Tag Archive: focus

Is Demand Planning/ Sales Forecasting Hype or Valuable?

September 9th, 2019

According to Gartner statistics,significant bottom line results can occur with just a 1% improvement in forecast accuracy. In fact, there are staggering improvements in lead time, inventory reduction and margins, so why not at least explore the idea? There are lots of worries expressed by clients and contacts:

  • We cannot predict what our customers will order!
  • Customers don’t even know what they will order! (And, in seeing these ordering patterns, I concur that this is often-times an accurate statement.)
  • Since we are using lean, our lean consultant told us we no longer need forecasts.
  • We are a small company and don’t have resources to focus on forecasting
  • And my favorite, “Why in the world would our significant sales team listen to you?”

I just have one question, if depending on the industry and study, a 1% improvement can lead to a 2.7% to 7% improvement in cash flow and minimally a few percentage points cost improvement in key categories such as freight, wouldn’t you be remiss if you didn’t consider your forecasting process? Of course you would be!

We have yet to run across a client that couldn’t improve the forecast, no matter how daunting the task seemed. Since the outcomes are substantial, it was worth the effort.  And, the effort was typically minimal compared to aligning the people on the forecast.

A few tricks of the trade in driving results with forecasting:

  1. Let your tool (whether Excel or a sophisticated system) do the work for you – From an 80/20 standpoint, there is no doubt that a simple tool will perform far better than even your best person. Develop your base.
  2. Focus on exceptions – On the other hand, your team is best equipped to provide insights and feedback on exceptions. Use their strengths.
  3. Drive results, not blame – Remember, the definition of a forecast is that it will be inaccurate. I’ve yet to run into a client with a perfect forecast. With that said, the three most impressive were across the board – a $100 million dollar facility of a multi-billion dollar aerospace organization with a manually generated forecast, a close to billion dollar consumer products company with a home grown system and smart people, and a rapidly growing <$10 million dollar manufacturer with an Excel-based system with smart, agile and process-oriented people. None of these folks ran around blaming anyone with forecast inaccuracy yet they all outperformed their competitors.

Perhaps it’s time to take a second look at your sales forecasting process. Who is responsible? How does it work? You never know what you’ll discover as you shine a flashlight on the process. If you’d like to discuss forecasting and demand planning further, contact us.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:
The UGG Founder, the Amazon Effect in Healthcare and Why Demand is Key
Have you Thought about Increasing Demand??
The Strongest Link in Your Supply Chain
Please take a moment and take our survey!


Strategy Isn’t Long Term!

September 6th, 2019

As I meet with countless CEOs and P&L leaders at clients, via connections, at speeches, etc., I pay attention to what is top of mind. Strategy is always top of mind for the most successful business leaders! After all, if a CEO makes in the millions (the top 10 paid CEOs from 2018 made between $66 million and >$500 million), he/she is being paid for more than just executing the plan. Certainly, strategy is integral to the future success of the organization.

Yet, I see a lot of confusion about strategy. It isn’t complex. Strategy is figuring out the ‘what’. Whereas, tactics is the ‘how’. Strategy isn’t necessarily long-term. Who says ‘what’ should be long-term? In fact, some of the most successful CEOs are now focusing on rapid and agile strategy. Isn’t that what we need to succeed in today’s Amazon-impacted, rapidly changing business environment?

Focusing on the ‘what’ focuses on the outcomes and goals. In essence, where should your business end up? As Peter Drucker would say, strategy is “doing the right things”; whereas tactics is “doing things right”. Take a step back and think about his profound thinking. It is easy to spend all your time “doing things right”, isn’t it? It certainly is for me, and I am an expert in strategy!

What do you think Jeff Bezos is thinking? How to execute the best logistics plan or how to control the logistics landscape, just like a chess game? Of course, strategists need managers who are good at both strategy and tactics to make any strategy come true. And it is also true that strategies rarely fail in composition. Yet, more often than not, they fail in execution. Thus, it seems we must have both! We better know which is which and not be thinking strategy and tactics are long-term vs. short-term, or we will go the way of Sears and Toys R’ Us. (Quite sad as I still remember going to Toys R’ Us as a child around Christmas to explore all the possibilities. It was truly an experience!)

Have you thought about your strategy lately? If not, you better get on it before the next Amazon passes you by. And, let’s not get cocky, Sears used to be the Amazon in my lifetime. You never know who the next Amazon will be. If you are interested in a strategic assessment, contact us.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:
Why Southwest Customers Wouldn’t Buy a Bentley



Trump Signs Order Prioritizing AI Research

March 18th, 2019

According to the White House, President Trump signed an executive order directing the U.S. Government to prioritize artificial intelligence in its research and development spending. The focus is on ensuring that AI develops in sync with U.S. values and that training for the future workforce is prioritized. This is a culmination of meetings with Google, IBM and Microsoft and reflects the  commitment to focus on leading edge technologies. From an industry point-of-view, this focus is applauded.

The talk is that AI will transform entire industries. There is no doubt that without a focus on advanced technologies and the associated training and workforce efforts, you will be left in the dust, similar to looking for a payphone along the side of the road. Whether in a meeting with CEOs or the consortium for supply chain and advanced manufacturing excellence or at a client focused on increasing demand, AI is a part of the discussion.

I just so happen to be attending a Microsoft Dynamics Day to stay up-to-speed on the latest technologies.  AI has already arisen as a key topic and focus area. Microsoft is building AI into their tools. Here is a press release explaining AI in the recent release of the software. Of course, Microsoft is just an example as every leading edge technology player has at least some level of focus on AI.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
There is no doubt about it. AI will impact every industry in some way, whether directly, through suppliers or customers or in terms of service and cost expectations. I never recommend jumping on a bandwagon blindly. After all, how many companies outsourced when it was “the craze” and now regret that decision because it didn’t make sense when looking at the full picture? Plenty! On the other hand, you must be informed and consider the options and implications for your business.

There are many opportunities to learn about AI and its potential impacts so that you can integrate in your strategy. For example, our APICS Inland Empire chapter‘s upcoming Executive Panel and Networking Symposium will be on the topic, “Manufacturing & Supply Chain Talent Transformation: People or Robots?“. Join us for this education and networking opportunity. However, this is just one option. Ask your CEO group. I see this as a valuable benefit from collaborating with peers! Contact me if you’d like a referral. Attend a trade or industry conference. Read industry magazines and the Wall Street Journal. Pay attention to the news related to your industry, your suppliers, your transportation partners and your customers. Talk with an expert and/or ask your expert to assess your situation and provide recommendations.

In our view, keeping key technologies such as AI top of mind is part of creating a resilient supply chain. Without a doubt, those with a resilient supply chain are far more likely to succeed in these changing times. To learn more about how to create a resilient supply chain to navigate disruption and achieve peak performance, check out our new series or contact us for customized expertise.

 

 

 



My ProVisors Ontario Group’s 5 Year Anniversary and Amazing Business Connections

October 2nd, 2017

I've Been Thinking

I am the Group Leader for the ProVisors (a top notch group of trusted advisors to business executives and owners) Ontario. Last week, we celebrated our 5 year anniversary – aren’t we a sharp-looking group! HUNDREDS of referrals and business connections later, we continue to be quite successful and have increased the value we provide to our collective clients. I know my clients have benefited.

Provisors Ontario

When I joined ProVisors as a member, I truly had no idea how I would provide introductions and facilitate connections to some of the members. Their professions just didn’t seem to arise much in my consulting profession. Fast-forward seven years and I LOVE to be able to connect people. I can’t remember the last time I received even the most obscure request where I couldn’t find someone, who knows someone, to meet the need. Talk about the value of connections!

One tip to implement this week: 

Take stock of your connections. Start by making a simple list of the people you know. Think about everyone: alumni connections, trade association connections, work connections, personal life connections, service providers etc. I bet you know more people than you realize. If your list feels light, make a concerted effort to meet a one or two people this week and get to know them professionally and add them to your circle.

Next, look for a way to provide value to five of your most valued connections – perhaps one a day. At a minimum, pick up the phone and give them a call. That will spur ideas on how to create value or, perhaps, you’ll have an idea right on the spot during the phone call. Often, the simple act of the phone call demonstrates that you care and goes a long way. Do the same thing the following week. I bet you’ll be surprised how it evolves! Keep me posted and tell me about your networking successes.

 

Read more about the benefits of quality business relationships.

Save



Supply Chain Expert Lisa Anderson Shares Big Picture Perspectives for Profit Opportunities

August 15th, 2017

“I’ve Been Thinking” Shares 101 Universal Business Lessons Learned

CLAREMONT, Calif., Aug. 15, 2017 – Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting and a well-known leader in supply chain innovation and transformation has gathered her “lessons learned” blog and newsletter commentaries into a new book called I’ve Been Thinking: Turning Everyday Interactions into Profitable Opportunities which is an inspiring collection of 101 strategies for creating bold customer promises and profits. “I’ve Been Thinking” connects the power of observation, the value of collaboration and the application of practical solutions to keep the customer at the pivot-point of all company decisions.

“Businesses retain my services to uncover growth and profit opportunities and to overcome disruptors to the business. What I have found is that no matter the size of firm, the specific industry or issue at hand, it all comes down to the customer,” she said. Ms. Anderson’s practice focuses on aligning the customers’ needs with the optimal strategies, resources and systems infrastructure to maximize the customer experience, cash flow and profit. When connecting the dots within an organization, universal learnings become apparent. I’ve Been Thinking includes perspectives ranging from customer service, team members and innovation to leadership, preparation and risk. Topics include:

  • Shangri-La: The Best Hotel Service Bar None
  • Innovation Does Not Require New
  • The Value of Simplification
  • No Risk, No Reward

“The book was a natural for me. I learn lessons every day from client experiences. Most are uncommon common sense because we tend to make things more complicated than they are. And, they are universal. I’ve Been Thinking can be valuable to all business leaders – not just manufacturers and distributors. After all, customer expectations are high in every business segment and increasing every day,” Ms. Anderson said.

I’ve Been Thinking can be a valuable resource for executives, middle managers and young professionals interested in learning from a pro. The book is available as a paperback and digitally through the LMA Consulting website, Amazon and through iTunes.

About LMA Consulting Group – Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD

Lisa Anderson is the founder and president of LMA Consulting Group, Inc., a consulting firm that helps manufacturers and distributors innovate, elevate and transform their end-to-end supply chain to align with customer demand. Ms. Anderson has been named a Top 50 ERP Influencer by Washington-Frank and ranked in the top 46 most influential in Supply Chain by SAP. She is a regular content contributor on topics including supply chain, ERP and SIOP and is regularly interviewed and quoted by publications such as Industry Week, tED magazine and the Wall Street Journal. For more information or to sign up for her Profit Through PeopleTM Newsletter, visit LMA-ConsultingGroup.com

Media Contact
Kathleen McEntee  | 760-262–4080 | KMcEntee@KMcEnteeAssoc.com