Tag Archive: HR

The Value of Alignment: Sales, Operations & Finance

May 30th, 2019

Alignment might sound like a fluffy concept, but it delivers bottom line results. Our most successful clients have achieved the most substantial results from alignment. Although SIOP (Sales, Inventory, Operations Planning) gets a wrap as a technical topic, in our experience, it is the alignment portion of SIOP that delivers the bacon!

For example, in one client project, the Sales Leader was concerned about service levels. He knew that service was the differentiator in the marketplace, and if they didn’t have quick lead times and responsive customer service, it would negatively impact his ability to grow the business. On the other hand, planning knew that sales tended to come in dramatic spikes which were hard to predict in advance and so strategic inventory could make sense. Operations wasn’t too keen on inventory since they had a lean mentality with the view that inventory was ‘bad’, and they were concerned about capacity and staffing. Accounting set rules on overhead rates as a percentage of sales on a monthly basis which caused HR and Operations to hire and fire temps continually (and sometimes full-time resources). Overtime wasn’t used as a rule of thumb and was seen as costly by management, In fact, it was the only client we’ve ever worked with that didn’t use at least some percentage of overtime on a continual basis. And, of course, R&D created new products and had no idea about the volume and the impact on capacity and staffing. In essence, no one was on the same page!

We created a demand plan based on historical forecasts with sales input, confirmed the capacity and staffing levels required to meet that forecast and determined that if we level loaded the forecast over a quarter, we could create a win-win: improved service during the sales spikes with improved margins (lower temp turnover, improved efficiencies etc.). But it didn’t matter if we didn’t align the team. That was the 80/20 to creating success (and is ALWAYS the hardest part). Fast-forward 3-6 months down-the-road: We shortened service dips from the sales spikes, increased the service levels and reduced costs.

These types of client results are commonplace with alignment no matter your position in the supply chain or the world. Have you considered whether your teams are saying they are aligned or whether they are truly using the same playbook? It often will make the difference between a happy customer and a disgruntled one (which isn’t something anyone wants in today’s on-line era), let alone the profit impacts. If you are interested in an alignment assessment, please contact us.


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A Human Capital Checkup

March 12th, 2018

In honor of the Innovation Awards presented at the 7th Annual Manufacturers’ Summit in February, it seems appropriate to discuss the critical importance of human capital.  Innovation occurs with the engagement and involvement of your people. That’s why there is a specific category of the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire’s innovation awards for just this topic.  


Have you ever thought about how to answer these questions:  

  1. Why is HR a transaction department?  (and therefore not part of the executive team) In the vast majority of organizations (big and small), HR is solely or mainly focused on benefits, payroll and the like.  As an aside, thank you to my HR mentor who broke the mold with transformational HR -Debra Daniels. Without her, I would not have the same level of capability to partner with clients to deliver bottom line business results as it starts with the people.
  2.  Why do we focus on saving pennies when sourcing top talent?  Interestingly, we put these folks in charge of millions of revenue, profit and inventory dollars, yet don’t want to invest to find them.
  3.  What percentage of our executive meetings focus on people? We can get quite carried away in talking about customers, technologies, products and more.  How often are we talking about people?
  4.  Do we invest in training and development?  Since I am president of APICS Inland Empire that specializes in education for supply chain and operations professionals, it is quite clear which companies and/or executives in our area support this type of program and which employees decide to take personal responsibility for their development.  Have you taken stock lately?
  5.  Do we invest time?  This is FAR more important than the money as we learn through example and mentoring at a much quicker rate and more comprehensively.  I remember the pressures of the VP of Operations and Supply Chain role – it is quite tempting to put off even the 15 or 30 minute performance or goal setting discussion but DON’T!
  6.  Are we afraid to take on risk at the detriment of our people?  This is especially tough in California since it can be a challenge to address employee issues; however, going back to my HR mentor, she always said, “take the appropriate actions to address employee issues”.  In essence, don’t back down from respectfully addressing employee issues head on or it will likely be at the detriment of your business and the disengagement of the rest of your employees. It’s no wonder 85% of employees are not engaged according to the latest Gallup poll.  

If you need a referral to a top notch attorney to run issues by, contact us.

Vision Backed by BIG Goals and Leadership

October 4th, 2016

SAP CEO Bill McDermott talked much more than just about data. One of his most compelling stories related to turning around Xerox’s lowest performing division and ending the year as #1. Who says success isn’t derived from leadership has his/her head buried in the sand.

The keys Bill described were quite simple: 1) Listen. 2) Provide the vision and goals. 3) Lead.

We believe this proves the premise behind our newsletter, Profit through People — people are any organization’s #1 assets! Do you treat your people like assets? Or costs?

Bill said that the people at this division were quite disgruntled and specifically upset because the cost cutter that preceded him took away their Christmas party. So, he listened to what they requested — for him to communicate clearly what he wanted and for him to give them their party back.

The next day he stood before them and told them that he had booked the best place in town for the party, and he gave them his vision for the future. He accompanied that with the BIG goal of going from last place to 1st place by the end of the year. And then he supported them — and LED.

Guess which division ended the year in 1st place? Theirs!

As my HR mentor used to say, leadership will make or break success. Bill proved this theory. Will you?


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