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People Remain “In”

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No matter how many conversations go on about technology and the latest and greatest processes to drive results in manufacturing and distribution companies (including robots and automation taking over lower-skill positions), people remain “in”. Without exception, our best clients consider people their #1 asset. Who develops the programs for the robots? Who figures out how to utilize business analysis tools and predictive analysis/artificial intelligence concepts? And who implements best practice processes such as lean manufacturing, SIOP/S&OP and the like? People! There is zero doubt that the best people with mediocre machines, technologies and less-than-desirable systems will outperform mediocre people with…
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Do You See What is in Front of You?

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Driving back from a client earlier this week, I suddenly noticed beautiful fall trees along the side of the road less than one half mile from my house. It hit me that I must have been driving by these trees for a while and didn’t notice, yet I specifically looked for a tour in Japan to see the fall leaves. I could have completely missed what was right in front of my nose! How often do we miss things at work? Do you pay attention to who you walk by in the morning? How about the waste you pass up? How…
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Technologies Transforming Supply Chains

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Modern marvels and new information technologies are transforming supply chains. Automation, robots, AI (artificial intelligence), 3D Printing, Bitcoin technology and the IoT (internet of things) are changing the way we look at supply chains. Are you thinking about any of these technologies down-the-line? Or are you thinking about the impacts of your competitors pursuing them? You should! We partner with clients to keep them at the forefront of these information technologies. At the core, we partner with executives to help them select the optimal ERP system to support their business objectives. Certainly, automation has always been a hot topic. Recently,…
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Best Practices in Project Teamwork

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Projects are the cornerstone to achieving bottom-line business results. In working with clients ranging from small businesses to large, complex, global organizations across multiple industries, I’ve yet to run across a client that doesn’t rely heavily on project results to support customers, grow the business and increase profitability. What else could be more important to business success? Since projects cannot succeed with a sole participant, project teams are essential to success. Therefore, discovering the best ways for project teams to work together will lead to results. After leading and participating in hundreds of major projects and many smaller projects over…
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Risk in Global Supply Chain Is on the Rise

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According to the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) risk index, risk is the highest since 2013. It is easy to become complacent. Are you adding risk into your supply chain conversations and plans? The increase is driven by supply chain risk in Western and Central Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically: Western Europe – This trend is clearest in Western Europe, where risk rose to 2.63 in Q3 from 2.60 in the previous quarter. The uncertainty around the post-Brexit relationship between the UK and the European Union has had a negative impact on trade…
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Wildly Successful Exit Plans

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Since I lead a group of top notch trusted advisors, I hear quite a bit about exit plans gone awry. Unfortunately, most business owners do not plan to exit the business far enough in advance. Of course, you can still exit; however, you will not get as strong a multiple for your sales price. On the other hand, I was fortunate to hear one of the rare stories of a business owner who achieved a wildly successful exit where he received double the industry norm. He started planning for his exit 15 years ahead of time. Of course, this was…
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How to Keep Your Team’s Morale Up During Change

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How to Keep Your Team’s Morale Up During Change Dramatic growth is commonplace. Companies are looking for opportunities to improve margins, accelerate cash flow and cut costs. Only those companies that change will endure. And only those teams that embrace change, and the leaders who engage people around change initiatives will thrive. The others will be left in the dust. In order to create this type of engagement, leaders must support team morale during change. But if you think about it, why should this be an issue, if the change is presented properly from the outset? Who wouldn’t be excited about positive…
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Are You Stuck in Silo Thinking?

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We not only work across many manufacturing and distribution industries such as aerospace, building products and food but we also work across company-sizes ranging from small and medium size owner-operated companies to medium size private equity-backed firms to large, complex, global organizations. Thus, as we see trends across each of these segments, we pay attention. Unfortunately, silo thinking is commonplace. Traditionally, silo thinking refers to thinking from your department-perspective and not looking cross-functionally; however, we also see vast examples of silo thinking from the company perspective. In this case, the organization falls into the trap of thinking internally and not thinking…
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MacGyver Solutions & Using Under-Utilized Assets

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I’ve always appreciated the concept of MacGyver-type solutions (and so I enjoy the re-booted TV series as well). When I was a VP of Operations, I was quite proud of what we accomplished with minimal resources — having minuscule to no resources can spur creativity. Wiley contacted me for a book proposal several years ago, and thanks to a consulting colleague and friend for the suggestion, the working title was “Bubblegum and Paperclips: The MacGyver Guide to Leveraging Under-Utilized Assets”. I still might pursue this book as I’ve always had a passion for what can be achieved with determination and…
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ERP Project Success: How to Be Part of the 20%

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More and more clients are pursuing ERP implementation projects as executives realize they need better tools to support business objectives– growth, service, margins, cash and the like. 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…
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