Tag Archive: technology

When Is It Time to Upgrade?

July 5th, 2019

A Client Question
A client didn’t feel prepared to launch into an ERP system upgrade as they had just bought the business and had invested significant funds into the transition.  Yet, this client was also starting to worry about scalability and the risk associated with old technology. After all, this old technology was directly supporting their day-to-day business and customer experience. Although the CEO was reluctant, he agreed to an assessment of his ERP system and readiness.

The Answer
In their case, they needed to upgrade to modernize their technology infrastructure and gain additional functionality that is required to support their business growth and meet current standards. However, we found a way to make small key improvements to their ancient system to support enough progress to ‘buy time’ for the teams to gain an understanding of process disciplines required to support a successful upgrade. It also gave them time to educate the workforce.

During the next year, significant efforts were made to roll out process improvements and system functionality to standardize functions such as pricing and raw material ordering. About a year into the process, we “hit a wall” in terms of the ERP capabilities with critical functionality considered a “must” in supporting the business. Thus, we were prepared to make a quick selection of an ERP system and partner and eventually gained corporate alignment to pursue the upgrade to support continued growth and profitability.

Food For Thought
We are often asked to look at ERP systems that clients think they should throw out.  It turns out that that were perfectly fine and scalable, just poorly implemented.  We usually aren’t asked to look at ERP systems on their last leg where we had to make a strong case to executives to even look at the topic. And whether a new system was needed or not, the organization might not be prepared. Determining whether there is time to prepare or whether you should follow a rapid preparation route can be tricky. There are typically risks on both sides, whether you move too slow or too fast. Take time to assess what makes sense in your case. Be careful of ‘shark’ salespeople as there are tons in this field. It is quite confusing so that even well-intentioned executives and salespeople can mislead organizations. If you are interested in running your situation by us, contact us.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

ERP Selection: Why It Has Become a Strategic Priority



Lisa Anderson, Manufacturing & Supply Chain Expert, Sees Innovation & Collaboration Key to Advanced Manufacturing Success

June 7th, 2019

Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc. identifies innovation as a key driver in advanced manufacturing throughout 2019 and beyond. Driven by technology, AI and robotics, manufacturers are becoming more sophisticated in their response to changing customer needs.

“Customer expectations have changed as a result of what I call, The Amazon Effect. They want customized products with shorter lead times at ‘reasonable’ costs. This is a huge opportunity for manufacturers who make a commitment to reevaluate their processes, systems and the way they think about their product and customer” notes Ms. Anderson.

Successful manufacturers are turning their processes upside down from the inside out and strategizing new ways to proactively anticipate customer needs. “Manufacturers who choose to collaborate with their suppliers, as well as their customers, are making great strides.  From advanced customization and rapid response to distributive inventory, transportation and logistics, innovation and collaboration are becoming the cultural norm. In addition, there is a trend toward near-sourcing, vertical integration and agile strategies that proactively address these elevated expectations” she stated.

LMA Consulting Group works with manufacturers and distributors on strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation to maximize the customer experience and enable profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth. 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, and, accelerating cash flow becomes more relevant.

The outlooks and attitudes are positive as manufacturers rise to the challenges of ever-changing customer needs and increased expectations, tight labor and transportation markets and rapid growth. LMA Consulting Group recently released findings of executive predictions for 2019:  “Manufacturing & Supply Chain in the New Normal” (available at no charge).  “Technology goes hand-in-hand with innovation and collaboration resulting in customer success stories and bottom-line results” Ms. Anderson concluded.

About LMA Consulting Group – Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD
Lisa Anderson is the founder and president of LMA Consulting Group, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in manufacturing strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation. She focuses on maximizing the customer experience and enabling profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth. Ms. Anderson has been named a Top 40 B2B Tech Influencer by arketi group, a 50 ERP Influencer by Washington-Frank, ranked in the top 46 most influential in Supply Chain by SAP and named a top woman influencer by Solutions Review. She recently published, I’ve Been Thinking, an inspiring collection of 101 strategies for creating bold customer promises and profits. A regular content contributor on topics including providing a superior customer experience with SIOP, advancing innovation and making the supply chain resilient, Ms. Anderson is regularly interviewed and quoted by publications such as Industry Week, tED magazine and the Wall Street Journal. She recently was recognized as a Woman in Manufacturing by Inland Empire Magazine. For information, to sign up for her Profit Through PeopleTM Newsletter or for a copy of her book, visit LMA-ConsultingGroup.com.

                                                                      
Media Contact                                                            
Kathleen McEntee | Kathleen McEntee & Associates, Ltd. | p. (760) 262 – 4080 | KMcEntee@KMcEnteeAssoc.com



People & Robots Can Co-Exist Successfully

May 23rd, 2019

We held an engaging executive panel discussion at our APICS Inland Empire spring symposium on the topic: “The Talent Transformation: People or Robots? There is quite a lot of hoopla in Inland Southern California as this geography is larger than all but 24 states (and soon will take over Lousiana) with a strong manufacturing and logistics base.  Yet, the threat and opportunity of automation is close at hand. According to a University of Redlands study, most large metropolitan areas are subject to losing 55% of their current jobs due to automation. In Inland Southern CA, that number expands to 62%. What will this mean? Disaster or opportunity?

According to a robotics expert with a background in industry, Carnegie Mellon and Harvey Mudd, the CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP), a Director at Honeywell and a recruiter and practice lead at Aerotek, we can rest assured that people and robots can co-exist successfully. Of course, this assumes we are proactive in thinking about automation, retraining and educating our workforce and providing the insights and collaboration opportunities such as the executive panel event.

We had some probing questions from the manufacturing and distribution professionals in the audience, but it was unanimous that a solution exists. We also talked about Middle Harbor which is a high-tech area of the ports. This has proven more challenging as negotiations have put some people out of a job yet still getting paid for it. With that said, there were many examples of success with business growing 3-fold while the company doubled the workforce and more. Hiding under a rock is definitely not the route to success. Instead, be a part of the collaborative effort.

As a Board member of IEEP and a supply chain expert, I am helping to lead a consortium for advanced manufacturing and logistics success to address just this topic (resulting from the Brookings study research). If you are interested in staying in the loop with updates, please email me. I’ve created a special interest list for this topic.

The students from Harvey Mudd presented some exciting robotics research they are conducting with industry on how to successfully navigate cluttered workspaces (as most manufacturing and distribution clients require). Much progress is being made.  And, robots aren’t going away. There are many positives in terms of consistency of quality, replacing competitive motion tasks, reducing workers compensation and labor risks in addition to cost savings. With that said, there are also some challenges to overcome such as what happens when technology goes wrong (like with the Boeing 737 Max). There is always risks to mitigate and people who are overlooked. The panel discussed the Challenger disaster and the employee who warned ahead of time to the technical glitch.

What are you doing to evaluate technology from a strategic standpoint? Will you be left in the dust? Grocery stores might have been a bit complacent before Amazon bought Whole Foods. Are you complacent? On the other hand, please don’t follow fads. When everyone thought outsourcing was great and Boards insisted on following the trend no matter the total impact, several companies outsourced and were sorry later when service went down and costs weren’t saved. If you’d like an assessment, contact us.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

Profit Through People

The Talent Transformation: People or Robots?

The Resilient Supply Chain: Do You Have Resilient Employees?



Manufacturing & Supply Chain Expert, Lisa Anderson Considers ERP, CRM and Related Systems Key to Enabling Growth

May 7th, 2019

Originally published on ExpertClick on May 2, 2019

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA (May 2, 2019) –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc. considers internal and collaborative systems to be critical to short- and long-term growth for manufacturers and distributors. Systems must be able to support scalability and sustainability, enabling a resilient supply chain, superior customer experiences and peak financial performance.

“In today’s Amazonian environment, customers expect rapid delivery, over and beyond cradle to grave, collaborative service, 24/7 accessibility and last-minute changes. Executives are realizing their technology infrastructure must be able to meet and exceed these customer expectations while driving bottom line improvement” notes Ms. Anderson.

ERP, CRM, e-commerce, customer portals and related technologies are integral to success. “Many times, the systems are blamed for internal issues or challenges. Sometimes, it’s because they are out of date or a hodgepodge and don’t support the business.  Other times, the systems have the capabilities but are just not being used properly. We have seen clients ready to ‘throw out’ a perfectly suitable ERP system because they think the system is the problem rather than how it ties with the people and process” she continued.

Ensuring that the executive team is involved in ERP and system evaluations from a strategy viewpoint is critical.  “Since the system will impact market share, customer experiences and bottom line results, it is key treat ERP as a strategic priority,” she said.  Internal systems should reflect business objectives, cultural norms (entrepreneurial vs. approvals) and multi-department requirements and priorities. In today’s Amazonian environment, the only way to thrive is to leverage advanced functionality to automate, collaborate and utilize predictive analytics to make sound business decisions to set strategy,” Ms. Anderson concluded.

LMA Consulting Group works with clients on manufacturing strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation that maximizes the customer experience and enables profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth, including ERP evaluation and selection. “ERP is a tough topic. Clients worry they are too small, or it will be too expensive. Meanwhile, the competition passes them. Using technology that supports a superior customer experience without breaking the bank is a “must”, regardless of size or industry” she concluded.

LMA Consulting Group just released the findings of manufacturing executive predictions for 2019:  “Manufacturing & Supply Chain in the New Normal” (available at no charge). 

About LMA Consulting Group – Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD

Lisa Anderson is the founder and president of LMA Consulting Group, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in manufacturing strategy and end-to-end supply chain transformation.  She focuses on maximizing the customer experience and enabling profitable, scalable, dramatic business growth. Ms. Anderson has been named a Top 40 B2B Tech Influencer by arketi group, a 50 ERP Influencer by Washington-Frank,ranked in the top 46 most influential in Supply Chain by SAP and named a top woman influencer by Solutions Review. She recently published, I’ve Been Thinking, an inspiring collection of 101 strategies for creating bold customer promises and profits. A regular content contributor on topics including providing a superior customer experience with SIOP, advancing innovation and making the supply chain resilient, Ms. Anderson is regularly interviewed and quoted by publications such as Industry Week, tED magazine and the Wall Street Journal.  For information, to sign up for her Profit Through PeopleTM Newsletter or for a copy of her book, visit LMA-ConsultingGroup.com.
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Media Contact
Kathleen McEntee | Kathleen McEntee & Associates, Ltd. | p. (760) 262 – 4080 | KMcEntee@KMcEnteeAssoc.com                                                 



2019 Predictions Report: What to Expect and Where to Focus

March 26th, 2019

I’m thrilled to launch our 2019 Predictions Report, “Manufacturing & Supply Chain in the New Normal: 2019 Predictions from Manufacturing & Logistics Executives” discussing what to expect and where to focus.

We assembled this based on these types of questions:

  • How do we increase profitability in today’s new normal environment?
  • Do we see growth or recession? Or something in the middle? What should we do?
  • There are so many technology options with the promise to transform entire industries. Should we be pursuing? Which ones?
  • Customers expect quick delivery with changes along the way (even while intransit), excellent on-time-delivery (OTD) results and more. Where should we focus?
  • Trade wars and global sourcing – what to do?!
  • How is it trending in our industry? Are there any hot buttons, like talent?

Discussions with several manufacturing and logistics executives and experts are included in the report. Feel free to pass on this link to colleagues and friends to get a free copy of the report.

With that said, since you are already on our newsletter list, here is a direct link just for our newsletter subscribers.

Thank you to our clients and colleagues who participated with their predictions and advice! Please share your feedback. We would love to gain your insights, concerns etc. We’ll incorporate into our upcoming interview and article series.