Tag Archive: strategy

The Beauty of the World & Why It Relates to Work

June 5th, 2019

This is the Piazza IX Aprile in Taormina, Sicily, which is a square known for the breathtaking view of the azure Ionian Sea and of the Mount Etna. I adored this night view from a nearby rooftop (of course while sipping limoncello, an Italian lemon liquor known in Southern Italy).

I came to Sicily to meet my strategy group.  We had some excellent sessions.  However, that isn’t the tie that I refer to in the title of this blog. Seeing the world absolutely relates to business. Of course, this would be done ideally in person but you can also absorb quite a bit watching TV or by reading magazines. Understanding different cultures, business customs and what’s relevant to a country or area will come in handy. We live in an interconnected world with customers, suppliers and other trusted partners throughout the world. I cannot think of a client that doesn’t have a material that originates in another country somewhere down-the-supply chain or one that sells to other countries at least somewhere up-the-supply chain. Can you?

Understanding what is important to your customers, suppliers, employees (as they also come from around the world or have related interests) or colleagues is quite relevant to bottom line business results.

One tip to implement this week:
Why not ask your top customer, supplier, employee or colleague about what is important? You could ask about materials relevant to your supply base. Undoubtedly, you’ll find out about something relevant or interesting to build a stronger relationship at a minimum. You could ask your customers about where they sell your product or how it is perceived in another country, etc.? Of course, your question will relate to what type of product or service you provide, so you should make it relevant to your business.

And, lastly, why not talk bring the topic up with your employees and colleagues. You might find that they have customs that are important to them or something quite relevant to doing business in that country or area. Just by posting pictures on Facebook, I found quite a few contacts who love Taormina. Who knows what will happen when I ask them about it!



2019 Predictions from Manufacturing & Logistics Executives

April 22nd, 2019

Economic volatility and uncertainty are the new normal. Instead of lamenting, manufacturers have a unique opportunity. There has never been a better time to stand out from the crowd with a superior customer experience amidst the chaos. 

Not only has the Amazon Effect driven customers to expect customized product and service offerings with rapid response – creating a greater demand for local manufacturing – it has also made innovation a cultural norm. There is a trend towards near-sourcing, vertical integration and agile strategies to proactively address these elevated expectations as well as to meet customers’ insatiable need for last minute changes.

With the rise of e-commerce, increasing transportation costs and global risks, sourcing experts are re-evaluating their global supply chains. Logistics is gaining in relevancy as transportation costs increase, sustainability efforts expand and managing inventory becomes a hot topic as accelerating cash flow becomes more relevant.

Drones, robotics, IOT, artificial Intelligence, big data predictive analytics and additive manufacturing are transforming entire industries while providing the tools to create a customer-centric, resilient supply chain. However, technology alone will achieve nothing. With a differentiated strategy and the right talent, the opportunities are endless. 

We asked business owners and executives for their predictions for 2019. From aerospace and defense to food and beverage to building products, the perspectives may be different, but the outcome is the same: Opportunity Abounds. 

Find out how to navigate disruption and achieve peak performance. Download our free report here.

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Global Consultants & The Value of Diversity

December 23rd, 2018

 

When I was in Australia recently week for a meeting with my global consulting strategy group, it hit home that there is power in diversity.  We represent 4 countries (Australia, Japan, U.S. and Canada), a diverse group of company types (from tiny to Fortune 100 businesses ranging from manufacturing to healthcare to nonprofit/government), a diverse group of specialties (strategy, innovation, organizational change, financial performance etc.) and more.  Diverse viewpoints definitely add value!

I joined the group around 3 years ago. At the time, I was the only woman (although another joined shortly after), and our mentor said he thought I’d add a unique value for that reason in addition to others.  I didn’t see his point until I was the only woman for a brief period of time, and it turned out he was right! I also have received significant value from the group members who have the least in common with me – a fresh perspective can go a long way!  Along the way, I’ve noticed that some of the best feedback comes from unlikely sources. Have you sought out diversity, even when it isn’t comfortable?

One tip to implement this week:
Let’s start by thinking about the groups and people we interact with on a monthly basis.  Are we hanging out with people who are just like us? For example, there is a member of my group who does practically the same thing as I do, just in Australia.  He is easy to talk to (of course), and he adds a unique value because he understands my questions/ concerns but if the group was full of these people, I imagine I would have received only 20% of the value to date.  

It is easy for us to become comfortable with people like us and not seek out diverse, sometimes scary opinions from others.  For example, I remember when one group member pushed back on my comments, and I truly didn’t agree at the time but when I listened to the session again in the car a few months later, I realized he was right.  I just wasn’t understanding and/or ready to think about it at the time. How many of these have you ignored, thinking you were right?

Although I see great value in the global nature of my group, it isn’t because I focus on having a global practice (although part of my practice focuses on international global corporations).  Instead, it simply brings a diverse viewpoint – even if I worked 100% in my hometown and never strayed (as one of our members does in a small Australian town), I’d get huge value from thinking differently.  He has no desire to move beyond his hometown yet he said our group is one of his most important priorities.

Don’t think about diversity in the light they talk about on the news. How many Fox News and CNN people listen to both programs?  Actually, I’ve heard more Australians who tell me they listen to both to understand than I’ve heard Americans. Instead, why not embrace that next person you think “on, no!  I don’t want him/her in my group” and see what happens and whether you gain a diverse perspective. I’ll bet 80% of the time, you’ll feel better off in the long run. And, remember, one bad apple (the 20%) doesn’t make a trend.

 



Hawaii and Strategic Thinking

July 25th, 2018

 

I met my global consulting group in Hawaii to talk strategy.  Have you thought about where you are going lately? More importantly, have you thought about why you are going there?  

It is quite easy to get caught up in doing whatever you set out to do a year or two prior when you set your strategy.  But don’t things change?  Certainly, the world stage continues to evolve.

Put dedicated thought into your strategy, set aside time to think and consider different viewpoints. In my case, gaining input from some of the best consultants from different countries and specialties while putting aside time to think surrounded by amazing views (see a few below) is bound to stir strategic thought.

One tip to implement this week:
Have you dedicated time to strategic thought lately?  Or are you too busy to even think, let alone dedicate time to strategic thought?  Perhaps you need to drive to the beach, mountains, or your favorite nearby setting and take 30 minutes to empty your mind.  Or, stay closer to work.

Deliberately put yourself in a work group of people with different ideas and viewpoints. Usually when I groan because I’m not sure I want to be in a group with someone.  Many times, it turns out he/she spurs me to new heights with new ideas.  

You don’t have to fly to Hawaii to broaden your view.  Take a look around regardless of your setting. There are countless amazing views we encounter on a daily basis.  Whether it is the local nursery, your neighbor’s yard, the hustle and bustle at the train station, an artist painting in the park or your dog jumping in excitement at your return home after a long day, you have interesting views to spur strategic thought.  

The key is to relate these views and put yourself in different situations that might spur strategic thought. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

 



Warehousing Strategies for Success

July 12th, 2018

The Amazon Effect is creating elevated levels of stress in the warehousing and distribution world. The key question is how to provide immediate deliveries, customized service, easy returns, and more for a reduced cost – a very good question indeed!

A few considerations to ponder:

  •  Storage capacity -What is your storage capacity?  How does that compare with your requirements?  And how can you maximize what you can store in your warehouse?
  • Flow – Are you running in circles around your warehouse to support your customers?  Similar to a manufacturing environment, flow can be an essential ingredient to warehousing success – or not.
  • Productivity – Have you automated what makes sense and will increase your speed/ throughput? If it doesn’t improve speed (and accuracy) to your customers, is it really more productive?  Similarly, is outsourcing truly more productive?
  • Equipment – What equipment is built into your warehousing strategy?  Would an upgrade provide a return on investment?
  • Data – Are you using predictive analytics and data analysis to make informed decisions to stay ahead of your competition?
  • WMS tools – Whether “poor man’s” or sophisticated, do you have a way to pick, put away and sort efficiently?
  • Inventory – Don’t ever forget inventory.  Without having the right product in the right place at the right time at the lowest system-wide inventory (and potentially end-to-end supply chain network inventory), what else will matter?

We have yet to come across a warehousing or distribution client that didn’t have at least a 20% improvement opportunity.  Have you looked into your opportunities lately?  Most likely your competition is!

If you need help thinking through your warehousing and distribution strategy, contact us.