Tag Archive: workforce

Manufacturing Expert, Lisa Anderson, Notes Workforce Talent and Suppliers are Critical to Stabilizing the Supply Chain

August 24th, 2020

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – August 24, 2020 –  Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expert,  Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP, CLTD, president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., tells companies to recognize  workforce talents and take time to partner with the right suppliers. 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.

“Stabilizing the supply chain has been critical these last few months for manufacturers and distributors.  This has been necessary to minimize volatility and keep goods flowing, in turn, fulfilling customer expectations. Customers understand that these are different times, but they will be patient only so long.  That is why it is critical to get the supply chain stabilized,” Ms. Anderson explained.

In past communications, Ms. Anderson has suggested understanding demand by connecting with both the customer and the customers’ customers.  She has also discussed realigning demand with supply through the SIOP process (Sales, Inventory and Operations Planning). Yet, the most critical component in solving problems, disruptions or even expansion of the supply chain is a company’s talent. “I often ask our clients who in the organization, which disciplines and levels, is involved in the SIOP process and collaboration with customers and suppliers. If the answer is simply Supply Chain or Operations, they are missing out on solutions that their talent can bring to the table, and even more concerning is the potential loss of talent due to the lack of involvement in meaningful activities. I also ask about the depth of talent and cross-functional capabilities within a discipline. This is telling, especially when complex solutions are required to satisfy key customer requirements or resolve a situation within the supply chain.  And, one of my final questions lies in the determining the kinds of relationships the company has with suppliers.  Employees and suppliers can create new solutions or products and be champions of an organization,” she continued.

With high levels of ambiguity and volatility, the leader’s role is more important than ever. Ms. Anderson suggests three ways to immediately leverage talent to stabilize the supply chain. “Talent is key to stabilizing the supply chain. 1) Get your salespeople and your customers involved in the forecasting process. Sales tends to be on the outskirts of demand and supply. They need to be as involved and accountable in the demand planning and fulfillment phase as they are in generating orders. 2). To stabilize internal operations, fill gaps and keep teams focused on the customer while maximizing efficiency, formal and informal leaders must monitor progress, adjust plans and stay on top of morale, training and developmental needs. 3) Do not assume the past will repeat. Deep dive into critical supplier relationships and future viability. Make sure you have the right supplier partners, not simply the least costly vendors, and track progress frequently. And, make sure you do not have all of your eggs in one supplier basket” she concluded.

Ms. Anderson recently released a short video, What’s Happening in Manufacturing & Supply Chain: Consider Your Top Talent. Ms. Anderson has also released, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & the Supply Chain Post COVID-19, an eBook that provides practical go-forward insights, advice and experiential value.

 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 is a recognized Supply Chain thought leader by SelectHub, named a Top 40 B2B Tech Influencer by arketi group, 50 ERP Influencer by Washington-Frank, a 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, 101 strategies for creating bold customer promises and profits. A regular content contributor on topics including 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



Supply Chain Heroes: How CFOs Can Help Save the World

March 25th, 2020

As Published in: Oracle/Modern Finance

Early this year, the largest asset-management company in the world made a bold announcement: It would start redirecting investments away from fossil fuels because of climate change. In his annual letter to CEOs, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink stated that “climate risk is investment risk,” and that risk is driving a fundamental reshaping of finance.

“Because capital markets pull future risk forward, we will see changes in capital allocation more quickly than we see changes to the climate itself,” he wrote. “In the near future—and sooner than most anticipate—there will be a significant reallocation of capital.”

For manufacturers, retailers, and others that move business or consumer goods, a reallocation of capital will require tighter alignment between the CFO and supply chain leaders. This is already happening among the leading-edge CFOs I meet because they recognize the end-to-end supply chain is driving customer experience, profit performance, and working-capital improvements.

As more companies start reshaping strategy in response to climate change risk, this CFO/supply chain alignment will become more critical to achieving business and environmental goals. In fact, CFOs could find themselves being the heroes of the next decade’s climate-change success stories.

Assessing the payoff for climate change initiatives

CFOs will need to be front-and-center to assess climate change initiatives related to packaging, material handling, transportation, and logistics because changes in these areas tend to have widespread impact.

For example, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are feeling the most pressure from climate change activism right now. Packaging is a big target for waste reduction but switching container sizes or materials can have direct and indirect cost implications. There’s a change in direct costs for replacement packaging, but material handling and transportation costs also could shift because of weight, storage, handling requirements, and other relevant factors.

Another example is investment in technology systems. For instance, buying products that are sustainably sourced and handled is important to a lot of consumers, and trust is essential for companies that want to differentiate themselves on this point. New blockchain applications are enabling this verification down to a granular level. While an ideal investment from a marketing point of view, what will the impact be on logistics? Will shipments slow down or speed up? How will the change affect fulfillment and customer satisfaction?

Cloud applications and other advanced technologies have made it easier to conduct real-time analysis and identify upstream and downstream impacts from business decisions like these. Such decisions will require collaboration and ongoing discussions between finance and supply chain leaders to meet all business requirements successfully.

Supply chain health and environmental health are linked

Even if a company isn’t a leader in climate change-reduction efforts, improving supply chain performance will naturally make operations more environmentally sustainable. I’ve seen this over and over again in my decades of working in supply chain management.

Supply chain services and assets are expensive and don’t usually generate cash, so they’re a frequent target of cost reduction. The outcomes of these cost-reduction efforts reduce environmental impact because fewer miles are traveled, inventory replenishes more often and doesn’t become obsolete, and there’s less material waste in damaged goods and over-packaging.

This might be an obvious example, but when you think about on-the-horizon innovations, such as biofuels made from landfill waste and autonomous vehicle and aircraft deliveries, you can see how supply chains could become proactive enablers of reducing climate impact.

Another reason for CFOs to focus on supply chain when developing an impact-reduction strategy is it could help recruit supply chain talent. We’re experiencing a shortage of supply chain professionals across manufacturing, retail, logistics, and a range of other companies. Having a solid stake in climate change-reduction efforts could help attract limited talent, especially Millennials. A recent survey found that 75 percent of Millennials said they would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a company that is environmentally responsible. And nearly 40 percent said they have chosen one company over another in the past because their choice had a better environmental record.

Millennials will comprise three-quarters of the workforce within six years—so statistically, companies with stellar environmental practices will be a top position to recruit talent.

Finance and supply chain: Teaming up for sustainable operations

First and foremost, CFOs want to be good stewards of business assets. For many companies, the supply chain is central to value creation. So, it’s not surprising that CFOs at these companies are paying closer attention to their supply chains from a cost point of view.

Now, climate change is raising risk in ways that require a rethinking of how to grow and protect those assets. As markets begin to respond and shift, supply chain leaders and CFOs will find themselves facing the challenge together.



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



Are Robots Good or Bad?

April 19th, 2017

According to the Material Handling & Logistics, robots are slashing U.S. wages and worsening pay inequality. That is certainly a provocative statement! According to new research by MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Boston University’s Pascual Restrepo, one additional robot per thousand workers reduces the employment to population ratio from 0.18 percentage points to 0.34 percentage points and slashes wages from 0.25% to 0.5%. Regardless of the exact figures, it is certainly accurate that robots will replace certain types of jobs.

automation

Is this good or bad? It is for you to decide based on your circumstances. Technology and automation can keep you competitive and “save” higher skilled jobs since costs are reduced and so there is less incentive to move manufacturing away from the customer base to a lower cost location. On the other hand, robots will minimize the number of repetitive jobs needed. Are you continually building on your skills? And, are you supporting continual skills building in your workforce?

 

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

We are hearing more and more about technology, automation and robots. Thus, if you aren’t at least thinking about this strategy, you’ll likely be left in the dust. With that said, we are the first to say — do not automate for the sake of automation. Does it support a key need of your business? Will it help you provide a better customer experience? Will it help you be more competitive to grow your business? Think carefully before jumping for the sake of following the popular trend.

If you don’t have a high labor cost environment, will robots make sense? Perhaps not. Just like everyone and his brother jumped on the outsourcing craze several years ago and many later discovered it didn’t make sense in their case (often by learning the hard way with unhappy customers), think before you leap. Stay on top of the latest technology and search for business needs where this tool “fits the bill” to drive business results but do not blindly follow any person or crowd.



US Roadmap 2025

October 17th, 2016
US Roadmap

It is critical for manufacturers and distributors to keep track of the rapidly changing factors that impact the supply chain including technological and workforce issues. The US Roadmap 2025 is a strategic study to weather and thrive amid current and future global disruptors.

The Material Handling and Logistics Association has taken the lead in updating the roadmap for supply chain and logistics for 2025. I participated in a strategy session focused on thinking about what is coming in ten years, what disruptors are likely to exist and how we should prepare to succeed in 2025. Southern California is #1 in both manufacturing and logistics; thus, there is much to think about to stay ahead of the curve and think about how technology, workforce, and other factors will affect logistics in the future.

For example, we discussed the impact – or lack thereof – of the Panama Canal. Although it is certainly an alternative, it might not be as much of a threat of the change in the origin of manufacturing. As manufacturing moves away from China, could different routes make other ports more viable? The advantage Southern California has is the sheer size and capability of the ports – they can handle big ships (which many others cannot), there is deep water, the equipment and infrastructure at the ports is available, etc. However, there are grave concerns about the 710 freeway coming out of the Long Beach port. Traffic and congestion is a big concern. What is likely to change in the next ten years? Can we collaborate with government? Will autonomous vehicles be commonplace? How about increasing truck traffic at night? There are many considerations to ponder.

It is wise to stay on the leading edge of what is of such critical importance to manufacturers, distributors, logistics providers and the economy. Think about attending local trade association events such as APICS Inland Empire’s executive panel and networking symposium on “Navigating the Global Supply Chain”. Read trade journals. Talk with colleagues. Ask experts. And join us at the Material Handling and Logistics Roadmap 2025 unveiling at ProMat in April 2017.

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

APICS-IE Focuses on ‘Navigating the Global Supply Chain’

 

Lisa Anderson Invited to Participate in the 2017 U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics