Tag Archive: supply chain partners

The Resilient Supply Chain: Cross-Organizational Collaboration

January 4th, 2019

I’ve been coordinating a process involving several disparate players, ranging from multiple educational institutions who are not aligned with one another, government players (with many differing goals) and business partners (with a completely different set of needs).  Although there are others, these 3 core groups are more than enough!

Success will only come to those who find common ground with collaboration.  If collaboration was as easy as simple communication, everyone would do it. We would probably have a lot more happy customers and more profits to share with investors, employees and for reinvestment and giving back.

What should we think about if this is the outcome we wish to create?

  1.  Look for the win-win-win –  If someone wins and someone else loses, it isn’t a successful collaboration.  If you think hard enough, there is usually a way to turn a situation into more of a win-win-win with some shared give-and-take.
  2.  Think about positioning –  If your idea is presented in isolation, it has a much greater chance at failing than if it is presented in light of the bigger picture. Why is it important?  How can each person play a role? Does each person know how he/she fits in and provides value?
  3.  Value diversity – Each time I think “I don’t want to be on this person’s team because he/she is annoying or won’t add value”, I find that I am completely wrong (luckily these are just thoughts, not actions).  The best ideas come from the most unlikely places.  And, interesting suggestions that can lead to “big” ideas typically come from someone who is quite opposite and thinking about the situation from a different perspective.
  4.  Recognize progress of the team –  Who doesn’t want to be recognized with a pat on the back as progress is made?  The key to collaboration is not to say positive things about collaboration and then reward individual performance.  Instead, reward team progress, even if that progress is simply gaining an understanding of how much they do not agree with each other yet are willing to listen.  
  5.  Consensus isn’t needed – As much as collaboration can achieve dramatically better results than each superhero individual thinking on his/her own, consensus is overrated.  Set the expectations upfront of how collaboration works. Feedback and input is expected. Discussion and debate participation is mandatory. But consensus isn’t required for every decision.  Otherwise, you might get there eventually but your competition will be LONG gone. More importantly, determine how to collaborate and make decisions upfront.decisions

The importance of collaboration comes up more frequently than almost any other topic.  Since executives are collaborating with customers, suppliers, trusted advisors, other supply chain partners and even competitors, there is just no room for poor collaborators.  

If you’ll notice, many disruptors collaborate with strange partners. Perhaps this core skill is a key ingredient to success…. Or, think of it another way, how will anything get done without it?

 



A Systems Checkup

February 16th, 2018

Early in the year is an appropriate time to perform a systems audit.  In fact, most clients could benefit from this at any time of the year as we often discover some significant gaps.  

As we look further, we consider this subset of the questions:

  1. Do you have clarity of your current processes? It certainly seems apparent to start here but there are many clients who would check a box less than a “B” rating.  How about you?
  2. Do your people and/or facilities perform processes in a standard way? Do you want them to do this?  Or do you encourage differentiation?  There is no right answer across-the-board here!
  3. Do you know how to utilize your ERP system to support your core processes? Do you hunt and poke around until you figure it out or is there clarity for the basic elements of the process?  Perhaps take a step back – does anyone know how to use the system to perform these processes?
  4. Do you look for opportunities to further leverage your ERP system by joining user groups, going to conferences, brainstorming with your team etc.? The vast majority of companies use 20% of an ERP system’s functionality.  Moving the needle to 30% of the best functionality for supporting your business objectives can accelerate results.
  5. How do your processes and systems interface with your customers, suppliers and other supply chain partners? If you don’t know, find out!  You might be missing a HUGE opportunity.

A regular audit of your system can uncover  types of opportunities.  When was your last checkup?



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.


VMI – Supply Chain Collaboration on Steroids

June 13th, 2017
VMI - Supply Chain Collaboration

Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) experts can implement Supply Chain Collaboration programs with minimal disruption and maximum results.

Supply chain collaboration is in vogue. Customers have figured out that if suppliers have access to more information on what they need and what is important to them that they’ll typically do a better job of meeting those needs. Suppliers have figured out that the more they understand customers, the more likely they’ll be able to delight them while minimizing spending. And this type of thinking carries over to your suppliers’ suppliers and customers’ customers and all supply chain parties in-between such as transportation and logistics partners, trusted advisers and more.

So, what are some of the ways supply chain partners collaborate?

  1. Sharing of customer preferences– the more your supply chain understands about the end customer (whether a consumer, patient, manufacturer etc.), the better served the customer will be.
  2. Sharing of forecasts– the better your supply chain understands your production schedule or sales forecast, the better they can ensure you have what you need when you need it at the lowest cost.
  3. Sharing of inventory– key to VMI is the sharing of inventory information. The best way to maximize performance of the supply chain is to provide access to inventory information in combination with trust. For example, if your supplier can save $1000 by temporarily reducing your inventory until an already-scheduled truck is available to deliver the next day and you will not run out for 5 days, why not save $1000?
  4. Sharing of resources– vendor managed inventory experts can help set up these types of programs with minimal disruption and maximum results. Not every supply chain partner will have the same type of resources. Why not share to better the entire supply chain? For example, one of our clients had a technical guru, another had a spreadsheet guru and another had a VMI guru. If they had access to all three for the implementation of VMI, it would be a win-win-win.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to be the Strongest Link in your organization:

Vendor Managed Inventory Is Making a Comeback

Supply Chain Collaboration

 



New Survey Says Manufacturing Key to American Prosperity

May 17th, 2017

According to a survey by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, more than three quarters of Americans surveyed believe the U.S. should invest in the manufacturing industry. Nice to see what I see on a daily basis come to life and gain momentum! Specifically, more than 80% see manufacturing as vital to America’s livelihood, 76% believe the U.S. needs a more strategic approach to developing its manufacturing base and 90% believe industry jobs will require a higher level of technical skill.

manufacturing

Interestingly, the overall public ranked manufacturing 3rd, just after technology development centers and health care facilities, in terms of the country’s leading sectors for job creation. The bottom line is that manufacturing is “in”! Are you thinking about how to leverage this opportunity?

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

Manufacturing is riding a popularity wave. While Americans are seeing its relevance, there will be more interest, investment and education in the sector. Take stock of your professional career and of your company’s position. What can you do to get ahead of the curve so that you’ll be ready for opportunities?

For example, from a career perspective, what is your ideal job? Do you have the skills, experiences and behaviors required to move up the ladder? There will be vast opportunity with manufacturing’s popularity, which will be heightened as baby boomers retire. Sign you and your team up for relevant classes. For example, APICS Inland Empire has several classes in manufacturing processes. Become a mentor and simultaneously find a mentor. I find being a Drucker Women in Supply Chain mentor, a Pomona College mentor and an APICS student case competition chair and mentor rewarding, and I learn just as much as my mentees. On the other side, I wouldn’t be nearly as successful without my consulting mentor and business mentors. There is no better way to learn than from someone who has “been there, and done that”.

From a company perspective, shore up your skills, resources, processes, technologies and the like so that you are the ideal source for new business. Tailor your approach to the most likely opportunities. Do you have capacity availability to jump on opportunities? Think strategically about what will arise down-the-line and put your company in a proactive position purposefully. Think about your supply chain partners and include them in your plans.