Tag Archive: inventory levels

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   


Which State Has the Most Manufacturing? The Answer Might Surprise You…

September 25th, 2019

According to an Industry Week article on the US 500: Top Manufacturing States, which state is #1 in terms of having the most manufacturing headquarters? California! Certainly, CA is not a manufacturing-friendly state in most places (although there is an initiative to create an advanced manufacturing consortium of excellence in the Inland Empire which is gaining support across the board). Manufacturers account for 10.93% of total output in the state and employ 7.2% of the workforce. Neither of these figures is #1 but the total output of $300 billion with an average of 1.3 million manufacturing employees does! #2 is Texas, followed by Illinois, Ohio and New York.

One of the reasons manufacturing is bucking the trends so far is that there are a vast number of consumers and companies in California, and in today’s Amazonian environment, rapid, customized deliveries are the norm. Thus, proximity matters. California is larger than all but 6 countries! The powerhouse of manufacturing is Southern CA. Additionally, California and specifically the Inland Empire is #1 in logistics in the U.S. According to research by a University of Redlands professor, logistics is at the center of what’s called an onion structure. It is the lifeline of the economy. Manufacturing co-locates or locates next to the logistics lifeline. Supporting services form the next layer of the onion, followed by all others such as retail, construction, leisure and hospitality.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
For one, all this talk about “manufacturing being dead and gone to Asia” is obviously an exaggeration. In fact, we are starting to see executives look at reshoring as rapid delivery is of paramount importance. After all, everyone is scrambling to provide one-day delivery to keep up with Amazon, and B2B customers are expecting B2C service as well!

Further, we are seeing a SHARP increase in concern over high inventory levels to support these service levels. Some clients are concerned about the cost impact of tariffs and inventory levels and others are just becoming more focused on managing cash so they can better utilize existing resources to launch new products and services, invest in the business and more.

Since manufacturing is directly correlated to logistics, trusted advisors and other industries, it is worth paying attention. Start thinking about potential impacts such as the following:

  • Will your supply base change or move with the changing times?
  • Will capacity be available? Suppliers, transportation partners, manufacturing operations, equipment, skilled resources etc.
  • Are you agile so that you can meet changing conditions rapidly and without a significant hit to your customer experience or bottom line?
  • Do you have a skills gap? Please take our brief survey.

If there ever was a topic related to the resilient supply chain, this would be it! We have recently upgraded and added content to our resilient supply chain series.

Forget Data Cleanup and Find a Measure to Start NOW!

January 17th, 2017

Are you mired in data cleanup and not focused on measures that can immediately help you? Stop searching for the “right” data lever and look for measures to track and improve processes.

If you have the systems to measure your ideal metric, go for it but don’t let it become an excuse! Find one that will measure progress and start immediately!

For example, in one of our clients, not only were the run rates incorrect but they were wildly different for similar items which would make planning an utter nightmare!  However, there are still ways to measure progress and plan. Find a metric that won’t change and stick to it. In this case, we used earned standard hours, and we are able to measure improvements in the metric. Of course, as data is cleaned up, we should put better metrics in place but it doesn’t have to hold up progress! And we were able to plan to the expected earned standard hours as well. All is solved to an 80/20 standpoint which is all that is needed.

This type of scenario has come up on multiple occasions – actually almost every client has some sort of situation that fits in this mold (the only question is how significant). It could be that measuring inventory levels is challenging because the system reports aren’t set up correctly. In this case, it could be that you count pallet rows or something else that is visible and easy. It could be that your system doesn’t support run rates effectively (unfortunately that was true with one client). In this case, we found a manual process to keep the load visible while storing information in the system.

What is in common in all these examples is to start immediately with what you have and find a way to make progress. It certainly doesn’t sound like rocket science but it drives results. If it was common, so many of our clients wouldn’t make significant progress once we find the “right lever” to pull, similar to these situations.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to become a Systems Pragmatist:

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Solid Inventory Management Practices Remain Timeless

July 12th, 2016
inventory management

Are you keeping close tabs on your inventory management practices? Improving just one aspect of your inventory can lead to improved service, margins and cash flow.

Inventory management remains a timeless and vital topic for success. Every so often, we get away from talking about it on a consistent basis because it seems somewhat humdrum. But it isn’t!


Earlier this year, I was asked to speak to a group of manufacturing leaders about it because of the ongoing importance. Then, I was asked to speak to a group of quality experts on the topic as it not only is timeless but it also crosses boundaries. Next, a peer group of manufacturing leaders asked me to speak on the topic. I didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize the importance of inventory to company performance, executives and supply chain leaders.

It started me thinking…. Banking executives understand the critical importance and frequently refer clients for any number of inventory-related needs: how to bring inventory levels down to free up cash, how to bring inventory accuracy levels up to safeguard assets and customer service, how to implement the appropriate protocols to maintain compliance and how to improve inventory processes to increase margins. Executives call about inventory-related topics quite frequently. Boards make it a priority. For example, corporate of one of my current clients (a facility of a multi-billion-dollar aerospace manufacturing company) has made it a top priority. Certainly none of these people think it is humdrum!


Are you leaving your inventory processes to an analyst on his/her own? Shouldn’t you be asking questions and expressing interest in the metrics? Do you know what’s going on with inventory on a weekly basis? We’ve been consulting for over 11 years as of last month, and 95%+ of our clients asked for or ended up requesting support to improve some aspect of their inventory. It does seem to be a no-brainer since it is a great way to make quick progress with and improve service, margins and cash flow  

Our marketing colleagues call these sorts of timeless topics “evergreen”. Think about all the impacts to your business stemming from inventory. We have no doubt it will spur you to go ask a few questions at a minimum. As this is one of our strongest areas of expertise and we enjoy seeing the deep impact and benefits to businesses, we have decided to offer a summer 2016 special (July & August) for Profit through People newsletter subscribers – a Rapid Inventory Management Assessment for $5000. To sweeten the deal (as we prefer to ensure results follow), we’ll rebate this assessment fee against any resulting (follow-on) inventory projects. If you are interested in getting started,
contact us.  

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to be the Strongest Link in your organization:

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Inventory as a People Topic

June 28th, 2016
inventory management

Empowering people to make the right decisions in your organization can be the key to getting the right results in a variety of business cases including inventory management.

One of our favorite client stories on the topic of “Profit through People” goes back to one of our first clients. It is hard to choose a favorite in this category as PEOPLE make or break success at every juncture along the way.

In this case, our client needed to get a handle on inventory somewhat rapidly because it could directly affect the sale of the company — and each individual’s career success and chances at long term viability at this company. How could we bring inventory levels down while keeping the high service levels our customers had come to expect? How could we make sure the “right” inventory was in the “right” value-add distribution center at the “right” time? Seems a complex supply chain solution might be required; however, the solution boiled down to 1 tenet — PEOPLE.

We found the “right” people in the organization. In 80%+ of our client cases, they have the “right” people somewhere in the organization already. The key is whether they recognize them. In this case, we were able to readily identify emerging talent throughout the system. Interestingly enough, we found talent where we needed it by simply looking.

Next, we had to “arm” these emerging inventory leaders with the “right” tools – and more importantly, the “right” philosophy. One of the largest successes was in changing the metrics to encourage collaboration and sharing of inventory. Even though each GM was still measured as they used to be measured (since there wasn’t time to change entire systems), we were able to change the overall message. Again, simplicity can “work”.

Last but not least, we had to “get out of the way”. Encourage, empower, engage and get out of the way. Although I don’t know that the executive team articulated this message like this, it is what they followed. People might listen to what you say but they definitely will listen to what you DO. The team was set up for success — and it worked! Inventory was reduced by 30-40% on the core product lines while maintaining high service levels. Thus, less cash was tied up unnecessarily while customers remained happy. Debt was freed up for the sale.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

Is Your Inventory System Working?

Empower Your People to GROW