Tag Archive: end-to-end supply chain

The Value of Collaborating with Strange Bedfellows

February 19th, 2019

The topic of collaborating with strange bedfellows has recently come up repeatedly. There can be significant value and strategic advantage created in collaborating with unlikely partners if there are clear objectives, trust and an open mind. Just think about Amazon’s collaboration with the U.S. Postal service. Amazon is clearly famous for rapid, same-day, even Sunday deliveries whereas the U.S. postal service is definitely not known for agility and speed yet they understand and are proficient with the ‘last mile’.

Kash Gokli & I host the Harvey Mudd executive roundtables, and the topic of collaborating with competitors as well as unlikely partners arose in our recent roundtable. In the ‘right’ situation at the ‘right’ time, it can maximize service and value. Also, I am a Board member of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and member of the Southern CA Logistics council, and this topic of collaboration has come up on multiple occasions. We recently led a collaboration session with 10 academic institutions. Of course, they all compete from several respects yet there are opportunities for 1+1+1 = 25. And this is just the beginning. When it is put together with collaborations with industry and government, perhaps 25 can turn into 100 or 1000. Last but not least, I met with UCR students last night to encourage their involvement in manufacturing and supply chain and invite their participation in APICS-IE. We had this exact conversation about collaborating with their competitors (Cal Poly Pomona, CSUSB etc.).

Are you exploring collaborations with strange bedfellows?

One tip to implement this week:
Perhaps it is as simple as opening your mind to new possibilities. Think about the person or entity you would most want to avoid joining your collaboration. What if you gave it a chance? For example, I remember a distinct time a few years ago when I was involved with a group. Someone in the group brought up a new member who would be the last person I’d want to join our group. I felt like I was collaborating with a diverse set of people, and we were making great progress. I just didn’t like this person. Although I didn’t say it, I cursed my bad luck on the way home because I just wasn’t excited about collaborating.

Fast-forward several months and it turned out that the new participant added unique value that probably would not have occurred otherwise. Although I still wouldn’t want to have dinner with this person outside of our work together, I’m glad I gave it a chance or I would have missed out on fantastic benefits and a learning opportunity. We have all been there, and sometimes we are right to be hesitant. Can you achieve a shared goal? Is trust possible as it relates to the objective? Assuming so, I vote for exploring the opportunity. Perhaps it is the next Amazon/ U.S. Postal Service collaboration.

Collaboration goes hand-in-hand with resilience. In today’s marketplace, there is no doubt the resilient will thrive. If your key supplier or customer is devastated by a natural disaster, power outage or unexpected shutdown or other disruptor, have you thought about collaborating with strange bedfellows to serve your customers? You cannot wait until the issue occurs! Creating a resilient end-to-end supply chain is of paramount importance.

For more information, check out our new resilient supply chain series and contact us if you’d like to have an assessment of your organization.



Emerging Technologies for Supply Chain

September 7th, 2017

There is an ever-increasing interest in emerging technologies for supply chain. When thinking of your end-to-end supply chain – from your suppliers’ suppliers, through your manufacturing and distribution operations, to your customers’ customers – you must consider technology to have any hope of achieving success.

In today’s Amazon-impacted environment, rapid information and product flow must be accompanied with low-cost and efficient supply chains to maximize the customer experience, profitable growth and cash flow. Trending technologies to consider in your strategic discussions include the following:

  1. Additive manufacturing such as 3D printing – it is no longer just for R&D. The progressive distributors are printing to order for items that used to require vast inventory and lead time.
  2. Collaborative customer technologies – programs such as vendor managed inventory, collaborative planning and innovative logistics partnerships can drive tremendous value.
  3. The internet of things is certainly taking on a life of its own – how do you plan to utilize it in your supply chain?
  4. If you support retail (and even if you don’t) and don’t have e-commerce, you have missed the boat!
  5. Robotics – there are plenty of uses for robotics throughout manufacturing and supply chain. Have you considered what might add value for your business?  Robotics could give you a 24/7 flexibility…
Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies in supply chain from e-commerce to robotics are more important now than ever

What Emerging Technologies in Supply Chain Mean To You

Staying on top of emerging and/or trending supply chain technologies is imperative in order to succeed in today’s Amazon-impacted world. Don’t get carried away with the latest fads. Instead, take a step back and think strategically about what will support your business today, tomorrow and five years from now. Selectively integrate the appropriate technologies to accelerate your growth and success.

 

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Collaborating on Economic Forecasts

April 17th, 2017

I met with the Claremont McKenna team that puts together the Inland Empire economic forecast last week. They are well known in the Inland Empire for being on the forefront of the economics forecast and finding ways to bring unique insights into the process. Therefore, they were interested in what I see in terms of outsourcing, nearsourcing, insourcing and other key trends in manufacturing.

economic trends

Economic factors can have a significant impact on your business. I learned quite a lot about this from my Director of Purchasing when I was a VP of Operations many years ago. It was simply amazing — and impressive — all of the economic considerations he assessed on a daily basis to stay on top of supply base trends and potential trends. And, that was just one aspect of the end-to-end supply chain. It is worth taking a few moments to think about economics….

One tip to implement this week:

Since economics can have a dramatic impact on our business, it is worthwhile to pay attention — at a minimum. Attend sessions on economics trends, read economic updates, and dig into the key factors that are most likely to impact your business.

Start by just identifying a few economic factors that are important to your business. Find sources to track progress of those factors — internet sites, trade associations, customers or suppliers, etc. Collaborate with your supply chain partners. Participate with local universities. The bottom line is to stay on top of the trends and be proactive as you see changes.

 

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…”

 



LMA Consulting Group’s Lisa Anderson Participates in Material Handling and Logistics U.S. Roadmap  

April 12th, 2017

Material Handling & Logistics U. S. RoadmapLisa Anderson MBA, CSCP, CLTD and president of LMA Consulting Group, acted as a Roundtable Participant, providing input in the development of Material Handling & Logistics (MH&L) U.S. Roadmap 2.0. A collaborative business effort, The Roadmap’s purpose is to guide the industry through supply chain and logistical challenges—domestic and international–through 2030. Roadmap 2.0, which was released at ProMat 2017 in Chicago this month, focuses specifically on technology, consumers, workforce, and logistics infrastructure.

“Roadmap 2.0 is a comprehensive, well thought-out and insightful compilation of trends and technologies that will help provide a broad perspective of where supply chain is headed,” shares Lisa Anderson. “It should be required reading to keep the findings from these supply chain industry thought leaders in mind when setting strategy and considering future potential end-to-end supply chain disruptions. Undoubtedly, manufacturers and distributors will gain valuable takeaways from the Roadmap.”

Anderson was part of a community of nearly 200 strategic thinkers, including material handling and logistics practitioners, equipment and software suppliers, academia, associations and government. Participants sat in on roundtable events held August through November 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia; Trenton, New Jersey; Ontario, California; Tucson, Arizona; and Chicago, Illinois. After dividing into breakout sessions, attendees shared their insights on both recent and anticipated developments in the field. They also identified the core competencies that companies will have to develop within the next decade.

Industry members are encouraged to join the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics Group on LinkedIn and to follow @MHLRoadmap on Twitter.



The Drucker Supply Chain Forum

April 4th, 2017

I participated on the panel, “Professional Pathways in Supply Chain” at the Drucker Supply Chain Forum last week. Interesting to note that the panel was all women — definitely not typical but nice to see! I was joined by executives from Walt Disney, Source Intelligence, Intelligent Audit and CSCMP. It was a lot of fun, and I learned as much as I contributed.

learning

We had some engaging discussions about the future of supply chain and the types of professionals that will be needed. For details on these topics, please tune in to my recent Profit Through People newsletter. However, one of the keys I wanted to highlight here is the critical need for a broad set of skills in supply chain today. The end-to-end supply chain is a vast topic (from your suppliers’ suppliers through manufacturing and distribution to your customers’ customers). Are you continually learning to stay ahead of the curve?

One tip to implement this week:

There is much we can do to learn continually and increase the breadth of our skills. There are a few immediate steps we can take: 1) Look around you for a mentor and ask him/her to be your mentor or just simply ask for advice. It is one of the best ways to learn. I’ve had several mentors over the years, and they were instrumental in my success. 2) Put yourself in positions where you collaborate with colleagues around you. There are vast amounts you could learn by talking with your colleagues. 3) Join a trade association and/or find courses to supplement your knowledge. For example, I am the president of APICS Inland Empire, the premier professional association for supply chain management. We are continually offering programs such as our executive panel & networking symposium on “Disruptive Innovations in Supply Chain” and classes including the new certification CLTD (certified logistics, transportation and distribution).

Which will you do this week?

 

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…”