Tag Archive: manufacturing

Where Our Best People Are Going

September 1st, 2020

In the last month, almost every client has had some sort of challenge with talent. Most clients and contacts have lost a high-quality person. All have experienced a lack of talent or the appropriate skills to meet customer demand. For example, finding temporary resources has proven quite the challenge. Watch our video on what we’re seeing in the market. Are you paying attention?

 

       

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Since people are on the move, there is NO DOUBT that we must get on top of our human resources. We cannot prevent people leaving because they want to change careers or industries, but we can prevent those who are leaving due to leadership. After all, people don’t leave companies, they leave people!

The good news is that you can improve this situation immediately.

Focus on your people.

  1. Have you clearly communicated where you are headed?
  2. Have your leaders talked with each direct report individually about how he/she fits into the future?
  3. Do you have a performance check-in process quarterly, at minimum?
  4. Are you providing career advancement? Ex. promotions, additional responsibility, training and/or mentoring, etc.
  5. Are you upfront with your people? Communicate what you are able to communicate. Tell them what you cannot communicate but make sure they know you will tell them immediately as you are able. Anytime leaders keep things from employees, employees make up FAR worse stories. Good people exist. Weak people stay and become disgruntled.
  6. How effective are your leaders?
  7. Of course, this assumes you are taking care of the basics such as safety, quality, COVID, etc.

Read more about navigating and successfully emerging post COVID-19 in my free eBook Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19. Please send your feedback and stories. I will incorporate them in an article, video or interview.



Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Notes Workforce Talent and Suppliers are Critical to Stabilizing the Supply Chain

August 24th, 2020

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – August 24, 2020 –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., tells companies to recognize  workforce talents and take time to partner with the right suppliers. 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.

“Stabilizing the supply chain has been critical these last few months for manufacturers and distributors.  This has been necessary to minimize volatility and keep goods flowing, in turn, fulfilling customer expectations. Customers understand that these are different times, but they will be patient only so long.  That is why it is critical to get the supply chain stabilized,” Ms. Anderson explained.

In past communications, Ms. Anderson has suggested understanding demand by connecting with both the customer and the customers’ customers.  She has also discussed realigning demand with supply through the SIOP process (Sales, Inventory and Operations Planning). Yet, the most critical component in solving problems, disruptions or even expansion of the supply chain is a company’s talent. “I often ask our clients who in the organization, which disciplines and levels, is involved in the SIOP process and collaboration with customers and suppliers. If the answer is simply Supply Chain or Operations, they are missing out on solutions that their talent can bring to the table, and even more concerning is the potential loss of talent due to the lack of involvement in meaningful activities. I also ask about the depth of talent and cross-functional capabilities within a discipline. This is telling, especially when complex solutions are required to satisfy key customer requirements or resolve a situation within the supply chain.  And, one of my final questions lies in the determining the kinds of relationships the company has with suppliers.  Employees and suppliers can create new solutions or products and be champions of an organization,” she continued.

With high levels of ambiguity and volatility, the leader’s role is more important than ever. Ms. Anderson suggests three ways to immediately leverage talent to stabilize the supply chain. “Talent is key to stabilizing the supply chain. 1) Get your salespeople and your customers involved in the forecasting process. Sales tends to be on the outskirts of demand and supply. They need to be as involved and accountable in the demand planning and fulfillment phase as they are in generating orders. 2). To stabilize internal operations, fill gaps and keep teams focused on the customer while maximizing efficiency, formal and informal leaders must monitor progress, adjust plans and stay on top of morale, training and developmental needs. 3) Do not assume the past will repeat. Deep dive into critical supplier relationships and future viability. Make sure you have the right supplier partners, not simply the least costly vendors, and track progress frequently. And, make sure you do not have all of your eggs in one supplier basket” she concluded.

Ms. Anderson recently released a short video, What’s Happening in Manufacturing & Supply Chain: Consider Your Top Talent. Ms. Anderson has also released, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & the Supply Chain Post COVID-19, an eBook that provides practical go-forward insights, advice and experiential value.

 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.                                       

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



The Future of Technology

August 20th, 2020

Technology is a tricky topic. On one hand, almost everyone has put technology and ERP implementations on hold due to concerns about COVID-19 impacts and to conserve cash. On the other hand, it is the best time to gain employees’ attention and focus on upgrading technology to scale the business, create a superior customer experience and deliver bottom line results.

Kellogg or Post?
As I said in my eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19, the Kellogg vs. Post story from the Great Depression provides an excellent example to ponder. In the 1920’s, Kellogg and Post dominated the market for cereal which was still a relatively new and untapped market. Post reigned in expenses and Kellogg doubled its ad budget and pushed its new cereal. Even as the economy hit bottom, Kellogg’s profits rose 30% and they become the dominant player.  Do you want to be Kellogg or Post? The morale to the story is NOT about dollars invested. It is about the opportunities of investing resources (which can be simply in the form of employees’ focus) in future success.

Which Technologies Provide Immediate and Long-Term Value?
Of course, the answer depends on your industry, company, current infrastructure, your customers’ evolving needs, your suppliers’ evolving needs and more. Why not perform a rapid assessment of what makes the most sense for your business and take one important step forward? As I said in my eBook, Newton’s Law is relevant. Objects in motion stay in motion whereas objects at rest will stay at rest. You must take steps forward, no matter how small.

Let’s highlight a few of the more likely technologies to provide immediate value and long-term value:

  1. Further utilize & expand your ERP system: No one uses 80% of their system.  Most organizations utilize only 20%. Find the next 1% that will yield a significant benefit to your customers or bottom line. Clients are gaining significant value from this simple step.
  2. B2B customer portal/ B2C e-commerce: No doubt about it. The ONLY growth area across the board is e-commerce. In addition, what could be more important than visibility of orders for your B2B customers? Delays will result in lost opportunity!
  3. Business Intelligence (BI): We are overloaded with data. The issue isn’t having data, it is making meaningful decisions and formulating plans based on the interpretation of data. BI will bring meaning to your data that translates into customer and profit opportunities.
  4. Artificial intelligence (AI) & Human Learning: In today’s environment, predictive capabilities produce VASTLY greater results than simply analysis and static plans. Demand planning/ forecasting, predictive maintenance, cash flow forecasting, and the automation of tasks are enhanced with AI.
  5. CRM: There has never been a time when understanding, staying in touch with and being on top of evolving customer needs has been more important.
  6. Digital Twins: Virtual replicas of physical devices that technology gurus can use to run simulations before actual devices are built and deployed. Read a fascinating article about the applications in logistics.
  7. Systems to gain efficiencies: WMS (warehouse management), TMS (transportation management), rate shopping, MPS (master production scheduling)/ MRP (material requirements planning)/Inventory planning, replenishment including VMI (vendor managed inventory) and more.
  8. 3D Printing/ Additive manufacturing – If you can produce a customized product on demand close to customers, you win in today’s Amazonian environment. Either way, it speeds up R&D.

Read our eBook, Future-ProofingiManufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19 to read more about technology as it relates to successfully emerging and thriving post-COVID-19. Explore these concepts further as you start thinking through your technology roadmap.

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

The Rise of E-Commerce & WMS Popularity During the Pandemic

Systems Pragmatist



Should We Be Reshoring?

August 14th, 2020

Are you thinking about your product supply strategy? You certainly should be! I was asked to talk on Bloomberg’s “What’d You Miss?” about reshoring since it is a hot topic in the news. I was also on a webinar with other CEOs and thought leaders recently about the Future of ManufacturingThe reshoring conversation took the majority of the hour because it was top of mind for manufacturers as well.

The surveys are ‘adding up’:

  • According to an EY survey, 83% of executives expect a regionalization of the supply chain.
  • According to Supply Chain Dive, 64% of manufacturers say reshoring likely following the pandemic.
  • According to Thomas Industrial Survey, 64% of manufacturers are likely to bring manufacturing production and sourcing back to N.A.

It doesn’t matter which survey is your favorite, at least review your product supply strategy in light of your current and most likely future conditions. As I said in my eBook on product supply strategies, there are many reasons compelling manufacturers to look at this topic. A few highlights include:

  • Customer demand: Customers don’t care where we produce or source what. They expect immediate delivery of customized products and services.
  • Customer changes: Customers expect to change their orders as their customers’ demand changes.
  • Total cost: Total cost is in alignment for non-commodity products. Mexico and the U.S. provide good alternatives for customer demand in N.A.
  • Working capital: Cash is relevant.  When you account for disruptions in your end-to-end supply chain as well as changing demand, it can become a significant number to watch.
  • Risk & Disruption: Look no further than COVID-19 to understand the impacts. Asia shut down for a few months. Mexico and Europe were unable to supply essential businesses in the U.S. according to multiple panels (aerospace executives, large CPG etc.)

With all this said, as I commented on Bloomberg, NOT all situations make sense for reshoring (and certainly not at 100% by tomorrow morning). Instead, use uncommon common sense, conduct a rapid assessment and develop a strategy and path forward. Also, put triggers in place to proactively manage and adjust as needed. If you’d like to discuss further, please contact us.



The Rise of E-commerce & WMS Popularity During the Pandemic

August 4th, 2020

According to Forbes, COVID-19 accelerated e-commerce growth by 4-6 years. Smart players are taking advantage of the opportunity. Only Amazon takes in more money than Shopify’s websites, and analysts are predicting a 75% annual rise in the next five years.

The ONLY item in common across all clients and colleagues across the board is the rise in e-commerce during COVID-19. In fact, it has been the only bright spot in many cases. As a result, there is an increasing interest in B2C AND B2B software to support improved customer satisfaction and efficient order processing and fulfillment. You do NOT have to sell to consumers to be interested in providing increased value to customers and increasing internal efficiencies!

On a related topic, warehouse management software (WMS) is also gaining in popularity. Not surprisingly, as e-commerce increases, smaller, more frequent shipments become commonplace. So, executives and supply chain leaders are thinking about how to effectively and efficiently handle this increased volume in the warehouse. It is a completely different model than pallet and case shipping in the traditional warehouse. Additionally, unrelated to e-commerce, as manufacturers and distributors work to manage costs to offset the negative impacts of COVID-19, they want to further utilize WMS systems to increase their efficiency and cost effectiveness.

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Although e-commerce and WMS are hot topics in supply chain management, they may or may not be relevant to your situation. The key is to be thinking about what is integral to creating a superior customer experience with increased profitability and cash flow. Does technology support your objective? If so, which technology?

If you have the opportunity to serve customers directly or the opportunity to encourage your B2B customers to place orders through a customer portal (giving them better visibility and accessibility), now is the time to launch a B2B/B2C software. Do a quick review of your situation so you have the facts to assess the best path forward but do not delay. Invest quickly and reallocate/expand resources to take advantage of the opportunity while the iron is hot.

An an example, check out the story of what e-commerce did for the Great Lakes Brewing Company.

Similarly, the proactive ERP partners are pursuing WMS and related business analytics to provide extra value to their clients during these turbulent times.

If you are interested in a rapid assessment of your situation and/or an e-commerce, WMS, BI or ERP-related selection to support your growth plans, contact us.

If you are interested in learning more about these types of trends and impacts for manufacturing and supply chain, read my free eBook Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19.