Tag Archive: systems

Robots, IoT, AI, Autonomous Vehicles and More – Update From APICS 2017

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I’ve been attending APICS 2017 in San Antonio, and there is LOT of talk about the digital transformation of the end-to-end supply chain. I listened to executives from J&J, Cisco, Microsoft, Whole Foods, Caterpillar, and innovative high-tech, rapidly growing companies, and the consensus is: Pay attention to technology. There is an opportunity to learn about the latest technologies such as robots, IoT, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, blockchain and more at APICS Inland Empire‘s executive panel and networking symposium on “Leveraging Technology for Supply Chain Success“. More important than understanding these cutting edge technologies, is thinking about how to apply them…
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Which Business Best Practices Do Top Notch Trusted Advisors See?

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In my ProVisors ODAM (Ontario-hosted Distributors and Manufacturers group – don’t you love the play on words?) meeting this month, we discussed business best practices we’ve seen with our manufacturing and distribution clients. It was a fascinating discussion as our group is diverse and consists of the most respected attorneys, CPAs, commercial insurance, business financial advisers, and consultants from around Southern California. Yet, we agreed rather quickly on core best practices. Thanks to Ron Penland for making the meetings engaging and trend-worthy. Here are some of the top themes surrounding best practices: Start by understanding financial statements and cost –…
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Are You Reshoring?

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My APICS Inland Empire Chapter hosted a program on “Changing Trade Policies and its Effect on Reshoring” with Michele Nash-Hoff, author of “Rebuild Manufacturing – the key to American Prosperity”. And, interestingly, the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) Orange County chose “Onshoring Profits: Manufacturing is Not Dead Yet” from a long list of topics and asked that I speak on its impact. Thus, it seems only appropriate to discuss a few common themes: U.S. firms are leaving China as conditions worsen. Actually, 25% of U.S. companies active in China have moved some operations out of the country.  38% relocated to North…
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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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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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A Systems Transformation

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A systems transformation doesn’t necessarily relate to the computer system. Instead, a systems transformation relates to how the people, processes, systems, metrics, costs and more all come together to deliver profitable growth – or not! And, as one of my potential clients put it – dictates whether we are blind or able to see where we are going. Can you “see” where you are going? We have received an increasing number of these types of calls lately. Perhaps it is because it is harder than it sounds to achieve a systems transformation. If a ‘system’ isn’t in place to provide…
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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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The Secret to Successful System Implementations

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I’m in the middle of helping a client implement a companywide system and the challenges and issues we are facing in this effort remind me of the importance of the basics I’ve written about before. As I have said in earlier articles, large scale implementations are complex undertakings whose success is by no means ensured. Studies have shown implementations fail almost as often as they succeed. The secret of success is understanding that there are two major deliverables in every system implementation: Getting the solution ready for the business and Getting the business ready for the solution.
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Case Study In Increasing On Time Delivery Performance

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Situation: Our client struggled with low customer service levels since they cut back with inventory on the ‘wrong’ items during a time of tight cash flow. Of course to add fuel to the fire, the customer also wanted product to be delivered at least 20% earlier, ideally 50% earlier. If our client didn’t find a way to respond quickly, they would risk losing key customers. Path Forward: Upon looking at the order fulfillment flow, there were countless areas of opportunity. However, simultaneously working on these solutions would tax already-maxed out resources (who also were frustrated by angry customers) and accomplish…
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