Tag Archive: priorities

Priorities, Priorities, Priorities

November 21st, 2019

When teaching a CSCP class for a large Target distribution center recently, one of the managers asked me about what drives results across all clients. One of the great benefits of speaking and teaching is that attendees stimulate new ideas and/or insights. I gave him what popped to mind immediately.

However, it got me thinking. Why not share these with my clients as it might stimulate ideas across the board! Here’s what popped into my mind: We gained the biggest benefit when figuring out where to focus attention to achieve the desired end result (such as increasing revenue, profit or cash flow). In essence, what is the priority?

Unfortunately, this sounds so obvious that most people think they have it covered but they do NOT! I’ve yet to meet a client with the following situation:

  • Just a few key priorities that were best suited to drive the results they desired
  • Key players in the organization (and perhaps key supply chain partners) were aligned on this same page.

More typically, there are FAR too many priorities AND the issue is that they all sound like priorities.

  • The Board wants x.
  • Our key customer is demanding y.
  • There are projects to launch new products.
  • There are projects to save costs.
  • Employees need education and training to know how to grow the business.
  • And the list goes on.

So what should we do? If it were easy, it wouldn’t be so commonplace. Yet, it is doable. We start at the end and work our way back. What are the desired results we need x months or years into the future? Then we look at how we get from where we are to where we need to go. Again, it sounds quite simple but, of course, it isn’t. And then, we look over what we see as priorities and how they fit into what we need to get from here to there.

Next, we look at three aspects:

  • What is the impact of the priority?
  • How urgent is the priority? This is often confused with impact. Often, they are NOT the same.
  • If we did nothing, what would happen? Would the situation get better on its own, stay the same or get worse?

Re-think your priorities. Why are you doing what you are doing? I was just reminded of this recently by a partner. She asked about the results we were achieving jointly and wondered if the level of effort was worth the outcome. I had to say, she was right! What were we thinking? Consequently, we are re-evaluating our priorities.

How about you?  It also often takes an outside view to stir the pot to re-think priorities. Are you comfortable? If so, you might want to take another look.



Which Business Best Practices Do Top Notch Trusted Advisors See?

October 5th, 2017

In my ProVisors ODAM (Ontario-hosted Distributors and Manufacturers group – don’t you love the play on words?) meeting this month, we discussed business best practices we’ve seen with our manufacturing and distribution clients. It was a fascinating discussion as our group is diverse and consists of the most respected attorneys, CPAs, commercial insurance, business financial advisers, and consultants from around Southern California. Yet, we agreed rather quickly on core best practices. Thanks to Ron Penland for making the meetings engaging and trend-worthy.

Best business practices, this way….

Here are some of the top themes surrounding best practices:

  • Start by understanding financial statements and cost – it’s interesting how often this arises with our clients.
  • Look for the value add.
  • Find ways to scale without increasing costs. There are many options such as leveraging technologies, best practices, trade associations and more.
  • Leadership equals profit improvement. End of story.
  • Don’t start planning your exit “too late”.
  • Consider process improvement techniques such as lean manufacturing, SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning), etc.
  • Be aware of your indicators and metrics.

More Best Practices

Are you reliant on figuring everything out yourself? We hope not! The most successful people find groups, attend seminars and conferences, engage with trade associations and interact with others who are up-to-speed on the latest trends and timeless success traits. If you think you might need to go a step further, feel free to contact us and we’ll suggest a few strategies for you.

 

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

100 Best Practices, Tips to Elevate Business Performance in Manufacturing

 



IBM, MIT & Artificial Intelligence

September 15th, 2017

Supply Chain Briefing

IBM has announced it plans to spend $240 million over the next ten years to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) research lab with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Anytime these two powerhouses collaborate and put their money where their mouth is, we should at least pay attention and consider the significance. AI is popping up in conversations everywhere as all type of organizations and industries are seeing the significance of AI technology. I don’t even have to look very far. My mom said her Amazon Alexa was one of the best presents she has ever received. (And that’s solely for the ease of the alarm!)

The future of artificial intelligence

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

Artificial intelligence is certainly a hot topic! However, it isn’t just hype. Proctor & Gamble improved unplanned downtime by 10-20% with AI. Siemens is using AI to optimize industrial facilities and is employing it for a wide variety of other applications in areas such as energy distribution, electric motors, and rail technology. There are a vast number of uses. It’s time to start thinking about how it could affect your industry.

Are any of your current partners (suppliers, IT/ERP etc.) researching AI?  You do not have to do it alone. Do you want to lead these efforts or pay attention to what is going on around you? Or, perhaps like IBM and MIT, you want to create a new partnership? It is a strategic decision. One way or another, if you aren’t at least paying attention, you will be passed by.

 

Read more about technology trends in supply chain.

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Even The Best System Will Fail Without Talent

September 8th, 2017

As an ERP expert, it is quite clear to me that even the best systems will fail miserably if they don’t possess talent. Don’t even bother to select and implement an ERP system if you don’t have the “right” people on the bus. Start with executive support and continue on down through every position – everything is a team effort.

Teamwork is everything

It’s paramount in business to have the “right” people at the table.

Since we’ve worked with many clients on ERP projects, it is crystal clear what impact people will have on your business’s success. Throw out the notion that ERP is a technical topic! Instead, start thinking of it as a transformation initiative of substantial importance to business success.

Talent Leads the Way to Success

There are countless ways in which talent will affect success. To name just a few:

  • The sales team at the ERP software provider. Let’s start with the people selling the system. If they aren’t geared to educate you on their system and its fit, you can be sold “a bill of goods”.
  • The implementation team at the ERP software provider – there is little as important as the particular resources you partner with to implement your system. Set it up sub-optimally and you’ll have enduring issues.
  • Your ERP team – since ERP can be such a time intensive process, the temptation is to assign non-integral people to the team since the day-to-day must carry on; however, this team is designing your future!
  • Your executive sponsors – these folks are in a critical position to understand the status, make critical decisions, consider the fit with strategy, supplement resources as required and much more. It is not for the faint of heart!

If you’d like to ensure success with your ERP system, you’ll START by considering the people.  Put more time and thought into your talent. As much as or more than you put into evaluating functionality and you’ll be grateful down-the-line.

 

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

Why ERP Success Has Little to Do with Systems

 



Emerging Technologies for Supply Chain

September 7th, 2017

There is an ever-increasing interest in emerging technologies for supply chain. When thinking of your end-to-end supply chain – from your suppliers’ suppliers, through your manufacturing and distribution operations, to your customers’ customers – you must consider technology to have any hope of achieving success.

In today’s Amazon-impacted environment, rapid information and product flow must be accompanied with low-cost and efficient supply chains to maximize the customer experience, profitable growth and cash flow. Trending technologies to consider in your strategic discussions include the following:

  1. Additive manufacturing such as 3D printing – it is no longer just for R&D. The progressive distributors are printing to order for items that used to require vast inventory and lead time.
  2. Collaborative customer technologies – programs such as vendor managed inventory, collaborative planning and innovative logistics partnerships can drive tremendous value.
  3. The internet of things is certainly taking on a life of its own – how do you plan to utilize it in your supply chain?
  4. If you support retail (and even if you don’t) and don’t have e-commerce, you have missed the boat!
  5. Robotics – there are plenty of uses for robotics throughout manufacturing and supply chain. Have you considered what might add value for your business?  Robotics could give you a 24/7 flexibility…
Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies in supply chain from e-commerce to robotics are more important now than ever

What Emerging Technologies in Supply Chain Mean To You

Staying on top of emerging and/or trending supply chain technologies is imperative in order to succeed in today’s Amazon-impacted world. Don’t get carried away with the latest fads. Instead, take a step back and think strategically about what will support your business today, tomorrow and five years from now. Selectively integrate the appropriate technologies to accelerate your growth and success.

 

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