APICS-IE Symposium & Key Take-Aways on GROWTH

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Our APICS Inland Empire chapter hosted the 12th executive panel and networking symposium (over 7 years) on the theme of “Managing Rapid Growth when Manufacturing and Distribution are HOT”.  We had a fabulous panel (clearly enjoying the conversation – see below) of manufacturing and supply chain CEOs and experts.  Thanks to the APICS BOD and Kash Gokli and the Harvey Mudd team for putting on such a value-packed day! Overall, we discussed the power of manufacturing and supply chain in today’s environment.  In the era of the customer, it is all about the customer experience, rapid deliveries, e-commerce and responsiveness.…
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Buried in Data. Dig Your Way Out & Leverage for Success

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90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. Mind boggling!  Of course, we are getting buried in data and aren’t sure how to dig our way out and leverage for success. If you just think about your first few hours after waking up in the morning, you’ve received millions of messages and data:  1) News reports from the radio. 2) Text messages and emails on your phone. 3) Most likely you’ve driven by billboard messages on your way to work.  4) The TV might have been on in the background while getting ready for work.…
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E-Commerce is on Fire

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At the Southern California E-Commerce and Logistics Summit, there was much discussion on e-commerce.  No matter whether you are in a consumer products company (which is typically more geared to e-commerce) or if you are in aerospace, e-commerce principles and implications will affect you.  The bottom line is that we are in the era of the customer:   E-commerce is over 10% of all retail sales currently and projected to climb over 15% by 2023 – Customer responsiveness, rapid deliveries and last mile considerations will become commonplace.  China and the U.S. account for over 80% of the e-commerce growth –…
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Collaboration in the Supply Chain

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To succeed in today’s Amazonian environment, we must keep strange bedfellows.  We just love the Amazon example of innovation – partnering with the U.S. Postal service – known as one of the least-innovative organizations out there.  But it works! Who ever thought you’d see a U.S. postal service mail truck delivering on Sunday for Amazon?   At the Southern California E-Commerce and Logistics Summit, there were several intriguing collaborations:  Union Pacific and BNSF Railway – Although there was a healthy competition over resources (not surprisingly since both are experiencing a skills gap), there was also much collaboration over issues.  The…
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The Skills Gap Emerges as #1 at Prominent Supply Chain Conference

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At the Southern California Supply Chain and Logistics Summit conference, there were several keynote speakers from industry icons such as Amazon, UPS, Union Pacific and more.  One might expect quite a lot of interesting insights into the latest supply chain trends yet the most common theme among the presentations tied back to the skills gap. It boils down to having the “right people” for success – both in terms of employees and supply chain partners.           Several of the themes emerged the supply chain summit:  Automation: Friend or Foe? With the advances of automation in the…
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3D Printed Houses – Fast, Inexpensive and Fights Homelessness

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3D printing is becoming mainstream and addresses MANY of the challenges in today’s Amazon-impacted marketplace.  In this case, a non-profit, New Story, teamed up with a construction tech company, Icon, to create the Vulcan – a 3D printer that prints single-story homes.  These homes are printed in 24 hours (WOW!), for under $4000 (again, WOW) and it’s being used to fight homelessness. Check out their video:  Are you thinking about how 3D printing might impact and transform your industry? What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise? Although we should consider potential impacts of 3D printing in our…
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Amazon Prime Members Hit 100 Million

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While sitting in a conference today, I received several updates from Amazon Prime – that my mom’s subscription service to a cleaning product would be delivered; that my cat Smokey would be able to eat well this week since his food is ‘on the way’; a confirmation email for an order I placed with ‘1 click’ for a book that a colleague recommended and more. In the last week, how many of us have placed an order using Amazon Prime?  Over 100 million most likely. If we consider how often we take out our phone to order an obscure or…
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The Highest # of Factory Jobs Since 2008!

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According to Industry Week, we have the highest number of factory jobs since 2008!  We have reached over 12.6 million people employed by the sector. This is all the more impressive when we consider the significant rate of automation and deployment of technological advances occurring the last several years. In the era of the customer, executives are locating manufacturing in close proximity to their customers. Since customers expect rapid deliveries and high levels of customization, it is making more and more sense to locate manufacturing in Southern California and especially the Inland Empire with lower costs, extra space and access…
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Have You Heard Horror Stories about ERP?

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Since we are known in ERP circles, it is a topic that comes up in conversation frequently.  Recently, at an Executive Forums meeting, one member talked about a situation he knew about where the company lost half its sales after a failed ERP implementation, and they ended up reverting back to their old system.  Can you imagine? The unfortunate thing is this is not uncommon although it is a more dramatic example. ERP isn’t bad.  It is essential in achieving scalable, profitable growth although sometimes it can seem bad and have just horrible results. Similarly, no particular ERP system is…
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The Amazon Effect Remains Hot

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Our marketing guru asked whether we should start talking about other topics aside from the Amazon Effect since there are a vast number of key topics occurring in manufacturing and distribution, and she wondered if it was becoming stale (and it’s her job to make us look at timely as possible). The answer came in from all angles – conference leaders continue to request this topic, news reporters continue to ask about it (including the Wall Street Journal in a recent conversation) and everyone is STILL talking about it. For example, when the Ontario Chamber CEO mentioned this topic for…
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