Are Robots Good or Bad?

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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. 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…
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What’s Important in Technology?

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It is quite telling that every executive panelist on the “Professional Pathways in Supply Chain” panel at the Drucker Supply Chain Forum (Walt Disney Company, Source Intelligence, Intelligent Audit and LMA Consulting Group) had a significant focus on technology. Supply chain and technology go hand-in-hand. Thus, what should we be thinking about when it comes to technology? Although many technology topics arose, let’s focus in on three of the ones that pop to mind first: 1. Business intelligence– Every panelist agreed on the importance of business intelligence. In essence, how do you leverage data to see trends, make decisions, etc.? For example, Intelligent…
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Collaborating on Economic Forecasts

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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 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…
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Drucker Supply Chain Forum Executives Share What They Look for in Supply Chain Professionals

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What are executives looking for in supply chain professionals? That was the topic of the panel I participated in at the Drucker Supply Chain Forum with executives from the Walt Disney Company, Source Intelligence, Intelligent Audit and CSCMP. So, what is the consensus? Broad knowledge– Supply chains are global and more complex in today’s world. Thus, a broad and diverse set of skills is required to be successful in the field. If you have the opportunity to try a new area you wouldn’t have requested, give it a shot. You might just enjoy it. Worst case, you’ll have built skills that will come in…
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The L.A. Times & Automation

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I toured the Los Angeles Times last week and was impressed with the automation. Although newspapers seems like an old business, it was impressive in pure size and volume with minimal people. The business sprawls 2400 acres and is run with 200 people. There were robots to move huge rolls of paper through the facility. There was automated equipment that brought the papers from the machine to the next room over where it was compiled into stacks. We were fortunate to go inside a paper machine and see just how fast the paper ran by (although the example below was…
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3 Takeaways from the Drucker Supply Chain Forum

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At the Drucker Supply Chain Forum held recently, there was a panel of distribution executives from Amazon, Toyota, QVC and Komar discussing “Company Culture as a Competitive Advantage”. I’ve found that if all of my clients (or my best clients) have something in common or emphasize the same point, I should pay attention. In this case, the themes noted by every successful executive included: 1. Core values– interestingly, we found that establishing and living by core values was integral to success when I was a VP of Operations for PaperPak. The executive panel agreed. Do you have values? Do your employees know…
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The Drucker Supply Chain Forum

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I participated on the panel, “Professional Pathways in Supply Chain” at the Drucker Supply Chain Forum last week. Interesting to note that the panel was all women — definitely not typical but nice to see! I was joined by executives from Walt Disney, Source Intelligence, Intelligent Audit and CSCMP. It was a lot of fun, and I learned as much as I contributed. We had some engaging discussions about the future of supply chain and the types of professionals that will be needed. For details on these topics, please tune in to my recent Profit Through People newsletter. However, one of the keys I…
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Congratulations, E=mc² Innovation Awards Winners!

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Lisa Anderson MBA, CSCP, CLTD president of LMA Consulting Group and chair for the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire (MCIE) Manufacturer’s Summit E=mc² Innovation Awards, a special award ceremony celebrating innovative businesses and students solving challenges in today’s manufacturing industry, is pleased to announce the four category winners; Process Efficiency – CAI, Marketing – Adventure Cabins, Human Capital and Talent – Connect Products and People and Innovation by Students – Harvey Mudd College. Innovation Award candidates are judged on criteria based on which company or student demonstrates the most innovation and resulting benefits in improving resources or energy efficiency;…
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Reshoring Gains

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According to Industry Week and the Reshoring Initiative, after two decades of job losses, we have turned the corner. In 2014, we had a net gain of 10,000 reshored jobs. And, clearly, this is picking up steam especially as we are in the thick of 2017. According to the article, South Carolina is the top winner thus far, followed by Michigan and California (surprising; however, since Boeing is the 3rd largest reshoring company, it makes sense), Kentucky and Texas. Walmart and Ford were the top two reshoring companies. There is certainly a buzz with reshoring and near-sourcing. We’ve received calls from several potential…
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Do You Really Support Empowerment?

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The 80/20 of business success stems directly from leadership. The best leaders can make even the worst-performing teams excel and, unfortunately, the weakest leaders can drag down even the best of teams. A few questions to ponder include:  Does your culture encourage empowerment? Regardless of what you say, do people believe they will be rewarded for empowering employees?  Do your managers jump to answer questions or give their employees a chance to shine?  Do you communicate empowerment but would get upset if your employee made an empowered decision that created a month-end shipping crisis?  Do your employees understand the guidelines…
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