Supply Chain Briefing

On my birthday, I thought it only appropriate to talk about two of my favorite topics – scalable, profitable growth (bold customer promises and profits) and the awesome people who make it happen both behind the scenes (like many colleagues) and customer-facing………

Our APICS Inland Empire chapter hosted our 12th executive panel and networking symposium (over 7 years) on the theme of “Managing Rapid Growth when Manufacturing and Distribution are HOT”.  We had a fabulous panel (clearly enjoying the conversation – see below) of manufacturing and supply chain CEOs and experts.  Thanks to the APICS BOD and Kash Gokli and the Harvey Mudd team for putting on such a value-packed day! 

Overall, we discuss the power of manufacturing and supply chain in today’s environment – in the era of the customer, it is all about the customer experience, rapid deliveries, e-commerce, and responsiveness.  From that point-of-view, Southern CA has enormous opportunity since it is larger than all but 5 or 6 states in terms of population – and customers/ consumers!  We also have access to technology, high-tech skills and more.  The tax law gives us additional great advantages.  The only downer is the lack of support from California.  

In addition, the panel talked about ways to thrive regardless of your circumstances.  For example, Mirna Elnar (CEO of Regal Spas) wanted to sell into Brazil but ran into horrible tariffs, and so she collaborated with a local Brazilian company to achieve success.  Several of the themes boil down to the following: Innovation.  Culture.  People.  Technology.  Metrics. 

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

First and foremost, we are in the “right” fields – manufacturing and supply chain (along with related disciplines such as IT/technology and Organizational development) are HOT and there is vast opportunity.   However, we must take advantage of the opportunity and have a voice!  Would we prefer to leave our future up to the California lawmakers (for example) or take a proactive approach?  Certainly our panel encouraged us to be proactive.

Think about your supply chain – how are you positioned in comparison to your customers’ locations, your end users (consumers, patients, or the base player in your industry such as Boeing) and how well positioned are you to create value-added customer experiences?  What do you expect to happen in the future?  Are you still positioned effectively?  Are you prepared for growth?  One of the most common issues our clients call about is unexpected demand – are your products and services going to be in the right place at the right time, in relevant ‘packaging’ (meaningful to your customers’ current needs) at the right margins and cash flow? Many of these questions go back to aligning your demand with your capacity, starting with your people.   It takes a minute to lose a customer – and a LONG TIME to win them back.

Keep innovation and future disruptors top of mind.  The last thing any of us want is to come up with the best strategies and plans that are outdated by the time they are implemented!  If you’d like to talk about performing an audit of your supply chain positioning, contact us.


May 9, 2018