The Talent Shortage – What to Do…

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In every conference and almost every conversation with a CEO or GM, the talent shortage arises. It is on our minds! At the E-Commerce and Logistics summit, it was a consistent theme from our panel “Freight, Frictions and the Future” and it arose with each keynote speaker (President of Package Operations for UPS, Director of Worldwide Public Relations for Amazon, and an SVP at Colliers International).     Several of the issues that arose in context of the summit include: Lack of drivers (and lack of understanding what drivers have to go through!) Lack of high-tech skills Lack of understanding the…
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Manufacturing & California are on Fire!

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According to Industry Week and the National Association of Manufacturers, manufacturing is on fire! Manufacturers’ optimism registered 95.1% – the highest level EVER recorded! Manufacturers are projecting historic growth in investments (4.1%), hiring (3.1%) and wages (2.7%).  Projected wage growth is the fastest in 17 years. The bottom line – manufacturing is on fire!           Now to turn general perceptions on its head, Industry Week did a study of the top states for manufacturing jobs and California was #1! Clearly, this was accomplished in a state that doesn’t favor manufacturing jobs (even though they pay well).  Manufacturing…
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The Importance of Being Top of Mind

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Last week, I led my Ontario ProVisors group meeting.  It is a top notch group of trusted advisors that I’m thrilled to lead – not only is it a great group of people (professional, smart and funny) but they also provide my clients with “just what they need when they need it”.  It is surprising (and exciting) how often a client will ask for a specific (oftentimes obscure) resource or question, and I can help him/her because I know the best person to answer his question or fill his need.  If you have a need, please feel free to contact…
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Robots Taking on Pharmaceuticals & Food?

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According to the Wall Street Journal, robots are taking on pharmaceuticals and food preparation.  In pharmaceuticals, companies like Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline are investing heavily in automation to radically change the process of drug discovery.   If robots can handle thousands of samples around the clock (although costs will decrease or be reallocated to more valuable tasks), these results pale in comparison with the vast opportunity to develop drugs quicker! Are you radically re-thinking and innovating with speed in mind? Meanwhile, a burger joint will open in San Francisco that makes $6 burgers entirely by robot.  Creator is betting that robots can create…
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Hawaii and Strategic Thinking

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I met my global consulting group in Hawaii to talk strategy.  Have you thought about where you are going lately? More importantly, have you thought about why you are going there? It is quite easy to get caught up in doing whatever you set out to do a year or two prior when you set your strategy.  But don’t things change?  Certainly, the world stage continues to evolve. Put dedicated thought into your strategy, set aside time to think and consider different viewpoints. In my case, gaining input from some of the best consultants from different countries and specialties while putting…
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There is More to Chicago than Good Pizza. Logistics Anyone?

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My aunt worked at CSX rail outside Chicago for her entire career.  Growing up, it sounded like odd, middle of the night shifts was what rail was all about.  Now, rail – and specifically Chicago – have become strategic. As people moved west in the good old days, Chicago became a rail hub, and it remains so today. When having supply chain network strategy discussions with clients, Chicago often arises since it connects rail across the country. Now Chicago has expanded beyond rail to become a high-tech logistics hub.  And with transportation rates tight with no end in sight, we…
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AI, Robots, IoT, Blockchain, Hike!

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AI (artificial intelligence), Robots, IoT (internet of things), Blockchain, hike! Doesn’t it sound like a foreign language?  It certainly does to my mother! Yet it is the language of the future. Which of these technologies should we pay attention to?  Let’s look at some of the more popular ones:  AI– Depending on your industry, AI will most certainly impact it.  Service industries such as accounting are definitely impacted. After all, if a program like Alexa can learn how to put together your taxes, it is bound to disrupt.  Machine learning and artificial intelligence can be powerful – preventative maintenance can…
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Warehousing Strategies for Success

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The Amazon Effect is creating elevated levels of stress in the warehousing and distribution world. The key question is how to provide immediate deliveries, customized service, easy returns, and more for a reduced cost – a very good question indeed! A few considerations to ponder:  Storage capacity -What is your storage capacity?  How does that compare with your requirements?  And how can you maximize what you can store in your warehouse? Flow – Are you running in circles around your warehouse to support your customers?  Similar to a manufacturing environment, flow can be an essential ingredient to warehousing success –…
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Should I Move?

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  Our clients frequently call with questions such as:  Should we renew our lease?  Should we move to a lower cost area?  Should we move to a lower cost state?  What considerations should we think about when evaluating our manufacturing and logistics network?  Should we outsource? Thus, we thought it would be prudent to address some questions and themes that should be evaluated from a strategic point-of-view when discussing supply chain network assessments. Let’s start by saying that our top clients begin THINKING about these topics several years in advance. Similar to selling a business, it isn’t the best plan to…
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People Rule

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Why does Southwest Airlines outperform the competition by a long shot in employee turnover (7% vs. 25% industry average)? People! As our long-term readers know, we believe that people rule!  There is just no doubt about it – our most successful clients are similar to Southwest and JetBlue as it relates to people – executives view them as assets; not costs.  Instead of stifling creativity and success, they encourage it! We have to image that no one sets out to stifle creativity when they leave for work in the morning (it sounds like a miserable existence) . Yet that is…
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