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Results Follow People

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Results don’t occur with the latest fads – even with good fads such as lean manufacturing or SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) programs.  Results don’t occur with cool system functionality – certainly, it makes life easier if you have great tools but results won’t occur due to a system.  Instead, results follow people.  LMA Consulting Group has been in business for over 11 years, and prior to that I was a VP of Operations and Supply Chain for an absorbent products manufacturer.  I’ve yet to see an example of results that didn’t follow the people. For example, in working…
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A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words

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After meeting with my international advisory board in the beginning of June in Sydney, I took the opportunity to tour Australia and New Zealand. One of our favorite spots was Milford Sound, New Zealand. It is undoubtedly one of the most majestic, beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Since it is impossible to do it justice, I’ve included one of the best pictures of a boat ride through the fjords. Can you imagine how I could have communicated this beauty through words alone? The same is true in business. One simple graph or hand drawing on a white board or flip chart…
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Inventory as a People Topic

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One of our favorite client stories on the topic of “Profit through People” goes back to one of our first clients. It is hard to choose a favorite in this category as PEOPLE make or break success at every juncture along the way. In this case, our client needed to get a handle on inventory somewhat rapidly because it could directly affect the sale of the company — and each individual’s career success and chances at long term viability at this company. How could we bring inventory levels down while keeping the high service levels our customers had come to…
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The Importance of Controlled Speed

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Last week I was in New Zealand, and I went on a wild ride on the Dart River (see below). We went at 100 kph with just 4 inches of water. It was a thrilling ride with amazing scenery in the background, and it got me thinking about the critical importance of speed in today’s workplace. EVERY single one of my clients must grow, improve service levels, reduce lead time, maximize margins, and improve efficiencies — YESTERDAY. Speed of results is of the essence. It has been the focus of my clients since the recession (as cash was the focus during the…
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Success or Failure? Collaboration Is Key to Success

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How important is collaboration to project success? Several years ago, it was important but not critical; however, within the last 5-10 years, it has become a cornerstone to success. In today’s Amazon-impacted world, customers have higher expectations of rapid turnaround, 24/7 accessibility, and increased levels of service. These expectations drive complexity. Additionally, we are in a global economy. Executives are hard-pressed to find a product sourced solely from the country of origin. Most likely, at a minimum, your suppliers’ supplier will be from another country. On the customer side, typically, those who export grow sales more rapidly than those who…
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Plan the Work; Work the Plan

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We were reminded of this favorite client project and success story related to work processes recently as we were talking with a new GM at a key client about ways to improve service levels rapidly. It reminded us to pay attention to what “works”. So many clients try complicated and convoluted programs, thinking it is required for success, but it isn’t! Why go down that rabbit hole when simplicity can achieve rapid, bottom line results?! This particular favorite project made the list due to its simplicity and quick results in the face of quite a bit of doubt and several…
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Lean or No Lean, a Demand Plan is a MUST

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Whether you are on the Lean journey or not, you need a demand plan! Prior to forming LMA Consulting Group, I was a VP of Operations and Supply Chain for a mid-market manufacturer. Our Board hired a lean consultant who insisted we had to be purists – there is no in-between. If we were to embrace lean (and, who wouldn’t want to be lean, after all?), there are some lean purists who say “no need for a demand plan”. Somehow, this is what was adopted as gospel at my company; however, it was NOT accurate — assuming you wanted to…
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Unique New Zealand Style Cooperation

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This past week, I’ve been in New Zealand, following my strategy/mentor advisory meeting in Sydney and a few tours in Australia. Our first stop was Christchurch. It was devastated by an earthquake in 2011 with buildings crumbling everywhere — apparently, they hadn’t built Christchurch with earthquakes in mind originally (although they certainly are rebuilding it that way now). Thus, it was almost a complete loss in the city center. Not to be held down, New Zealanders thought of an innovative plan to build a mall from shipping containers to keep the city center going, and it became so popular that…
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SIOP as a Win-Win-Win-Win

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Our favorite end-to-end supply chain project supported a SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) project for growth. Although we enjoy SIOP projects as they are one of the best ways to achieve a win-win-win-win of growth, service, margins and cash, this particular client had some complex data and dramatic growth to consider. SIOP is all about aligning demand with supply — AND the different functional areas of the organization on one page. Accomplish the second, and all else will fall into place. This particular SIOP project was no different. First, we had to get everyone on the same page with…
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SIOP is Not a Supply Chain Project

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According to the head of the Drucker school’s supply chain program, SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) is a hot topic with executives and supply chain leaders. I’ve found that our 4 EXCEL proprietary SIOP process has gained HUGE benefits for clients, and so I concur! However, SIOP is NOT a supply chain project; the significant growth, profit, margin, cash and service benefits come to those who treat it as an organization-wide strategic initiative. Although the supply chain and operations resources typically coordinate the SIOP process as their skills align best with the majority of the processes, the reason for…
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