it will not succeed without talent. Thus, we better pay attention. Due to this continual feedback, I have dusted off my Skills Gap research from late 2013 and am refreshing it. I’d appreciate your feedback and insights for my research. I’ll keep you in the loop on the results.

In the interim, start thinking about the skills gap. What will you need a year down-the-line? Are you positioned to not only succeed short-term but to leverage opportunities as they arise over the next 12-24 months? If not, you have a skills gap. Put off spending cash in other areas but do not skimp on your talent.

Think about your objectives and back into your plan. Should you hire employees or fill expertise gaps with consultants? Will top talent WANT to work with you and in your company culture? Don’t assume the answer is yes — think about it and find out. What should you do to attract and retain top talent? That might also lead you to the third option which you should pursue regardless — developing talent. What training, education and mentoring programs do you offer?


The Power of Students

October 7th, 2016

supply chain

Last week, while attending APICS 2016 in Washington DC, I was able to spend time with the West Coast student case competition‘s winning team, San Diego State University. I am the Chair of the West Coast student case competition, and I was proud to see our team represent us at APICS 2016’s global competition. In today’s Amazon-impacted world, supply chain management is ever more relevant. And, it was especially exciting that our team made it into the top 5 teams globally — congrats! (See them pictured below after the competition.)

student power

Effectively managing the global supply chain is not only a relevant topic but vital to succeeding in today’s marketplace. These students have taken the bull by its horns and are getting ahead of the curve. What executive wouldn’t hire these winners on the spot?

One tip to implement this week:

Similarly to these students, are you thinking of ways to go the extra mile to stand out in the crowd? They were working on their presentation while their buddies were out exploring DC. Yet it will rebound to them in time. What can you do to make a difference and further your education, experience and network?

Similar to these students, do you see it as an exciting opportunity — and turn it into one?! Or, do you see it as a chore? Before turning down ideas from your colleagues, think about the possibilities. If these students had turned down the opportunity to compete, they wouldn’t have created one of the most valuable networks possible for their careers. Imagine how far you can go with the “right” perspective!

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…”

How Students Show Us the HIGH VALUE of Continuous Learning

February 25th, 2015

supply chainOn Friday and Saturday, my APICS Chapter hosted the APICS West Coast Student Case Competition. I happened to lead the Student Case Competition committee as well, and so I was immersed. It was a popular event as we had close to 100 students from universities throughout Southern California, AZ, Northern CA, Utah, Oregon, Texas, Mexico, Hong Kong, etc. The students did a supply chain case study through a simulated computer exercise and presented their findings and learnings to the crowd (as if we were the Board of Directors of the company). It certainly pointed out how much talent there is in our future supply chain and operations leaders!

It also begged the question about whether we’ve kept the student passion for learning. Are you continually learning? If not, we are falling behind! It so happens that APICS professionals (who were also in attendance) are typically above the curve when it comes to learning as the APICS certifications are a key part of the supply chain and operations body of knowledge. Do you have something like this that will make learning a part of your everyday life?

One tip to implement this week:

In today’s complex world, what worked yesterday might not work today – certainly not by next year! It is important to keep up with the latest trends, best practices, ideas, new concepts, industry news, etc. The good news is that there are lots of alternatives for achieving this goal.   

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…”