Tag Archive: executives

The Strategic Benefit of SIOP

June 26th, 2019

SIOP (Sales, Inventory, Operations Planning) should not be relegated to the Planning Department. Although the planning group is a key participant and might lead the process, SIOP touches upon several strategic issues while creating alignment with Sales, Operations, R&D/ New Product Development, Finance, Purchasing, and others. As a CEO, you must become interested!

We have worked on countless SIOP projects with clients across industries as diverse as building products, food and beverage, healthcare, and aerospace.  It has proven to be the most effective at achieving the win-win-win of enabling growth while maximizing service, cash flow (inventory) and profit. For example, at one aerospace client, we put the fundamentals in place to support SIOP (scheduling, planning systems MRP/MPS, forecasting) and then rolled out a SIOP process involving all key aspects of the organization. Although our objective was to bring service levels from the 60%’s to the high 90%s, we not only accomplished that metric but we also improved margins by 5% and increased morale and engagement. What’s not to like with these results!

Critical Aspects of SIOP
Let’s start with just those elements that are most important to achieving results:

  • Can you get executives involved? Of course, it is better to gain executive involvement upfront.  However, I have found that it is quite doable to gain the involvement over time as well. For example, in one client situation, a key executive was not on board at any level at the start.  So, as we rolled out a pilot process, we convinced him to give the process a try. Once he sat in on the executive SIOP meeting, he became more interested because strategic issues arise such as make vs. buy, changes in sourcing, impacts to sales strategies and more.
  • What do you have to do to get directionally-correct information for making decisions? By NO means do you need perfect information.  In fact, if you wait for perfect information, your decision will be long past. Yet directionally correct information is imperative so that you can make fact-based decisions and/or gain approval from corporate or your Board for what you know must be done to succeed. I cannot think of a client situation where I couldn’t gain access to at least directionally correct information after an assessment, no matter how ancient their ERP system.
  • Will you involve all relevant departments in the SIOP process? If you focus on data and not the people, you will not succeed. The 80/20 of success is to bring typically disparate groups together to align on 1 plan/ path forward. It is much easier to say than to accomplish, and so those clients that do this well have a far higher success rate than the rest. You should involve Planning, Purchasing, Operations, Logistics, Customer Service, Sales, Finance, New Product Development, and any key area of your operation.

SIOP is not a quick resolution.  However, you can make quick interim progress . Similar to safety, it must become part of your day-to-day culture. As business conditions change, roadblocks naturally arise through the process. We’ve found that they have a FAR higher chance of being averted or minimized when they arise as part of the process instead of related to one person or department who typically is seen as the “problem”. Strategic issues also arise naturally through the process so that they are proactively addressed instead of resulting in a reactionary panic.

You can start the SIOP journey with an assessment of readiness with recommendations for improvement. Several clients have started with this approach so that they knew which building blocks to put in place and whether the benefits would drive a substantial return on investment at this juncture. If you are interested in this type of assessment, contact us.

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2019 Predictions Report: What to Expect and Where to Focus

March 26th, 2019

I’m thrilled to launch our 2019 Predictions Report, “Manufacturing & Supply Chain in the New Normal: 2019 Predictions from Manufacturing & Logistics Executives” discussing what to expect and where to focus.

We assembled this based on these types of questions:

  • How do we increase profitability in today’s new normal environment?
  • Do we see growth or recession? Or something in the middle? What should we do?
  • There are so many technology options with the promise to transform entire industries. Should we be pursuing? Which ones?
  • Customers expect quick delivery with changes along the way (even while intransit), excellent on-time-delivery (OTD) results and more. Where should we focus?
  • Trade wars and global sourcing – what to do?!
  • How is it trending in our industry? Are there any hot buttons, like talent?

Discussions with several manufacturing and logistics executives and experts are included in the report. Feel free to pass on this link to colleagues and friends to get a free copy of the report.

With that said, since you are already on our newsletter list, here is a direct link just for our newsletter subscribers.

Thank you to our clients and colleagues who participated with their predictions and advice! Please share your feedback. We would love to gain your insights, concerns etc. We’ll incorporate into our upcoming interview and article series.



How You Learn More By Teaching

August 14th, 2018

If you want to learn, teach!  

Recently I taught a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) class for my APICS Inland Empire Chapter, and it reminded me of this fact.  In order to teach anything (whether in a classroom or one-on-one), you need to brush up on the subject matter and think about examples, case studies or metaphors you can use to explain the concepts.  TAs my consulting mentor always says, he learns more than the students when he teaches.

Which topics should you become proficient in to enable success? What have you taught lately?

 

One tip to implement this week:

 

Whether you are the owner/ corporate executive or a team member with no power, you can teach.  Start by picking a topic. Let’s identify two subjects upfront for you to choose from: 1) A topic you are expert and comfortable in.  2) A topic you need to become more proficient in to excel in your career or so that your company will be successful.

Next, begin by developing a short session about your topic.  Identify your audience, and then put yourself in their shoes.  If you were sitting in your session, what would you want to know?  What would be the most benefit to you? The key is to think from the student’s point-of-view. How can you make sure it is clear?  Perhaps examples, case studies or metaphors will add value.

For example, in our CSCP class, we use four instructors because it provides a higher value experience for our students.  One of our instructors provides insightful examples from stories in the news. Another provides a theoretical education and gives excellent helpful hints to remember formulas . The third and fourth provide practical examples from everyday work experiences/case studies from different points-of-view. Each provides a unique value, and the sum is better than the parts.  

Give it a try. You might surprise yourself with how good you’ll be and how much you’ll learn!

 



Holiday Parties & Diversity

December 13th, 2017

I participated with several holiday parties recently – and have a few more planned.  That is a nice benefit of leading and participating in so many groups.  The pictures below are from my APICS Inland Empire chapter holiday mixer and member appreciation event.  Thanks to Susan Brunasso for pictures!  What strikes me is the diversity of our APICS group – we range from students, supply chain professionals (such as planners, buyers, operations managers), executives/ business owners (thanks to Dan & C.C. Vest, Don Brithinee, Brian Reed, Kar Shanmugam and more for their great support), trusted advisors to manufacturers and distributors, sponsors (thanks Maggie Watson), Board members and more.  

Clearly our women are above (looking festive I might add) and our men below (although Susan always inserts me into the photos too).

And our UCR students (mainly) are below since our CSUSB student is featured above with the men.

One tip to implement this week:
Have you thought about the diversity of your employees, work groups, trade associations and more?  

There are many ways to think about diversity.  In terms of APICS, I was talking about the wide variety of roles and responsibilities that rallied around increasing value for manufacturers and distributors (although because Susan took photos of different groups, I unintentionally also spoke to gender).  

We gain value from diverse perspectives, ranging from the fresh ideas (often provided by students) to “what works” to the latest technologies.  I didn’t even mention that we have some technology experts on our Board as well!

I find that creating diversity doesn’t require rules and regulations.  In fact, forced diversity can harm organizations! Instead, valuing different ideas, solutions, points-of-view and more creates the environment for diversity. Undoubtedly, we achieve a FAR greater value for our members with a more complete view.  We definitely shoot to make 1+1+1 = 33, and our diverse group of experts achieves this objective.  

Are you valuing fresh perspectives (even if not in line with your own)?  

 



Lessons Learned from a Genius Businessman

February 23rd, 2016
businessman

Harry used uncommon common sense to spot opportunities to turn around companies. His wisdom, integrity and generosity will be missed.

My best friend’s dad was as close to a business genius as I’ve stood. He made his employers rich beyond their wildest dreams yet he was happy with this outcome as he enjoyed what he did and lived to 98 including many travels to exotic places — not the ones you might think of but ones he enjoyed. For example, he went to Nicaragua and had many wonderful stories to tell about crocodile farms and uzis. Somehow, he and his wife managed to trust people they probably shouldn’t have, travel to a country not recommended, even by people they met along the way in the country, and come out of it in one piece — and with great stories and excitement.

In his work life, he spent many, many years working for the owner of Sealand, functioning as an investment banker and turnaround CEO. Thus, he’d source great deals and then if they weren’t living up to the expected value, he went in and had a 100% success ratio in ensuring they did. What else can you ask for??!! He could turn around transportation companies to banana growers. Uncommon common sense applies to more than you’d think! One day, I asked him what he thought was most important in turning around these companies, and here are some of the key points that pop to mind:

  1. Observe – Interesting that one of his top points is common sense (oh, wait, I actually think they all were uncommon common sense). He said it was amazing how much he saw in walking a facility that showed opportunities. It reminded me of what has become known as Lean — turns out it doesn’t have to be part of some fancy program; just observe and you’ll uncover gems.
  2. Watch the money – This next tip is unfortunately more common than it seems it should be. Too many companies have someone committing fraud or “on the take”. I certainly would never recommend implementing the cumbersome Sarbanes Oxley if not required by law; however, I would recommend implementing some uncommon common sense approaches to making sure you have the right checks and balances in place. I did a webinar for Financial Times’ ExecSense on this topic a while back, and it is scary how common this can be. My research found that a typical company loses 5% of annual revenue to fraudulent acts. Hard to believe!
  3. Deal with sacred cows – Again, do we really have to be a genius to realize this is a good idea? He said that there are obvious examples of this in family-owned businesses. Perhaps a son or daughter is creating havoc and wasting money but remains in position. Worse than the waste of money, it demotivates the rest of the team. Another example of a sacred cow is a ‘big’ customer we try desperately to keep even though money flies out the door at a faster rate than it flows in the door when this customer calls. There are countless examples. The key is to observe, find the sacred cows and be willing to address them head on.
  4. Persistence I’ve titled what he described as persistence. One of his doozy assignments was to go to Vietnam during the war and turn around a facility (this sounds quite appealing, doesn’t it?). He was the MacGyver of the business world. Leverage underutilized assets. Find new solutions for old problems. Treat people fairly. Don’t give up. He managed to turn the place around — of course.
  5. Integrity – I’m reminded of this quality since he spoke of it near the end. He felt that it was of critical importance. He isn’t alone. When I performed a survey of executives, it came out as a top quality for success.

Harry was a guru and knew more about almost any topic at 98 vs. anyone I know. He’ll be missed. We will help ensure your wisdom carries on!    

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