Tag Archive: prioritizing

How Are You Keeping Up?

July 9th, 2019

In today’s Amazon-impacted, data overloaded world, it is one BIG challenge to just “keep up”. How are you keeping up with the latest industry trends, noteworthy products, emerging technologies and more?

It would be easy to spend 40 hours a week just “keeping up”. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend that as your competition would be happy to speed on by. However, this idea got me thinking about how executives should “keep up”.

Time isn’t a resource. We cannot make more time. On the other hand, time is a matter of priority. When we answer, “I don’t have time for that,” it means we aren’t prioritizing that topic or that person. We cannot prioritize everyone and every topic including how to stay up-to-speed.       

A few recommendations for executives to stay up-to-date on relevant information without taking “too much” time:

  • Make it a priority for your team to stay up-to-date.  If each of your team members is up-to-date on relevant information for his/her area, it will be half the battle. Ask for a bullet point summary of highlights.
  • Talk with customers.  One priority you cannot delegate is a certain amount of customer interaction and discussion on trending topics. How else will you steer the ship?
  • Attend key industry conferences. Typically, there is a flagship industry event our clients attend. No matter how busy, make room in your schedule to attend, meet with customers and suppliers and find out what is trending.
  • Focus some attention on your strategic differentiation. For example, a few clients are expert at sourcing. Thus, they better put some focus on this topic. Others are expert at manufacturing, e-commerce or a technical topic. Stay abreast of key trends.
  • Skim industry articles & the Wall Street Journal. Staying current on key events and how they could impact your industry and your company is essential.



The Value of Demand Planning

February 13th, 2018

In supply chain circles, there are lots of exciting concepts to discuss and debate such as lean, master scheduling, theory of constraints and many more; however, we have found that our most successful clients start with the customer!  

If you concur that we are in an Amazon-impacted marketplace where the customer is king (no longer is it cash!), prioritizing demand planning is essential.  

Do you have a position focused on demand planning?  Or do you have someone who knows it is at least part of their focus?  Does anyone realize its importance?  Let’s discuss the value…

  1. Without customers, you have no company– understanding their needs and what will compel them to buy from you vs. the competition couldn’t be more important.
  2. Do you know how your forecast compares with the recent past?– Again, understanding your customers and why they are changing couldn’t be more important to positioning your business to succeed long-term.
  3. Let’s take a step back – do you have an idea of what you think you’ll sell this year?– Let’s hope so!  Imagine how hard it will be for your HR resources, your operations resources (to determine which machinery to prioritize, purchase and train on), your suppliers and more to run efficiently while serving you and your customers if everything is a surprise.
  4. Is your sales mix changing? – We’ve seen many clients who spiral into a mess not because they don’t have a forecast but because they have no idea that the product mix has changed.  Different products come with different materials, different skills, different complexity and different requirements overall.
  5. What is the timing?– We’ve also seen clients with predictable annual sales (actually incredibly predictable) yet the monthly, weekly and daily sales could be vastly different.  Operations couldn’t keep up.  The customer suffered.  Margins declined.  Timing matters!

We would venture to estimate that 99% of our clients can benefit from an increased focus on demand planning.  Why not give it a go?  If you would like an audit of your current process, please contact us.

 



The Art of Prioritization

September 4th, 2013

Prioritizing is a unique skill of eagle eye strategists.

Since I’d place bets that we all have far more to do than is remotely achievable, I strongly believe our success is dependent on our ability to prioritize. Choosing the “right” items to focus on makes the difference between success and failure. The question is – which items are the “right” items? How do you decide?

For example, I often hear from my clients, “I just don’t have time to sit down with my employee to discuss this quarter’s goals.” What does that say about our priorities? Whether we mean for it to convey our employees aren’t important or not, it does exactly that! So what should we evaluate when prioritizing?

1. Time sensitivity. How urgent is your item? What happens if you don’t do it immediately? Is it detrimental to your business?

2. Bottom line impact. What impact could your item have on your business? In other words, does it have the potential to result in significant profit? A loyal fan for a key customer? Or is it just an annoying nuisance?

3. Goodwill Impact. Will your item have a goodwill impact on your business? Will your employees, customers, suppliers, and community think differently about you?

4. Will it get worse or better? How will your item change if not addressed? Will it get better on its own? Worse? Or stay the same?

5. Short term or long term? How will your priority affect your business in the short term? Long term? Quarterly sales figures can have a substantial impact on short term stock prices; however, they can be meaningless to long term profitability.

 Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic: The Power of Focus