The Manufacturing Forum and the Value of Relationships

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Business relationships are the key to success. Although we need to be technically competent, able to communicate our plans and ideas and write a decent email (not as common as you’d think!), we still will not get far in our career if we do not value relationships. Although this is obviously true for sales and marketing resources, it is JUST as true for every professional – from operations to finance resources. Last week, I spoke about the Amazon Effect on the Manufacturing Industry at the Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing Forum. It is always fun talking with a new group…
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IBM, MIT & Artificial Intelligence

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IBM has announced it plans to spend $240 million over the next ten years to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) research lab with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Anytime these two powerhouses collaborate and put their money where their mouth is, we should at least pay attention and consider the significance. AI is popping up in conversations everywhere as all type of organizations and industries are seeing the significance of AI technology. I don’t even have to look very far. My mom said her Amazon Alexa was one of the best presents she has ever received. (And that’s solely…
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The Calm of Muir Woods and Why Disconnecting Works

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Over Labor Day, I went to beautiful San Francisco for a weekend away, prepared for the “coldest winter ever spent is a summer in San Francisco“, and it turned out with record-setting temperatures over 100 degrees! So, after a food walking tour in the thick of the heat on Saturday in the Mission District, I thought my first visit to Muir Woods might provide some welcome relief on Sunday – and it did. Muir Woods is beautiful and calm. It can be a great way to get away from the rat race by going somewhere you can hear the babbling…
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Even The Best System Will Fail Without Talent

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As an ERP expert, it is quite clear to me that even the best systems will fail miserably if they don’t possess talent. Don’t even bother to select and implement an ERP system if you don’t have the “right” people on the bus. Start with executive support and continue on down through every position – everything is a team effort. Since we’ve worked with many clients on ERP projects, it is crystal clear what impact people will have on your business’s success. Throw out the notion that ERP is a technical topic! Instead, start thinking of it as a transformation…
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How To Know If Your Old Business System Is Just Fine

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We cannot tell you how many clients call thinking they need a new system to support their business when they simply don’t! Certainly, there is a time to upgrade to a new business system, when you’ve outgrown your old one (for example: QuickBooks with add-ons like Fishbowl), or your old system is highly customized and unsustainable, or when you are in the midst of a merger or acquisition. However, before jumping to the conclusion that your system must be upgraded, think twice. Any ERP transformation project will be expensive (more than you think!) and resource intensive. With that said, it…
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Emerging Technologies for Supply Chain

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There is an ever-increasing interest in emerging technologies for supply chain. When thinking of your end-to-end supply chain – from your suppliers’ suppliers, through your manufacturing and distribution operations, to your customers’ customers – you must consider technology to have any hope of achieving success. In today’s Amazon-impacted environment, rapid information and product flow must be accompanied with low-cost and efficient supply chains to maximize the customer experience, profitable growth and cash flow. Trending technologies to consider in your strategic discussions include the following: Additive manufacturing such as 3D printing – it is no longer just for R&D. The progressive…
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Why Executives Should Care About ERP Strategy

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Lately, we’ve been called in by several clients with ERP challenges that directly impact business growth and success. Do you desire profitable growth? If so, add ERP into your strategic discussions. Would you delegate a decision that could literally make or break your customer service, profit margins (or lack thereof) and ability to grow? I think not! ERP Strategy Matters There has been a widespread need to consider ERP as a strategic topic. For example, these scenarios have arisen in just the last month: In one manufacturing company, the ERP system was holding them back from growing. For a family-owned…
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Hurricane Harvey & Supply Chain Impacts

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Hurricane Harvey has been wreaking havoc on Texas and is now threatening parts of Louisiana. Flooding is tremendous and many people are still trapped in their houses. Refineries are shut down and basic necessities are being rationed. Unfortunately, this is the devastation caused by a hurricane and it reminds us about natural disasters and the global impact. The earthquake in Japan had an impact for several months. In Houston’s case, businesses in the city and surrounding areas are shut down or, at a minimum, affected without access to local suppliers, logistics networks etc. Gas prices are higher with the closure…
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Why Persistence Matters

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Typically when I talk about persistence, I refer to my Mom because she is very persistent. I’m glad that wore off on me. However, this time, I am referring to several people: an ACA Group colleague, Ellen Kane; a Manufacturing Council of the Inland Empire colleague, Wally Brithinee; and one of my APICS Inland Empire Board of Directors Tony Martinez. I have been involved in the APICS West Coast Student Case Competition since the first year when Ellen Kane founded it with three teams from two schools. Now, I’ve acted as co-chair with Ellen (pictured below with me at the 2017…
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Employee Empowerment – The Key to Success in Lean Transformation

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I am frequently reminded of how many companies are stuck in the same place with their Lean Trans-formation.  They seem to have done everything right, by the book, and still don’t see any real impact on processes and profitability as promised by Lean. So what is missing?  Employee Involvement / Empowerment. 
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