Tag Archive: management

A Planning Mindset Is Invaluable to the Supply Chain

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Developing a planning mindset can be invaluable to not only planners but also to any supply chain management employee/leader. When I refer to planning, I mean planning from multiple perspectives:  production planning, raw material planning, project planning, SIOP (sales, inventory, and operations planning), financial planning, and budgeting, etc. I find that developing a plan is more than half the battle. If you are part of a team, it provides a way for everyone to be on the same page. Who should do what and when? What sequence should we follow? Are there dependencies? It also allows for the optimizing of several variables. For…
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Systems Pragmatist: Connecting Processes, Systems, Company Objectives

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When applying my Systems Pragmatist viewpoint to analyzing manufacturing processes and systems, I revisit the fundamentals as they are essential to delivering bottom line business results. Those clients who want to skip over the “hard work” of defining and improving processes and leveraging systems are destined to failure whereas those who take the time to ensure that these bedrock concepts are in place thrive. Undoubtedly, I find the key to success to be in connection points. Is your process documented? It’s amazing how often clients should start here.  By understanding your current process, opportunities for improvement jump out!  Do your processes…
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Become the Strongest Link in Your Supply Chain

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As The Manufacturing Connector(SM), I work with clients on a comprehensive process to connect the rapid assessment and identification of key priorities with the execution of results through the right combination of end-to-end supply chain expertise and improvements in people, processes, and systems. When going into more depth on the content side of the equation (the Strongest Link in Your Supply Chain), I find that my most successful clients take the time to think through from a strategic perspective. Which end-to-end supply chain content areas are most important to success? Countless topics could be included in the mix, ranging from…
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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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Rapid Assessments for Success

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I will be rolling out a new diagram/ graphic next month that depicts how my service lines “work together” to dramatically improve performance.  In the interim, I thought I’d talk about the first step which is rapid assessments that deliver success.  A few tips include: 1. Take a cross-functional view – Only assessments which cross functional lines will provide significant value as no function works alone. 2. Look for connections – It is where the various functions, systems, processes, and people cross that is essential.  Focus on these areas. 3. Focus only on those areas impacting the critical objectives – Too many…
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Systems Pragmatist: 6 Essential Ideas to Drive Business Results

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As I’ve been going through my hundreds of articles to put together the 100 tips, it’s become obvious as to which topics resonated with me as essential to delivering bottom line business results.  Here are six areas of focus from the process and systems perspective: 1. Base processes – Too often, the foundation is overlooked.  A simple yet essential starting point. 2. Process improvement – You can use tools such as Lean, the Toyota Production Systems or just uncommon common sense.  Look for areas to improve. 3. ERP Selection – Focus on critical success factors and the rest will fall into place. 4.…
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Is Outsourcing Dead?

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GE has started to rev up Appliance Park again – and is starting to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. A few of my key contacts and clients have asked about re-shoring. The buzz in the news is beginning to focus on re-shoring. Add it all up – re-shoring to North America is definitely on the rise. Are you positioned to leverage this new trend? First, it makes sense to think through WHY we’d be thinking of re-shoring. There are several key points to consider: 1) Service & quality. 2) Speed & flexibility. 3) Cash. 4) Total Cost. 5) Risk.…
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E-Commerce is No Longer an Option

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Are you offering e-commerce options for your customers? If not, you’ll be left in the dust! It is no longer an option for companies if success is an objective. E-commerce eliminates time and distance as barriers – who can afford not to offer customers a way to get “what they want when they want it”? Better yet, it is often at better margins to boot! For example, according to Modern Distribution Management’s 2013 State of E-commerce in Distribution, the number of distributors whose e-commerce revenue comprises 5-10% of total revenue has grown by 50% since last year. Substantial! E-commerce has…
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Outsourcing, In-sourcing, Near-sourcing?

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For many years, companies outsourced as a natural course of activity. Unfortunately, often times, they didn’t even perform an analysis of the total benefit; instead, everyone else was outsourcing and so CEOs, Board of Directors and the like expected it to occur. Now, I host executive discussions and the topic arises in reverse. Let’s bring back manufacturing to the U.S. Even Walmart is promoting their investment into U.S. manufacturing…. Of course, I advocate looking at the facts. It is not so easy to move factories, equipment and people all around. Take stock of what you are doing and consider the following factors: 1.…
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Watching Metrics Trends

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One of the keys to success for any business is to watch metrics trends. In my experience, if a client watches key trends, they tend to be more successful than most. If they don’t, they struggle. Fortunately and unfortunately, it is as simple as that. One of the first questions I ask when I work with a manufacturing or distribution client relates to metrics. Which do they track? Why? What does the trend look like? I often find clients who track all sorts of metrics; however, I rarely find clients who not only track trends but watch the trends. It seems…
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