Tag Archive: metrics

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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Kaizens & the Importance of Metrics

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My colleague and I led a Kaizen workshop on metrics with a process manufacturing client. It is always interesting to brainstorm which which metrics are relevant.
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How To Know If Your Old Business System Is Just Fine

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We cannot tell you how many clients call thinking they need a new system to support their business when they simply don’t! Certainly, there is a time to upgrade to a new business system, when you’ve outgrown your old one (for example: QuickBooks with add-ons like Fishbowl), or your old system is highly customized and unsustainable, or when you are in the midst of a merger or acquisition. However, before jumping to the conclusion that your system must be upgraded, think twice. Any ERP transformation project will be expensive (more than you think!) and resource intensive. With that said, it…
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Getting Out of the Weeds to See the Forest

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Turning Everyday Interactions into Profitable Opportunities I’ve been working with several clients recently who are interested in “getting out of the weeds” so that they can “see the forest”. In a few cases, we’ve talked about strategy and reviewed key information about customers, demand, supply and financials. Although there were benefits to each piece (including being able to make decisions such as in-sourcing/outsourcing, equipment purchases, lease renegotiation, and hiring), it was no comparison to the value of being able to see the BIG PICTURE. Similar to driving to work every day and not remembering how you got there, we are…
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Start Process Improvement by Getting the Facts – A Case Study

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I am often called upon by clients to help them improve one or more of their business processes. Though the industries vary and the processes are different, when asked to help improve a process I always start in the same place. What are the facts; how do we get the facts? If you have processes that needs improving, I suggest you start by getting the facts. Understand what metrics are in place and what they are telling you. Use the facts to keep people aligned and motivated on the effort required to make improvements
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Best Practices in Project Teamwork

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Projects are the cornerstone to achieving bottom-line business results. In working with clients ranging from small businesses to large, complex, global organizations across multiple industries, I’ve yet to run across a client that doesn’t rely heavily on project results to support customers, grow the business and increase profitability. What else could be more important to business success? Since projects cannot succeed with a sole participant, project teams are essential to success. Therefore, discovering the best ways for project teams to work together will lead to results. After leading and participating in hundreds of major projects and many smaller projects over…
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How to Increase Teamwork to Ensure Project Success

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As I work with manufacturing and distribution clients from all industries such as aerospace, building products, and medical products and across a wide range of sizes from a few million to multi-billion dollar companies, I find that project management is one common thread across every client. Since growing the business and improving performance is of paramount importance to compete, new programs, process improvements, and other organizational changes continue to increase in numbers to support this expectation. Thus, project management is increasingly a strategic imperative to success. We can be more assured we’ll achieve success with our projects if we have…
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What Is Your Company Culture?

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There is quite a bit of talk on culture in organizations; however, if you were asked to define your culture, could you? I think this question would give many executives pause to think. In today’s work environment, all potential employees will discover what your culture is like when evaluating whether to work at your company. Since information is readily available on social media and in the news, there is no doubt if someone wants to understand your culture, he/she will. What will he/she find out? Is it what you’d expect?   I prefer my consulting mentor’s definition of culture —…
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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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The Power of Databases

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I’ve been working with a client recently on a SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) program. We are gaining access to powerful information that will help them hire at the “right” time (not too early – and, more importantly, not too late when considering growth & ramp up curves), train/cross-train at the right time (as growth requires new skills), upgrade and purchase machines at the “right” time (certainly, who wants to spend millions in capital too soon – or worse, too late as customers will be up in arms), buy new buildings at the “right” time and so on.  …
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