Tag Archive: success

What is at the Cross-Section of Success?

March 4th, 2019

In thinking about the tours and events in which we’re recently participated, spoken or led, the audience represented a great cross-section of manufacturing and logistics industries, as well as company size:

  • Professional Women in Healthcare – spoke on the Amazon Effect
  • Aerospace & Defense Forum – spoke on the resilient supply chain
  • Anti-seminar themed Executive Luncheon – was a panelist on the topic of increasing demand
  • CSCMP state of the industry event – listened to the president of CSCMP discuss the latest statistics and timely topics in logistics
  • ProVisors manufacturers and distributors event – featuring a City National Bank expert discussing an economic forecast
  • The Founder of the UGG brand – talking about how he created the UGG brand and grew the company from the back of his van to what it is today
  • Tours of UPS, Amazon, Pacific Mountain Logistics, Shamrock Foods, Goodwill, Lifestream, ESRI and more.
  • Meetings with 9 academic institutions in the Inland Empire and surrounding areas
  • Harvey Mudd executive roundtable event –  M&A and preparing for sale
  • Webinars with APICS-IE on IoT and with the Society for the Advancement of Consulting on overcoming obstacles, leveraging PR and more.
  • And more…

So, what is at the cross-section of ALL of these tours, events and/or interactions?

The need for a resilient end-to-end supply chain!

What is in common is the sheer amount of volatility and disruption. Whether the disruptor or the disrupted, entire industries are transforming the way business is done. Some are preparing to have artificial intelligence and automation take over. For example, according to research performed at the University of Redlands, 60%+ of jobs are subject to automation by 2025. Others are dealing with massive benefits or disruption from changes in trade, depending on their role, while others choose to ignore the hoopla and are growing while everyone else is caught up in the chaos! And, this is just the beginning. Trade wars or not, many companies are near-sourcing, and looking at additive manufacturing and vertical integration.

What’s next? If you develop a resilient supply chain, the idea is you don’t have to worry because you’ll successfully navigate disruption to achieve peak performance. Contact us if you’d like to find out how to create a resilient supply chain.

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Eagle Eye Strategic Focus

What’s Ahead for Supply Chain?

Collaboration in the Supply Chain


What’s Ahead for Supply Chain?

January 18th, 2019

To think about what’s ahead in supply chain, it is important to put it in perspective with what’s ahead in business.  Read our article, What’s Ahead in Business? for details on the key trends impacting business:

  • Importance of the customer experience
  • Taking the holistic view has become a “must”
  • Volatility is the new norm
  • The coming power of manufacturing and supply chain

Given these trends, we predict our most successful clients will be thinking about these themes in the end-to-end supply chain:

  1.  Manufacturing is the Place to Be: Manufacturers are uniquely positioned to thrive. I have to say, I love that manufacturing is getting its due. According to NAM, for every $1 spent in manufacturing, $1.89 is added to the economy which is the highest multiplier of any economic sector.  
  2.  Distributed Inventory Management will be Key to Manufacturing Success: In today’s Amazon-impacted business environment, the customer expects rapid, low cost delivery. Given that the “last mile” has also become “last minute” with customers changing their mind frequently, predictive, distributed inventory management has become a differentiator.   
  3.  Additive Manufacturing will Rise to the Top: Customers want customized products on the fly. Yet, distributors cannot stock everything near every manufacturer, end user and the like. 3D printing can achieve this goal.
  4.  Customized, Rapid Delivery with Amazon-like Service and Efficiency is the Norm: In addition to additive manufacturing, re-shoring and near-sourcing (locating close to customers) are viable solutions to achieve Amazon-like service. The question is how to be efficient, cost effective and visible while serving customers.
  5.  Amazon Prime for Manufacturers is More than a Pipe Dream:  Subscription based models are becoming relevant to manufacturing, just as to Netflix and ERP systems. According to my friend, colleague and author Robbie Baxter, the membership model is just as relevant in manufacturing in transitioning from a one transaction/one-way communication to an ongoing relationship with the customer with a constant stream of feedback.  
  6.  We are Moving to a Digitized Supply Chain:  To address customers’ elevated expectations while continuing to make a profit, manufacturers and supply chain organizations are moving to a digitized supply chain. Artificial intelligence, IoT, the smart factory, robots and more. Don’t embrace technology as a fad.  Instead, embrace technology as a way to achieve a result.
  7.  To succeed, We Must Create a Resilient Supply Chain: Disruptions and volatility abound. Customers expect more. Boards expect more. People are harder to find and retain. Creating a resilient supply chain enables a proactive response to the current environment.

What will you do to get ahead of the curve in the New Year?

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The Strongest Link in Your Supply Chain

What’s Next in Supply Chain?

Is Your Supply Chain Ready for Growth?

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!


My Backstory & How We Develop Talents

September 10th, 2018

I’ve heard backstory expert, Mark Levy, speak several times over multiple years.  The light bulb didn’t go off in my mind regarding my backstory until a month ago – thanks to a conversation with Nancy Cramer.  Much appreciated Nancy (a colleague who has helped me with a few key concepts over the years)!

Although my backstory is a bit longer than I’d like for this newsletter, I’m posting it anyway.  It’s a good example of how skills are derived and helps to explain where my talent for maximizing multiple variables came from.  

(None of these pictures are of me.  However, I will share a video of my junior high ice skating video after my friend and colleague, Susan Brunasso transfers it to a digital file for me.

My parents grew up during the depression.  Because my mom had to work various jobs from an early age and had an busy daily schedule (taking multiple buses an hour into the city, going to school, going to work, taking buses back home, performing other jobs, studying into the middle of the night and starting all over again), she wanted us to have all the opportunities she didn’t.  Thus, I grew up with an amazing childhood that included a wide variety of activities.

My mom signed me up for everything.  And, I grew up believing that I could be good at whatever I put effort into – whether it was competitive ice skating, tennis, ballet, chess, pottery class, bowling, painting and more.  My dad was also involved.  I think he is the only parent who made games of catching stop lights at 5am while driving me to skating, swim team or somewhere else.

Some activities I enjoyed more than others.  And, I gave everything a ‘go’.  For example, I finished out a few swim team seasons before deciding I really didn’t enjoy jumping into cold water at 6 or 7am and swimming countless laps.  With that said, I was glad I passed the most advanced swim test – where you swim with your clothes on for survival training – because I knew I could.

On the other hand, I loved softball.  I waited for my dad to get home to play catch every day (and even enticed my best friend into playing catch on countless occasions and am sure she preferred to do something else).  I eventually switched to other activities where I could succeed longer-term and carry them forward throughout life.  But, the bottom line is I knew I could try new things and eventually find a path to some sort of success – similar to business, there are always additional options and avenues for finding success.

I succeeded and failed many times over and learned to “keep going”, certainly a secret ingredient to business success as well!  Although I succeeded in winning several ice skating competitions, I also fell in front of a row of judges – more than once. It was a great learning experience, and I enjoyed it. On the other end of the spectrum, I also played count Dracula in a Christmas ice show which stretched my creative powers (or lack thereof) to be sure.  No matter the challenge, my parents assumed I could do it – and so did I.

I ended up giving up skating as I went into high school as it is quite costly and requires an immense commitment which was no longer reasonable as I entered the new phase of life.  This happens in business as well, where one of your most successful products or services runs its course and you need to know when to jump S curves.

In my case, I took on tennis so that I could play with the high school team and focus on an evergreen activity (of course, that was more my mom and aunts’ thinking at the time because what 13 year old cares about when they turn 50?).  My mom thought ahead and knew that for me to make the team, I’d have to speed up my improvement . So, she signed me up for indoor tennis classes in the winter in Chicago – a great way to leap forward. In Raleigh, she also signed me up for indoor tennis, and it worked!  I made the tennis team, played in the singles lineup and won “most improved” one year. I see this as quite similar in business – those who find ways to improve while the competition is resting succeed. Similar to chess, you have to think 3 moves ahead! Also, my relatives’ long-term thinking paid off, as I have been hanging out at the Claremont Club to take lessons and play with a group whenever I am in town. After all, you know what they say about all work and no play!

Fast-forward many years – it turns out that my best talent is in maximizing multiple variables in businesses and seeing down-the-line impacts others don’t.  I have no doubt that this directly correlates to my unique activity-filled childhood.  Clearly, my parents are to thank for my success today!

One tip to implement this week:
As I said, it took me years, thinking off and on, about my backstory before the light bulb went on.  So you shouldn’t expect to figure out yours in a day (although I’m sure someone will, if nothing else to show me up:-)).   Perhaps this is a good time start to think about your talents. What are they? How do you utilize them? Or how could you utilize them? Also, take some time to think about your employees, peers and leaders.  What are their talents? There is no doubt that success occurs by building on strengths. Perhaps you should think harder about yours….

What is your backstory?

Women in Manufacturing & the Showing Up

June 18th, 2018

Last week, I attended the inaugural Inland Empire Women in Manufacturing event.  It was fun seeing old colleagues from throughout the years, as well as meeting new ones.  I especially enjoyed the key note speaker, Mrs. Anna Kan Chao who spoke about taking over her family company, Golden Island Jerky Company, because no one else wanted the job.  She never gave up and it went from barely getting by and bootstrapping the company (going without a paycheck with round-the-clock work) to successfully selling to one of the largest food companies in the world.  It didn’t stop there; when they wanted to close the Inland Empire California facility, she convinced them of the value, and instead they invested multi-millions in a facility upgrade.

She boiled her key to success as “show up”.

One tip to implement this week: Show Up
“Show up”.  It can be that easy!  Throughout my career, I’ve overcome some seemingly insurmountable obstacles simply by continuing to “show up”.  Have you thought about the value of showing up?

Think a bit further about this key to success.  When you are really tired and don’t feel like it, do you “show up”?  When you have employees in conflict and know it will be a rough day, do you “show up”?  When customers are calling (whether to yell at you over an issue or to explore further partnership opportunities), will you “show up”?  How about when Board members want to understand your strategy, are you willing to “pick up the phone” to talk?

It is easy to show up when celebrations surround you.  The key is whether you are willing to show up when you have to deal with unpleasant facts upfront or you have to deliver bad news or you have to “take one for the team”.  As my mentor used to say, “As a leader, you share successes and hoard the blame“. Great advice but to follow it, you must “show up”.