Tag Archive: training

Do You Treat Your People as Critical Assets to Your Success?

June 24th, 2019

As several CEOs lament continually and as Steve Erickson, president of Corona Clipper, Inc. and UK Business Unit Group, said in our 2019 predictions document, talent is a hot topic in today’s tight labor market. Perhaps it is time to put a bit more thought into our talent.

As a consultant who works with organizations from a few million in annual revenue to multi-billion dollar conglomerates, it is quite clear that talent is an issue across-the-board. It doesn’t matter the industry, the size, or the ownership (private equity, publicly traded or closely-held). Talent is an issue that is top of mind of every executive interested in growth and innovation. The trick is whether you just think about talent or are willing to invest in talent. Which are you?

Certainly, those who invest are far more likely to retain top talent and develop new talent. In zero unemployment markets, there is something to be said about creating your own talent. If you aren’t focused on this topic, it is quite likely the competition will steal your talent away.

There are many ways to invest in talent:

  1. Provide mentor opportunities – If your organization looks for ways to support the growth of employees with mentors, you are bound to be more successful than the norm. In our experience, the best companies realize that people need to learn through practical application and mentoring provides this opportunity.
  2. Invest in leaders to encourage continuous coaching – aAyearly review is quite useless. Who can remember what happened that long ago and understand how to improve or build on a strength? Instead, I found that 90 day one-on-one performance conversations with a limited number of objectives do the trick. Continuous feedback and investment of time can go a long way. But let’s not expect leaders to know how to conduct these sessions if we haven’t invested in them. Remember, it trickles down hill.
  3. Provide training opportunities – Search for training topics that will supplement what your employees should understand. For example, any employee in operations and supply chain should take APICS courses to understand the fundamentals of supply chain and operations management and related principles. If nothing else, it will provide the body of knowledge and associated language.
  4. Provide experiences – In larger companies, there might be job rotations or overseas assignments.  No matter the size, there are cross-training opportunities as well as enabling visits and collaborations with customers, suppliers, systems and technology providers, consultants/experts and other partners.
  5. Allow the freedom for experimentation – To encourage new ideas and innovation, it is important to design programs that educate employees as well as provide a framework to try out new ideas. In our consulting travels, we find that employees who are allowed to test new ideas in a safe zone feel invested in.
  6. Address poor performers – Instead of ignoring your poor performers because it is an unpleasant task or you are worried about repercussions, proactively address them. Work with them to turn them around or move them out of the organization, and you’ll unleash your top talent.

Why not merely increase your engagement by investing in your already-existing talent? According to all the surveys, engagement is at horrific levels in the vast majority of organizations yet engagement is key to driving performance. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out investing in your people is not only common sense but it can do more good for your bottom line than almost anything else. The key is to not treat investment as throwing money at an issue but instead seeing it as a priority. Let us know what ideas you have to engage your most critical assets.

 

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

Are You Retaining Top Talent?

Profit Through People

 



Harvey Mudd Student Projects & Innovations Related to Cancer

February 22nd, 2018

Earlier this week, I attended some clinic presentations at Harvey Mudd (student projects with companies / partners), and the value of innovation hit home!  

For example, there are students working on innovations to improve on the success rate of breast cancer surgeries – talk about relevant!  There are many tangible and impactful projects the students work on throughout the year in a wide variety of industries.  Marrying up practical experience with book knowledge can go far in preparing students to be successful in careers after college.  Do you provide well-rounded education and experiences?

One tip to implement this week:
What type of education and experiences do you provide for your employees and team members?  I see a distinctive difference between training and education whereas education is a much broader concept so that your employees will be able to interpret and carry forward.  Do you explain the whys?  Do you provide practical examples?  Do you allow your team members to try new things?  Even if they fail?

Although education can be quite valuable, it might not be enough.  Do you find a way to provide an experience?  A kaizen might do the trick …or at least get the process started.  Or, have you put together a cross-training program?  Shouldn’t a planner or logistics resource understand the trials and tribulations of talking with customers on a daily basis?  Dealing with an angry customer can do wonders for opening your eyes.  And how about vice-versa?  Are your customer service resources committing to whatever the customer requests regardless of whether you can deliver it?  Why not give a more comprehensive experience approach a go?

Regardless, continuous education is critical today as everything seems to change in a nanosecond!

 



Deloitte Survey Says Talent Gap Jeopardizes Success

February 22nd, 2017

According to the 2017 Deloitte Global CPO Survey, 85% of those surveyed felt that talent was the largest factor in driving procurement performance yet 60% think they have a skills gap to deliver on their procurement objectives. My clients are experiencing this same phenomenon, no matter the role within manufacturing and supply chain. What are you doing to find, retain and develop your talent?

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

We are in a volatile business environment – global trade is evolving, risks abound, regulations are changing, supply chains are complex and significant change has become the norm. Instead of complaining or burying our head in the sand, we must find a way to get ahead of the curve. This starts with TALENT.

I am constantly asked to help clients, trade association contacts and alliance colleagues find, retain and train talent. No matter the technical topic, it will not succeed without talent. Thus, we better pay attention. Due to this continual feedback, I have dusted off my Skills Gap research from late 2013 and am refreshing it. I’d appreciate your feedback and insights for my research. I’ll keep you in the loop on the results.

In the interim, start thinking about the skills gap. What will you need a year down-the-line? Are you positioned to not only succeed short-term but to leverage opportunities as they arise over the next 12-24 months? If not, you have a skills gap. Put off spending cash in other areas but do not skimp on your talent.

Think about your objectives and back into your plan. Should you hire employees or fill expertise gaps with consultants? Will top talent WANT to work with you and in your company culture? Don’t assume the answer is yes — think about it and find out. What should you do to attract and retain top talent? That might also lead you to the third option which you should pursue regardless — developing talent. What training, education and mentoring programs do you offer?

 



APICS-IE Recognizes Contributions in Manufacturing

May 31st, 2016
APICS-IE Spring Symposium

APICS-IE’s Symposiums recognize supply chain innovators who develop industry innovations and add value to the manufacturing, distribution and transportation communities.

The Spring Executive Panel & Networking Symposium focused on emerging supply chain trends and acknowledged those emergent leaders contributing to manufacturers, supply chain professionals and distributors to improve their education, lead times, forecasting, data analysis and supplier relationships.

The Inland Empire Chapter of APICS,  the leading association for supply chain and operations professionals, motivated attendees with its expert panel presentation and discussion on investigating and predicting supply chain trends at its Spring Executive Panel & Networking Symposium: Emerging Supply Chain Trends held April 30, in Corona, Calif. In addition to expert presentations, stimulating dialogue, and industry networking; APICS-IE also recognized individuals and companies for their contributions to the association and improving members’ knowledge base. Six awards were given in appreciation of outstanding leadership and partnership — outstanding board leaders, Tony Martinez and Parizad Sethna; outstanding partner, Monster Energy Company; outstanding APICS partner, APICS San Fernando Valley; outstanding instructor, Susan Franks; and business leader advocate, Kusum Kavia.

While the Spring Symposium’s focus was on recognizing industry innovators, achievers and those who have contributed to APICS-IE’s success in providing value to the manufacturing, distribution and transportation communities; it also challenged attendees to think more strategically about their supply chain.

Award recipients recognized the importance APICS-IE plays in helping area companies stay current, getting access to education and developing human resources. “Riverside County is known for its large manufacturing hub and having the resources that APICS-IE offers is very valuable to our region,” explained business leader advocate award winner Kusum Kavia of Combustion Associates, Inc. “Not only can talent be obtained through APICS-IE, but manufacturers, such as my company CAI, can send their employees for training to this organization. APICS provides value-added supply chain support including research and educational tools that is critical to all manufacturers.”

At the core of APICS-IE principles is education and training of its members to help them better perform on the job for career and company success. Through its support of Student Case competitionswebinars and training, APICS-IE continues to be the destination for skills development, certification and training. Acknowledged as outstanding instructor HourGlass Consulting’s Susan Franks, CPIM, CSCP, Instructor Training, and AIS Master Instructor stated,  “It is always great to be asked to work with this dynamic chapter and be a part of a strong instructor team. This symposium was one of the best-focused on key issues facing today’s global supply chains with great speakers, on target with their comments, and very informative.”

VP Special Projects for APICS-IE Tony Martinez, CPIM, CIRM, was valued for all the contributions he makes as a board member. “This was unexpected, but I want to thank you for the opportunity to work with such a great group of people. The combination of teaching aspiring operations/supply chain practitioners through CPIM and Principles classes, and supporting students in Operations/Logistics majors at local colleges through scholarships, and the Student Case Competition, is a very satisfying use of my operations/supply chain experience.”

Partnerships are extremely important and many of the APICS chapters work together to leverage resources and provide expanded opportunities to its membership base. Thornburg Consulting’s Michael Thornburg, MBA, CPIM President, APICS San Fernando Valley Chapter, accepted the outstanding APICS partner award on behalf of his chapter. “I am honored to receive this award on behalf of APICS-San Fernando Valley. This award is an outstanding example of what we strive for, namely Developing Professionals. Being recognized by the professional community is an unexpected and greatly appreciated surprise for all of us at APICS-San Fernando Valley. I am looking forward to future partnering opportunities with APICS-Inland Empire.”

Expert panelists included Dr. Chris Gopal, Senior Fellow at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, Claremont Graduate University, and Executive Director of the Drucker Center for Supply Chain & Logistics; Brian Reed, VP of Transportation & Customer Service Niagara Bottling; Roy Paulson, President, Paulson Manufacturing; and C.J. Nord, ISM Committee Chairperson for the Port of Long Beach Working Groups, and Supply Chain Manager at California Faucets shared data and trends and explained why companies should be forward thinking and respond to slow moving stock, supplier reliability, lead times and forecasting.

Attendees also had the opportunity to ask questions, network and benchmark with area companies and build contacts within the manufacturing and distribution community to also help them build their career.

Looking ahead to the APICS-IE Fall Symposium — the theme will be Navigating Global Supply Chain and will be held Saturday, October 29, 2016, at the Eagle Glen Golf Club in Corona, Calif. Fees to attend the event from 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM are $15 for members, $25 for non-members and students are free. Breakfast buffet is included.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

The Value of Continuous Learning

8 Hot Trends in Supply Chain

 



Keys to Delegation Success

May 20th, 2016
delegation

With today’s high customer expectations for quick service, 24/7 accessibility and expanded services supply chain managers are increasingly overloaded. Delegation is key to meeting demands and working efficiently.

In today’s Amazon-impacted world, customers have higher expectations of rapid turnaround, 24/7 accessibility, and increased levels of service. These events have contributed to an information-overloaded society.

Not only do we receive countless emails, texts, social media messages, marketing messages and the like, but we also are expected to be able to make sense of it all and execute projects successfully – on-time, on budget and on results. A tall order to be sure!

Survival seems challenging enough, let alone thriving in these sorts of conditions. In taking a step back from the details, it becomes clear that we must employ tools to increase our chances of success. And, of course, we’d like to make the process easier and clearer along the way. One option to achieve these goals is to delegate. Those who properly delegate will have more time to focus on critical priorities while keeping details moving in the right direction. A few tips that will help ensure success include:

  1. Choose wisely– One of the keys to delegating successfully is to select the “right” tasks to delegate. Delegating away your strengths rarely achieves success, and it does nothing for morale. Typically, delegating your areas of weakness can be a good approach; however, it is vital to take a few precautionary steps. Gain expert advice in surrounding yourself with strong project team members and supporters. Leverage those strengths of your team members that happen to coincide with your weaknesses. Don’t waste time delegating “C” items. Ignore them. Every action requires effort. Focus your efforts on what’s most important. Delegate the next set of priorities as you’ll want to make sure those get accomplished. Think about “C” items when all else is done.
  2. Empower– Don’t throw around the word empowerment lightly. It is the rare project manager who knows how to empower his/her team. It means you must start by being a great leader. Provide guidelines. Collaborate on goals. Address the hard issues. Encourage team members to try new ideas. Support them in their failures. Take responsibility for the problems and share successes. Give your project team the ability to make decisions within their guidelines with full knowledge that they’ll be supported no matter the result. Soon, your team members will feel empowered. Once they are empowered, delegation becomes more of a collaborative affair.
  3. Diversity– There are many different tasks required to ensure a successful outcome for a project team. In order to leverage your team members’ individual strengths while minimizing their weaknesses, you’ll need a diverse set of skills and people. Thus, you’ll have a much better chance of success in delegating the diverse types of tasks required if you have a broad set of skills in your team with a wide array of backgrounds. This will also stimulate ideas and debate which can encourage empowerment so long as the leader supports experimentation.
  4. Core Metrics– Undoubtedly, no matter how effective you are in delegating, it will fall apart without core metrics in place. Work with your team to determine which critical milestones should be monitored. Develop leading metrics that will raise a red flag if the project is veering off-track. Put effort into making sure that the metrics selected will provide warnings in advance if needed. Don’t have too many metrics which become burdensome to track; instead, select the “right” few that will be indicators of success. Agree upon them with your team upfront.
  5. Provide training & mentoring– In addition to delegating assignments, it is imperative that you take the time to accompany that task with the proper training and experiences to go with it. Mentoring can be valuable as well. Mentoring provides an example of someone who has “been there, done that” who is also an expert who is available for advice. By providing mentoring and/or helping your project team members find mentors in their area of expertise, you have, in effect, purchased insurance for your delegation. As anyone who has even been in an accident knows, insurance becomes invaluable when you need it.

Delegating project tasks has become a must in today’s new normal business environment. No leader has enough time to “do it all himself”, and no leader has the broad and diverse set of expertise required to be the ideal resource to handle every task. Instead, delegation provides not only a way to make sure the project gets done on time but it also adds to the quality of the result by leveraging team members’ strengths for the collective good.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to become a Systems Pragmatist:

Put Your Eagle Eye on What’s Key to Success-Leadership

Empower Your People to Grow