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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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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Increasing Cash Flow Through Supply Chain Improvements

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As we are emerging from the recession, we are by no means returning to the high growth days of the past. Instead, the new normal is here to stay – slow growth for those who stay ahead of the curve, tight cash flow and customer demands at a high point. Thus, accelerating cash flow is a key to success in this environment.
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Driving a Winning Culture? – Don’t Forget Your Suppliers

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Often, when companies talk about “cultural change”, they are referring to changes in the internal culture of their own enterprise; i.e. empowering its employees to make decisions related to problem solving and process improvement, using the formal system in place of its informal systems, or an un-relenting commitment to quality. But what about the external culture? Your supply chain is an integral part of your operation. It does little good to change internal culture if you don’t address your external culture at the same time. In the end, you are only as successful as your suppliers are. In the pursuit…
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Implementing a New System in a Recovering Economy

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In preparing for recovery, companies need to start to look at implementing new business systems. But, with limited resources and capital, many companies may decide to defer this decision to a time when “things are better”. What these companies fail to recognize is that there may be no better time than right now to start the project. It has been estimated that a major Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system implementation will cost as much as 3% of annual sales and will take 12 to 18 months to complete. Therefore, it is critical, especially in a recovering economy, that a company…
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Crisis Brings About Real Change – A Case for In-Sourcing

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For the past decade companies have spent considerable time and resources on strategically outsourcing their products and services. But maybe now, while our economy is in a real crunch, is the time to reconsider this strategy and put people back to work in this country. According to the APICS Dictionary, 12th edition, in-sourcing is “using a firm’s internal resources to provide goods and services”. The opposite is out-sourcing; “the process of having suppliers provide goods and services that were previously provided internally”. In the old days we called this a “make or buy” decision and out-sourcing was called sub-contracting. The…
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Leaning Your Supply Chain in a Down Economy

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Now is the perfect time to eliminate the waste in you supply Chain Every time we turn on the news or pick up a paper, another bank has closed, or another company has been taken over or gone out of business, or another friend or associate has lost their job. So why would you want to take on another major task like “leaning your supply chain” in this economy, and with limited resources? Why not wait till things get better; until you have the time and the people to do it right? The answer is, now is the perfect time…
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Maximizing Your Purchases Resources

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How to get more with less after down sizing In many companies today resources have been cut to a bare minimum. Companies that have survived the sudden down turn in the economy have taken drastic measures to reduce their overhead and expenses, often resulting in a reduction in purchasing staff. This article will address how you can increase the effectiveness and productivity of your purchasing staff and at the same time position your company to be ready to face future challenges. Where we once saw purchasing organizations with one or two senior buyers, several commodity buyers and a clerical staff,…
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MRP/ERP Education – The key to Successful Implementation

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One major key to success in implementing an MRP/ERP system is education of its users early in the implementation process. Software training is not enough. All users of the system must have a good understanding of how and why the system works and be able to recognize the effect that their actions have on others using the system. To be most effective MRP/ERP education should be, a) done early in the implementation process, b) generic, not software based, c) all inclusive, starting with top management, d) must be ongoing. Early Education Often, in talking with users of new MRP/ERP systems…
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Customer Focused Supply Chain Management

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Supply Chain Management (SCM) was introduced in the 1990’s as a buzzword often used by logistics and software providers to describe the integrated network of product, information, and cash flow between the various entities in a supply chain. SCM has been embraced by many non-supply chain professionals simply as a new and faster way of acquiring goods and services using integrated software tools and global logistics. Today, SCM is widely recognized as a better way of doing business in a complex global economy. Traditionally, Supply Chain Management has focused on negotiating long term agreements, cost reduction, outsourcing, third-party logistics, and…
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