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Navigating the Global Supply Chain Starts with People

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At APICS Inland Empire’s recent executive panel and networking symposium on “Navigating the Global Supply Chain”, we had some intriguing discussions on the hot topics in global supply chains. Wouldn’t you know, even with a complex, technical topic like this one, people are #1! Start with your employees. As I said while leading a webinar on “Onshoring Profits” earlier today, I’ve never seen “happy customers” with “unhappy employees”. Have you? Thus, clearly starting there is cornerstone in navigating the supply chain. However, this step is not enough. We must expand to collaborating with your supply chain partners. Your supply chain…
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Historic Importance & the Hotel del Coronado

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I’ve been going to the Hotel del Coronado for Thanksgiving dinner the last few years — it is simply amazing! The Del is certainly a historical landmark — and has been since it was built in 1888. They do a nice job of preserving the history of the Del while also keeping it modern and attractive to guests. I love the skating rink during the holiday season as I used to competitively ice skate when I was a child, and it reminds me of my history. Here is a view from the back — anyone driving up to this masterpiece…
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Crowdsourcing Is In

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In asking questions about outsourcing, insourcing and near-sourcing of the executive panel at APICS Inland Empire’s Symposium, we heard several great stories. One of them was compelling about the value of crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging a ‘crowd’ or group for a common goal — often innovation, problem solving, or efficiency. It is powered by new technologies, social media and web 2.0. It is simply amazing as to what can be achieved with these out-of-the-box strategies. Many big name companies who can put “big bucks” behind their efforts have found that they can achieve far more with crowdsourcing…
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The People Element

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I find that the best process will fail with the wrong people. The best system will not drive results if the wrong people are involved. Yet if exceptional people are involved, even the most mediocre of processes and systems will thrive! People are your #1 asset. For example, I still vividly remember a project that had a “dream team” of people but the leader was inept. He managed to wipe out all progress continually – and frustrate the people to boot. On the other hand, I also remember several projects that looked somewhat hopeless in terms of delivering results according…
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Technical Innovation & Japan’s Bullet Train

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  While in Japan last week, I had the opportunity to ride the bullet train three times — and, even waited to go back to Tokyo from Mt. Fuji to see it whiz past since you cannot see it in action in Tokyo as a terminal station — simply amazing and FAST! The bullet train travels at over 300 kph. They always arrive on time and they are neat, organized, efficient, and safe. They account for potential earthquakes, etc. We can certainly learn something from this engineering and service feat. And if that wasn’t enough, I learned that they have been…
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Will Your Supply Chain Risk Surprise You?

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Supply chain risks abound! Just look at the recent bankruptcy of Hanjin. It created havoc in the global supply chain. Ships were virtually stranded on the water. No one knew how they’d get paid. Customers still needed the product. And so the results were scary. Have you thought about these types of risks within your supply chain? At our APICS Inland Empire executive panel and networking symposium, we had a panel of experts on navigating the global supply chain. A renowned international business attorney brought up a significant topic — what if a conflict brews in the South China sea?…
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Shangri-La: The Best Hotel Service Bar None

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I am in Japan this week meeting with my global board of advisors group to discuss 2017 strategy and business trends. Since I have never been to Japan, I decided to take a few days in advance to see the sights. Following the advice of the member of this group who lives in Japan, I stayed at the Shangri-La. The service is simply amazing! First, they met me at the train station to walk me back to the hotel — not just at the train station but at the specific car I was riding in. Next, they checked me into…
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Outsourcing, Insourcing or Near-Sourcing?

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We are managing in an Amazon-impacted world. Customers expect rapid deliveries, 24/7 accessibility and products and services tailored to their needs. Customers are not willing to wait. In fact, they prefer same-day delivery. Our manufacturing clients are experiencing lead time reduction requests from their customers. Some are requests; many are required to maintain the business. It is wide spread. Building products that clients ship within a day. Food clients ship rapidly — within a day or a week at most. Optics, industrial equipment, consumer products — across-the-board requests for shorter lead times. And even clients such as aerospace with traditionally…
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Chicago Cubs – Playing the Long Game…

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108 years! I wasn’t too sure I’d see the Cubs win the World Series in my lifetime. After all, my dad missed out. We were both Cubs fans. While growing up, I watched almost every game with my friend Vonda. And I remember waiting for my dad to get home from work to go out and play catch in the yard. We even went to Wrigley Field for day games in the summer from time to time — such great memories! Certainly, being a Cubs fan requires a long-term view, loyalty and determination. Although we wouldn’t want to wait 108 years…
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ERP Project Success: How to Be Part of the 20%

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When implemented well, ERP systems can support substantial business growth without the additional investment in resources. Certainly, as the minimum wage goes up and workers’ compensation and healthcare are such significant issues, it is something many executives are thinking about! However, ERP systems can do much more – they can help collaborate with customers and suppliers. Those with the best-extended supply chains will thrive in the end, and so it makes sense to take a look at upgrading ERP. Thus, finding a way to successfully implement an ERP system is of paramount importance, yet the statistics dictate less than stellar…
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