Tag Archive: Harvey Mudd

Harvey Mudd Executive Roundtable, Growth Strategies & Idea Velocity

October 19th, 2018

 

Kash Gokli, Director of Clinic Programs and Head of the Manufacturing Practice at Harvey Mudd and I recently led our 13th Harvey Mudd Executive Roundtable.  We had some engaging discussions on growth strategies from multiple vantage points – small and medium-sized, closely held businesses, non-profit business, large complex, global organizations and private-equity backed companies.  It is amazing how much we had in common – no matter the industry, company size or footprint, every executive was concerned about culture and its impact on growth strategy.

I found one CEO’s comment especially intriguing – he mentioned the concept of “idea velocity“.  This topic has increased in importance in my business recently.

It turns out that the “be all, end all” in success for consulting comes down to “idea velocity”.  What are you doing to stimulate ideas? I think this is essential no matter the industry. What executive or company will be successful in today’s Amazonian marketplace if short on ideas?  Not many!

One tip to implement this week:
Don’t despair if you aren’t an idea factory.  First, undoubtedly, you have more ideas in you than you think.  The key is to help them make their way to the surface.

For example, when I interviewed for my promotion to VP of Operations and Supply Chain (as it required an interview by our new private equity backers), although I knew I could get results, I wasn’t too sure about my creative idea generation abilities because I viewed it as “developing the new sticky pad (3M)”.  It turns out that it’s all about repackaging and recombining of key information, products and services. We all have the ability to do that! However, you do not have to do it alone. That’s the point of having a team, colleagues, advisors and supply chain partners who can help spur ideas.

With that said, I recently was in an idea rut even though I surround myself with all of these resources – and more.  I didn’t realize it at the time but not enough was bubbling to the surface. What turned that around was expanding my circle of influencers  (a bit of diversity goes a long way) and realizing that not all idea collaborators are created the same (for each person and what works for him/her).  Finding that right combination “worked”.

Instead of groaning when “assigned to a team with someone you are less than thrilled to be paired with”, see it as an opportunity.  You never know who will spur an interesting idea or who is particularly good at brainstorming with you. Some exciting new ideas might just jump to the surface.  

Put yourself out there and it will happen.

 



Amazon’s Deal with Party City & More Competitors

September 8th, 2018

While I presented on the Amazon Effect to a specialty group of ProVisors (trusted advisors) members focused on manufacturing and distribution recently, Amazon was firming up a deal with Party City to offer an assortment of items. This is just the latest in a stream of retailers collaborating with the competition.  Party City follows Kohl’s (see the sign in the picture below), Sears, Nike, Chico’s and more. This is especially interesting because at our recent Harvey Mudd executive roundtable event, almost every CEO mentioned a time when he/she collaborated with the competition.  Perhaps we should be keeping our mind open to the possibilities?

 

 

 

 

 

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Since Amazon is willing to search for win-win deals with the competition, who knows what will come next?  Are you impacted by Amazon? Every client we work with has said they are impacted in one way or another – yet 1% actually work or compete directly with Amazon.  They have certainly become a disruptor! Perhaps that’s why such an ‘old’ topic is still requested by several groups in speaking circles.

Who is the Amazon of your industry?  Or, can your company take on that role?  It can be easier to create the rules than to follow behind.  Yet, if no one follows, that can be an equally significant issue, as well.  

It may be worth asking questions of your employees – are they paying attention to what’s going on in the industry and with your supply chain partners?  Do they have ideas that might revolutionize your customer experience? How do you know if you haven’t asked? Or encouraged innovation?

In 100% of our clients, we’ve found employees with ideas that management knew nothing about.  9 times out of 10, the ideas have some merit. You never know…..it may very well lead to being the  disruptor.

 



Conflict & Collaboration in the Supply Chain

August 5th, 2018

Have you thought about the role of conflict and collaboration in the supply chain?  When thinking of supply chain from creation to customer, there are many links and connections.  In the current supply chain model, there are connections between and among suppliers, transportation partners, manufacturers, outside processors, distributors, customers, end consumers, and much more.

Within any of these connection points, there are another set of links and connections between new product development/ R&D, sales, operations, finance, HR/ staffing, and any more.  Given the sheer number of variations of connections, it becomes a critical link in achieving success.

Therefore, the concepts of conflict and collaboration take on an elevated level of importance.  In the modern supply chain, even competitors collaborate. At a recent Harvey Mudd executive roundtable, we had a discussion on competition.  After stimulating the discussion, it turned out that almost everyone had an example of collaborating with the competition in order to thrive in today’s Amazonian, customer-focused marketplace.  

So, the question becomes: Should we encourage conflict or collaboration?  

We say “both”. To keep a healthy debate and focus on evaluating options including those we are likely to dismiss, we must encourage conflict and a difference of opinions.  Our most successful clients put various people from different functions, geographies and backgrounds together to stimulate healthy conflict and new ideas.

For example, in one client, a non-technical person from the office asked the key question that prompted the idea for a technical solution to improve the performance of the key operation that held up orders to customers.

On the other hand, learning the art of collaboration is bedrock to sustainable success.  

For example, in order to find a win-win with a competitor, it requires innovative and collaborative thinking.  Are you deliberately putting you and your team into the position to collaborate with those who might not have the same view?  

So long as you set up guidelines and an overarching high-level objective, they’ll find a way to collaborate to new heights.



Manufacturing Strategy Expert, Lisa Anderson, Predicts Innovation as Catalyst for Inland Southern California “Place to Be” for Manufacturers and Distributors

April 26th, 2018

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – April 25, 2018 –  Supply Chain and Manufacturing Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., sees innovation as key to the success of manufacturing.

“In order to be ahead of the curve and the competition, continuous improvement is no longer enough. Companies must innovate. Innovative products, processes, ideas, collaboration techniques, and technologies such as IOT, block chain and business intelligence allow manufacturers to maximize the customer experience and enable profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth.” explained Ms. Anderson.  In today’s Amazonian environment, we are in the era of the customer.  Innovation, rapid customization and manufacturing agility have led to a resurgence.

“Since the Inland Empire of Southern California is located in an epicenter of the population (larger than 25 states and part of California which would be the 6th largest country), it is an ideal location to provide a superior customer experience, highly customized product and service with rapid delivery. When added with its many advantages – access to high-skilled talent, technological and automation prowess, lower-cost space and labor costs vs. surrounding areas and top-notch manufacturing and supply chain programs and education such as Harvey Mudd, there is no better place to be” she said.

Ms. Anderson recently chaired the Innovation Awards at the 7th Annual Manufacturers’ Summit hosted by the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire. Awards were given for innovation in process, product, human capital and marketing, and included a special award to students.

“There is tremendous opportunity for manufacturers to thrive.  After all, we have set the standards for innovation since manufacturing became a powerhouse in the 1920’s. There’s every reason to believe that we can continue raising the bar and make Inland Southern California “the” destination of choice for manufacturers around the world” she concluded.

In support of manufacturing and the related industries, Ms. Anderson is President of the APICS Inland Empire Chapter and is taking on a greater role in Inland Southern California by becoming a board member for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership. She is moderating a panel at the Southern California E-Commerce and Logistics Summit on April 26th.

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 that maximizes the customer experience and enables profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth Ms. Anderson has been named a Top 40 B2B Tech Influencer by arketi group, a 50 ERP Influencer by Washington-Frank, ranked in the top 46 most influential in Supply Chain by SAP, named a top woman influencer by Solutions Review and subject matter expert by HowDo. She recently published, I’ve Been Thinking, an inspiring collection of 101 strategies for creating bold customer promises and profits. A regular content contributor on topics including supply chain, ERP and SIOP, Ms. Anderson is regularly interviewed and quoted by publications such as Industry Week, tED magazine and the Wall Street Journal.  For more information, to sign up for her Profit Through PeopleTM Newsletter or for a copy of her book, visit LMA-ConsultingGroup.com.



Harvey Mudd Student Projects & Innovations Related to Cancer

February 22nd, 2018

Earlier this week, I attended some clinic presentations at Harvey Mudd (student projects with companies / partners), and the value of innovation hit home!  

For example, there are students working on innovations to improve on the success rate of breast cancer surgeries – talk about relevant!  There are many tangible and impactful projects the students work on throughout the year in a wide variety of industries.  Marrying up practical experience with book knowledge can go far in preparing students to be successful in careers after college.  Do you provide well-rounded education and experiences?

One tip to implement this week:
What type of education and experiences do you provide for your employees and team members?  I see a distinctive difference between training and education whereas education is a much broader concept so that your employees will be able to interpret and carry forward.  Do you explain the whys?  Do you provide practical examples?  Do you allow your team members to try new things?  Even if they fail?

Although education can be quite valuable, it might not be enough.  Do you find a way to provide an experience?  A kaizen might do the trick …or at least get the process started.  Or, have you put together a cross-training program?  Shouldn’t a planner or logistics resource understand the trials and tribulations of talking with customers on a daily basis?  Dealing with an angry customer can do wonders for opening your eyes.  And how about vice-versa?  Are your customer service resources committing to whatever the customer requests regardless of whether you can deliver it?  Why not give a more comprehensive experience approach a go?

Regardless, continuous education is critical today as everything seems to change in a nanosecond!