Tag Archive: manufacturers

U.S., China Sign Historic Phase One Trade Deal

February 3rd, 2020

According to the National Association of Manufacturers press release, the U.S and China trade deal is an unprecedented phase one win for manufacturers.  Previously the NAM CEO lamented that “China has proven one of the most troubling markets in the world for manufacturers, due to its lack of commitment to free markets, fair competition and reform.” Thus, this statement was high praise for the deal, “It is a remarkable turning point for manufacturers, with the unprecedented and enforceable commitments on critical intellectual property protections to which China has agreed.

There are a myraid of issues in trade with China for manufacturing, and there is debate whether “phase one” went far enough or too far (as both extremes exist); however, according to my recent discussions with international business attorney and China expert John Tulac on future-proofing your manufacturing supply chain, there is quite a bit of risk in China to navigate.

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

Certainly this trade deal relates back to tariffs. Of course, the U.S. agreed to cut tariffs of $120 billion in Chinese goods by half. They also held off on tariffs in December with expectation of the trade deal. Not surprisingly, economists expect this to positively impact growth.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, China agreed to ramp up purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over the next 2 years. Agricultural products will go up by $32 billion over that period, and China agreed to steps that will provide market access for dairy products, poultry, beef and more.

Most importantly to many manufacturers, there is strong language preventing thefts of trade secrets. That is certainly a huge frustration to manufacturers! We definitely aren’t too comfortable relying upon this but it can be seen as progress and eases some concerns. There is also agreement to create a dispute resolution office as well as to not manipulate currency. The bottom line is there is a host of positive outcomes and progress which provides a base to build upon.

By no means should we jump on expanding manufacturing in China as there are plenty of issues of concern. With that said, this trade deal might provide time for you to evaluate what will make the most sense for your business objectives while reducing negative impacts of tariffs. As costs have gone up in China and working capital increases in importance, manufacturers are starting to look at moving operations closer to customers to support quick turnarounds and a superior customer experience. Technology might provide a strategic advantage with 3D printing, AI, IoT, robotics and more. Commodity products with minimal freight costs are moving to other low cost countries. For example, Vietnam loves manufacturing and is rapidly expanding. There are plenty of options to ponder.

At a minimum, continually re-evaluate your supply chain road map and think through related impacts. These topics certainly relate to our new LMA-i, LMA-Intelligence series including the Amazon Effect, the Resilient Supply Chain and Future-Proofing and contact us if you’d like an assessment path-forward plan to accelerate your bottom line and customer performance.

 

 

 



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   

 



Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Considers Exports a Significant Opportunity for Manufacturers

October 23rd, 2019

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – October 22, 2019 –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., sees exports as a significant opportunity for manufacturers to grow and future proof their business.

“As manufacturers work on customizing products and meeting ever-changing delivery expectations, it’s equally important to consider where the customer is located and their drivers. In today’s manufacturing world, exports are a significant opportunity for manufacturers to grow and diversify their business. In fact, statistics show that 95% of consumers are outside of the United States, and most countries see U.S. exports as highly desirable. That’s staggering and significant,” Ms. Anderson commented.  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.

Culture, the end user, product use, legal requirements and other factors vary from country to country. These and other aspects must be considered to ensure a resilient supply chain. “There is tremendous opportunity to continue to expand beyond our borders.  But that means that not only must Sales, Operations, New Product Development and Finance be on the same page but also international partners and advisors. And, the end goal must be the same: to maximize the customer experience in the most efficient and effective manner for growth, scale and profits,” she said.

October is Manufacturing month, a time when the spotlight shines on the industry. Manufacturers contributed $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy.  The National Assn. for Manufacturers reports that for every $1 spent in manufacturing, another $1.82 is added. “Despite reports to the contrary, manufacturing is growing and is significant. U.S. Manufacturing alone would be the 8th largest economy in the world,” Ms. Anderson adds. Over the past 28 years, U.S.-manufactured goods exports have quadrupled.  Over the next decade, 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will be needed.  Latest statistics show that in 2017, the 249,962 manufacturers in the U.S. accounted for $2,244.3B (11.6%) of the total U.S. output and employed 8.5% of the U. S. workforce.

“Despite what people hear about robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) taking over manufacturing jobs, manufacturers will continue to be a key employer. The jobs may change, but the need for talent will not,” she said. Ms. Anderson represents the Board for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership that 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.

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   

 



Hurricane Dorian & Your Supply Chain

October 13th, 2019

 

Hurricane Dorian certainly took over the news as it threatened devastation. I’ve included YouTube from USA Today of the storm. People were evacuating up and down the east coast. Although the impact on people’s lives is certainly more important, there is a dramatic impact on businesses, as well. As logical as it sounds for east coast manufacturers, distributors and other businesses to be impacted while preparations are underway and the storm passes, it also had a profound impact on customers, suppliers and their extended supply chains. Are you prepared to navigate these types of disruptions?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?When I was VP of Operations and Supply Chain for a mid-market manufacturer, a hurricane devastated Greenville, North Carolina, the location of our largest manufacturing facility. Luckily, since the facility used to be owned by P&G, they evaluated risks as a normal course of operations and the facility was on high ground and not affected.  Yet, the facility was closed and nothing could get in or out. That situation alone proved the importance of thinking ahead to key risks, managing proactively and creating a resilient supply chain.

An east coast issue is no longer an east coast issue. For example:

  • Do you use the same carriers that might be tied up on the east coast?
  • Are your servers on the east coast?
  • Do you have any suppliers or customers on the east coast?
  • Do you have suppliers who supply other customers on the east coast? Or do your customers have other suppliers or customers on the east coast? Most likely YES!

The bottom line is 80% of my clients are impacted directly (suppliers, customers, transportation partners) and 100% are impacted through their extended supply chain. At a minimum, don’t wait to think about disruptions until they are imminent. Build agility, flexibility and resilience in your business as well as within your extended supply chain. 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.



The Power of WHY And Your Business

September 26th, 2019

I was always the inquisitive, and sometimes annoying, child in elementary school asking the teacher WHY as it pertained to certain math problems as I wanted to understand how and WHY that answer was correct or WHY my answer wasn’t. In most cases it was easy to understand and absorb but on at least 2 occasions my annoying questions of WHY uncovered mistakes in the grading book, much to the chagrin and embarrassment of my teacher. As I grew I applied the WHY to learning and competing in sports…WHY does that method produce better results than that method. So through my 40+ years of executive sales leadership and business ownership I’ve never lost site of how WHY can be used to succeed. So…let’s talk about how WHY may be the most powerful word you can apply to your business.

  • “WHY do customers buy and not buy our products or services?”
  • “WHY do we exist as a company?”
  • “WHY does our sales team continually miss their sales goals?”
  • “WHY did our competitor take away business from our top customer?”
  • “WHY do our employees like to work here?”

These and hundreds more can be the key to your success if you take the time to understand the power of the word WHY and how you can use it to identify business problems and uncover the solutions to those same problems.

Let’s take a quick look at the first question above: “WHY do customers buy our products or services?” Pretty simple and straight-forward, right? Well…in many cases it’s not that straight-forward and requires you to take a deep dive into every aspect of your business and not be afraid of what you might find. From your Business Value Proposition to understanding how each department impacts the Customer Experience, to how you manage warranty claims, to shipping orders on time, to how you handle delinquent accounts without losing the customer, to how your products or services can make or save money, to something as simple as the tone of your voice when you answer the phone and on and on and on. The Power Of WHY is the single most powerful word you can use in assessing you business.

Let’s look at how the Power Of WHY can be used to identify issues in your business.

COMPANY A – Manufactures plumbing products, have 5 key competitors and have declining sales the past 2 years. WHY are their sales stagnant? The CEO sits down his management team and works through a brainstorming and information gathering event they have called Operation WHY. Here are some of the questions and team answers:

 WHY do customers buy our products?

  • We have a vast line of products so customers can obtain most everything they need from a single source.
  • We’ve been in business 42 years and are known as an industry leader.
  • We ship 97% of all orders the same day.
  • Our products have low warranty claims.

 

WHY are our sales stagnant and not growing?

  • We haven’t stayed ahead of the competition who has developed some new products that our customers want and need.
  • Our company has lost it customer-first commitment.
  • We had turnover in Customer Service and have issues with attitudes and lack of relationship building.
  • Competitor A is targeting our key accounts and offering lower pricing on several of our key products.
  • Competitor B offers an extra 15 day terms to all their larger customers.
  • New account and pipeline development has declined.

Do you see some key trouble signs here? Absolutely…Competition is luring customers or part of their business away because they are In It To Win It. Company A has stopped being the industry leader in many critical aspects of their business and lost out to more aggressive and forward-thinking competitors.

Hopefully this exercise was a wake-up call for the management of Company A and they re-commit themselves to being the best in every aspect of their business as just having a great product is only a part of WHY customers buy from you. Like Lean Manufacturing Best Practices, you must constantly evolve and improve as a business and the Power Of WHY is a great place to start.

Another aspect of business is understanding who contributes to a positive customer experience. This is part of your “WHY do they buy from us analysis?”. Since People Do Business With People, the first exposure to your company may be the salesperson BUT…they aren’t the only ones who contribute to the overall Customer Experience. Anyone that interfaces with your customers such as the Receptionist, Customer Service, Delivery Person, Accounting, Technical Support, Operations and more are representatives of your company and your reputation is in their hands. You will succeed by making sure that everyone who interfaces with customers have the same commitment to treating customers as they would want to be treated themselves. If your first cultural business change is the Customer Experience then you are off to a great start.

WHY CHANGE? – WHY NOT?

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