Category: Supply Chain Management

The Resilient Supply Chain: Can You Get Trucks?

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Are you able to find trucks?  This is quickly becoming a major question that needs to be answered.  Every driver has at least 12 options. Why will he/she take your load?  Are you attractive to carriers? That is the key question. After all, you can carry inventory so you are responsive (assuming you planned well and have the right inventory at the right place at the right time) but if you cannot deliver, it was all for naught. According to the Journal of Commerce, truck rates are up in the low double digits half way through the year.  And, they…
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The Resilient Supply Chain: Global Trade Unrest

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In today’s Amazonian environment, the customer experience is of paramount importance.      Nothing else matters if the customer isn’t happy. Thus, all the conversations going on about trade really just come back to the customer.  What is the best way to service your customers?         In manufacturing circles, there are many elements converging to strengthen manufacturing in the United States: There are lots and lots of customers in the U.S. and they all want products and services delivered rapidly (making it less conducive to producing half way around the world). Customers change their minds frequently and…
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Amazon’s Deal with Party City & More Competitors

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While I presented on the Amazon Effect to a specialty group of ProVisors (trusted advisors) members focused on manufacturing and distribution recently, Amazon was firming up a deal with Party City to offer an assortment of items. This is just the latest in a stream of retailers collaborating with the competition.  Party City follows Kohl’s (see the sign in the picture below), Sears, Nike, Chico’s and more. This is especially interesting because at our recent Harvey Mudd executive roundtable event, almost every CEO mentioned a time when he/she collaborated with the competition.  Perhaps we should be keeping our mind open…
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It’s a Small World & the Customer Experience

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A few weeks ago, my brothers and nephew were in town and we did a whirlwind tour of Southern California hot spots.  We went to Universal Studios, Oceanside beach, a day-trip to San Diego for various food hot spots (a few favorites for the Arizona contingent) and to Disneyland/California Adventure.  While there, we went on my favorite ride: It’s a Small World.  What a great job they do at making the total customer experience! Disney does a fabulous job of creating a complete experience.  In the case of It’s a Small World, you’ll notice their use of color and sound.  Interestingly, if you…
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Technologies: Paying Attention to What is Important

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There are so many new technologies and combinations of technologies, it is extremely hard to keep up.  How do you know which to pay attention to and which to ignore? Unfortunately, some clients have told us they get overwhelmed by it all and just go back to what they are expert in (running the business) and postpone the technology decision. As much as we find that technology is NOT #1 to success, achieving scalable, profitable growth without technology is an uphill battle to be sure!  We also find some technology enthusiasts who get so bogged down in technology as the “be…
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When is it the ‘Right’ Time for a Supply Chain Network Assessment?

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Supply Chain networks that are not set up to support scalable, profitable growth have a high likelihood of negatively impacting your customers, impeding your growth and consuming far more resources than they were ever imagined to sustain.  What is ideally mapped out one year is likely to change the next in today’s Amazonian marketplace. Thus, assessing your supply chain network from your suppliers’ suppliers through your manufacturing and logistics networks to your customers’ customers with an eye to customers, cost and cash will undoubtedly yield results. What are some hints to know when it’s the ‘right’ time?  Renew your lease, buy…
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Keeping an Eye on Global Markets

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If there ever was a strategic topic of critical importance no matter your position in the supply chain, it is keeping an eye on global markets.  We’ve worked with clients who ONLY source materials, components and products from U.S.-based suppliers.  Yet, even they must pay attention to global markets to thrive.  Are you making this a priority? There are countless reasons to stay informed of global markets.  First and foremost, we live in a global society. It isn’t practical to go through a day without coming into contact with products, services, people, currencies and more from around the world. A…
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Do You Live By Values Daily?

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We decided to participate in Executive Forums (an executive peer group) and Global Growth Cycle (a global consulting peer group) in order to stay up-to-date on what our clients need (sometimes even before they know they ‘need’ it).  After all, understanding what is successful as well as investing in our continual learning are important factors in long-term success. At a recent meetings of both groups, the importance of values arose.  Do you have values? And, more importantly, do you LIVE by values or are they just pasted on your wall (and ignored)? Because we felt it was important for LMA Consulting…
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What Tours Have You Gone on Lately?

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In the last month, I have attended quite a few tours of manufacturing and distribution operations.  The pictures below were taken at an APICS Inland Empire and ProVisors tour of Southwest Traders Foodservice Distribution and Do It American Manufacturing.  Both were excellent.  And I walked away with great tips! Tours are a great way to see different ways of doing business and gain insights and ideas to apply in your company.  I find that what I see and learn will provide value to clients somewhere down the line.  As often as I hear clients request a consultant with knowledge in their specific industry,…
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How You Learn More By Teaching

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If you want to learn, teach! Recently I taught a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) class for my APICS Inland Empire Chapter, and it reminded me of this fact.  In order to teach anything (whether in a classroom or one-on-one), you need to brush up on the subject matter and think about examples, case studies or metaphors you can use to explain the concepts.  TAs my consulting mentor always says, he learns more than the students when he teaches. Which topics should you become proficient in to enable success? What have you taught lately?   One tip to implement this…
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