Tag Archive: profit

How Resilient Are Your Business Partners?

December 20th, 2018

As we kick off our new series “The Resilient Supply Chain”, we are thinking about resiliency from all angles that will impact success.  One of the first that pops to mind is the resilience of your business partners.  You and your company could be 100% proactive and resilient; however, if your business partners aren’t, you’ll still crash and burn!

In thinking about recent client examples of disruptions and volatility, there are many!  Here are a few, along with some questions to think about:

 

  • Tariffs started impacting suppliers.  If/when this happens to you, do you know broadly how to handle it?
  • Capacity shortages starting to increase throughout the supply chain.  This has been especially true in aerospace.  Do you know in advance and have backup plans and partners? Or, are you surprised when this occurs?
  • Sales revenues increased more than expected.  A bit of unexpected success can be a nice lift but it also can create several unintended consequences to keep service levels intact. Are you proactively communicating with your supply chain partners?  And, how about your trusted advisors, such as your bank?
  • Transportation shortages have been creating havoc.  The conversation is no longer about price and saving pennies, it is about finding trucks.  Moreover, the key question is whether you will get the truck or whether your competitor will.  Are you the preferable partner to do business with?
  • Shifts in e-commerce and direct to customer have been changing industries. What are you doing to stay on top of these trends and share them with your business partners?
  • New technologies are creating disruption, obsoleting industries and bringing profit opportunities to the surface.  Do you have a plan?  Are you talking with technology trusted advisors, as well as finding ways to collaborate with supply chain partners to find the win-win?
  • And, what about your negotiations with suppliers?  According to APICS 2018 International Conference speakers from companies like Cisco, AkzoNobel, McDonald’s and NASA, it is no longer about negotiation.  It is about win-win collaboration.

This list could go on and on.  At our most recent Harvey Mudd executive roundtable, the CEOs discussed how culture (with employees and business partners) was the key to growth.  Making sure you are partnered with the “right” business partners who share your goals and are resilient might just make or break your success.

It pays to give it some thought!

 



Your Supply Chain Shortlist for 2018

January 3rd, 2018

supply chain strategy

 

As we head into a New Year, it makes sense to take stock and think about your supply chain shortlist.  To get you started, we’ve developed a list of questions to ponder:

  1.  Do you consider your supply chain from the holistic point-of-view?  From cradle to grave or product inception to customer reception?  If not, you are selling your business short!
  2.  If you were to draw your supply chain for a new hire, would you start with your customer, your supplier or somewhere in the middle?   Why?  Do you inherently see that as your priority?  
  3.  Have you thought about the power of high-tech AND high-touch in your supply chain?  Unless you are considering progressive technologies to deliver superior products and services at higher levels of profit, you’re sure to be left in the dust!  On the other hand, if you aren’t collaborating with your supply chain partners, you won’t even be in the game to start.
  4.  Have you considered the power of alignment (of demand and supply AND all your departments) while simultaneously considering the power of deliberate debate and misalignment? Find a way to constructively achieve both to maximize business value.
  5.  Have you considered why Southern California is the new center of manufacturing excellence for supply chains across the globe? Stay tuned for my new book, The Coming Power of Manufacturing to hear more about it.


The Million Dollar Project Manager

May 31st, 2017
million dollar project leader

Project managers drive initiative results yet they aren’t often treated with the respect nor given the support they need to thrive.

In our experience working with manufacturers and distributors from small, family-owned businesses to medium-sized, private equity backed companies to global large, complex organizations, projects account for 80% of the improvement. There are projects to improve efficiencies, reduce inventory, grow sales, expand into new regions, consolidate operations and the list goes on. Thus, if we must rely on projects for business growth and profitability, should we think about our project managers as million-dollar project managers?

Most likely the answer is yes. However, in our experience, project managers are not often treated with much respect. Oftentimes, they are seen as lower level resources responsible for executing initiatives, coordinating resources and reporting progress up the chain. But, is this how we should treat our resources who can have such a far-reaching impact?

Let’s think about the reach of project managers’ impact. There are several key points to consider:

  1. Impact on resources:Undoubtedly, the number one concern from all levels of leadership relates back to resources. There are “too many,” “not enough,” “not the right skills,” “not allocated properly” and so on. Thus, anyone who has a significant impact on resources should be considered valuable.
  2. Daily decisions on which tasks gain priority:Similar to the impact on resources, determining the priority of tasks is crucial. As a project manager, there is a constant need to prioritize among tasks, collaborate with departments, etc.
  3. Ingrained in the business:Project managers are in the “thick of things” on a daily basis. In order to complete tasks and achieve results, project managers are involved in a wide array of activities. They are familiar with what is working and what isn’t working in each department as it relates to project tasks. There are very few projects which are confined to a singular department.
  4. Communicate across the organization:In order to complete their tasks, the project manager must communicate and collaborate across departments and layers of the organization. Since high-quality resources are hard to come by, it is vital to keep communications in a positive light.
  5. Impact on profit:Certainly, almost every project relates back to profitability in some respect. Whether we are growing the business, increasing margins, automating key processes or improving efficiencies, there is a direct impact on profit.

So, since it is clear that project managers have a substantial impact on business success, it is wise to think about how to maximize their performance. As a metaphor, the million-dollar project manager is appealing since there is often million-dollar impacts. Thus, what should we do to ensure project managers are treated more like million-dollar project managers?

  1. Provide clarity of the big picture:Project managers will be more invested in their projects if they understand the impact on the organization. Make sure to provide clarity of the big picture and how they fit in.
  2. Give them discretion:There have been countless studies as to what is most successful in keeping valuable employees (like your million-dollar project managers), and the net conclusion is that employees want some ability to affect the outcome of their work. We must give them some level of discretion to make decisions and guide their projects within reasonable parameters.
  3. Recognize small wins:Managing projects can be a slog into details with little to show for it. Find small wins to celebrate. Make a big deal of the importance and tie it back to the project manager and their team.
  4. Support their decisions:There is nothing more important than supporting your project managers. Of course, providing constructive feedback is essential; however, when in the heat of the battle, it is vital to support your project manager’s decisions. Without this support at critical junctures, the project will suffer, and the project manager will become dismayed.
  5. Promote the project:Promoting the project throughout the organization can do quite a lot for its chances of success. How do you get resources to want to join your project team? Start by being attractive. This oftentimes goes back to how compelling the project seems. Make it so! Do you think the best leaders’ projects for improving margins happen to be more enticing than the average leaders’ projects of the same type? No; perception becomes a reality.

Since projects will have a substantial effect on your customer loyalty and bottom line – the two most critical aspects of any business – it is worthwhile taking a few steps back to think about the project managers driving these results. If you think about their impact, a million dollars might not be sufficient. Therefore, start thinking about your project managers as though they have a million-dollar impact and results will follow.

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

The Project Managers Skill Gap

Why Does Employee Engagement Matter?

 



Case Study in Accelerating High Performers

February 28th, 2017
high performers

Turn your employee performance assessment around by focusing on how to support and motivate your high performers rather that slow progress by trying to bring non-performers up-to-speed.

Situation: Our client had a select few high performers in their organization amidst a sea of average performers and a few non-performers. As is typical, all the attention went to resurrecting the non-performers as problems followed them wherever they went. Angry customers. Lost profit. Etc. At the same time, the high performers were frustrated by the slowness of progress and concern for their future.

Path Forward: The solution can be quite contrarian to what 80% of leaders follow. Forget about your non-performers. Stop spending time trying to resurrect poor performers. Give them tools to perform, hold them accountable and move them out if they don’t rise to the occasion. Do NOT be skittish about confronting reality, coordinating with attorneys and the like.

Instead, provide a generic level of attention to your average performers and utilize techniques like train-the-trainer (that do not require significant personal attention) to give these folks opportunities to rise into the high performer range.

Instead, focus your attention on your high performers. Ask questions. Listen. Provide tools and support. Pay attention. Make sure they know they have high potential and that you have high expectations. Soon, your results will move at a pace you didn’t think was possible.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

Empower Your People to Grow

Never Stop Learning

 



Lisa Anderson Presents “The Increased Need for More Control, Speed and Profit”

October 27th, 2016
webinar

Join LMA Consulting Group President, Lisa Anderson, as she hosts an interactive discussion on how supply chain leaders can make their businesses thrive when they’re up against shorter lead times, increasing risks and labor rates.

Lisa Anderson MBA, CSCP, president of LMA Consulting Group and a sought after manufacturing, distribution and supply chain consultant, speaker and writer who works with manufacturers and distributors in aerospace, building products and food is presenting “The Increased Need for More Control, Speed and Profit: How to Thrive in the Environment” in a TalentStream webinar on Wed, November 2, 2016, at 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT. As the recession is long over and manufacturing has been reigniting, executives are re-evaluating their end-to-end supply chains in response to the critical importance of short lead times, increasing labor rates in low cost countries, concerns about “too much” money tied up in inventory due to lengthy lead times and worries about the increased level of risk. This presentation will feature an interactive discussion on how supply chain and operations leaders can re-configure their supply chain and re-focus their efforts to not only remain competitive but to thrive in this environment.

“In today’s Amazon-impacted marketplace, customers expect rapid deliveries and 24/7 accessibility at low prices. Executives are turning previous notions about offshoring upside down,” explains Anderson. “And although there are key challenges, customers don’t want to hear about our obstacles, they just want their orders faster. If we ignore these demands, we risk our customers going to our competitors who can get them what they need when they need it at the right price and level of service.”

“Since service has risen to a level of critical importance, I’m starting to see my clients and colleagues consider what it will take to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. and/or to nearby countries. I’m conducting a research study to dig into this topic in more detail so that my clients can stay ahead of the curve. Success will not follow those late to the party. Customers will go to those who have the right product at the right price at the right location at the right time. Join us for the webinar to find out how supply chain management is becoming strategic to business growth and success.”

Capitalizing on her over 25 years of experience advising manufacturers and distributors on supply chain, operations, ERP and SIOP, Anderson continually provides data that helps manufacturers and distributors focus in on which people, process and system improvements are essential to preparing their supply chains to create a sustainable advantage.

TalentStream, a recruiting company that helps emerging technology companies secure the right people, the most critical piece of the puzzle to build and grow a successful business, is hosting the complimentary webinar. Registration is required.