Tag Archive: process improvement

What Do Sears and Amazon Have in Common?

October 10th, 2017

Thanks to my client Dan Vest, I read a fascinating article about Sears and Amazon. Who knew Sears and Amazon had so much in common? Pretty startling! The Reader’s Digest version is as follows: Sears was the former Amazon about 100 years ago, growing 50-fold within a decade with its world-famous catalog and then transforming from a mailing company to a brick-and-mortar giant. They were the everything store with an uncanny feel for consumer demand. Sound familiar? So what might we learn from history and paying attention to trends?

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

Perhaps Sears isn’t something to be totally ignored… As transformative, customer-focused and growth-oriented as they were 100 years ago, they stopped looking for the next customer-focused innovation and have suffered mightily. Clearly, if you lose track of your customer, you are likely to lose track of your growth and profits. It is also easy to get lost as you get big – suddenly what used to be innovative is replaced with ridiculous rules and bureaucracy with no glance in the direction of the customer. Walmart came on the scene with amazing service and low costs. And now Amazon is the 80 pound gorilla.

There is another interesting development to note. Amazon tends to choose strange bedfellows and has partnered with the brick-and-mortar giant. Amazon will sell smart technology such as the Echo in Sears stores and the Sears flagship Kenmore brand product line will be sold online through Amazon. Unique collaborations seem to be driving success.  Just look at the partnership of innovative Amazon with “not-known-for-its-innovation” United States Postal Service (USPS), yet it works. Do you see postal trucks delivering on Sundays? I do.

In short, pay attention to history, trends and never stop thinking. Add collaboration into the mix and you might just hit a home run.

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What is Walmart Doing?

October 5th, 2017

I sat on a panel of experts for Mobility 21’s annual conference titled “Speed to Delivery: Good’s Movement’s High-Tech Future“, addressing the future of transportation. It was a fascinating meeting and panel discussion due to the amazing amount of technology being discussed – and one of the panelists was the Senior Director of Sustainability for Walmart.

Walmart’s focus on speed and the customer is paramount.

Driving the Future of Transportation.

Walmart has come up in several circles lately. One of our clients supports Walmart’s stores, and so we learned quite a lot about their fulfillment processes, demand planning practices and, of course, their new OTIF (on-time-in-full) metrics. We also discussed Walmart service with a 3PL partner, and how Walmart has been making headlines lately in the e-commerce race. It is worth paying attention. Here are a few of the highlights:

  1. The focus on the customer is paramount.
  2. The use of crowd sourcing is gaining steam with the use of Uber and Lyft to deliver from the store.
  3. Who knew but Walmart is testing deliveries with drones as well!
  4. Walmart associates are making deliveries on their way home which is possible with the software that can align deliveries with routes.
  5. They just announced a partnership with August Home Smart Lock to deliver when the customer isn’t at home – and even put groceries in the refrigerator.

It is always a good idea to stay up-to-speed with what the leaders are doing in the industry. Their ideas are not always the ones to follow but they are ALWAYS ones to ponder for application, impact and down-the-line trends. Who do you follow?

 

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Walmart Raising the Supply Chain Metrics Bar 

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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.

 

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100 Best Practices, Tips to Elevate Business Performance in Manufacturing

 



Are You Reshoring?

October 5th, 2017
reshoring and manufacturing

Many U.S. companies active in China have moved some operations out of the country – 38% relocated to North America.

My APICS Inland Empire Chapter hosted a program on “Changing Trade Policies and its Effect on Reshoring” with Michele Nash-Hoff, author of “Rebuild Manufacturing – the key to American Prosperity”. And, interestingly, the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) Orange County chose “Onshoring Profits: Manufacturing is Not Dead Yet” from a long list of topics and asked that I speak on its impact. Thus, it seems only appropriate to discuss a few common themes:

  1. U.S. firms are leaving China as conditions worsen. Actually, 25% of U.S. companies active in China have moved some operations out of the country.  38% relocated to North America.
  2. In 2014/2015, parity was reached between offshoring & returning jobs.
  3. 7 industries have reached the tipping point of returning to the U.S. and these sectors account for 70% of U.S. imports. For example, computer electronics, electrical equipment, and furniture make the list.
  4. Using purchase price or landed cost do NOT capture total cost of ownership and can lead to incorrect sourcing decisions from a financial viewpoint.
  5. 70% of executives are thinking about reshoring.

Where are you sourcing from currently? Don’t just jump on the new bandwagon of reshoring – but you should give your total cost of ownership a second look as well as dig into your customers’ expectations and sourcing impacts. You might just be surprised as to what this new view tells you!

 

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What are the Best Referrals You’ve Received?

October 5th, 2017

I lead a group of trusted advisors for ProVisors in the Inland Empire, and we celebrated our five year anniversary in September. It was a fun celebration and interesting to see how many long-term members we have, who have gained significant benefit from participating in the group. I very much appreciate my executive committee as they helped create this amazing success. A BIG THANK YOU to Kathy McEntee, Gus Marantidis, James Valmonte, Jan Palmer, Dana Mitchellweiler, Steve Nosenchuck, John Tulac and Mike Kouyoumdjian.

Provisors members sharing their best referral stories

At the anniversary event, we talked about our best referrals, introductions, resources or assistance gained during our tenure in the group. What I thought was quite interesting is the common theme behind the stories – it is more about the intent behind the referral than the referral itself. You might think a referral that turned into $50,000 or $100,000 would be quite valuable (and it is!), however, many folks who have received big referrals talked about the more personally meaningful ones.

For example, one of the stars of our group is Brian Reider (partner with BB&K, a business attorney and outside general counsel) who clearly takes it the extra mile with his referrals. Several folks mentioned stories that relate to Brian, and although I didn’t bring it up (as there were too many great stories to fit into our short meeting), Brian saved the day once by helping my APICS Inland Empire chapter (a non-profit group of supply chain and operations professionals) with someone who signed up for our class who didn’t have the best intentions. We are not attorneys, we are operations gurus. So, we greatly appreciated Brian’s help in resolving the issue so that we didn’t have to make our regular members suffer because of one bad apple.

What stands out in your mind as the most valuable introduction, resource or help provided by your colleagues and contacts? I bet you’ll be surprised by what you come up with. Perhaps we should all give pause to what is truly meaningful to us.

 

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