Archives

Reshoring Gains

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According to Industry Week and the Reshoring Initiative, after two decades of job losses, we have turned the corner. In 2014, we had a net gain of 10,000 reshored jobs. And, clearly, this is picking up steam especially as we are in the thick of 2017. According to the article, South Carolina is the top winner thus far, followed by Michigan and California (surprising; however, since Boeing is the 3rd largest reshoring company, it makes sense), Kentucky and Texas. Walmart and Ford were the top two reshoring companies. There is certainly a buzz with reshoring and near-sourcing. We’ve received calls from several potential…
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Do You Really Support Empowerment?

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The 80/20 of business success stems directly from leadership. The best leaders can make even the worst-performing teams excel and, unfortunately, the weakest leaders can drag down even the best of teams. A few questions to ponder include:  Does your culture encourage empowerment? Regardless of what you say, do people believe they will be rewarded for empowering employees?  Do your managers jump to answer questions or give their employees a chance to shine?  Do you communicate empowerment but would get upset if your employee made an empowered decision that created a month-end shipping crisis?  Do your employees understand the guidelines…
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Harvey Mudd College Wins APICS West Coast Student Case Competition

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The APICS Southwest District recently hosted 23 teams in San Diego from the Western United States, Hong Kong and Mexico in a student case competition to solve computer-simulated supply chain problems, provide analysis and present their recommendations. Undergraduate team Harvey Mudd College won the top spot representing the Southwest District in the national competition in San Antonio, Texas. These simulations challenged students, most with backgrounds in operations management, supply chain management, business management, industrial engineering, or MBA students, to create solutions to the problems posed and provide the rationale for their recommendations. Their work cumulated into judged presentations explaining their strategies and proposed outcomes.…
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Times Square and Marketing Appeal

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Recently, when I was in New York, I had the opportunity to walk down Times Square (pictured below). The people, the buzz and the lights are amazing — almost no matter what time you take a stroll. There is a certain appeal of the advertisements. TV shows that you didn’t care about previously look more enticing as they flash by on nearby buildings. Store advertisements seem more appealing than they do in print, on-line or on TV. Do you wonder why? There is a marketing appeal to walking in Times Square. How can we create this with our companies? One tip…
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The Power of Connections and the CEO Summit

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Earlier this week, I participated in the CEO Summit hosted by the University of La Verne. I moderated a session on leveraging the supply chain for growth and profitability (see one shot of us below), and I am a Board member for the College of Business and Public Management, and this is our key event of the year. The keynote speaker, Karen Caplan, CEO of Frieda’s Specialty Produce started her speech off by noting the power of connections. She attributed her connections and networks as significant to her success. How does your network stack up? I can personally attest to the power of connections.…
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Duke University & CFO Global Outlook Survey Suggests Optimism

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According to CFO, Duke University and CFO Global Business Outlook Survey suggests strong optimism! In fact, the survey’s optimism index for the quarter jumped to 69 (on a 100-point scale) which is the highest level in 14 years. This is also significantly higher than the long-run average of 60. Businesses are optimistic. 61% plan to increase their payrolls this year and 4% wage hikes are expected. Even more noteworthy is that capital spending is expected to increase by 6% vs. a median of 3% and a flat/negative spend in 2016. Are you ready? What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise? Good…
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Do You Know What Is Important in Selecting the Right System?

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ERP systems often fail to live up to their promise — even in the best of circumstances. It is a tough environment — software suppliers are consolidating, the smaller ones can disappear or get gobbled up in a moment’s notice, good resources are hard to find, and the list goes on. Yet there is no choice but to proactively address this topic to have a scalable business and to meet customer expectations as you get to a certain size and complexity. Thus, it is worth-while thinking about whether you are prepared:  Do you fully understand your business requirements and specifically…
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5S Plus 2

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Many folks are familiar with the lean principle of 5S where the bottom line is: “Everything has a place and everything is in its place.” These steps originated in Japan as part of the journey towards a visual workplace. Translated they are Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. A quick explanation of these would be: 1. Get rid of what you don’t need and keep what you do 2. Now you know what you have so organize it 3. Clean and inspect it so it works when you need it 4. Evaluate and improve, stay consistent where it makes sense to 5. Keep it up because it works. 5S is a proven methodology of creating and maintaining an efficient and effective work space. Over the years, we have evolved, the world has changed and we follow a continuous improvement way of life. In regards to 5S, we’ve added two more…
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Professionalism

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In a recent strategy meeting of our local APICS chapter, we stated our primary Mission as: “We Develop Professionals”. APICS is an international professional society that has become a recognized source for education and certification of Supply Chain and Operations Management professionals. As a chapter, we hold “professional development meetings”, provide “professional” training courses, seminars, and workshops, and offer “professional support” for our student chapter. Often we hear people say “he or she is a real professional”, but what does that really mean?
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Manufacturers Upbeat but Worry About Skills Gap

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According to Industry Week, the Fed’s survey of the economy expressed optimism; however, it also noted that labor markets are tightening. Since I’m also embarking on refreshing my 2013 Skills Gap research report, thus far, I’ve noted the same concerns for high-skilled positions. I hear far less conversation about lower-skilled positions when it comes to availability (instead I hear about minimum wage concerns); however, the vast majority of my clients require higher-skilled positions. In these cases, it is not always easy — or even attainable — to find the resources needed on a timely basis. What are you doing to get…
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