Tag Archive: manufacturers

What’s Ahead for Supply Chain?

January 18th, 2019

To think about what’s ahead in supply chain, it is important to put it in perspective with what’s ahead in business.  Read our article, What’s Ahead in Business? for details on the key trends impacting business:

  • Importance of the customer experience
  • Taking the holistic view has become a “must”
  • Volatility is the new norm
  • The coming power of manufacturing and supply chain

Given these trends, we predict our most successful clients will be thinking about these themes in the end-to-end supply chain:

  1.  Manufacturing is the Place to Be: Manufacturers are uniquely positioned to thrive. I have to say, I love that manufacturing is getting its due. According to NAM, for every $1 spent in manufacturing, $1.89 is added to the economy which is the highest multiplier of any economic sector.  
  2.  Distributed Inventory Management will be Key to Manufacturing Success: In today’s Amazon-impacted business environment, the customer expects rapid, low cost delivery. Given that the “last mile” has also become “last minute” with customers changing their mind frequently, predictive, distributed inventory management has become a differentiator.   
  3.  Additive Manufacturing will Rise to the Top: Customers want customized products on the fly. Yet, distributors cannot stock everything near every manufacturer, end user and the like. 3D printing can achieve this goal.
  4.  Customized, Rapid Delivery with Amazon-like Service and Efficiency is the Norm: In addition to additive manufacturing, re-shoring and near-sourcing (locating close to customers) are viable solutions to achieve Amazon-like service. The question is how to be efficient, cost effective and visible while serving customers.
  5.  Amazon Prime for Manufacturers is More than a Pipe Dream:  Subscription based models are becoming relevant to manufacturing, just as to Netflix and ERP systems. According to my friend, colleague and author Robbie Baxter, the membership model is just as relevant in manufacturing in transitioning from a one transaction/one-way communication to an ongoing relationship with the customer with a constant stream of feedback.  
  6.  We are Moving to a Digitized Supply Chain:  To address customers’ elevated expectations while continuing to make a profit, manufacturers and supply chain organizations are moving to a digitized supply chain. Artificial intelligence, IoT, the smart factory, robots and more. Don’t embrace technology as a fad.  Instead, embrace technology as a way to achieve a result.
  7.  To succeed, We Must Create a Resilient Supply Chain: Disruptions and volatility abound. Customers expect more. Boards expect more. People are harder to find and retain. Creating a resilient supply chain enables a proactive response to the current environment.

What will you do to get ahead of the curve in the New Year?

  Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

The Strongest Link in Your Supply Chain

What’s Next in Supply Chain?

Is Your Supply Chain Ready for Growth?



The Resilient Supply Chain: Video Interview on Global Competitiveness

October 26th, 2018

To kick off our supply chain resiliency value series, we are excited to share an interview with Mirna Elnar, CEO Acura Spa Systems Inc.  Thanks to Mirna for sharing her expertise at the  APICS Inland Empire Executive Panel & Networking Symposium panel is Spring!   

Mirna is responding to a question related to supply chain resiliency.  In essence, the key question for manufacturers is how to be competitive with overseas manufacturers in low cost countries.  Clearly, we are NOT likely to be competitive on cost (especially labor cost) alone.  However, all is not lost!

In her comments, Mirna provides several ideas and strategies for how to navigate these rough waters successfully.  

                                                   

Success Responds to Resilience and Repetition
Our most successful clients build innovation into their daily routine.  It is no accident that they are the most resilient as conditions change.  In today’s Amazonian environment which is full of volatility and changing conditions, resiliency has become a “must”!

Mirna also gave a compelling story about exporting to Brazil.  Instead of giving up when she found out the tariffs were unfair, she devised a way to collaborate with a company in Brazil and find a win-win opportunity.  We walked away thinking if she could turn an unfair advantage into an opportunity, why aren’t we looking further for these innovative ideas?

 



Manufacturing & California are on Fire!

August 1st, 2018

According to Industry Week and the National Association of Manufacturers, manufacturing is on fire!  

Manufacturers’ optimism registered 95.1% – the highest level EVER recorded! Manufacturers are projecting historic growth in investments (4.1%), hiring (3.1%) and wages (2.7%).  Projected wage growth is the fastest in 17 years.

The bottom line – manufacturing is on fire!

 

 

 

 

 

Now to turn general perceptions on its head, Industry Week did a study of the top states for manufacturing jobs and California was #1! Clearly, this was accomplished in a state that doesn’t favor manufacturing jobs (even though they pay well).  Manufacturing accounts for 11% of the total output of the state, and the state is larger than all but 5 countries (if it were a country). Why aren’t we singing this from the rooftops?!? Are you thinking of ways to leverage this advantage?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
It is our passion that not only is Southern CA #1 in terms of manufacturing but it is “THE place to be”!  You are probably wondering if I had too many Mai Tai’s in Hawaii. Yet, there is a compelling story behind this passion:

  • Customers and consumers –  Southern California is the epicenter of manufacturing and can supply consumers and customers of what would be the 5th largest country in the world same-day
  • Mass customization – The ability to meet changing customer expectations rapidly and customized on the fly
  • More than 40% of imports come in through the Los Angeles ports – Many of these are raw materials and components to supply manufacturers
  • Access to a significant talent pool in Southern California
  • Access to high tech, automation, robotics and more
  • Access to logistics networks
  • Additive manufacturing changes the game
  • Innovation is prevalent – just to overcome the environmental standards, we have to be better!  Imagine if we can get some help with our laws….
  • With wages increasing in Asia, freight costs going up and customers demanding immediate deliveries and frequent changes, manufacturers are seriously considering bringing non-commodity manufacturing back to the U.S.  Why not Southern CA?

Think about how to leverage this massive opportunity and blaze a trail.  If you’d like to strategize with us about how to achieve scalable, profitable growth and maximize your manufacturing power, contact us.

 



Are You Achieving Scalable, Profitable Growth?

May 9th, 2018

When we look back over the last 13 years of consulting with closely-held building products manufacturers to medium, private-equity backed food and beverage firms to large aerospace corporations, every single client has one goal in common – achieving scalable, profitable growth.  It sounds somewhat easy but is far from simple in reality.

PROJECTS THAT ADDRESS SCALABLE, PROFITABLE GROWTH

in the last few years, these types of projects have been of particular interest – all of which spur this result.

  • MANAGING GROWTH – How to make sure the back end keeps up with growth – seamless execution of rapid growth is far more challenging (and exciting) than it appears.
  • OPERATIONS – How to scale operational processes to support elevated customer expectations on-time and on-margin targets.
  • SYSTEMS INFRASTRUCTURE – How to scale your systems infrastructure to support your customer experience without adding people and costs every step of the way.
  • TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE – How to scale your technology infrastructure without going overboard and getting caught up in fads while losing your objective.
  • TALENT AND TRAINING – How to scale your people (skills and talent) to support growth – there are a myriad of topics ranging from training and education to cross-training and capacity planning to scale in the appropriate skill areas that will provide the largest impact.
  • SCALING MANUFACTURING CAPACITY – How to scale your manufacturing capacity to support growth – gaining a view in advance can go a LONG way to alleviating a world of service and cost issues down-the-line.
  • SCALING WAREHOUSE CAPACITY – How to scale your warehouse capacity to support growth without expanding into new buildings unless absolutely necessary – after all, warehouse space is at a BIG premium, if you can find it at all.
  • SCALING SUPPLY CHAIN – How to scale your supply chain to support growth – no matter how prepared and perfect your company, if your suppliers, trusted partners and other supply chain partners are left in the dust, you’ll falter quickly.  For example, lately, we’ve heard a lot of buzz about issues causing delays from China, ranging from unexpected pollution controls to government mandates to Chinese New Year.
  • SCALING YOUR CULTURE – How to scale your culture as you transition from a small to medium-size company, medium to large and so on.  It is easy to get stuck in “no man’s land” – NOT where anyone wants to be!
  • And more….

Our best clients are thinking about each of these topics on a frequent basis.  In today’s Amazon-impacted marketplace, you don’t have a second chance. Instead, you’ll see your competition speeding by….

What is your plan to achieve scalable, profitable growth?

 



The Economy and the Inland Empire are on Fire!

April 17th, 2018

IE Forecasts
Since we attended not one but two economic forecast events last week (one hosted by Claremont McKenna and one hosted by the Inland Empire Economic Partnership), we thought it made sense to share the take-aways:

 

 

  1. The economy has never looked better especially in the Inland Empire – All the signs point up.  Even though folks are concerned about when the other shoe will drop, from an economic point-of-view, all appears positive.
  2.  Jobs at record levels with the Inland Empire leading California –  We are virtually at zero unemployment. Perhaps we need to be concerned about retaining our top talent!
  3.  Tax law is a boost for manufacturers! The Claremont McKenna economic forecast showed the progression and the definite boost from the tax law.  Not only is it increasing profit but it is also encouraging investment. It is likely to lead to interest rate increases as the Fed meets in 2018.
  4.  The Inland Empire is on fire!  First, did you know that just the Inland Empire is larger than 25 of the 50 states, let alone if we added the rest of Southern California?  It is leading California in many respects – job growth for one. And it is an attractive place to be in business, surrounded by tons of customers/ consumers, lower wages on average, more space availability at lower prices than Los Angeles and Orange County, access to a growing Ontario airport (with a new international direct flight to China soon) and with significant advances in technology and access to skills.We believe the IE is the place to be in manufacturing and distribution today! Amazon agrees since they have 21 of their 26 million square feet in Southern CA in the IE!
  5.  And a few cautionary comments…  There was a panel of CEO’s at the Claremont McKenna economic forecast that spoke about the California minimum wage hikes.  These are definitely not popular with manufacturers and distributors who utilize talent in the lower pay scales – challenging to compete with other states of course. At the IEEP, there was talk about the pace of automation and technology. From a profit, customer and competitive perspective, there are lots of advantages. In manufacturing, this is already prevalent and the impacts aren’t expected to be dramatically different.  However, in distribution, they are just getting started.  Although there are several positive points, it will be disruptive in terms of jobs and there will be a need to redeploy these blue collar employees.Lastly, trade can certainly impact the IE – stay tuned. In talking with two IEEP manufacturers, one said the tariffs helped, and the other said it could go well or really, really poorly depending on a few factors.

The IE is on fire and  growing!