Tag Archive: strategies

Leadership As We Emerge from the Pandemic

May 6th, 2020

“Whatever You Are, Be a Good One.” – Abraham Lincoln

All bets are off. No matter what type of leader you were pre-pandemic, your opportunity is now. Relationships move faster during times of crisis than any other time. Simply become the leader you know you can be. Everyone has the potential. Use your strengths. Gather your team to build on that strength. Move forward.

 

Be Calm

During these unprecedented times, there is substantial emotional turmoil. Start with self-management. Demonstrate calmness. Communicate clearly. Be patient, yet firm. Be upfront and tell people what you can tell them and tell them what you cannot tell them. Do not avoid them. People will make up a situation worse than reality every time. Instead, be upfront. Let them know that they will be the first to know when you know or are able to communicate. Establish trust and hold it closely.

Offer Resources & Communicate Frequently

Offer information and resources to help employees, customers, suppliers and other partners navigate these volatile times. Even the strongest of people should consider EAP (Employee Assistance Program) resources. Make sure that resources are communicated clearly so that employees can take advantage of what is available. Keep communicating – even if there is no news.

Read our eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19 to hear about additional strategies to lead, keep your teams moving forward, and engage your people in the future. There is ZERO doubt that leadership will make or break not only employee and customer engagement but also bottom line business results. As my HR mentor used to say, “It begins and ends with leadership.” Thanks to Debra Daniels-Smith as I couldn’t provide nearly the value to clients without her valuable counsel when I was VP of Product Supply for a mid-market healthcare products manufacturer.

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All Roads Lead Back to People
NOW is the Time to Invest in Employees


The Economy & Where It Is Headed

April 20th, 2020

Since I dressed up for my webinar with Eileen Angulo on “Navigating Coronavirus Impact with our Employees,” it seemed a great time to do a quick video for I’ve Been Thinking on the economy and where we go from here. 

One Tip to Implement This Week:As I said in the video, consider how you can help. Turn your focus from panic and worry to creativity and innovation. Focusing on innovation is the best path forward if we’d like to turn our situations toward the positive, and it is certainly is what will turn the U.S. towards a positive future. Anyone can innovate. Perhaps we aren’t all as skilled as MacGyver in utilizing pencils and paper clips but we each have unique talents and capabilities. Spend an hour focused on innovation and let me know how it goes. To learn more about innovation,

Stay safe and healthy. We continue to post coronavirus resources, write blog articles on navigating coronavirus as well as “beyond lockdown” strategies, and we are sponsoring APICS Inland Empire‘s “Navigating Through Volatility” webinar series. Join us and learn more here. As an executive director of SAC, we are also hosting a “Thriving Through Ambiguity” webinar series with a nominal fee for non-SAC members. Let us know if you have topics you’d like addressed. We would love your feedback.



Are You Drinking From a Fire Hose in Managing Supply Chain Disruption?

April 10th, 2020

Every client is experiencing unprecedented disruption! Unfortunately, one had to shutdown since their product is considered non-essential. Most others continue to operate to varying levels. Most manufacturers and distributors are considered critical because they supply defense, the construction/ building industry, the food and beverage industry or the healthcare/ medical products industry.

Every client is experiencing unprecedented disruption! Unfortunately, one had to shutdown since their product is considered non-essential. Most others continue to operate to varying levels. Most manufacturers and distributors are considered critical because they supply defense, the construction/ building industry, the food and beverage industry or the healthcare/ medical products industry.

However, it is NEVER that simple. It matters the type of business/ consumer your customers’ customers serve. For example, in one of my food clients, since many Starbucks stores are closed, the products they sell into this channel are down whereas, the products they sell into grocery stores are up. And this is just the customer side of the equation. Do you know who your suppliers’ suppliers’ suppliers are? They are likely impacting your level of disruption.

Are you drinking from a fire hose, looking for ideas? Tune into our Navigating Through Volatility webinar series to get up-to-date with the latest status, gain ideas to successfully navigate the disruption and strategies to emerge successfully and well-positioned for success.

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

Look no further than our webinars to learn more about the challenges, concerns, ideas and opportunities for navigating through volatility successfully.

Please share your stories, challenges, ideas and successes. Contact us and please join in our free webinar series and listen to our archives.

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Walmart & Costco Moving Towards Farmer-to-Shopping Cart Strategies

May 1st, 2019

 

Walmart & Costco Moving Towards Farmer-to-Shopping Cart Strategies

The squeeze continues. During my Aerospace & Defense speech recently on the Resilient Supply Chain, the concept of vertical integration arose as Boeing and Airbus are expanding and squeezing the middle in a noteworthy fashion. Similarly, according to Journal Star Walmart and Costco are moving to eliminate the middle man by moving towards farmer-to-shopping cart strategies.

Walmart started bottling milk in its new Indiana facility. This move eliminated Dean Foods and their 100 dairy farmers and replaced them with 30 farmers and cooperatives. Walmart is controlling the entire supply chain from farm to shopping cart including transportation, a vertical integration strategy rarely seen to this extent and scale in agriculture. Similarly, Costco established a chicken farm to grow, slaughter and distribute chickens in Nebraska, eliminating suppliers like Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride. Both of these initiatives could create significant disruption as well as opportunity.

Are you staying comfortable, waiting to be disrupted or taking the proactive approach to create disruption?

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

Getting to the top and/or to a comfortable position and riding the wave isn’t a viable strategy if you wish to be around for the long-term. Stay up-to-speed on what is going on with your industry, competitors, customers, suppliers, region and more. Don’t hide your head in the sand. Instead, choose to take the realistic yet optimistic view and turn it into reality.

In addition, start looking at how to build an agile and resilient end-to-end supply chain. There is no telling when your supply chain might be squeezed or something will change. The more agile and resilient you become, the more successful you’ll be! If you’d like some tips for managing disruption, take a look at our resilient supply chain series.



Have You Thought about Increasing Demand?

March 8th, 2019

If you are reading our newsletter, I have no doubt you are interested in increasing demand. Whether an owner, executive or key player, increasing demand for your products and services has to be top of mind. Let’s put it this way. No matter the position of my client (typically a CEO, Owner, CFO, General Manager or Board member), he/she is interested in increasing demand.  Consequently, the projects we work on are typically related to increasing demand, either directly or indirectly.

I was on a panel about increasing demand at the Anti-seminar Executive Luncheon. We had interesting discussions about demand from several diverse points-of-view. Thanks to Chase Photography, you can see them as a livestream on Facebook – video 1 and video 2 (about 60 minutes total). In thinking about how to increase demand, a few highlights include:

  1. Observe how your customer uses products and services –An often-overlooked gem is to follow Apple’s lead and observe how your customers are using your products and services and look for ways to enhance their experience. Have you taken a step back lately to look for areas where you can further help your customer?  Do you make working with your company onerous? That’s an obvious one yet commonplace. Imagine if you looked further!
  1. Do you provide a superior customer experience? If you ‘shopped’ your business, would you want to buy from it? Do your customers receive their products and services as ordered and in good quality/ condition? On-time? Quicker than the competition? Do you allow for easy returns? Hopefully you answered yes to each of these. We’ve found that this solely achieves a base level of customer service. Thus, the question becomes, “What are you doing to go over and beyond to make your customer compelled to return to you?”
  1. Are you referable? First, people buy from people; not companies. Are you people referable? The #1 strategy to increase demand is referrals. No matter whether we are talking about a manufacturer, distributor, transportation partner or service organization, referrals can generate more business than any other method. Just as much as we enjoy buying the latest technology based on the referrals from our friends, the people working at companies also refer. When is the last time you attended an industry event or conferred with local CEOs? You better believe business gets done based on word of mouth.
  1. What can you take over for your customer? We have found that whether the industry is aerospace and defense, food and beverage, building products or healthcare products, there are opportunities to take over tasks for your customer. One common and prevalent one is to figure out what your customer needs at each of their branches/facilities and keep them replenished so that they have the ‘right’ inventory at the ‘right’ place at the ‘right’ time. We see this as gaining relevance.  Distributed inventory is becoming an essential element of the end-to-end supply chain plan as customers expect Amazon-like service and will find someone else if you cannot meet their needs.

When at PaperPak, we won supplier of the year for two years in a row with our #1 healthcare products customer because we implemented vendor managed inventory and were able to maximize their service levels while minimizing their inventory levels (cash tied up throughout their system). It didn’t hurt that we also grew the business by partnering further with them while reducing our costs and inventory levels as well. Have you thought about taking a request from a customer and turning it into increased demand for you?

Our most successful clients are thinking about these types of strategies to increase and manage demand. Why not spend a few minutes to listen to the expert panel and walk away with a few insights? If you’d like an expert to assess your situation to partner with you to achieve these types of results, contact us.

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UGG Founder, the Amazon Effect in Healthcare & Why Demand is Key