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The Value of Keeping In Touch

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As I’ve been writing holiday cards for weeks now, keeping in touch is on my mind. Why go through all the work to send holiday cards? I think it is a great opportunity to take a minute or two to think about each person as you write his/her card. Perhaps you should be doing a better job of keeping in touch. Or, perhaps you are keeping in touch and want them to know you are thinking of them. If even 5% of your cards make your colleague, family and friends’ day, isn’t it worth it? I think the value of keeping in touch is obvious from a personal standpoint; however, it might be…
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Essential Skills of the Supply Chain Superhero

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In my speech at the APICS 2014 International Conference, I talked about the essential skills of today’s supply chain superhero. Doesn’t it seem like supply chain leaders are expected to be superheroes? I broke them down into categories to make it easy to remember. First are the soft skills which happen to be equal and often MORE important than the technical skills, according to executives. In this category, I included communication and presentation skills, leadership skills and customer service skills. Next is the technical skills category. These must become an assumption. They include the skills of planning, project management and business…
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What Is Important for ERP Success?

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What is important for ERP success?  The most important ingredient to success boils down to implementation; however, it will help set your implementation up for success if you select the “right’ system as well.  Here are a few strategies to ensure success: 1. Just the critical few key requirements. Although it is natural to think that every piece of functionality is critical (or why not include it since you’re spending money on a new system anyway), don’t. Take a step back and focus 80% of your efforts on the 20% that drives your business. 2. People. Nothing else matters if…
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Selecting the Right ERP System

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ERP systems are not of much value by themselves; however, if you leverage the appropriate functionality to support your business, it can pay back rapidly with business growth and value. The key is to select the “right” system for you – a good “fit” for your business. I find that my ERP selection projects are far more focused on business processes than on technical specs. Actually they can boil down to answering the following question: Which business processes (and related system functionality) are integral to achieving your strategy and providing a competitive advantage? Focus in on just those critical requirements.…
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Dow Plunges…Volatility is the New Normal – How Adaptable Are You?

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It is all over the news that the Dow plunged more than 300 points, as the sustained drop in crude oil spurred on growth concerns.  Yet last week we had news of the highest job growth in 15 years.  The bottom line is that volatility is the new normal.  How prepared are you and your business for volatility? Pre-recession, a 100 point drop in the Dow would have spurred on more news than last week’s 300 point drop as volatility has become expected.  This is true in business as well.  For example, one of my clients said that they can…
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The $1 Million Dollar Planner

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What is a $1 million dollar planner? And why does it matter? I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of a $1 million dollar planner, which I define as a planner who provides millions of dollar of value to the company’s bottom line – which answers the question of why it matters! I come from a planning background, so I have a bias on this subject, yet my perspective is also based in facts. Typically I’ve found that planners are a lower level position (unless they are a planning manager), yet it is a key position that significantly affects the…
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Leverage Supply Chain Trends for Success

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As the year starts up, it seems an opportune time to discuss supply chain management trends. I find that those clients that pay attention to trends and find opportunities to leverage them often surpass their competition. I’m working with a diverse portfolio of manufacturers and distributors ranging from $6 million dollar, family-owned businesses to $100 million dollar facilities of multi-billion dollar, global companies.  When I see trends that cross company-size, geography, position, etc., I take note.  If you can apply the “right” best practice to the “right” situation at the “right” time with the “right” people, you can dramatically increase…
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On Pace with Strongest Job Growth in 15 Years – Think about Training

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I read in the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. is on pace for the strongest job growth in 15 years after November’s growth of 321,000 jobs. This news doesn’t surprise me as my clients are in growth mode. Even though my clients cut back during the recession and have been reluctant to add back more than absolutely necessary, they are now adding key positions to grow the business. As I’ve been discussing since my Skills Gap research report, employers are undoubtedly finding themselves short of the top talent required to grow profitably and successfully. There has been a dramatic reduction…
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Strategies to Succeed with Organizational Change

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Volatility is the new normal. Those organizations that can succeed with change will thrive. Thus, it is worthwhile thinking about how to become effective with organizational change to not only increase the value of your business but to also create an enjoyable workplace: Fit with strategy – Change for the sake of change without looking at fit with the company’s strategy is useless yet occurs frequently. Focus efforts on what really matters. Do we fear change? – No! People don’t fear change; they fear the journey to the future. Explain the whys – Who doesn’t respond better when they understand why they are…
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How to Select Priorities

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I’ve yet to meet a client that didn’t have FAR too many priorities for what could be achieved successfully. Instead of accepting additional priorities, think about which priorities you should be focused on. Consider the following factors: 1. Alignment with strategy: Oddly, I find it is easy to get caught up in priorities that do not align with your strategy. Check on this upfront. 2. Urgency: Is it time sensitive? For example, if your dog will run into traffic in the street, it is an urgent issue and cannot wait. 3. Benefit/cost: If the item isn’t addressed, what will happen? Will you…
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