Archives

How Preparation Matters

By
Last weekend, the APICS Southwest district held its 10th annual student case competition. We had 25 teams and 108 students from 3 countries with another 11 teams on the wait list (including another country). We had about 50% undergraduate and 50% graduate level students who competed in a supply chain simulation of a juice company — the team with the highest ROI won the technical round. Next, each team presented to the judges who represented the Board of Directors of the company. Just as in real life, each score was 50% — if you have the best idea and cannot present it,…
View Article




Lessons Learned from a Genius Businessman

By
My best friend’s dad was as close to a business genius as I’ve stood. He made his employers rich beyond their wildest dreams yet he was happy with this outcome as he enjoyed what he did and lived to 98 including many travels to exotic places — not the ones you might think of but ones he enjoyed. For example, he went to Nicaragua and had many wonderful stories to tell about crocodile farms and uzis. Somehow, he and his wife managed to trust people they probably shouldn’t have, travel to a country not recommended, even by people they met…
View Article




10 Ways to Stay Focused on the Critical Path

By
Remaining focused on any one strategy, project or task can prove challenging in today’s new normal. Volatility is the new norm, and so it becomes easy to get caught up in the highs and lows of organizational life. For example, if your company is having a rough month due to volatility, management can begin to panic which causes deviations from the critical path to the latest crisis. Soon, you are deterred from the project altogether as resources are lean and can only focus on so many places at once. Most major change initiatives, new product launches, cost savings programs, customer…
View Article




Why Talent is #1 to Success

By
Last week I attended a meeting of the top 1% of consultants globally. With this sort of talent in one room, I listened carefully. One of the speakers focuses on small- to medium-sized businesses in North America ($5 million to $250 million). He said that the top areas he finds “in need of focus” include strategy, the management team and resources (ERP, working capital, etc.).   Since I focus on both small-medium and large, multi-billion dollar, global companies, I wanted to see what the top 1% of consultants thought about the list for the large companies as well. Interestingly, the one item both…
View Article




Should You Upgrade Your ERP System?

By
Since I’ve been working on several ERP selection and design projects lately, it has reminded me of how challenging these projects can be. It is no wonder 80% of them fail! There are countless details, complex designs, cross-functional and cross-organizational collaboration required and varying skills and leadership styles required to survive, let alone thrive. Thus, it made me think about ERP system goals. When should you upgrade/implement an ERP system? Support growth: No matter how lovely QuickBooks reports look and how easy it is to use, it will not support profitable and rapid growth in manufacturing over the long haul. QuickBooks…
View Article




Strategy or Execution?

By
If you looked at the last day, week or month, how much of your time are you spending on execution vs. strategy? Is it a surprise? A disappointment? How does it align with your best skills?  Also if you think about your energy level – how are you feeling?  Does this relate to where you are spending your time? Are you excited about your area of focus? Should you adjust the amount of time you are spending on either? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the answer relates to your position!  Although CEO’s are likely to spend more time on…
View Article




Is Your Supply Chain Ready for Growth?

By
Several of my clients are in the aerospace industry. In that industry, supply chain readiness audits are commonplace. These are especially prevalent today as growth in that market is substantial. Companies must be prepared for significant growth to support the doubling of the world’s fleet in the next 20 years to give their customers comfort in their long-term viability. Although this is especially prevalent in aerospace, I’m finding double digit growth widespread in the marketplace today. Manufacturing is making a comeback. How ready is your supply chain? There are several aspects that should be reviewed to make sure growth will be…
View Article




Inventory Management Remains Core to Success

By
No matter how many engaging conversations I have with clients, contacts and trade groups about emerging supply chain trends, the less exciting topic of inventory management oftentimes can deliver a higher value than the latest and greatest most-talked about trend. As the Programs chair of APICS Ventura chapter said when requesting this topic for a recent speech, inventory management is core to success and remains a timeless topic.   This prompted me to think about what I see across all types of clients: Whether a $5 million fast-growing manufacturer in the building products industry, an $80 million dollar food processing…
View Article




What Should We Work On?

By
Every executive I work with struggles with this question as there is always more to do than can be accomplished in any day. Time has become a differentiator in today’s marketplace. For example, if you can deliver quicker, you are likely to gain business. If you can close the month quicker, you’ll gain an advantage as you’ll be able to make informed decisions and adjust to issues more rapidly. If you have business intelligence with immediate access to information, you can analyze trends more rapidly. No matter how many of these tools you have, I’ve yet to work with an…
View Article




The Super Bowl and Your Brand

By
So, other than being a bit depressed that the Arizona Cardinals are not in the Super Bowl, I am thinking about the Super Bowl (hard not to since the hype is everywhere). You’d have to be hiding under a rock to not know that it is Super Bowl weekend. If nothing else, it is a good excuse for a party and to get together with family and friends. The Super Bowl has become much more than a game.   Many people (myself included) are more interested in the commercials than the game — it has become “the” opportunity to stand out…
View Article