Tag Archive: employees

The Future of Technology

August 20th, 2020

Technology is a tricky topic. On one hand, almost everyone has put technology and ERP implementations on hold due to concerns about COVID-19 impacts and to conserve cash. On the other hand, it is the best time to gain employees’ attention and focus on upgrading technology to scale the business, create a superior customer experience and deliver bottom line results.

Kellogg or Post?
As I said in my eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19, the Kellogg vs. Post story from the Great Depression provides an excellent example to ponder. In the 1920’s, Kellogg and Post dominated the market for cereal which was still a relatively new and untapped market. Post reigned in expenses and Kellogg doubled its ad budget and pushed its new cereal. Even as the economy hit bottom, Kellogg’s profits rose 30% and they become the dominant player.  Do you want to be Kellogg or Post? The morale to the story is NOT about dollars invested. It is about the opportunities of investing resources (which can be simply in the form of employees’ focus) in future success.

Which Technologies Provide Immediate and Long-Term Value?
Of course, the answer depends on your industry, company, current infrastructure, your customers’ evolving needs, your suppliers’ evolving needs and more. Why not perform a rapid assessment of what makes the most sense for your business and take one important step forward? As I said in my eBook, Newton’s Law is relevant. Objects in motion stay in motion whereas objects at rest will stay at rest. You must take steps forward, no matter how small.

Let’s highlight a few of the more likely technologies to provide immediate value and long-term value:

  1. Further utilize & expand your ERP system: No one uses 80% of their system.  Most organizations utilize only 20%. Find the next 1% that will yield a significant benefit to your customers or bottom line. Clients are gaining significant value from this simple step.
  2. B2B customer portal/ B2C e-commerce: No doubt about it. The ONLY growth area across the board is e-commerce. In addition, what could be more important than visibility of orders for your B2B customers? Delays will result in lost opportunity!
  3. Business Intelligence (BI): We are overloaded with data. The issue isn’t having data, it is making meaningful decisions and formulating plans based on the interpretation of data. BI will bring meaning to your data that translates into customer and profit opportunities.
  4. Artificial intelligence (AI) & Human Learning: In today’s environment, predictive capabilities produce VASTLY greater results than simply analysis and static plans. Demand planning/ forecasting, predictive maintenance, cash flow forecasting, and the automation of tasks are enhanced with AI.
  5. CRM: There has never been a time when understanding, staying in touch with and being on top of evolving customer needs has been more important.
  6. Digital Twins: Virtual replicas of physical devices that technology gurus can use to run simulations before actual devices are built and deployed. Read a fascinating article about the applications in logistics.
  7. Systems to gain efficiencies: WMS (warehouse management), TMS (transportation management), rate shopping, MPS (master production scheduling)/ MRP (material requirements planning)/Inventory planning, replenishment including VMI (vendor managed inventory) and more.
  8. 3D Printing/ Additive manufacturing – If you can produce a customized product on demand close to customers, you win in today’s Amazonian environment. Either way, it speeds up R&D.

Read our eBook, Future-ProofingiManufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19 to read more about technology as it relates to successfully emerging and thriving post-COVID-19. Explore these concepts further as you start thinking through your technology roadmap.

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The Rise of E-Commerce & WMS Popularity During the Pandemic

Systems Pragmatist



Are Your Employees #1?

July 22nd, 2020

During this crisis, what we do and how we handle our employees will make our future success. I’ve heard stories of small businesses that closed and didn’t even communicate to their employees.  Conversely, I’ve heard about companies taking great care of their employees.

Which will turn into long-term success?

  • Who Should We Retain? If there ever was a time to make sure you keep your best and most valuable employees, it is NOW. Make sure you find a way to take care of your “A” critical players.
  • How Do We Handle the Shutdown? -There are lots of resources on our coronavirus webpage and upcoming webinars on how to handle the organizational development ,as well as the HR and compliance aspects of a shutdown.  Stay up-to-date.
  • How Do We Maintain Safety for Those Working? Of course, we have all heard about social distancing but how do we implement these changes in our facilities? We should be thinking and implementing whether we are running or shutdown because this pandemic is not going to be over quickly. What else should we do to ensure safety? Again, refer to our coronavirus resources webpage for ideas.
  • How Do We Ensure the IT capabilities and security required? Hopefully you have already have a top notch partner to assist. If not, contact one rapidly. Check out our trusted advisor resources for suggestions. There is much to think about to ensure your employees are able to work, are able to work securely and can still collaborate successfully. Also there is a webinar in the Thriving Through Ambiguity webinar series on just this topic.
  • How to Go Beyond the Basics?   Again, these types of articles and resources are on our  coronavirus blog articles and trusted advisor resources webpage. We MUST get beyond the basics to how we successfully navigate this pandemic and emerge rapidly to success. This will be the focus of our upcoming e-book as well.

Put your employees at the top of your to-do list and keep it there so employees remain a top priority.



Your People During the Coronavirus Pandemic

March 31st, 2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, your people should be top priority. As we always start with safety, this situation should be no different. Figure out how to prepare your workplace. Revise policies, meetings, and critical work so that you can follow social distancing requirements and keep your employees as safe as possible. Be proactive, and know how to deal with whatever situations arise. This is where top notch trusted advisors will prove valuable and supplement your leadership team and HR resources.

Beyond safety, think about how you can lessen the negative impacts your employees are suffering. Can you be more flexible in scheduling hours or staggering shifts so that you can accommodate for children at home and other complications? Can you provide resources to help employees deal with stress and other issues?

If you are not considered a critical business, how can you navigate for the best for your employees and your future? There are several options: lay off your employees, furlough your employees, keep your employees and reorient them to innovation and virtual work, and more. Unfortunately, none of the options are easy; however, how you handle this situation (and what you do while the shutdown is underway) will have a significant impact on your future business.

Beyond your employees, how are you handling your supply chain partners, trusted advisors and other partners? Are you proactively communicating? Just as we’ve never seen a business with unhappy employees and happy customers, we also haven’t seen a business with a disgruntled supply chain with happy customers. Have confidence that people will rise to the occasion, and proactively communicate and coordinate. There has never been a better time to stand out from the crowd as a go-forward partner as there is now. Remain calm and lead the way to future growth and success.

We will continue to post resources to help clients and colleagues navigate the HR and organizational development challenges associated with this unprecedented situation. We are also participating in local, state, national and global sessions to be able to bring information, ideas and best practices to you. Please feel free to contact us with requests for information, resources and advice to move forward during these challenging times.

If you are a consultant, coach or entrepreneur, our Society for the Advancement of Consulting organization is hosting a “Thriving Through Ambiguity” webinar series which is included in membership, and we are offering a discounted price for new members during this crisis (use code THRIVE-NOW). We have an exceptional speaker lineup to help you thrive through ambiguity.

If you are in manufacturing and supply chain and want to learn more about how to successfully navigate these turbulent times, check out our coronavirus blog articles, videos and podcasts. Additionally, LMA Consulting is sponsoring a webinar series, “Navigating Through Volatility” for the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM/ APICS) Inland Empire Chapter. We are offering this as free to our members, symposium panelists, sponsors, and business partners. Learn more and register here. We have an outstanding speaker lineup to help you navigate through volatility for both your organization and your personal career.

Please send feedback, ideas and resources that we can share with our newsletter subscribers. We will not win this battle alone; however, we can win together!

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Coronavirus: Resources for Businesses & Individuals

Profit Through People

 



Coronavirus and Impacts in the Supply Chain

March 7th, 2020

I was talking with a Los Angeles Times reporter about the coronavirus a few days ago, and it spurred several thoughts about down-the-line impacts beyond the obvious. According to the Epoch Times, the coronavirus impacts will hit within the next few months. This makes perfect sense since lead times are typically between 2-3 months for our clients.  So, expect current shutdowns to have impact in a few months.  While you should obviously spring to action if impacted, you should be thinking about future-proofing your supply chain regardless!

 

 



Is it Time to Barcode?

February 24th, 2020

Client Question
If we struggle with process disciplines and performing timely, accurate transactions, should we pursue barcoding? This typically arises with every ERP implementation.  Our answer is generally that we should crawl before we walk before we run.

In fact, I am known for this comment at one client which I think we can chalk up to a “good” and “bad” thing! The key question is, “Is it always true that we should hold off?”

The Answer
Well, we certainly have seen unfortunate circumstances resulting from clients jumping into action to barcode before they are prepared. Unfortunately, well intentioned employees forget to scan or get scan happy, creating worse disruption than existed before scanning. Clearly, that isn’t good. In fact, one client that sped down this road too quickly had to navigate chaos with extra resources and cost because of just this circumstance.

So, as usual, the answer is “it depends”.

Recently, we have seen good reasons to consider starting near-term down the barcoding path, even when process disciplines aren’t fully in place. Starting by replacing key strokes with scanning can be a simple way to simple speed up slow keying and minimize errors. Now that could be quite the success story and worth starting early. With that said, it is always good to ensure success and take a slower path to full integration with your ERP system and related processes prior to strong process disciplines. Just make sure to work with experts to avoid the pitfalls and gain the advantages.

Food For Thought
Are you thinking about barcoding because it sounds progressive, interesting and your people have asked for it? Or are you thinking about barcoding because you have found a business benefit that outweighs the risks and costs?

Make sure you are jumping on the bandwagon for the right reasons, and you will be quite successful.

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Data, Data, Data

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