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My Cat Has the Right Idea About Rest

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My cat Smokey decided stretching out on my computer was a good idea. He can rest almost anywhere! I think cats have the right idea about rest in that we all need to take a bit of time to rest and recuperate now and then. Perhaps you did that this Memorial Day weekend or just take a few hours of your day from time to time. I had a lighter week last week in terms of meetings and so I felt rejuvenated after getting all sorts of website updates done and to my webmaster while also taking time to enjoy…
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Are You Asking Good Questions?

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There is a shocking number of clients and colleagues that struggle, gather teams, run kaizen events and do all sorts of other activities (and throw good money after bad more frequently than anyone cares to admit) to improve operations (improve the customer experience/service levels at greater profit and margins levels) while missing the most obvious answer — asking good questions. We’ve found that asking good questions can be the “secret weapon”. Thus, we’ll ask questions about asking questions… 1. Before leaping to a standard toolkit such as “run a kaizen event,” have you asked common sense questions? Is common sense uncommon in…
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Amazon Is Going to Australia!

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Amazon has announced plans to go to Australia in a big way — of course! This has many Australian retailers unnerved while simultaneously providing Amazon with a new beachhead for its global distribution network. And, it appears as though Amazon might have a supportive regulatory environment for testing deliveries via autonomous drones and road deliveries since there are vast remote areas for potential deliveries. It certainly seems like Amazon is a company to watch… I asked my Australian consulting colleagues about this announcement, and their response was “Bring it on!”. Retail prices have been higher for quite a while and…
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A Simple Follow-Up Increases Your Success by 20%…. Are You Doing It?

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I attended the Renaissance Executive Forums all-members meeting last week, and one of the keynote speakers was a consultant I know from my affiliation with a global consulting association. It’s a small world! His name is Alex Goldfayn, and he is the author of the Revenue Growth Habit. He is a successful consultant on, not surprisingly, increasing revenue, and I was especially intrigued by how easy he said success can be — it’s just whether we choose to follow the plan. One of his tips is simply to follow up. Somehow I don’t think we need to be a rocket scientist to…
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New Survey Says Manufacturing Key to American Prosperity

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According to a survey by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, more than three quarters of Americans surveyed believe the U.S. should invest in the manufacturing industry. Nice to see what I see on a daily basis come to life and gain momentum! Specifically, more than 80% see manufacturing as vital to America’s livelihood, 76% believe the U.S. needs a more strategic approach to developing its manufacturing base and 90% believe manufacturing jobs will require a higher level of technical skill. Interestingly, the overall public ranked manufacturing 3rd, just after technology development centers and health care facilities, in terms of the…
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Are You Thinking About Cyber Security?

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Cyber security has taken over the news and trade magazines lately as risk levels are elevated and cyber crime is a real threat. Are you developing strategies to address cyber security concerns? It is no laughing matter as you listen to what could happen…. Tonight, we attended a ProVisors (group of trusted advisers) cocktail reception. In two hours, we ran into multiple people who talked about the relevance and risk associated with cyber security. If you aren’t thinking about these questions, you should sit up and pay attention: Does your company have the appropriate security and protocols in place to fend off hackers? If…
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Cyber Crime Is UP. Should We Be Concerned?

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I attended the DMA (Distribution Management Association) event earlier this week, and I heard a compelling speaker from the Los Angeles office of the FBI talk about cyber crime. It is simply a massive industry. In 2015, internet fraud led to a loss of $14.6 million per month. Talk about a massive amount of cyber crime, just in Los Angeles vs. bank robberies nationally in 2014 at $2.4 million per month. Are you protecting your business from Ransomware and BEC (business email compromise)? If not, I now am armed with several horrifying statistics to pass along. One tip to implement…
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Are You Investing in Service?

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Unanimously, since the recession, our clients have seen an increase in customer expectations. Excellent customer service has become expected. Instead, we must stand out from the crowd to keep the business. What must we do to maintain our preferential position in our customers’ eyes? A few questions to think about include the following: 1. Are you investing in customer service like you invest in people, systems and programs? How much do you put aside for this critical endeavor? 2. Who is responsible for customer service? Is it a Customer Service or Sales Manager? Why isn’t it a part of each person’s performance? Does the CEO consider himself/herself…
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Why Care About Rail?

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This past weekend, my APICS (premier association for supply chain and operations professionals) Inland Empire chapter had its spring executive panel and networking symposium on the topic of “Disruptive Innovations in Logistics”. We had an amazing panel of experts covering trucking, rail, import/ export, distribution and policy. It was clear that rail can have a profound impact on logistics, and there is much more involved in rail than obvious at first glance. For example, Union Pacific (represented on our panel) and BNSF are the two core freight rail lines supporting the U.S. There is an amazing amount of disruption and innovation going…
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Do You Have Empowered Teams?

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Lately, there has been a common theme at seemingly unrelated events — the importance of employee engagement and empowerment. Just in the last several weeks, it has come up at the Drucker Supply Chain Forum, the Harvey Mudd executive panel event, and at the CEO Summit. Do you have empowered teams? Or do you just think you do? In thinking about empowered teams, we can ask a few pointed questions: Do you communicate the importance of employees acting in the best interest of the customer? Do your teams understand what they are able to do to satisfy a customer? If an employee makes a decision…
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