Tag Archive: R&D

Thinking Long Term

January 3rd, 2017
thinking long term

Don’t be short-sided and make quick fixes that won’t be profitable over the long run. Take a longer, more strategic view, to grow a profitable business.

We all know we should think long term. And we talk about thinking long term. But, do we actually think long term — and live with our decisions even when it’s hard? Not nearly as often as we should!

Since we work with already successful manufacturers and distributors that want to build upon and accelerate success, we have worked with many executives who think long term; however, it remains a rarity. Just think about those executives who make a great long-term decision but waver when the going gets tough. I imagine we all know too many!

One client hired expensive engineers and R&D experts during the worst of the recession when they struggled to find a job. He had no need for them at that time but he realized that longer term, he’d be able to start designing a new product line to enter a new market ahead of the competition and would gain top talent to help with this endeavor. Do you think they left at the top of the market when the competition could have offered a nice pay increase? Not on your life!

Another client could have gained more profit by squeezing a bit more out of suppliers but took the long view instead. The executive team knew that finding win-win solutions would be the better long-term approach even though Board members and private equity partners would have preferred immediate progress. Later, when critical materials went on allocation, we were able to support customer needs when the larger competition (who should have had more pull) struggled due to this long-term view. Imagine how differently the sale of the company would have gone if we couldn’t service our customers?!

Decide which long-term views are worth pursuing and don’t waver. You’ll thrive over the long-term. We find that people tend to “give up” with their long term strategies just prior to huge success. Don’t become one of those statistics. Instead, stick to your long-term view.


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Crowdsourcing Is In

November 22nd, 2016
crowdsourcing is in

Crowdsourcing is an engaging, collaborative practice that is catching on to stimulate innovation and new ideas in R&D and software design.

In asking questions about outsourcing, insourcing and near-sourcing of the executive panel at APICS Inland Empire’s Symposium, we heard several great stories. One of them was compelling about the value of crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging a ‘crowd’ or group for a common goal — often innovation, problem solving, or efficiency. It is powered by new technologies, social media and web 2.0.

It is simply amazing as to what can be achieved with these out-of-the-box strategies. Many big name companies who can put “big bucks” behind their efforts have found that they can achieve far more with crowdsourcing than they can solely with employees alone. Certainly, cash-constrained smaller companies would have a significant challenge funding this expertise. Yet it isn’t all about cost. Innovation and new ideas emerge in these settings.

It is worth considering at least being aware of the power of crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing can apply to all business and social interactions and so it can apply to almost all aspects of business — hiring, research, manufacturing, marketing, etc. Our panelists talked about how it has been used successfully in R&D and software design. Leveraging these types of collaborative practices and tools create disruption and spur innovation. It is definitely a topic to keep your eye on!

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Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule

October 25th, 2016
5 second rule

We all know the 5 Second Rule when trying to recover and justify eating dropped food, but it also works to motivate yourself into action.

Keeping with the APICS 2016 theme, we can achieve profit through people by following the 5 second rule, according to Mel Robbins, commentator and legal analyst for CNN. Her point is “Do you think you’ll ever feel like doing what you need to do?… NEVER! Thus, follow the 5 second rule.

The 5 second rule: The moment you have the idea (to talk to someone, to email your boss, to present an idea to a key customer, or help a colleague), you have 5 seconds. Start doing something within 5 seconds. For example, if you want to talk with someone, start walking towards them. If you want to present an idea to a customer, write it down. Think of some small step that will get you going in the right direction. Otherwise, you’ll talk yourself out of it!

So, how can we use the 5 second rule?

  1. Tell your boss about an idea – can you imagine how many ideas we’d have if everyone just communicated one idea?
  2. Change one small thing you have wanted to change – it is amazing how often people just “get through their day” and don’t consider changing something to make their daily life better. Pick one small thing and do it.
  3. Tell one person about how you admire them – there has to be someone at work you think is doing a great job, has a great attitude, etc. Even if it is the President, go tell him/her. Pick up the phone.
  4. Introduce yourself to someone you wanted to meet – perhaps you’ve been interested in R&D but didn’t think anyone would listen. Ignore your inner voice and introduce yourself.
  5. Give constructive feedback to a colleague – this can be one of the hardest yet most appreciated things you can do. If you truly want to help, do it. You never know how effective it could be.

Mel has been wildly successful talking about the 5 second rule. She told us her story of being “down and out” and picturing a rocket taking off “5, 4, 3, 2, 1…..” and pushed herself to get out of bed. Who hasn’t felt that way before? From lying in bed to CNN – imagine what you could do if you followed the 5 second rule?


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