Tag Archive: innovative

The Resilient Supply Chain: Can You Get Trucks?

October 3rd, 2018

Are you able to find trucks?  This is quickly becoming a major question that needs to be answered.  Every driver has at least 12 options. Why will he/she take your load?  Are you attractive to carriers? That is the key question. After all, you can carry inventory so you are responsive (assuming you planned well and have the right inventory at the right place at the right time) but if you cannot deliver, it was all for naught.

According to the Journal of Commerce, truck rates are up in the low double digits half way through the year.  And, they are expected to go up to 15% before slowing down to 7-10% increase in 2019.  However, these rate hikes are quite the shock to businesses. Many clients are tell us that there are times they cannot find a truck, whether they pay 15% more or not. What are you doing to ensure you have a resilient supply chain?

Here are a few questions to ponder:

  • Do you view your carriers as partners or vendors? – Undoubtedly, if you view them as vendors, you probably aren’t delivering on-time or are paying double or triple the going rates.  
  • Do you have a backup carrier? – I learned this lesson from the Director of Purchasing who worked with me at PaperPak.  He kept a backup supply of our critical material so that if anything went wrong in the supply chain, he could “turn it on”.  This meant we were paying higher prices on an ongoing basis to keep this backup supply. Naturally, our board members were not happy about the increased cost.  However, he was “right on”.  Eventually there was a strike at the ports and our supply was delayed. Because we had been bringing in backup supply all along, we were able to turn up the production and cover our needs seamlessly.  Do you have a backup in place you are confident will be there when you need them?
  • Are you proactively partnering with your carriers? – When supply chain challenges arise, do you proactively collaborate with your carriers to resolve the issues?  Are you willing to think outside the box and try new and innovative ideas?
  • Are you an attractive customer? – How you treat people will either make or break success.  People tend to do business with people they know, like and trust. Are you finding ways to improve your customers’ conditions?  Remember you cannot just decide to become attractive when you need your suppliers. It is a way of doing business.
  • Do you need trucks at all?– Perhaps it’s time to re-think your strategy.  Should you consider rail, air or another method?  Can you partner with your customers or suppliers in a new way?  How about collaborating with competitors? Or, you could consider insourcing vs. outsourcing. 

Think outside the box and start early.  Waiting until there is an issue is no time to think about resolving one. 

It seems such a basic element to have trucks where you need them and when you need them.  Yet it often isn’t viewed as a priority.  Why not take stock of where you stand and put some thought into your path forward?

You’ll be more likely to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations with this proactive approach to supply chain resiliency.

 



LA Metro & Innovative Transportation

May 4th, 2018

 

L.A. Metro & Innovative Transportation

I was able to hear Joshua Schank, Director of Innovation of L.A. Metro talk at a ProVisors meeting last week.  So, it seemed appropriate to share the complexity of L.A.’s transportation network and some of the innovations starting to gain momentum.

The single largest innovation he discussed is the ability for L.A. Metro to receive unsolicited proposals for ideas. Since they implemented this idea in 2016, they’ve received over 100. Many of these are gaining momentum – and getting implemented in a private/ public partnership QUICKER than ever before and under budget.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

They also have submitted a strategic plan for approval that goes beyond on-time arrival to improving mobility.  He told us an interesting statistic – in the recent past, 2.3 million people were added to the L.A. area and 2.1 million cars were added during the same time period.  It will require innovation to bring L.A. Metro from last resort transportation to attractive to its potential customer base!

One tip to implement this week:
Interesting that even with one of the areas not typically seen as modern (a governmental agency related to transportation), innovation is seen as a priority – so much so that they have a position dedicated to it.

The Amazonian marketplace has even made its way to transportation as I heard him say customer focus and quicker delivery of projects multiple times. He said projects used to typically finish far later than the delivery date and significantly over budget.  Now, many are delivered early and under budget. If an governmental agency can increase speed, why can’t you?

Of course, it isn’t as simple as dictating quicker delivery.  Put some thought into what it would take to come up with innovative ideas.  In their case, they allowed for unsolicited proposals. That was probably seen as radical.  

Are you merely content with continuous improvement or are you taking the stance of L.A. Metro to look at dramatic change?  What would you need to do to encourage your employees, customers, suppliers and others to tell you about their ideas for positive innovations?  

Put thought into how you could encourage that – there’s no time to delay if you plan on  remaining competitive!

 



Amazon and Whole Foods

July 6th, 2017

Amazon hit the news big time with the purchase of Whole Foods. It even got my mom’s attention, and she asked the store manager if they would continue to exist. He assured her that they planned to stay.

It just so happens that I spoke on the Amazon Effect at the Future Ports Annual Conference and at an IOT (internet of things)/ Supply Chain Data event almost immediately after the announcement. We had some fascinating discussions at the IOT event about Amazon and their strategy and impacts. Certainly this move will shake up traditional retail grocery stores! Are you thinking about the impacts of Amazon Fresh, whether it seems to relate or NOT to your industry? You should!

Whole Foods

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

Amazon is continually innovative and surprising us with a fresh look at old topics. I think they saw the opportunity with Whole Foods to gain a footprint not just in grocery retail but also with a trendy, organic store that could benefit from lower prices and fresh ideas. Why not deliver items that make sense (taking advantage of their vast network) and gain a footprint in addition to serving those customers who would like to pick out their own bread and meat?

We should all take a lesson from their playbook to look for opportunities where others don’t. What is someone trying to dump or sees as a nuisance that might be a gem for you?

On the other side of things, we should definitely be on the lookout for the continual radical change of retail, now extending to grocery as well. It is bound to have implications on commercial space, transportation networks, and the like. What do you think will change about the footprint of Whole Foods and commercial space? Will it become mixed use? We had some fascinating discussion in my presentation on the Amazon Effect. The bottom line is as follows — at a minimum, kick start your thinking or you’ll be left in the dust. After all, Sears Roebuck was Amazon before Amazon existed….

 



MCIE Innovation Awards of Inland Empire Adds College Student Category

January 5th, 2017
mciebanner

MCIE Innovation Awards of Inland Empire, to be held at the Ontario Convention Center on Feb. 3, announces the new Student Award for college students.

Lisa Anderson MBA, CSCP, president of LMA Consulting Group and program awards chair for the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire (MCIE) Manufacturer’s Summit E=mc² Innovation Awards, a special award ceremony celebrating innovative businesses solving challenges in today’s manufacturing industry, is pleased to announce a new category award of Student Award in addition to the five award categories of Innovation in Product Development, Innovation in Resource or Process Efficiency for Manufacturers, Innovation in Human Capital and Talent, and Innovation in Marketing. Submissions are due by January 16, 2017, with awards made at the Manufacturing Summit, the largest event of its kind in Inland Southern California, to be held at the Ontario Convention Center on Friday, February 3, 2017.

The E=mc² Innovation Awards are a great way to showcase what a company is doing to be innovative to raise the bar,” shares Award Chair Lisa Anderson. “In a climate of robust global competition, talent shortages due to skills gaps, Amazon and mega distributors changing the competitive landscape and poor employee engagement, these awards can prove to Inland Empire companies and their employees, that they are innovative and have great ideas to grow their business and remain competitive. And with the addition of the student category, we now have a spotlight on hiring recent graduates who showcase their talents with their submissions.”

Award winners have tapped into new ideas, processes and manufacturing techniques to build and improve their businesses. Previous winners include Riverside, Calif.-based Newport Cottages, a children’s furniture manufacturer and winner of the Innovations in Human Capital and Talent Award, struggled with workflow issues unable to increase sales from new orders while managing the demand from current customers. They partnered with the Riverside County Workforce Investment Board to promote and facilitate a Lean Manufacturing Transformation Rollout Program and turned their disorganization into a true company transformation.

Last year’s Innovation in Resource & Process Efficiency Award Winner, Celestica, a design and engineering through to manufacturing and after-market services firm based in Ontario, Calif., had to overcome a dual problem of reducing costs as requested by customers while improving efficiency to handle more orders. They had to evaluate their operation, perform a Kaizen Blitz to eliminate non-value add activities and rely on employee’s creativity to improve receiving and overall operations.

The 2015 E=mc² Innovation in Marketing Award went to the Riverside, Calif.-based Phenix Technology, a recognized manufacturer and seller of high quality professional fire helmets, for revitalizing this Made in America, 40-year old company into a global powerhouse. Angel Sanchez, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Global Operations of Phenix Technology explains, “As a small business in California, we struggle to compete with large manufacturers from all over the world. Many have what seem to be unlimited budgets for marketing along with reduced costs for doing business.” But part of not just surviving, but thriving is the innovation many in the Inland Empire have. “We are committed to making our products in the Inland Empire, says Sanchez. “To ensure we can continue doing so for decades to come we focused our energy on innovation. From lean manufacturing to creative marketing, we work hard to thrive in California. It was an honor to be recognized for our efforts and hopefully our model can help other small business to succeed.”

The 2017 Manufacturing Summit will be held Friday, February 3, 2017, at the Ontario Convention Center. For more information, visit MCIE Website or cut and paste this link http://mfgcouncilie.com/homepage/.

 



What MacGyver & the Fess Parker Have in Common

September 8th, 2016

supply chain

With the reboot of MacGyver starting this fall, it reminds me of one of the strategies behind my success — leverage already-existing assets to deliver results. Coincidentally, over Labor Day weekend, I went to Santa Barbara and stayed at the Fess Parker Resort by Doubletree. Of course, it has stunning views of the ocean. One of the guests told me about the story of their restaurant and wedding area — the Roundhouse. It symbolizes the historic railroad roundhouse that once stood on the site (see below). And, they have made it into a popular wedding & party destination today. It is one of the only places I’ve posted on Facebook where I received several comments from folks solely about the hotel.

The Roundhouse

One tip to implement this week:

So, how can we be innovative and use what we have in new ways to create success? When I was a VP of Operations & Supply Chain for a mid-market manufacturer, we were rebuilding after narrowly avoiding bankruptcy following a cash-consuming merger and ERP implementation. Thus, we didn’t have money to spend yet we had to find ways to become even more competitive to grow our business while reducing our cost base. This strategy came in quite handy!

The best approach for this week is to take a step back and assess your situation. What priorities exist? Choose one and think about strategies to leverage already-existing people, materials, systems, etc. to improve your situation. What can you do to take a few steps forward without going for more approvals (that will take longer than the week to achieve), spending unnecessary money, and the like? I’ve yet to find a situation that had zero room for improvement with already-existing assets. Ask your trusted colleagues for ideas. Set aside time to brainstorm. You’ll come up with ideas.

 

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”