Tag Archive: lean

The Value of Demand Planning

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In supply chain circles there are a lot of exciting concepts to discuss and debate such as: lean, master scheduling, theory of constraints, and many more; however, we have found that our most successful clients start with the customer!
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Why Blame Doesn’t Work

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I’ve been spending the majority of my time this week with two clients: one is preparing to go live on a new ERP system and the other is working to improve service levels by implementing improved planning and order flow processes. Although these specific objectives are nothing alike, they have much in common. Both have countless numbers of small issues arise on a daily basis — and some quite large ones thrown into the mix. It is just the nature of the beast in manufacturing environments. And so we need to uncover the root cause of the preponderance of the…
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Results Follow People

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Results don’t occur with the latest fads – even with good fads such as lean manufacturing or SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) programs.  Results don’t occur with cool system functionality – certainly, it makes life easier if you have great tools but results won’t occur due to a system.  Instead, results follow people.  LMA Consulting Group has been in business for over 11 years, and prior to that I was a VP of Operations and Supply Chain for an absorbent products manufacturer.  I’ve yet to see an example of results that didn’t follow the people. For example, in working…
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Lean or No Lean, a Demand Plan is a MUST

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Whether you are on the Lean journey or not, you need a demand plan! Prior to forming LMA Consulting Group, I was a VP of Operations and Supply Chain for a mid-market manufacturer. Our Board hired a lean consultant who insisted we had to be purists – there is no in-between. If we were to embrace lean (and, who wouldn’t want to be lean, after all?), there are some lean purists who say “no need for a demand plan”. Somehow, this is what was adopted as gospel at my company; however, it was NOT accurate — assuming you wanted to…
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Should We Always Aim to Reduce Inventory Levels?

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Certainly reducing inventory on hand is typically preferred as you can accelerate your cash flow. It is one of the key focus areas of my consulting practice. I have found that reducing inventory by 50% is typically quite achievable with the optimal mix of people/skills, processes and systems. Keeping money flowing is one great way to improve your business results. However, it is never black or white. There are times when increasing inventory is my recommendation!  The best practice process should not dictate low inventory levels for the sake of having low inventory levels. If it does, throw out your…
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Which Inventory Management Planning Method Is Best?

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I’ve incorporated three planning method options into a presentation on inventory management best practices. I’ve been receiving more and more requests for this topic as executives experience the impact poor inventory management can have on an organization — it can stunt growth, weaken profits, tie up cash unnecessarily and negatively impact operational efficiency. I run across conflicts frequently among these options. Unfortunately, the method is often dictated. Resources are not valued. And results struggle. On the other hand, my best clients view these as complementary options to be used at the “right” time in the “right” situation for the “right”…
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Lessons Learned from a Genius Businessman

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My best friend’s dad was as close to a business genius as I’ve stood. He made his employers rich beyond their wildest dreams yet he was happy with this outcome as he enjoyed what he did and lived to 98 including many travels to exotic places — not the ones you might think of but ones he enjoyed. For example, he went to Nicaragua and had many wonderful stories to tell about crocodile farms and uzis. Somehow, he and his wife managed to trust people they probably shouldn’t have, travel to a country not recommended, even by people they met…
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10 Ways to Stay Focused on the Critical Path

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Remaining focused on any one strategy, project or task can prove challenging in today’s new normal. Volatility is the new norm, and so it becomes easy to get caught up in the highs and lows of organizational life. For example, if your company is having a rough month due to volatility, management can begin to panic which causes deviations from the critical path to the latest crisis. Soon, you are deterred from the project altogether as resources are lean and can only focus on so many places at once. Most major change initiatives, new product launches, cost savings programs, customer…
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Observe to Rule the Roost and Improve Performance

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It is interesting how effective the powers of observation can be! Take a step back and observe what is going on around you. The Japanese are experts at this in lean manufacturing ­— they simply watch what is going on around them and ideas emerge. I also asked an investment banker/turnaround expert for his top tips for success as he had a 99.9% hit ratio. He said, “Walk around the facility, observe, and the issues will pop out at you.” Talk about a multi-million dollar walk! To hone in on your powers of observation, consider the following tips:  Focus: Distraction…
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What Sort of People Culture Do You Need for Lean?

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It just so happens I’ve been working closely with a few lean gurus in the last 6 months, and I’ve been partnering with clients to implement lean processes, stemming from traditional operations to critical administrative functions such as order management and planning. None of these efforts will achieve anything if they aren’t backed by the “right” people culture. A few items to think about if you are going down this path: 1. Culture of innovation – Contrary to how most companies operate, a lean culture dictates that mistakes are good.  In essence, if you don’t try anything new, you won’t make a…
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