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Why Persistence Matters

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Typically when I talk about persistence, I refer to my Mom because she is very persistent. I’m glad that wore off on me. However, this time, I am referring to several people: an ACA Group colleague, Ellen Kane; a Manufacturing Council of the Inland Empire colleague, Wally Brithinee; and one of my APICS Inland Empire Board of Directors Tony Martinez. I have been involved in the APICS West Coast Student Case Competition since the first year when Ellen Kane founded it with three teams from two schools. Now, I’ve acted as co-chair with Ellen (pictured below with me at the 2017…
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Employee Empowerment – The Key to Success in Lean Transformation

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I am frequently reminded of how many companies are stuck in the same place with their Lean Trans-formation.  They seem to have done everything right, by the book, and still don’t see any real impact on processes and profitability as promised by Lean. So what is missing?  Employee Involvement / Empowerment. 
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A Tour of Skechers and Jaw Dropping Savings (and Innovations)

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A Tour of Skechers & Jaw Dropping Savings Recently, I went on a tour of Skechers with my ProVisors group.  We had heard so much about the building and related innovations from the developer, Iddo Benzeevi, previously that we were really excited to see it in action.  There are truly jaw dropping savings – $25 million a year reduction in operating costs – from the total picture.  Who can argue with that?  Certainly not the environmentally-conscious people as it is also the largest LEED Gold Certified building of its kind to be awarded with this distinction by the U.S. Green…
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The Ladies of Logistics (LOL) & the Power of Networking

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On Friday night, I went to the annual LOL (Ladies of Logistics) networking bash, thanks to Elizabeth Warren (we’re pictured below). She brought together many of Southern California’s most powerful women in logistics (and a few men too). It was a great opportunity to talk with industry people from the ports, procurement, rail, trucking, air, policy, distribution and the media. Talk about a powerful network! This event illustrated the power of networks. We could never achieve as much individually as we do by collaborating. And, we propel each other to success! Making s’mores doesn’t hurt either…. One tip to implement…
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Women in Supply Chain (and Why Men Should Care)

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Whether you’re a man or woman, if you are in the end-to-end supply chain, you should be thinking about women in supply chain. We’re facing a serious skills gap in the next several years in manufacturing and supply chain circles. Although women make up 47% of the labor force, they compose only 27% of the manufacturing workforce. Thus, logic dictates that if we can raise that percentage, we’ll cover much of our skills gap! I spoke on “Women in Supply Chain” at the western district conference for APICS (#1 supply chain management association) this weekend. I also am a mentor…
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SIOP – How Collaboration & Judgment Can Achieve Wonders

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Earlier this week, I spoke to APICS Ventura County on the topic of SIOP (Sales, Inventory & Operations Planning). It was a great conversation because it was really interactive, with probing questions on not just the theory and concepts but how to “make it work.” Talking more about the secret recipe to achieving results. What became apparent during the discussion is that what we do truly boils down to much, much more than aligning demand with supply or any of the technical aspects of SIOP. Success results from collaboration and common sense with a dash of judgment thrown in at…
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Who Should You Follow? A Guide to Good Mentoring Relationships

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We recently took on one of our first consulting mentoring projects. Since our focus is on delivering growth and profitability for manufacturing and distribution companies, we work mainly with business-to-business. With that said, every consulting project involves some level of coaching – mentoring – to people working on those businesses to deliver results. And since we consider results to be the 80/20 of our business, we put a lot of attention on coaching the appropriate employees (from line supervision to the executive team) to achieve a desired outcome. So when a consulting mentorship opportunity arose with a mentee who was…
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Raising the Bar With Customer Service Through Internal Operations

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Could a simple solution of aligning Sales with Operations with Finance deliver the bottom line BIG win? Do your internal operations truly have a significant impact on your customer service levels? Yes, for every single client, they can have a dramatic effect! For example, we recently worked with a client that wanted to raise the bar when it came to customer service levels. Over time, product mix, distribution strategies and buffer capabilities changed which created a gap when compared to prior performance levels. The challenge was to improve customer service and the overall customer experience rapidly – and “make it…
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Walmart Raising the Supply Chain Metrics Bar

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One of my clients forwarded this Business Insider article about Walmart’s supply chain metrics. Walmart is not only requiring an increase in OTIF (on-time-in-full) delivery performance but it also will charge penalties for suppliers that don’t live up to the metric! Creating an efficient supply chain is critical for Walmart, so they are taking this proactive stance. This is prevalent throughout our manufacturing and distribution clients – regardless of industry. For example, in aerospace, there are very similar supply chain metrics and penalties. If we want to grow our businesses, we must develop excellence throughout our supply chain. Just think, there…
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A Systems Transformation

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A systems transformation doesn’t necessarily relate to the computer system. Instead, a systems transformation relates to how the people, processes, systems, metrics, costs and more all come together to deliver profitable growth – or not! And, as one of my potential clients put it – dictates whether we are blind or able to see where we are going. Can you “see” where you are going? We have received an increasing number of these types of calls lately. Perhaps it is because it is harder than it sounds to achieve a systems transformation. If a ‘system’ isn’t in place to provide…
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