Skip navigation

leadership-300x200.jpgAs 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 a few highlights from the people perspective:

1. People are your #1 asset - If you don’t pay attention to your people, nothing else will matter. Start here.

2. Retaining top talent – It is not as simple as paying fairly. Those who retain top talent will thrive.

3. It Begins & Ends with Leadership – I still believe my HR mentor Debra’s comments sum this up, “It begins and ends with leadership”.

4. Culture – Very little progress can be made if culture doesn’t support it. Set out to be deliberate about culture.

5. Change management – Too many companies fail when it comes to managing organizational change. People do not fear change; they fear not knowing where they are headed and not having control over their destiny.

6. Performance management – the most overlooked yet essential item. Make the time to talk with your people. How can your #1 asset not be important? Set goals. Provide feedback. Mentor.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

Profit through People

newmindset.jpgSales and operations planning processes are key to improving service levels, accelerating cash flow and increasing margins.  Thus, it is worth pursuing the seemingly simple process of aligning demand and supply and your executive team on one plan.  It must start with the demand plan.

1. Talk with customers – it is surprising how often this secret to success is overlooked and not utilized.  Your customers will provide a wealth of information if you ask.

2. Review the data for trends – don’t get sucked into the data black hole!  Instead, review data for trends.  Are sales increasing in a certain area or product line?  It will give you follow-up items to discuss with your customers.

3. Focus on exceptions – one of the advantages of a forecasting system is that it will typically point out exceptions which are out of tolerance.  Whether your software points these out or you look for them manually, focus the 80/20 of your energy on those exceptions as it will drive results.

4. Dig deeper in your supply chain – ask your customers for end user data, point of sale data or any other data which will give you a better understanding of what is occurring deeper in your supply chain.  It is surprising how often it is available yet the goldmine is ignored.

5. Think about the market – talk with your sales and marketing teams, research the market, and get a feel for what is likely to occur in the market.  This will give you directional information for whether your demand plan is in the ballpark.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

Do You Need Systems for a Successful SIOP Rollout?

Sales & Operations Planning Drives RESULTS

8supplychainlinks-300x293.jpgAs 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 those essential to delivering bottom line business results. Here are a few highlights from supply chain management:

1. Demand Planning: It starts here.  What do you think your customers need?  What will set you apart from the competition?

2. Planning/ Inventory management: Who doesn’t have too much, too little, or not the “right” items at the “right” place at the “right” time throughout your end-to-end supply chain?

3. Inventory accuracy: Of course inventory accuracy affects efficiencies across the board but little matters if you cannot find your inventory to ship to the customer on time!

4. Capacity & staffing – Do you have the machines, tools and resources to produce the demand plan?  Are they cross-trained?

5. Customer service & lead times – Is your supply chain set up to deliver on-time and with lead times which will edge out the competition?

6. Logistics – Are your warehousing, distribution and transportation processes set up to achieve your customer expectations at the lowest cost to you?

7. Customer & supplier collaboration – Only those who collaborate will thrive.

8. SIOP/ S&OP – aligns all functions on 1 plan while balancing supply with demand

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

Why Become the Strongest Link in Your Supply Chain?

IveBeenThinkingBlog-1024x459.jpgAs promised in my 100th Profit through People(TM) newsletter, below is my first “I’ve Been Thinking” brief, weekly tips, tools, trends and top news ideas to transform your supply chain. I’d love to hear your feedback….

An Immediately Implementable Tip to Retain Your Top Supply Chain Talent

According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 63% of CEOs in 68 countries are concerned about the future availability of key skills at all levels. This not only supports my firm’s skills gap research but also is proven true on a daily basis with my clients, contacts and trade association colleagues. Not a week goes by where someone hasn’t lost a key employee, doesn’t have the skills available to complete a critical project, or experiences a skills gap due to suddenly increased requirements.

Those who want to thrive in the second half of 2014 will focus immediate attention on ensuring you retain and attain supply chain talent. Start at the beginning – retain your top talent!

One tip to implement this week: Schedule a 30-60 minute session with your top performer to discuss ideas and strategies for moving the business forward. Delay that meeting with your under-performer if necessary. Where you spend your time speaks volumes. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain talent? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”

data_SIOP.jpgNo.  As much as most companies get lost in analyzing data and putting together packets of information, it becomes meaningless without the tenets of SIOP.  Of course it is preferable to have systems and reporting capabilities; however, it will not make or break your success.

So, how do you move forward with SIOP with minimal to no systems support?  I’ve thought through a few strategies for success:

1. Talk with the demand experts: Clearly, someone knows your customers’ expectations.  Ask Customer Service what they see with your key customers.  Ask Shipping about specific customer requirements.  Ask Planning about trends.  Pick up the phone and talk with your Sales team.  Last but not least, call the customer. You never know what information they might share until you ask.

2. Talk with the supply experts: Who better to know if you are likely to have a bottleneck area within manufacturing than the people living and breathing schedules on a daily basis?  Planning is another good source as they have a pulse on both the demand and supply side.  Don’t forget Purchasing.  If there are no purchased parts and materials, you will not be able to achieve your demand plan.

3. Facilitate an executive discussion: Certainly, I’ve yet to see a system that would provide zero data and so you are bound to have something.  Start with what you have.  If you wait for perfection, every single competitor will pass you by.  More importantly, facilitate a discussion of the key points based upon your pre-work.  Align demand with supply and sync up the related parties.

I’ve seen even this rough SIOP process achieve vastly more in terms of margin improvement, inventory reduction and service improvement than 80% of other initiatives.  It’s worth taking the plunge.


Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

What Are the Benefits of SIOP?

WEBINAR: How to Gain a Competitive Advantage with SIOP?

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. Leverage ERP - How do you utilize ERP to increase margins, reduce lead times, accelerate cash flow and improve efficiencies?

5. Technology - Don’t fall in love with technology for technology’s sake; however, which technology will help you improve your business performance?  Focus there.

6. Project management - Little in terms of processes and systems will get done if you don’t focus on project management. 

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

What is a Systems Pragmatist?

Download 100 Strategies, Best Practices and Tips from 100 Issues of Profit Through PeopleTMNewsletter. Subscribe now and get the tips every month.

re-shoring-300x255.jpgGE 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.

1. Service & quality: In today’s new normal business environment, there is little that is more important than service. For example, I have several client examples where if they can deliver 5% faster than their competition (reliably of course), they will gain the business – even if their pricing is a little higher (and in some cases, significantly higher).There are a multitude of issues that can arise which will negatively impact the customer with outsourced product. A laundry list of items that pop to mind include: a large customer of the outsourced supplier has an emergency that delays your shipment; since you are shipping in bulk, you have to wait for a large enough production run (or combine orders) to fill a container; issues at the port overseas; political unrest; port strikes; natural disasters impacting shipment; delays at customs; etc. Additionally, as customers’ expectations rise, they not only expect improved service levels but they also ASSUME high quality levels. Although outsourced product quality can be managed, “Made in the USA” has a positive quality image and is more within manufacturers’ control – and within a quicker timeline.

2. Speed & Flexibility: Speed is king in the new normal. Although this also relates to service levels, it is a critical enough topic to stand on its own. Speed can translate into delivery speed, product development speed, innovation speed, issue resolution speed, speed to replace parts or address expediting requests, etc. Clearly, North America will have an advantage with speed!

3. Cash: Cash flow remains critical in the new normal. Although companies have more cash now than they did during the recession, there is a heightened level of volatility in today’s environment which requires an increased level of cash reserves. Additionally, I’ve yet to meet an executive who wanted more inventory tied up in cash than is required to successfully manage the business. The longer the lead times and transportation time frames and the greater level of customer order volatility, the greater the need for inventory. Thus, producing closer to your customer is desirable. For North American customers, producing in North America requires less inventory.

4. Total Cost: Cost and specifically the vast difference in wage rates is the reason why outsourcing gained such steam for many years; however, wage rates in China have risen dramatically in the last few years (and is projected to continue rising). If labor is not a significant percentage of product cost, outsourcing is less likely to be a cost advantage. The other key cost is transportation cost. If product is bulky or heavy, outsourcing is less likely to have a cost advantage. Last but not least, when you add in the remaining total cost factors such as IP cost, travel costs, etc., the outsourcing cost advantage is murky at best.

5. Risk: The need to manage and mitigate risk continues to increase. In addition to service risk (inclusive of the laundry list referred to under potential service impacts), executives must consider supply chain risk, IP risk, security risk, etc.

If you haven’t taken a step back to re-evaluate outsourcing and re-shoring, it is an opportune time to do so. Those companies that notice key trends and find opportunities to leverage them will thrive – and surpass their competition along the way.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

Outsourcing, In-sourcing or Near-Sourcing?

Made in the USA is Gaining Popularity

100tips-272x300.jpgTo celebrate my 100th Profit Through People(TM) newsletter, I wanted to share 100 of my favorite tips, best practices and strategies with you. I’ve covered many of these over the 10 years I have had my consulting business and it is my hope that they will give you and your team ideas for elevating business performance and advancing your career.

To make sure that you are addressing every opportunity to elevate business performance by linking processes, people and priorities in the supply chain, I’ve included tips from all of my service lines -

I look forward to hearing feedback as you try them out, and here’s to the next 100!!  Feel free to send topic requests and suggestions anytime.

  1. What is profit through people?
  2. Those who continually learn will leapfrog the competition
  3. What is the difference between an exceptional leader and the rest?
  4. 6 Strategies to become organized
  5. Those who follow-up will always outshine their counterparts
  6. Do you have to deal with difficult people? 6 tips for success
  7. Training is key IF success is on the agenda. 5 tips to be effective
  8. Which should you choose – million dollar idea or people?
  9. What will motivate your team?
  10. Are you interested in achieving work-life balance?  5 tips for success
  11. Do you make your goals meaningful?  3 keys to success
  12. 5 essentials to retaining top talent
  13. What really works in pay-for-performance systems?
  14. What do you consider your #1 asset?  It better be your employees!
  15. What lessons can you learn from your worst leaders?
  16. How do you develop a competitive edge with talent?
  17. 5 tips for conducting effective performance reviews
  18. How do we overcome obstacles?
  19. The hidden benefit of observation
  20. What does it take to have a real team?
  21. 3 strategies to leverage the power of relationships
  22. Almost 80% of manufacturers are experiencing a skills gap
  23. Why are communications so difficult? Consider 3 factors
  24. Presence trumps talent upfront – what should you do?
  25. What is a systems pragmatist?
  26. Throw out complex timelines to achieve success
  27. 3 ways to accelerate project results
  28. Does project planning contribute to the success of strategy deployment?
  29. Uncover 5 hidden opportunities for process improvement
  30. Lean is uncommon common sense – 5 tenets to drive results
  31. How do you turn data into dollars?
  32. Do you consider I.T. or ERP experts as strategic partners?  You should!
  33. What are the 7 hot ERP system trends?
  34. In today’s complex world, simplicity will win the race
  35. How can you leverage the often overlooked value of processes?
  36. 80% of ERP implementations fall short. Who are the stars?
  37. It’s never too soon to think about system and process design
  38. Do you deliver projects on-time, on budget and on-results?
  39. 5 strategies to improve processes
  40. How do you ensure success with your system upgrade?
  41. What are the top lessons learned from ERP failure?
  42. What is lean I.T.?  5 tips for success
  43. Can you prevent ERP implementation chaos?
  44. How do you leverage your ERP system for bottom-line results?
  45. 5 tips to make sure you select the right ERP software
  46. What do successful ERP implementations have in common?
  47. Should you prioritize data integrity?  Only if you want to succeed
  48. 5 pitfalls to ERP selection
  49. What is the secret ingredient to project success?
  50. What are 6 “don’ts” to program management success?
  51. Are you an overloaded project manager? 8 simple tips to succeed
  52. Why become the strongest link in your supply chain?
  53. 6 considerations to develop an effective production schedule
  54. To elevate business performance, start with your customer
  55. What is the Amazon effect? 6 tips to create customer loyalty
  56. What are the benefits of SIOP/ S&OP?
  57. What are the top 5 supply chain trends?
  58. 5 reasons we should be concerned about managing supply chain risk
  59. 5 ways to collaborate for success in your supply chain
  60. To succeed in the new normal, e-commerce is no longer an option!
  61. Is outsourcing dead?
  62. 5 reasons sales & operations planning (SIOP) will deliver results
  63. The resurgence of manufacturing: how you can have an effect
  64. What are 5 ways to collaborate effectively with your supply chain?
  65. What are the 3 critical elements to supply chain strategy?
  66. What are 5 keys to improving operational efficiency?
  67. What are the top 5 emerging supply chain trends?
  68. 8 don’ts in leveraging social networks successfully
  69. 5 keys to take into consideration with capacity planning
  70. Inventory accuracy is fundamental to operational excellence
  71. What are the top 3 causes of poor inventory management?
  72. How can you gain a competitive edge with SIOP/ S&OP?
  73. What are the latest supply chain trends for manufacturers?
  74. How do you get your inventory system to work for you?
  75. What are 5 ways to bring sustainability to your company?
  76. How do you create a customer service edge?
  77. How do we accelerate cash flow through supply chain innovations?
  78. What are the top keys for success in defining and controlling costs?
  79. How can a planner be worth a million dollars?
  80. 6 ways to reduce waste for manufacturers
  81. Forecasts are always wrong so why bother?
  82. 5 tips to ensure cycle counting success
  83. What are the 4 keys to VMI success?
  84. What are 5 emerging transportation trends?
  85. What is an eagle eye strategic focus?
  86. Strategy doesn’t fail in formulation; it fails in execution
  87. If you don’t innovate, you’ll fail.  Learn 3 ways to spur innovation
  88. How do you utilize scorecard to impact your bottom line?
  89. Why are metrics one of the most important tools for any executive?
  90. 5 profit drivers in manufacturing companies
  91. What are 4 strategies to be one of the 20% who succeed in execution?
  92. What are 5 core strategic priorities for a manufacturer?
  93. 5 tips to navigate organizational change for the better
  94. A top client issue is achieving cross-functional integration
  95. Only 20% of mergers and acquisitions succeed: how integration is key
  96. Have you thoughts about your organizational systems?
  97. How do you spot key trends?
  98. What should you evaluate when prioritizing?
  99. How can you use the rare skill of synthesizing to drive results?
  100. Are you lost in a culture change maze? 4 strategies to navigate


The complete list of the Top 100 Tips, Best Practices and Strategies is available on the LMA Consulting Group’sWebsite and as a downloadable PDF. Also follow Me on Twitter to regularly receive Top 100 Tips Tweets as a continuous reminder of how to elevate your performance.