Category: Supply Chain Management

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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Harvey Mudd College Wins APICS West Coast Student Case Competition

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The APICS Southwest District recently hosted 23 teams in San Diego from the Western United States, Hong Kong and Mexico in a student case competition to solve computer-simulated supply chain problems, provide analysis and present their recommendations. Undergraduate team Harvey Mudd College won the top spot representing the Southwest District in the national competition in San Antonio, Texas. These simulations challenged students, most with backgrounds in operations management, supply chain management, business management, industrial engineering, or MBA students, to create solutions to the problems posed and provide the rationale for their recommendations. Their work cumulated into judged presentations explaining their strategies and proposed outcomes.…
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Times Square and Marketing Appeal

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Recently, when I was in New York, I had the opportunity to walk down Times Square (pictured below). The people, the buzz and the lights are amazing — almost no matter what time you take a stroll. There is a certain appeal of the advertisements. TV shows that you didn’t care about previously look more enticing as they flash by on nearby buildings. Store advertisements seem more appealing than they do in print, on-line or on TV. Do you wonder why? There is a marketing appeal to walking in Times Square. How can we create this with our companies? One tip…
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The Power of Connections and the CEO Summit

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Earlier this week, I participated in the CEO Summit hosted by the University of La Verne. I moderated a session on leveraging the supply chain for growth and profitability (see one shot of us below), and I am a Board member for the College of Business and Public Management, and this is our key event of the year. The keynote speaker, Karen Caplan, CEO of Frieda’s Specialty Produce started her speech off by noting the power of connections. She attributed her connections and networks as significant to her success. How does your network stack up? I can personally attest to the power of connections.…
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Duke University & CFO Global Outlook Survey Suggests Optimism

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According to CFO, Duke University and CFO Global Business Outlook Survey suggests strong optimism! In fact, the survey’s optimism index for the quarter jumped to 69 (on a 100-point scale) which is the highest level in 14 years. This is also significantly higher than the long-run average of 60. Businesses are optimistic. 61% plan to increase their payrolls this year and 4% wage hikes are expected. Even more noteworthy is that capital spending is expected to increase by 6% vs. a median of 3% and a flat/negative spend in 2016. Are you ready? What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise? Good…
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Do You Know What Is Important in Selecting the Right System?

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ERP systems often fail to live up to their promise — even in the best of circumstances. It is a tough environment — software suppliers are consolidating, the smaller ones can disappear or get gobbled up in a moment’s notice, good resources are hard to find, and the list goes on. Yet there is no choice but to proactively address this topic to have a scalable business and to meet customer expectations as you get to a certain size and complexity. Thus, it is worth-while thinking about whether you are prepared:  Do you fully understand your business requirements and specifically…
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Are You Ready for a Surprise Inspection of Your Service?

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In almost every client, trade association and trusted advisor meeting I attend, service emerges as a hot topic. In today’s Amazon-impacted world, our expectations are high. Although we might not complain, good service is no longer sufficient. If you don’t meet and frequently exceed expectations, you will lose customers. There are countless options available and loyalty runs only so deep. Thus, it makes sense to put aside time to think over key questions with your team: Who is responsible for customer care in your organization? Are they able to impact service? How do you measure servicing success? And how does it align…
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Tour of Combustion Associates & Collaboration

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Earlier this week, I participated in a manufacturers’ roundtable and tour at Combustion Associates as an APICS Inland Empire chapter event. It was an enlightening conversation and tour since the products and services are quite unique and the power of collaboration shined through at every point in the process. See a few of APICS-IE Board member colleagues pictured below. (Tony, we missed you for the photo!) Not only did Kusum Kavia (EVP of Combustion Associates) make sure it was an interesting event, she invited a wide variety of colleagues from international resources to government officials to local manufacturers to participate with our APICS-IE members.…
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Is Digitization Hype?

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Well, let’s start with a definition of digitization. According to CIO.com, McKinsey defines it as technologies that virtualize and automate products, services and supply chains. We certainly hear about digitization in the news frequently; however, according to McKinsey, even though CIOs embrace it, digitization is a slow-moving process. On the other hand, don’t see this as an opportunity to take a break. According to McKinsey, 49% of the leading companies are investing in digital more than their counterparts do, compared with only 5% of digital laggards. Perhaps it is an opportunity to leapfrog the competition? What Should We Consider and/or…
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How Effective Is Your Cross-Functional Collaboration?

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Cross-functional collaboration can make or break success. No matter how well a particular department or team performs, it is largely useless if done in isolation. Just like a car won’t go if you press the accelerator and the engine isn’t connected properly, a company won’t achieve results if the units and people aren’t connected properly. Here are a few questions to ponder: On a cross-functional project with two department teams, can one team/department be viewed as successful if the other one isn’t? Do your teams attempt to talk in the other team’s preferred style or in their own? Do the…
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