Tag Archive: performance management

Raising the Bar With Customer Service Through Internal Operations

August 14th, 2017

Could a simple solution of aligning Sales with Operations with Finance deliver the bottom line BIG win?

Do your internal operations truly have a significant impact on your customer service levels? Yes, for every single client, they can have a dramatic effect!

For example, we recently worked with a client that wanted to raise the bar when it came to customer service levels. Over time, product mix, distribution strategies and buffer capabilities changed which created a gap when compared to prior performance levels. The challenge was to improve customer service and the overall customer experience rapidly – and “make it stick”.

It comes down to teamwork

As is true with every client we’ve worked with over the last several years – when it comes to customer service, no matter how proactive your front line is with customer communications and no matter what heroics your operations folks jump through to deliver product, the “win” or “loss” will boil down to whether your Sales and Operations are on the same page and executing in concert with one another. For example, if Sales is excited to win large orders (BIG wins) and Operations isn’t prepared for these big wins (not enough people, machines, materials, and the like), service will suffer. Add Finance into the mix who is not likely to be prepared for the cash flow impacts, and the situation can become even more frustrating. As apparent as this sounds, it is extremely common.

Could a simple solution of aligning Sales with Operations with Finance deliver the bottom line BIG win? Yes, every time.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on the topic: SIOP/Integrated Business Planning


Walmart Raising the Supply Chain Metrics Bar

August 11th, 2017

One of my clients forwarded this Business Insider article about Walmart’s supply chain metrics. Walmart is not only requiring an increase in OTIF (on-time-in-full) delivery performance but it also will charge penalties for suppliers that don’t live up to the metric! Creating an efficient supply chain is critical for Walmart, so they are taking this proactive stance. This is prevalent throughout our manufacturing and distribution clients – regardless of industry.


Time is ticking – do you know your OTIF score?

For example, in aerospace, there are very similar supply chain metrics and penalties. If we want to grow our businesses, we must develop excellence throughout our supply chain. Just think, there is no way to deliver on-time if our carriers aren’t on-time. There is no way for our carriers and shipping departments to meet their goals if manufacturing isn’t on time. And, there is no way for manufacturing to produce on-time if our suppliers aren’t on-time…and so on.

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

First, if this type of supply chain metric isn’t on your customers’ scorecards, you can expect it will be there in the future. Don’t wait until it is a request – be proactive.  And, if you already receive these types of scorecards from your customers whether or not they are passing on penalties, pay attention. Whether you become a value-added partner and grow the business together will depend on how well you perform. OTIF is becoming “the metric” for measuring on-time delivery performance.  

With that said, I’ve found that being proactive with your customers on the details of this metric can be beneficial as well. For example, if you shipped product on-time but there was a delay in your customer’s receiving department, most customers will adjust the score. With dollars and partnership status at stake, this can be crucial.  

Of course, find out how well you are performing. Dig into the metric calculation and, most importantly, the root causes for your successes and failures. I bet you’ll find a wealth of information in what is most important for you to raise the bar with your supply chain performance overall. Make it visible so that your team knows how well they are performing in your customers’ eyes. Encourage ideas and suggestions for improvement and watch those OTIF scores rise!   





A Systems Transformation

August 10th, 2017
Sytems Transformation

If a ‘system’ isn’t in place to provide process sustainability and a key resource changes in some respect or leaves the business, a gap emerges.

A systems transformation doesn’t necessarily relate to the computer system. Instead, a systems transformation relates to how the people, processes, systems, metrics, costs and more all come together to deliver profitable growth – or not! And, as one of my potential clients put it – dictates whether we are blind or able to see where we are going. Can you “see” where you are going?

We have received an increasing number of these types of calls lately. Perhaps it is because it is harder than it sounds to achieve a systems transformation.


Real life application

For example, in three situations that relate to a topic that we’re dealing with currently, the issue has built up to the need for a systems transformation over time. In all three situations, there is one or more “key resource” who knows how to navigate the system to deliver customer service, profit and success in some aspect of the business. Whether it’s related to inventory, pricing, procurement, margins etc.. But if the system isn’t in place to provide sustainability (which is definitely not uncommon) and the key resource changes in some respect or leaves the business, a BIG gap slowly emerges.

Do you need a systems transformation before an unwelcome surprise appears out of the blue?


Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic: A Systems View



Getting Out of the Weeds to See the Forest

August 4th, 2017
Turning Everyday Interactions into Profitable Opportunities

I’ve been working with several clients recently who are interested in “getting out of the weeds” so that they can “see the forest”. In a few cases, we’ve talked about strategy and reviewed key information about customers, demand, supply and financials. Although there were benefits to each piece (including being able to make decisions such as in-sourcing/outsourcing, equipment purchases, lease renegotiation, and hiring), it was no comparison to the value of being able to see the BIG PICTURE.   

See the big picture, the forest not the trees!

Similar to driving to work every day and not remembering how you got there, we are often caught in the weeds of day-to-day execution. These events can be vital to the business but we can miss the larger forest by never taking a step back. For example, we could be focused on improving a process like order entry for a specific customer with an eye to making it ‘perfect or ideal’ and miss the point – why are we entering orders for this customer in the first place? It is strategically necessary? How does this step affect others along the process?

One tip to implement this week: 

Seeing the big picture is a sometimes a unique talent; however, you also can deliberately set out to improve your vision of the big picture. Why not dedicate time this week to a few simple tasks? Start by thinking about these questions:

  • Why am I performing this process or step?  
  • Can I see beyond the next step? What is the end goal?  
  • Once you’re thinking more about the forest, take a step back to observe. Have you been “seeing” what is really going on and how what you’re doing fits in?  

Note: seeing the bigger picture isn’t a solo activity. Collaborate with your peers, employees, managers, customers, suppliers, and trusted advisers where appropriate. Be on the lookout for this result – the end goal. Have you ever noticed that if you plan to buy a car, suddenly you see many more cars on the road that look good? Or, if you are having a baby, suddenly babies appear out of the woodwork everywhere you go? The same concept applies as you look for the big picture. Soon, it will emerge – and you will emerge from the weeds.   



The Eagles & Apprenticeships

August 1st, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Last weekend I went to Classic West – an amazing weekend of six classic bands at Dodger Stadium including The Doobie Brothers, Eagles, Journey, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan and Earth, Wind & Fire. What a lineup! Aside from amazing music and fabulous floor seats (we were two rows back from David Spade!), we were also able to meet up with family and friends. While I adore Journey, I have to admit the best act of the weekend was the Eagles.  

Classic West featuring the Eagles

This was the Eagles first concert since Glenn Frey’s sudden passing in 2016, and they made it a tribute to him. Don Henley said he wasn’t interested in performing if Glenn’s son didn’t take his dad’s place, so he did. He did an amazing job and sounded just like his father. The emotional, generational apprenticeship was a clear success. The Eagles also brought Vince Gill and Bob Seger to join their session. A great jam among classic musicians who have known and learned from each other for decades.  

A tip to implement this week: 

Are you thinking about apprenticeships for your business? There are many reasons you should be incorporating apprenticeship programs, regardless of your industry. Especially relevant, as baby boomers retire, who will take over? Does the new workforce possess the breadth of experience and skill sets that will be required? Who will train them?

We don’t often see apprenticeships except within professional trades. Why is that? I can see many opportunities for these types of programs among my clients. Take a step back and think outside the box. What type of training, education, mentoring and/or apprenticeship programs would be most effective at your company to ensure a smooth transition from the baby boomer generation to the Gen X, Y, and Millennial workforce? It isn’t an all or nothing proposition – so think about which roles are better suited to which programs.

Finally, I’d love to hear your feedback – how has an apprenticeship worked or not worked for you in past? Let me know in the comments or via email anytime!