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Three Ways to Prevent Excess Inventory

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Inventory levels greater than the amount needed for production or sales now is excess. Excess can mean you don’t need for the inventory at this time, or that you have no need for the inventory at all. Excess inventory is to be avoided because it takes money to buy or build inventory. Many companies borrow to support their short-term cash needs. When you borrow, you pay interest. Every dollar paid in interest comes right off the bottom line.     The  Inventory Quality Ratio methodology, www.InventoryPerformance.com, defines three steps to prevent excess. 1. Identify the excess, item by item 2. Find…
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Three reasons to implement a new ERP system

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In my experience, implementing a new Enterprise Requirements Planning (ERP) system can be an expensive and risky undertaking. I advise my clients that the decision to replace the existing system or to implement their first ERP system should be driven by one or more of the following three factors. To improve profitability and cash flow To solve problems with existing systems To improve operations  1. Improve profitability and cash flow Executive are always looking for ways to improve profitability and cash flow. Good ERP systems can help by reducing costs of material and labor, and driving faster through put.  A…
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Would You Like to Add an Extra Hour Every Day?

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According to a sampling of business executives and managers, organization/ time management is emerging as one of the most critical issues in the workplace. As organizations struggle to achieve profit goals and remain competitive, employees tend to take on more roles, work longer hours, etc. Even though I’m known for organization (my grade school teacher told my Mom that she knew I’d be “organizing other people’s lives someday” – I wonder if my Mom knew how to take that comment about her 10 year old), it’s easy to get caught in this trap. Does it sound familiar that the last…
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Synthesize for Results

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We’ve talked about the ingredients required to have an Eagle Eye – how to rapidly spot key priorities and ensure results occur. There are so few people who put these qualities together effectively; it makes sense to explore it further. One of the keys to success is the ability to synthesize. According to Webster’s Dictionary, synthesize means “to form (a material or abstract entity) by combining parts or elements (as opposed to analyze)”. Have you met someone who can put the “right” ideas, people, project plans, strategies, etc. together at the “right” time to “see” the big picture or solution?…
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Continuous Education Will Give You an Edge

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In today’s marketplace, it is no longer enough to be good.  You must stand out from the crowd in some way that is different or exceptional.  Just think about the information overloaded society – how do you get anything through the millions and millions of messages each person receives in a day?  It can be a tall order to just be noticed. I’ve noticed that those who have a passion for continual education find a way to stand out in the crowd. For example, one of my Board members in my APICS chapter (the #1 trade association for supply chain and operations…
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Motivate Employees as One Critical Way to Retain Top Performers

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A motivated employee can move mountains. A disgruntled employee creates havoc. Which do you have? As results are critical to success, I thought it was worth pursuing how to motivate employees; however, as important as results are, retaining top talent in today’s marketplace will put you on top. 1. Let’s start with a “not” – money. Although the lack of fair compensation is a de-motivator, money itself is rarely a motivator. 2. Instead, explain each person’s value – how does each person contribute to the company vision, goals and priorities? Yes, it takes time to translate each person’s value but it will achieve immeasurable…
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The Skills Gap: Putting the Spark Back in Manufacturing

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As I discussed in my Skills Gap research report, there is a significant disconnect between what companies need and what they have.  It is worrisome for our future if we cannot find a way to close this gap.  Of course, I have suggestions stemming from retention to hiring to training & development which I discussed in my recent Skills Gap article. However, what do we do about the fact that manufacturing and distribution careers don’t seem to attract top talent? Certainly, if you ask a college student about exciting and high-paying careers, most will talk about what’s reported on the news as…
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Lean: Uncommon Common Sense

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I have always been a process consultant, typically focusing on those processes which are the most relevant to making rapid improvement with the specific manufacturer or distributor I am partnering with.  Yet, I find that processes alone are useless as they have to be married up with the “right” people, the “right” systems and aligned with the strategy.  However, people rarely come to me to find the “right” process improvement initiatives for company success; instead, they ask about “quick fixes” and sometimes Kaizen or lean events. My answer is always, “Why?”  If the requestor thinks a lean event will deliver…
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