Tag Archive: forecasting

Digitization of the Supply Chain is Accelerating

August 28th, 2020

With COVID-19, the rise of e-commerce, and the pressures of profitability, Industry 4.0 and the digitization of the supply chain is accelerating. What was on track for 2030 prior to COVID-19 should be expedited to 2021 or 2022 to keep pace with needs. For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, Fed Ex is installing robots with eyes and brains that allow them to sense and respond. Smart companies are not only proceeding with technology plans but expediting them. What is happening in your industry? What should you be investing in and/or implementing to stay ahead of the curve in providing a superior customer experience profitably?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Undoubtedly, you should dust off your technology roadmap. Technology is never something to do simply to keep up with technology the competition is using.  Instead, think about what you need to simplify, automate and predict. Think about how to provide a superior customer experience and think about how to help your customers predict future sales and/or end customer needs. And think about how to increase profitability and efficiency. From this mindset, what technology would add value to your business?

Several clients are in desperate need of upgrading their ERP systems. Of course, it is easy to put off such a massive project and investment.  Ask yourself this question: When do you need the functionality to support your business? If you need it within the next year, you do not have time to delay! In addition, many clients need e-commerce, CRM, sales forecasting and other customer-related technologies. Do you think you have time to wait to provide extra value to your customers? I doubt it! Finally, we are also noticing that technologies that enable efficient manufacturing and supply chain operations are increasing in importance. As a result, predictive forecasting and planning systems, WMS and TMS systems and more are gaining in popularity. What makes sense for you?

Read more about these types of topics in my eBook,  Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19. Gain ideas and strategies to successfully emerging from COVID-19 and thrive in 2021. If you are interested in doing an assessment of your current situation, associated risks and opportunities and how to navigate changing conditions, please contact us.

Please share your stories, challenges, ideas and successes.



Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Notes Workforce Talent and Suppliers are Critical to Stabilizing the Supply Chain

August 24th, 2020

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – August 24, 2020 –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., tells companies to recognize  workforce talents and take time to partner with the right suppliers. LMA Consulting Group works with manufacturers and distributors on strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation to maximize the customer experience and enable profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth.

“Stabilizing the supply chain has been critical these last few months for manufacturers and distributors.  This has been necessary to minimize volatility and keep goods flowing, in turn, fulfilling customer expectations. Customers understand that these are different times, but they will be patient only so long.  That is why it is critical to get the supply chain stabilized,” Ms. Anderson explained.

In past communications, Ms. Anderson has suggested understanding demand by connecting with both the customer and the customers’ customers.  She has also discussed realigning demand with supply through the SIOP process (Sales, Inventory and Operations Planning). Yet, the most critical component in solving problems, disruptions or even expansion of the supply chain is a company’s talent. “I often ask our clients who in the organization, which disciplines and levels, is involved in the SIOP process and collaboration with customers and suppliers. If the answer is simply Supply Chain or Operations, they are missing out on solutions that their talent can bring to the table, and even more concerning is the potential loss of talent due to the lack of involvement in meaningful activities. I also ask about the depth of talent and cross-functional capabilities within a discipline. This is telling, especially when complex solutions are required to satisfy key customer requirements or resolve a situation within the supply chain.  And, one of my final questions lies in the determining the kinds of relationships the company has with suppliers.  Employees and suppliers can create new solutions or products and be champions of an organization,” she continued.

With high levels of ambiguity and volatility, the leader’s role is more important than ever. Ms. Anderson suggests three ways to immediately leverage talent to stabilize the supply chain. “Talent is key to stabilizing the supply chain. 1) Get your salespeople and your customers involved in the forecasting process. Sales tends to be on the outskirts of demand and supply. They need to be as involved and accountable in the demand planning and fulfillment phase as they are in generating orders. 2). To stabilize internal operations, fill gaps and keep teams focused on the customer while maximizing efficiency, formal and informal leaders must monitor progress, adjust plans and stay on top of morale, training and developmental needs. 3) Do not assume the past will repeat. Deep dive into critical supplier relationships and future viability. Make sure you have the right supplier partners, not simply the least costly vendors, and track progress frequently. And, make sure you do not have all of your eggs in one supplier basket” she concluded.

Ms. Anderson recently released a short video, What’s Happening in Manufacturing & Supply Chain: Consider Your Top Talent. Ms. Anderson has also released, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & the Supply Chain Post COVID-19, an eBook that provides practical go-forward insights, advice and experiential value.

 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 specializes in manufacturing strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation.  She focuses on maximizing the customer experience and enabling profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth. Ms. Anderson is a recognized Supply Chain thought leader by SelectHub, named a Top 40 B2B Tech Influencer by arketi group, 50 ERP Influencer by Washington-Frank, a top 46 most influential in Supply Chain by SAP and named a top woman influencer by Solutions Review. She recently published, I’ve Been Thinking, 101 strategies for creating bold customer promises and profits. A regular content contributor on topics including a superior customer experience with SIOP, advancing innovation and making the supply chain resilient, Ms. Anderson is regularly interviewed and quoted by publications such as Industry Week, tED magazine and the Wall Street Journal.  For information, to sign up for her Profit Through PeopleTM Newsletter or for a copy of her book, visit LMA-ConsultingGroup.com.                                       

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Media Contact
Kathleen McEntee | Kathleen McEntee & Associates, Ltd. | p. (760) 262 – 4080 | KMcEntee@KMcEnteeAssoc.com



Is there an ROI on a Forecasting System?

September 12th, 2019

A Client Question
Since forecasting can deliver significant benefits with increased levels of service, inventory turnover and margin improvement, the question that inevitably arises is whether it makes sense to purchase a forecasting or demand planning system. Of course, the answer is: “It depends”.

In one client situation, goods were manufactured in Mexico and purchased from Asia. Key customers were large retail outlets. Demand seemed to change daily.  Yet, lead times were in the months if the ‘right’ stock wasn’t in the ‘right’ place at the ‘right’ time. Of course, they could cover some small changes by adding freight costs but that isn’t a recipe for profit. Improving the forecast would improve their success. So, the question turned to whether a system would have a ROI.

The Answer
In their case, they could achieve a rapid return on investment by using a forecasting system. However, let me say upfront that more often than not, I do not recommend a system. It completely depends on whether it will drive the appropriate level of improvement and associated results or not. In this case, we could easily drive dramatic forecast accuracy improvement since we started out at such a low level of accuracy due to the business environment, industry and key customers. The people understood the importance of the providing forecast feedback and although the key customers didn’t have “good” forecasts to provide, they could provide data we could analyze. In these types of situations, we are able to reduce inventory by a minimum of 20%.  It should be noted, though, that results can be far greater.

Food For Thought
Although forecasting systems can be a great idea to drive service, inventory and margin improvement, they do not always provide a return. Take a step back to understand your industry from a forecasting point-of-view:

  • Is demand constantly changing?
  • Are you supporting small numbers of customer/location points with less than 25 items or is it 100 fold?
  • Are you able to gain key customer input and/or point-of-sale data?
  • Do you have anyone familiar with demand planning and forecasting to be able to make sense of what a system is telling you?
  • And, last but definitely not least, have you found the appropriate scale for your forecasting system?

Trying to kill a fly with an assault rifle is overkill. If you are interested in running your situation by us, contact us.

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Collaboration Rules

March 31st, 2016
LMA Consulting Group, Lisa Anderson, collaboration

Collaborating with customers, suppliers and partners is a win-win-win for all involved. Feedback is immediate and innovation is an outcome that helps business flourish.

Collaboration is pivotal to success for manufacturers and distributors. Supply chains are connected to a larger degree than ever before.  Global is commonplace.  Customers and manufacturers talk frequently.  Suppliers collaborate with manufacturers on developing new products.  Collaborative planning, forecasting and VMI programs are commonplace.  In many industries such as aerospace and distribution, they are a “must”.  Consumers have gained a more powerful voice with social media.  Feedback is immediate.  The bottom line is that collaboration has evolved from a fluffy concept to a vital and pragmatic one.

Certainly, collaboration arises on a daily basis in my consulting practice.  More and more, I am on a webinar or conference call with my client and other partners, collaborating for a win-win-win.  For example, to design and implement any major initiative, it is likely you’ll involve customers, suppliers, ERP partners, logistics partners and the like.  Thus, we should take advantage of opportunities to improve our collaboration capabilities – AND to collaborate more often.  I’ve taken this to heart with my affiliations:

  • Ontario (ONT) ProVisors – a group of trusted advisors (advisors who support commercial businesses such as CPAs, attorneys, and commercial bankers). These types of professionals can make or break success.  Just ask anyone who delayed in protecting critical intellectual property.
  • Innovations Committee for MCIE (Manufacturers Council of the Inland Empire)’s Manufacturing Summit. Innovation is all about collaboration!
  • APICS Inland Empire Chapter – APICS is the #1 trade association for supply chain and operations professionals and spans the supply chain from executives to shop floor workers and from your customers’ customers to your suppliers’ suppliers.
  • Harvey Mudd executive roundtable – I facilitate this group with my colleague Kash Gokli, the head of Harvey Mudd’s manufacturing program. We are creating an invitation-only community of Southern CA business executives.
  • ACA Group – I am part of this alliance of consultants with significant supply chain and operations expertise. We collaborate on client projects to provide a team with deep bench strength and diversity to cover a vast array of services to meet our client’s full scope of needs.
  • 180 Systems Alliance – I am a part of this alliance of ERP consultants who are known to “consultants without bias” to partner with clients to help them select the optimal system for their needs.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to think more about collaboration.  The great news is that there is a GREAT opportunity coming up to collaborate on emerging supply chain trends at APICS-IE’s executive panel and networking symposium.  We welcome you to join us on April 30th at Eagle Glen golf club in Corona.

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