Tag Archive: VP of Operations

Harvey Mudd Executive Roundtable, Growth Strategies & Idea Velocity

October 19th, 2018

 

Kash Gokli, Director of Clinic Programs and Head of the Manufacturing Practice at Harvey Mudd and I recently led our 13th Harvey Mudd Executive Roundtable.  We had some engaging discussions on growth strategies from multiple vantage points – small and medium-sized, closely held businesses, non-profit business, large complex, global organizations and private-equity backed companies.  It is amazing how much we had in common – no matter the industry, company size or footprint, every executive was concerned about culture and its impact on growth strategy.

I found one CEO’s comment especially intriguing – he mentioned the concept of “idea velocity“.  This topic has increased in importance in my business recently.

It turns out that the “be all, end all” in success for consulting comes down to “idea velocity”.  What are you doing to stimulate ideas? I think this is essential no matter the industry. What executive or company will be successful in today’s Amazonian marketplace if short on ideas?  Not many!

One tip to implement this week:
Don’t despair if you aren’t an idea factory.  First, undoubtedly, you have more ideas in you than you think.  The key is to help them make their way to the surface.

For example, when I interviewed for my promotion to VP of Operations and Supply Chain (as it required an interview by our new private equity backers), although I knew I could get results, I wasn’t too sure about my creative idea generation abilities because I viewed it as “developing the new sticky pad (3M)”.  It turns out that it’s all about repackaging and recombining of key information, products and services. We all have the ability to do that! However, you do not have to do it alone. That’s the point of having a team, colleagues, advisors and supply chain partners who can help spur ideas.

With that said, I recently was in an idea rut even though I surround myself with all of these resources – and more.  I didn’t realize it at the time but not enough was bubbling to the surface. What turned that around was expanding my circle of influencers  (a bit of diversity goes a long way) and realizing that not all idea collaborators are created the same (for each person and what works for him/her).  Finding that right combination “worked”.

Instead of groaning when “assigned to a team with someone you are less than thrilled to be paired with”, see it as an opportunity.  You never know who will spur an interesting idea or who is particularly good at brainstorming with you. Some exciting new ideas might just jump to the surface.  

Put yourself out there and it will happen.

 



Collaborating on Economic Forecasts

April 17th, 2017

I met with the Claremont McKenna team that puts together the Inland Empire economic forecast last week. They are well known in the Inland Empire for being on the forefront of the economics forecast and finding ways to bring unique insights into the process. Therefore, they were interested in what I see in terms of outsourcing, nearsourcing, insourcing and other key trends in manufacturing.

economic trends

Economic factors can have a significant impact on your business. I learned quite a lot about this from my Director of Purchasing when I was a VP of Operations many years ago. It was simply amazing — and impressive — all of the economic considerations he assessed on a daily basis to stay on top of supply base trends and potential trends. And, that was just one aspect of the end-to-end supply chain. It is worth taking a few moments to think about economics….

One tip to implement this week:

Since economics can have a dramatic impact on our business, it is worthwhile to pay attention — at a minimum. Attend sessions on economics trends, read economic updates, and dig into the key factors that are most likely to impact your business.

Start by just identifying a few economic factors that are important to your business. Find sources to track progress of those factors — internet sites, trade associations, customers or suppliers, etc. Collaborate with your supply chain partners. Participate with local universities. The bottom line is to stay on top of the trends and be proactive as you see changes.

 

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…”