Tag Archive: world

What’s Going on in the World of ERP & Business Intelligence?

July 16th, 2020

How Do ERP Systems Work?

I am excited to be featured in SelectHub’s extremely popular and recently updated article, “How Do ERP Systems Work?“. It provides a good foundation into the world of ERP and what you’d do with an ERP system. Although most clients have an ERP system of some type, by NO means do they understand how ERP systems work and the true value of an ERP system.

Perhaps we should spend more time understanding such a critical topic. After all, an ERP system upgrade will be one of the most significant projects your company will embark upon. Although the financial commitment is substantial, the resource commitment is far greater! On the other hand, if you bury your head in the sand too long, your risk will rise to unacceptable levels and your customers’ needs will not be supported.

Naturally, since the pandemic hit, many ERP projects have come to a grinding halt because the first thought is to conserve cash. However, in surveying ERP suppliers supporting clients ranging from small and medium size closely-held businesses to private equity backed companies and large complex organizations, although there has been a slowdown, there are several clients taking the opportunity to get in front of the technology curve so that they will be ready to grow rapidly and profitably as they emerge from the pandemic. They are slowing down some areas of the project while focusing efforts on the critical functionality or areas of the business that need a technology boost. For example, we are working with a client who took the opportunity to develop an IT roadmap so that they’ll be prepared to succeed post COVID-19. To think through your options further, listen to a SelectHub panel discussion on “How to Do ERP During COVID-19“. We are interested in your feedback and stories.

One area that is of common interest is business intelligence (BI) software. If clients can slice and dice data to understand customer and inventory patterns, utilize predictive analytics to better navigate COVID-19 demand changes and support future customer needs, and develop operational dashboards to manage performance and take cost out of the business, what’s not to like? In reviewing the spectrum of available options, there are a few impressive, relatively easy-to-implement tools. Clients are interested in what will deliver immediate value.

Read our eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19 to dig into these concepts further as well as to start thinking through your technology roadmap.

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What’s Going On Around the World?

July 11th, 2020

After receiving questions from multiple people about “What’s going on in Asia?”, we dug into what’s going on around the world (at a high level). In today’s globally-connected world, it isn’t a question you can ignore!

Starting with Asia, from a supply chain point-of-view, product continues to move. All three China ports are open and the volume has picked up. China’s capability was back up to at least 80% of the pre-coronavirus levels. However, once China started ramping up after the first infection wave, N.A. and Europe were under lockdown, impacting customer requirements. According to CEOs from across the U.S., they experienced delays initially but it is largely back to ‘normal’. On the other hand, we are also hearing that some folks are experiencing extended lead times. It certainly can depend on the product, material, specific supplier, etc.

Customers that switched supply to Vietnam prior to coronavirus have experienced high levels of service and are generally happy. While there aren’t a lot of numbers coming from Vietnam, it appears as though manufacturing has largely carried on to the levels needed. Of course, if you were in process of transitioning to Vietnam when coronavirus hit, it probably has been put on hold. India shut down for a month during coronavirus but started up essential manufacturing early in the ramp up. India hopes to ramp up manufacturing as companies accelerate the de-risking process from China whereas Vietnam is already in that position and hopes to expand. Japan and South Korea largely carried on through coronavirus. The only noteworthy disruptions were caused by shortages of supplies from their extended supply chain. Overall, there were initial delays with Asian supply, and the degree varied quite significantly based on the source of supply.

With that said, there are increasing levels of concern about a second wave of coronavirus hitting the Asian supply chain. Beijing has been in lockdown with surging cases of coronavirus. Although not integral to the supply chain, it is a bad sign of potential negative impacts to come. It is recommended to bring inventory in ahead of the holiday season and to be cautious with paying cash upfront as several small and medium size Chinese suppliers are struggling.

In Europe, it varied significantly by country. German manufacturers kept operating throughout the coronavirus lockdown. Since they saw the virus coming from what happened in Asia, they implemented social distancing and other protocols throughout rapidly. Certainly, Spain and Italy were impacted more severely and shutdown for a period of time. Several European and U.K. car manufacturers shutdown due to lack of demand and significant disruption in the supply chain. Aerospace companies in the U.S. experienced issues receiving essential components from Europe during the pandemic. Overall, CEOs across the U.S. said that supply from Europe wasn’t interrupted significantly.

U.S. manufacturers of essential products were largely able to continue producing. Of course, depending on the customers’ served, volumes dropped dramatically and disappeared (suppliers to hospitality for example) or experienced aggressive growth (lawn and gardening, toilet paper, PPE).  However, on average, volume dropped to 50-70% of the pre-coronavirus levels. CEOs from multiple industries have said the biggest issue has been disruptions in the supply chain. There are examples of essential U.S. manufacturers experiencing issues receiving materials/component parts from Mexico, Europe and Asia. Not every country had the same definition of essential. Consequently, there is a lot of talk about regional manufacturing and reshoring.

Brazil has been hard hit with the coronavirus recently, and manufacturers have been forced to shutdown. No part of the world has escaped this pandemic! Thus, the global supply chain has come into the forefront and is taking a seat at the table. Are you going to chase your supply chain or build appropriate diversification and flexibility and identify acceptable levels of risk upfront in your strategy discussions?

We are seeing a surge of supply chain strategy assessment and roadmaps. Are you evaluating your supply chain so that you can take charge of your future? There is no such thing as no risk.  Understanding your customer profiles, changing customer requirements and associated product supply strategies is a place to start. If you’d like to discuss your strategy, please contact us.

 

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The Beauty of the World & Why It Relates to Work

June 5th, 2019

This is the Piazza IX Aprile in Taormina, Sicily, which is a square known for the breathtaking view of the azure Ionian Sea and of the Mount Etna. I adored this night view from a nearby rooftop (of course while sipping limoncello, an Italian lemon liquor known in Southern Italy).

I came to Sicily to meet my strategy group.  We had some excellent sessions.  However, that isn’t the tie that I refer to in the title of this blog. Seeing the world absolutely relates to business. Of course, this would be done ideally in person but you can also absorb quite a bit watching TV or by reading magazines. Understanding different cultures, business customs and what’s relevant to a country or area will come in handy. We live in an interconnected world with customers, suppliers and other trusted partners throughout the world. I cannot think of a client that doesn’t have a material that originates in another country somewhere down-the-supply chain or one that sells to other countries at least somewhere up-the-supply chain. Can you?

Understanding what is important to your customers, suppliers, employees (as they also come from around the world or have related interests) or colleagues is quite relevant to bottom line business results.

One tip to implement this week:
Why not ask your top customer, supplier, employee or colleague about what is important? You could ask about materials relevant to your supply base. Undoubtedly, you’ll find out about something relevant or interesting to build a stronger relationship at a minimum. You could ask your customers about where they sell your product or how it is perceived in another country, etc.? Of course, your question will relate to what type of product or service you provide, so you should make it relevant to your business.

And, lastly, why not talk bring the topic up with your employees and colleagues. You might find that they have customs that are important to them or something quite relevant to doing business in that country or area. Just by posting pictures on Facebook, I found quite a few contacts who love Taormina. Who knows what will happen when I ask them about it!



It’s a Small World & the Customer Experience

September 7th, 2018

A few weeks ago, my brothers and nephew were in town and we did a whirlwind tour of Southern California hot spots.  We went to Universal Studios, Oceanside beach, a day-trip to San Diego for various food hot spots (a few favorites for the Arizona contingent) and to Disneyland/California Adventure.  While there, we went on my favorite ride: It’s a Small World.  What a great job they do at making the total customer experience!

Disney does a fabulous job of creating a complete experience.  In the case of It’s a Small World, you’ll notice their use of color and sound.  Interestingly, if you look at the boat ahead of us, the guests are wearing Mickey Mouse ears.  Other than sporting events, I’m not sure I can think of another place where people proudly wear hats (and certainly not odd ear hats).  As you go through the ride, there is an underwater scene where the song sounds like it is sung underwater.  Disney always goes the extra mile to fill out the customer experience.  On some rides, they add breezes, smells and more.  When walking between rides, you’ll always find people dressed in costume picking up trash so that the park is in great shape. Are you paying as much attention to your customers’ complete experience?

                             

One great way to get started is to “shop your business”.  No matter your position, try experiencing your company as a customer would.  Are you able to call whoever you might need to talk to without annoying phone system automation?  There was a brief period of time when I called my financial advisor where I was consistently lost in a phone system maze and didn’t receive a return call.  It was amazing how such a responsive and service oriented company could turn into a nightmare with a mere phone system transition.  (Thank goodness he threw it out!)

How easy is it to place an order?  Does your customer service representative have to call you back if you have questions about old orders or does he/she seem to have information at his fingertips?  Can you get information on-line if you happen to need status in the middle of the night?  Do you receive product on-time and in-full (OTIF)?  When you receive your product or service, how does it look?  Are you proud of it or do you see room for improvement?

Now, think about it – all of these items are baseline requirements.  Are you going beyond to provide a superior customer experience?  Are you predicting what your customers’ might need and prompting them?  Are you managing inventory for them?

What else are you doing to stand out from the crowd?