Tag Archive: operations strategy

How to Create an Innovative Culture

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Creating an innovative culture is cornerstone to success! In today’s new normal business environment, customers expect “stand above the crowd” service with high-value products and services as the norm. The only way to achieve these lofty expectations without breaking the bank is to create a culture of innovation. Focus on how to create and leverage innovation to not only improve your profitability but also to leapfrog your competition. You must change the playing field – and therefore the rules of the game – and throw out your old business models and practices. Instead, you need to think and practice innovation.…
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The Value of SIOP

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I’ve been thinking about the value of SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning). Not only can it be a great way to gain bottom line results (capacity to support business growth, improved margins, accelerated cash flow), but it also can help align the functions of an organization. I’ve facilitated three executive SIOP meetings in the last few weeks. In each case, the process brought up critical business topics not otherwise addressed and better aligned the people on one page with one plan. For example, in one of the executive SIOP meetings, the “next” potential bottleneck surfaced through the SIOP data. Instead of…
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Strategies to Reduce Operational Cost without Capital Investment

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As businesses look to find ways to grow profitably and build efficiencies into the process upfront, maintaining low operational costs remains paramount.  It also provides pricing flexibility as you are able to reduce your breakeven point for covering costs. A few strategies to consider include: 1. Reduce waste – sounds obvious but often requires significant focus. Focus demands priority. Dictating priority doesn’t last long; instead, it must be a priority backed with support when “the going gets rough”.  Reducing waste reduces raw material cost – if raw materials are a significant portion of your business cost, consider prioritizing. If they…
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The $1 Million Dollar Planner

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What is a $1 million dollar planner? And why does it matter? I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of a $1 million dollar planner, which I define as a planner who provides millions of dollar of value to the company’s bottom line – which answers the question of why it matters! I come from a planning background, so I have a bias on this subject, yet my perspective is also based in facts. Typically I’ve found that planners are a lower level position (unless they are a planning manager), yet it is a key position that significantly affects the…
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Inventory Velocity

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Inventory velocity not only accelerates cash flow but it also can contribute to margin improvement. How do we turn inventory faster and keep our money in motion vs. stagnating in the back of our warehouse? One of the best ways to keep your inventory moving is to put a SIOP (sometimes known as S&OP) process in place. The better picture you have of your demand plan, the better you’ll be able to align that with your master schedule, production plans, detailed schedules, purchase plans, capacity capability requirements, staffing and skill requirements, and sales plans. Aligning these people, processes and technologies…
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Are You Prepared for Success?

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Are you prepared for success? We worry so much about failure that I find most clients are not prepared for success. You know what the lawyers say, “never go into a situation without knowing the answer and being prepared for anything that might come up”. It is proven that the well-prepared will perform far better than those scrambling to survive without a plan for success. Think about success from both personal and professional standpoint. It seems strange that this would be necessary; however, in my experience, one of the contributing causes of failure is not being ready for success. I’ve…
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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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Are You Prepared for a Systems Failure?

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According to today’s Wall Street Journal, the U.S.’s largest drugstore chain Walgreens had a database glitch and customers were unable to fill prescriptions.  The database issue hit 8200 pharmacy locations.  Some customers were inconvenienced while others might be waiting in excruciating pain for the system to be fixed.  In this case, the culprit was a system upgrade; however, it could have been any number of potential causes. No matter how unlikely, in today’s business environment, customers expect high service levels and are less likely to stick by you when issues occur.  Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law will occur somewhere down the road.…
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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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