Tag Archive: human capital

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.

Best Practices and the Bellagio Fountain

February 2nd, 2018

The Value of Best Practices
Kash Gokli (head of Harvey Mudd’s manufacturing and clinic programs) and I led our 12th Harvey Mudd executive roundtable last week on the topic of best practices.  One of the executives from
WET (from designer to maker of the Bellagio fountain and many others like it) kicked off the evening by discussing best practices at WET.  Aside from a VERY impressive video that showed their design and water experiences), she talked about the critical importance of human capital.  They have an impressive on-boarding and ongoing emphasis on collaboration, education and investing in talent.  Clearly, with this creative and unique best practice, spectacular water experiences follow……

One tip to implement this week:
Undoubtedly, our long-term readers know I wholeheartedly support investing in top talent.  Whether we are working with an large complex aerospace manufacturer or a rapidly growing food and beverage company or a private equity backed medium-sized building products value-add distributor, our most successful clients have an unrelenting focus on talent.  They start by retaining top talent and expand by developing, training, educating and always being on the lookout for top talent.  

If you are an executive, put aside an hour this week to meet with your executive team to discuss your talent.  Although an hour sounds short, it also probably sounds quite impossible to fit into your schedule yet it is likely to be the most valuable hour spent this week.  Start with your talent and the rest will follow.  Throw a bit of WET’s creativity into the conversation and see where it takes you.

If you are an employee, take the proactive approach and seek out your manager to discuss where the company is headed.  Find out how you can add more value.  Think about how you can grow – with or without money invested.  There are many approaches that will not cost a dime.  Think about finding a mentor and offering value to a potential mentor.

Regardless of where you are, best practices are well-worth the investment.

Innovation & the Manufacturing Summit

January 20th, 2018

I attended the Manufacturing Summit advisory committee recently since I chair the Innovation Awards, so innovation is top of mind. Is innovation top of mind for you everyday?  

In today’s Amazon-impacted, highly competitive world, the secret to success is innovation.  Although daily problems must be solved, it just gets us back to our typical performance levels.  That is NOT enough.  

Innovation allows us to leap to an entirely new level of performance.  For example, wouldn’t your customers love an innovation in customer experience that delivers what they didn’t even know they wanted before they knew they wanted it?  Think it might be worthwhile to keep an eye to innovation?

One tip to implement this week:
Innovation can come in many shapes and sizes.  You do NOT have to invent something totally new.  After all, that doesn’t come along very often; not even Apple does that. The ipod was a derivative of the Sony Walkman.  That’s why we recognize manufacturers for innovations in several categories – resource and process efficiency, product development, human capital and talent, marketing, and students.  If you or anyone you know has accomplished improvements in these areas, please submit an application.

If you are just starting your journey into innovation, think about attending the Summit as you’ll gain some valuable ideas.  And, you can make some great headway (whether innovation is new or old hat) by taking time to focus on your culture.  

  • Does it support innovation?  
  • Do you give employees time to try new ideas?  
  • Do you give them freedom within reasonable guidelines?  
  • Do you celebrate failure?
    If you’d like to discuss how to instill a culture of innovation at a more detailed level, contact us.

McKinsey Report Predicts 20% Growth in Manufacturing by 2025

November 20th, 2017

Supply Chain Briefing

McKinsey Report Predicts 20% Growth in Manufacturing by 2025
According to Industry Week, a McKinsey report predicted manufacturing GDP would grow to $3 trillion by 2025  – a 20% increase!  Large U.S. firms have outperformed their global counterparts, according to the new survey, “Making it in America: Revitalizing U.S. Manufacturing” by The McKinsey Global Institute.  What we knew all along!  

Of course, it has been tougher for the smaller firms supporting these larger firms which has negatively impacted the middle class.  However, there is hope.  Demand is rising at home and abroad with VAST opportunity to export.  Value chains are evolving to a U.S. advantage especially those in advanced industries.  Rapid customization and consumer preference can drive additional firms to manufacture in the U.S.  Are you ready?


Who, What, When and Where Will Impact Manufacturing?
Are you ready for the coming wave of manufacturing?  Do not wait until you miss your opportunity as customers expect QUICK deliveries, RAPID customization and a proactive, excellent customer experience.  Have you thought about which technologies to leverage to get ahead of the curve so that you can take advantage of the opportunities as they arise?  What can you automate?  

And although technology is paramount to success in this new world, the core tenets remain intact.  Do you know your customers?  Why will they purchase from you vs. your competition?  How can you stand out from the crowd?   Can you create an experience for them?   Although important to ponder, don’t bother unless you have also thought about your human capital.  Where should you shore up your talent to get ahead of the curve?  Plan for success; don’t wait for it to pass you by.