Tag Archive: manufacturing process

Tariff News & Impacts….Whirlpool Adds People; LG Raises Prices

January 29th, 2018

Supply Chain Briefing

Tariff News & Impacts….Whirlpool Adds People; LG Raises Price|
President Trump just announced that the U.S. would impose a tariff up to 50% on large residential washing machines.  Almost immediately, the news started to emerge.

According to an Industry Week article, Whirlpool plans to add around 200 jobs in their Ohio facility and announced plans to increase investment.   On the other hand, according to the Wall Street Journal, LG announced the intention to increase prices and they also plan to open a factory in Tennessee later this year.  No matter the exact outcome, trade decisions are changing our landscape significantly.  


Trade Decisions Will Impact Your Business
Assuming you are not in the washing machine business, the key question is how will these seemingly unrelated trade decisions impact you and your business?  Without a doubt, it will impact you in more ways than you can imagine!

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Thinking about some of the more likely impacts to you and your business from this tariff, let’s start with people.  If you manage a manufacturing company in Ohio (near Whirlpool), you might be in fierce competition for people. 

Currently, we have many clients struggling mightily to find top talent.  Thus, it would be wise to pay attention and get ahead of this curve.  If you are in Ohio, perhaps you should look at how to retain top talent, as well.  The same holds true in Tennessee – certainly starting a factory will require a ramp up of talent.

Impacts in Addition to human capital
There are vast impacts regardless of your location. 

  • Do you use the same materials in your manufacturing process?
  • Have you checked in with your supply chain lately?  
    • Will they be geared up to support you or have you ignored them and don’t know what might happen as production ramps up in the U.S.?  
  • Have you provided a forecast lately? 
  • How about the impacts on your transportation and logistics infrastructure?

Other Impacts
Pull your team together every so often to think about what is going on in your industry and extended supply chain and what is likely to impact your business.

Be proactive to leverage opportunities instead of chasing your tail.


Plan the Work; Work the Plan

June 21st, 2016
from planning to execution

Oftentimes we spend countless hours planning a project with details, responsibilities and timelines, only to forget to work the plan. Once a plan is done, refocus your energy to execution.

We were reminded of this favorite client project and success story related to work processes recently as we were talking with a new GM at a key client about ways to improve service levels rapidly. It reminded us to pay attention to what “works”.

So many clients try complicated and convoluted programs, thinking it is required for success, but it isn’t! Why go down that rabbit hole when simplicity can achieve rapid, bottom line results?!

This particular favorite project made the list due to its simplicity and quick results in the face of quite a bit of doubt and several previous failed attempts to resolve along the way. Who doesn’t love a great underdog story?

In this case, there was one area within the manufacturing process that held up the vast majority of the customer orders. The bottleneck was obvious; thus, identifying it wasn’t the issue! Unfortunately, solving it proved elusive. What worked was simplicity — plan the work; work the plan. Not rocket science but it reduced 80% of the past due within 2 months’ time in a long lead-time, aerospace industry manufacturer.

As with every success, it wouldn’t have occurred if the GM hadn’t supported the plan and made the priority clear. Once the plan and production schedule was communicated, the sole focus was to prepare for and execute the plan. Thus, instead of not having the right skills available at the right time, we knew we’d run into this issue ahead of time, and we proactively resolved it.

And the next 100 items like this fell by the wayside as well. Manager’s attention was redirected to this bottleneck. If the team needed help, the management team would jump to action. Soon, the bottleneck freed up and orders started shipping. Eventually our #1 customer went from being “off the charts” in negative territory to regaining bronze level status. I personally remember this as one of my favorite accomplishments as getting these long-term numbers up consistently over many months to bring the status level up was a TALL order — and great to see!

Are you so far into the weeds that you miss these sorts of obvious solutions? It is easy to do. Instead, take a step back, simplify, execute & succeed.

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

The Million Dollar Planner 

The Value of CRM