Tag Archive: trends

Trends: Are You Looking for What’s Coming?

March 28th, 2016

My most successful clients are constantly searching for what’s around the next corner. You cannot become complacent! Unfortunately, while you are resting on the sidelines, your competition will pass you by. Instead, be vigilant about looking for what is coming around the next corner and spotting trends.

A Supply Chain In a State of Flux

In supply chain, the world is constantly changing. Strikes occur. Storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and the like are very hard to predict. Natural disasters strike. Political unrest is significant. Costs evolve, especially in comparison to one another. Imagine how complex things get with currency fluctuations! Countries struggle – just look at what’s been going on in China. Oil and gas prices can have a great impact. Just look at products and countries dependent on the oil industry. The products cost less to produce but the countries and companies with significant oil exports are struggling. And the list goes on…

There are also strategic changes taking place. Amazon has created quite the stir with immediate deliveries and a membership model. This has created havoc in the distribution industry as e-commerce has become a necessity which also drives completely different warehousing and fulfillment operations to maintain efficiency. The green and sustainability movement has created many new requirements as well. How about water? Talk about a hot topic in California!

APICS-IE Event to Examine Supply Chain Trends

APICS, APICS-IE, Symposium, trends, supply chain trendsWhat is next on the horizon?  To be successful, you must keep up!  Join APICS Inland Empire for our executive panel and networking symposium on “Emerging Supply Chain Trends” at Eagle Glen golf club in Corona on April 30th.  We welcome members and non-members alike.  You’ll walk away with new ideas from top executives and supply chain gurus.  RSVP before it sells out.



February 4th, 2016

Make a conscious effort everyday to stop what you’re doing and look around your workplace and beyond. By becoming observant you’ll soon spot people and areas that need your attention.


It is worth it to take a step back on a daily basis, if not more frequently, to observe. There is a significant power in observation – for your business, your career and your life.

Although observation sounds easy, it isn’t nearly as easy in reality.  A few strategies for success include:

  • Start off your day by looking out the window – what do you see? It can go a long way to clear your mind and just observe.
  • As you walk around your workplace, keep an eye out for what others might “step over” – a classic example of this is trash on the production floor. Instead of walking over it (and not noticing it), pick it up. This sounds really simple but can go a long way. Train yourself to “see” what is around you. Do you see oil on the floor? Do you see orders that could be missed?
  • Watch for trends – assuming you see the same people each day, watch for noteworthy changes. Is someone who is always happy down one day? The same holds true for machines, products, etc. If the production line always runs in a certain way and it is slightly different one day, take note. Find out what is going on so you can avoid larger problems down-the-line.
  • Take a step back and “look” at your supply chain – how are your customers, suppliers and other partners? Are there any trends going on?
  • “See” your team – whether they report to you, they are peers or they are your superiors, pay attention. 80% of success boils down to people so please pay attention to people!

Getting used to observing can be more challenging than it sounds. I often drive by countless people, cars, situations, etc. that I don’t notice.  Practice observing so that you don’t drive by your career, business or life.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

Manufacturing Connector℠ Eagle Eye Requires Keen Observation, Focus

People Strategies to Kick Off the New Year


The Value of Thinking about the Future Instead of the Past

November 4th, 2015

supply chainI was just talking with a manufacturing client on the topic of SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning). In their case, they have an incredibly stable business – it is the most predictable business I’ve ever run across in terms of sales forecasts. Even though the numbers vary by month, they are surprisingly reliable – and even more so when looking across a few months. Thus, we had downplayed the importance of the forecast in their case; however, in conversation today, we decided to resurrect the idea of looking forward. Driving with both eyes in the rearview mirror is not a recipe for success. In our case, to bring about a nice step forward, we need to start thinking forward instead of backwards. As I left, I thought – isn’t this true across the board? Why are these truisms so easy to forget?

I also recently participated in a strategy session about my business. Certainly looking in the rearview mirror provides some helpful information on revenue and cost trends for comparison purposes but if I plan based upon the past, I will not grow! Thus, we looked forward to create the future and then looked backwards to see what types of resources and tools I had at my disposal to determine what needed to be done to achieve the future vision. Are you looking at your future or stuck in the past?

One tip to implement this week:

As I found today in talking with my client, the great thing about this topic is that you can accomplish a lot by simply remembering to “think about the future”. Include conversations about the future in key meetings. Talk with your employees about the future. After all, how will they be able to build the right skills if they have no idea what is needed in the future? Look at forecasts. Predict important trends. One simple rule of thumb is to track how much of what you do and talk about on a daily basis is related to the past vs. the future? Of course you should look at the past for how to resolve root causes; however, innovation only works by looking forward. Write yourself a sticky note! Soon, your work life might even become more interesting!

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


How to Spot Trends

August 6th, 2013

Factors to consider when you are looking for trends.

Since identifying trends is an important Eagle Eye skill which is instrumental in finding opportunities to elevate performance, I thought a few ideas on how to spot trends would be helpful:

1. Start with metrics – It is near impossible to spot trends if you don’t review key metrics. What information is important to running your business or your functional area? Track progress.

2. Look for peaks & valleys – I find it interesting that we can review a huge amount of metric data and create endless Power Points and yet, we still miss trends. Reviewing a single point in time is largely useless. And getting lost in too much data is not helpful. Instead, put it in perspective: How does it relate to what has happened previously? Review the last several years, quarters, months or weeks side-by-side.

3. Take out outliers – I also seem to sit in endless meetings were we get bogged down in outliers and non-essential details. Instead, take a step back and look at what the big picture is telling you and ignore the outliers.

4. Calculations – If you spot a trend change, make sure the calculation process wasn’t changed. It’s easy to get carried away with trends that do not exist if the baseline data or the calculation method changes.

5. Collaborate – When you spot a trend, ask related parties for their insights. Often, you can rapidly determine if it’s an outlier or a trend by simply asking experts.