Tag Archive: innovation

Should We Prioritize or Deprioritize Innovation & Technology During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

April 3rd, 2020

What is the first thing that happens when a client is shutdown due to the coronavirus? Cut all unnecessary spending. Certainly, I agree with this approach in most situations. If you cannot pay for your employees, you shouldn’t pay for unnecessary expenses! However, if the situation isn’t dire, it might just be an opportunity to refocus on innovation and technology.

There are well-regarded statistics about the Depression and the Great Recession that those companies that invested while everyone else cut back were significantly more successful following the recession. Of course, it depends on whether you are investing in what will be needed as the lockdown ends or if you just continue with your prior plans because they were well-thought out previously. All bets are off! You must re-review your strategies, business plans and associated investments with the ‘new world’ in mind. Ask your executive team and key partners questions:

  1. What will have changed as we emerge from lockdown?
  2. What opportunities will it present for your customers?
  3. What new roadblocks will exist for your customers?
  4. Is there an opportunity for new customers?
  5. Do you have an opportunity to expand to new markets?
  6. What products and services will be needed?
  7. Can you get ahead of the competition so you’ll be out of the gate at 200 mph instead of crawling at a turtle’s pace?
  8. Will you need to re-tool?
  9. What skills will you need?
  10. What technology will you need?

Challenging times can create opportunity with innovation and creativity. Innovation will fast-track growth and profits. When has there been a better time to innovate? Although we started our innovation series a while back and have always been involved with encouraging innovation (such as the Manufacturers Innovation Awards), we are going to start adding content to encourage clients to focus on innovation since we think this is a critical time to ramp up your focus on innovation.

Innovation doesn’t have to involve technology as it could simply involve repurposing, repackaging, or repositioning. In fact, there is very little that is truly ‘new’. How often does a client invent something new like the sticky note? Certainly we hope a new vaccine will be developed rapidly, but many industries will simply come up with new ways of doing things and that type of innovation will fast-track growth and profits. The only precursor is whether you have an innovative culture. Now that is something we can control, and it doesn’t have to require capital or cash.

Why not put your top talent on an innovation project while under lockdown/ social distancing? There is plenty that can be accomplished via Zoom, and you might just be thrilled with the results. From all accounts, it appears as though the recession will be short-lived and in a V shape with a rapid recovery. Will you be ready to take advantage of the opportunities?

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Manufacturing Summit Recap: Innovation & Top Talent

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Your People During the Coronavirus Pandemic

March 31st, 2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, your people should be top priority. As we always start with safety, this situation should be no different. Figure out how to prepare your workplace. Revise policies, meetings, and critical work so that you can follow social distancing requirements and keep your employees as safe as possible. Be proactive, and know how to deal with whatever situations arise. This is where top notch trusted advisors will prove valuable and supplement your leadership team and HR resources.

Beyond safety, think about how you can lessen the negative impacts your employees are suffering. Can you be more flexible in scheduling hours or staggering shifts so that you can accommodate for children at home and other complications? Can you provide resources to help employees deal with stress and other issues?

If you are not considered a critical business, how can you navigate for the best for your employees and your future? There are several options: lay off your employees, furlough your employees, keep your employees and reorient them to innovation and virtual work, and more. Unfortunately, none of the options are easy; however, how you handle this situation (and what you do while the shutdown is underway) will have a significant impact on your future business.

Beyond your employees, how are you handling your supply chain partners, trusted advisors and other partners? Are you proactively communicating? Just as we’ve never seen a business with unhappy employees and happy customers, we also haven’t seen a business with a disgruntled supply chain with happy customers. Have confidence that people will rise to the occasion, and proactively communicate and coordinate. There has never been a better time to stand out from the crowd as a go-forward partner as there is now. Remain calm and lead the way to future growth and success.

We will continue to post resources to help clients and colleagues navigate the HR and organizational development challenges associated with this unprecedented situation. We are also participating in local, state, national and global sessions to be able to bring information, ideas and best practices to you. Please feel free to contact us with requests for information, resources and advice to move forward during these challenging times.

If you are a consultant, coach or entrepreneur, our Society for the Advancement of Consulting organization is hosting a “Thriving Through Ambiguity” webinar series which is included in membership, and we are offering a discounted price for new members during this crisis (use code THRIVE-NOW). We have an exceptional speaker lineup to help you thrive through ambiguity.

If you are in manufacturing and supply chain and want to learn more about how to successfully navigate these turbulent times, check out our coronavirus blog articles, videos and podcasts. Additionally, LMA Consulting is sponsoring a webinar series, “Navigating Through Volatility” for the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM/ APICS) Inland Empire Chapter. We are offering this as free to our members, symposium panelists, sponsors, and business partners. Learn more and register here. We have an outstanding speaker lineup to help you navigate through volatility for both your organization and your personal career.

Please send feedback, ideas and resources that we can share with our newsletter subscribers. We will not win this battle alone; however, we can win together!

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Coronavirus: Resources for Businesses & Individuals

Profit Through People

 



Collaboration is NO LONGER a Fluffy Topic

February 16th, 2020

I facilitated an executive panel discussion on “Collaboration for Advanced Manufacturing & Supply Chain Success” with diverse viewpoints from transportation (Ontario airport), manufacturing (AMETEK Ameron), technology for manufacturing and logistics from the global leader in GIS (ESRI), and innovation, incubator and accelerator gurus.  It was a fascinating discussion on the value of collaboration, to innovate or not, robots or people and other controversial hot topics.

The key takeaways included the following:

  • The Value of Partners – Several panelists talked about the value of choosing your partners wisely. No one person and no one company can do it alone. In fact, we often collaborate not only with “usual suspects” but also with ones we might not suspect, such as our competition. When you can find a way to collaborate with competition where you both “win”, a powerful outcome will result.
  • Fail Forward – This was a powerful insight from one of the panelists. As I always say in speeches on innovation, you have to fail to be successful in innovation. Do we see our failures as ‘failing forward’? Or do we hide under a rock?
  • Robots or People? – We had a bit of debate. Will robots replace jobs? Absolutely! But can they also create jobs? Fill gaps left by the retiring baby boomer? Increase the quality of manual tasks? And enable far greater capacity? Absolutely!
  • Is all Innovation Good?  –  Of course not! Again, if a topic is a good one, it will stir up debate.  Wasting lots of time innovating for non-existent returns on investment isn’t a smart move. On the other hand, the pure nature of innovation will require failure. How do we navigate when to innovate and when not to innovate?
  • Is all Collaboration Good? Again, absolutely NOT! Wasting time collaborating when a quick decision must be made is worse than a waste of time. On the other hand, if we can turn 1 + 1 + 1 = 33, it certainly seems worth it. Just don’t think about your standard partners only. Why not industry groups, educational institutions, and more?

Take a few minutes to think about collaboration. What have you seen work best? Actually, back up. No one should just think about collaboration. Instead, we should be thinking about our end result. Where do you want to go and what do you want to achieve? Now, think about the best use of collaboration, innovation, technology and other topics that will accelerate success.



Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Advises Future-Proofing the Supply Chain

November 26th, 2019

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – November 25, 2019 –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., is working with clients on Future-Proofing their manufacturing operations and supply chains.   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.

“As manufacturers and distributors respond to changing client needs and expectations, they are also working with other unknowns.  Trade wars, tariffs, civic unrest and speculation of a recession are all considerations when trying to manage and scale for growth and make plans for the future,” Ms. Anderson commented.  Future-proofing the supply chain is top of mind as manufacturers are squeezed by even bigger issues like baby boomer retirement, a limited talent pool and the challenge of how best to leverage technology and artificial intelligence.

Innovation and collaboration are key drivers when anticipating client needs. “We work every day with clients focused on being ahead of customer demand. Yet, the realities are changing expectations, budgets, balance sheets and P&Ls. Despite continued growth, it’s important to be vigilant with inventory levels, margins and operational performance. We find that the most successful companies are looking at their end-to-end supply chain and ensuring that every aspect from suppliers to customers are aligned,” she said. Alignment can be achieved in several ways. By working through a S&OP/ SIOP (Sales, Inventory, Operations Planning) model, demand and supply are not only aligned but the teams associated with these internal functions and others such as R&D, Finance and external supply chain partners are aligned as well.

“SIOP looks at the business through a different lens.  We recently worked with an aerospace manufacturer who was able to gain a better view into customer demand which enabled capacity and operations alignment. The result was improved service levels and reduced lead times, leading to increased customer satisfaction and sales growth. Inventory levels were also reduced, freeing up cash to be invested elsewhere. Lastly, with greater visibility into the supply chain, material, freight and operational costs were reduced. By aligning the key stakeholders and plans, the results are substantial. This is one example of future-proofing,” she said.

Panelists at the recent APICS Inland Empire Chapter’s Fall 2019 Symposium, of which Ms. Anderson is President, discussed the need for technical firms and educational institutions to collaborate with internal functions to elevate the performance of the end-to-end supply chain. Ms. Anderson also sees emphasis on manufacturing and supply chain through her involvement with the Board for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership which is developing a consortium for advanced manufacturing and logistics success. She is also active with the Manufacturing Council of the Inland Empire where she heads the Innovation Awards for the Annual Summit.  “Manufacturing remains a core industry in the U.S. The time is right, and the time is now to focus to future-proofing manufacturing and the supply chain for success” she concluded.

 

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.

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

 



The Future of Manufacturing Is Bright: Harvey Mudd Takes 1st Place in Global Student Case Competition

November 15th, 2019

As President of APICS Inland Empire, one of my favorite activities is encouraging students. We encourage students from all of our local universities to participate in plant tours, symposiums and student case competitions to learn about manufacturing and supply chain, as well as to expand their professional network. Our Board of Directors has been proud over the years to see multiple teams from Cal State San Bernardino, Cal Poly Pomona and Harvey Mudd win regional competitions to compete in the Association for Supply Chain Management International Student Case Competition. And this year, our student team from Harvey Mudd College took home the gold!

Harvey Mudd placed first, followed by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Case Western University. As an audience member during their presentation to the Board of Directors of the case study company, I can assuredly say that my clients would be thrilled to hear this sort of presentation to their Board and it gives us high hopes for the future of manufacturing. There are no limits with students of this caliber! And, as a former co-leader of a highly successful Western region student case competition, I can definitely say a big thank you goes to their academic advisor, Kash Gokli as well as mentors and exemplars that have aided their progress along the way.

Harvey Mudd College facilitates students’ involvement with manufacturing companies as a part of their Clinic program so that students walk away with practical, hands-on knowledge and the company walks away with bottom line results. Another Harvey Mudd team won the Manufacturing Council of the Inland Empire‘s Innovation By Students Award earlier this year for working with manufacturing company, Laguna Clay, to improve processes and drive performance improvement in their manufacturing process. Gone are the days when top notch students think in theory.  Instead, practical manufacturing work experience is the norm and we have many top notch engineers going into manufacturing again!

Additionally, I would be remiss not to recognize that earlier this year another student team from Cal Poly Pomona won the regional competition for the Global Student Challenge and went to the Netherlands to compete in the global competition. There is no doubt that if we provide the tools and education, the future leaders of manufacturing will achieve goals we can’t even imagine at this juncture.

What are you doing to support our future leaders and to encourage the pairing of fresh ideas with solid experience? When paired successfully, it is an unbeatable combination with both the new employee and the tenured employee gaining new ideas and excitement from the process. Take a step back and think about how to make 1 + 1 = 64. And, please refer your friends and colleagues to our APICS Inland Empire chapter as there are numerous opportunities for student involvement and growth.

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Manufacturing Summit Recap: Innovation & Top Talent
What’s Ahead for People?