Skip navigation

Fotolia_109959556_XS.jpgThe Spring Executive Panel & Networking Symposium focused on emerging supply chain trends and acknowledged those emergent leaders contributing to manufacturers, supply chain professionals and distributors to improve their education, lead times, forecasting, data analysis and supplier relationships.


The Inland Empire Chapter of APICS, the leading association for supply chain and operations professionals, motivated attendees with its expert panel presentation and discussion on investigating and predicting supply chain trends at its Spring Executive Panel & Networking Symposium: Emerging Supply Chain Trends held April 30, in Corona, Calif. In addition to expert presentations, stimulating dialogue, and industry networking; APICS-IE also recognized individuals and companies for their contributions to the association and improving members’ knowledge base. Six awards were given in appreciation of outstanding leadership and partnership — outstanding board leaders, Tony Martinez and Parizad Sethna; outstanding partner, Monster Energy Company; outstanding APICS partner, APICS San Fernando Valley; outstanding instructor, Susan Franks; and business leader advocate, Kusum Kavia.


While the Spring Symposium’s focus was on recognizing industry innovators, achievers and those who have contributed to APICS-IE’s success in providing value to the manufacturing, distribution and transportation communities; it also challenged attendees to think more strategically about their supply chain.


Award recipients recognized the importance APICS-IE plays in helping area companies stay current, getting access to education and developing human resources. “Riverside County is known for its large manufacturing hub and having the resources that APICS-IE offers is very valuable to our region,” explained business leader advocate award winner Kusum Kavia of Combustion Associates, Inc. “Not only can talent be obtained through APICS-IE, but manufacturers, such as my company CAI, can send their employees for training to this organization. APICS provides value-added supply chain support including research and educational tools that is critical to all manufacturers.”


At the core of APICS-IE principles is education and training of its members to help them better perform on the job for career and company success. Through its support of Student Case competitions, webinars and training, APICS-IE continues to be the destination for skills development, certification and training. Acknowledged as outstanding instructor HourGlass Consulting’s Susan Franks, CPIM, CSCP, Instructor Training, and AIS Master Instructor stated“It is always great to be asked to work with this dynamic chapter and be a part of a strong instructor team. This symposium was one of the best-focused on key issues facing today’s global supply chains with great speakers, on target with their comments, and very informative.”


VP Special Projects for APICS-IE Tony Martinez, CPIM, CIRM, was valued for all the contributions he makes as a board member. “This was unexpected, but I want to thank you for the opportunity to work with such a great group of people. The combination of teaching aspiring operations/supply chain practitioners through CPIM and Principles classes, and supporting students in Operations/Logistics majors at local colleges through scholarships, and the Student Case Competition, is a very satisfying use of my operations/supply chain experience.”


Partnerships are extremely important and many of the APICS chapters work together to leverage resources and provide expanded opportunities to its membership base. Thornburg Consulting’s Michael Thornburg, MBA, CPIM President, APICS San Fernando Valley Chapter, accepted the outstanding APICS partner award on behalf of his chapter. “I am honored to receive this award on behalf of APICS-San Fernando Valley. This award is an outstanding example of what we strive for, namely Developing Professionals. Being recognized by the professional community is an unexpected and greatly appreciated surprise for all of us at APICS-San Fernando Valley. I am looking forward to future partnering opportunities with APICS-Inland Empire.”


Expert panelists included Dr. Chris Gopal, Senior Fellow at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, Claremont Graduate University, and Executive Director of the Drucker Center for Supply Chain & Logistics; Brian Reed, VP of Transportation & Customer Service Niagara Bottling; Roy Paulson, President, Paulson Manufacturing; and C.J. Nord, ISM Committee Chairperson for the Port of Long Beach Working Groups, and Supply Chain Manager at California Faucets shared data and trends and explained why companies should be forward thinking and respond to slow moving stock, supplier reliability, lead times and forecasting.


Attendees also had the opportunity to ask questions, network and benchmark with area companies and build contacts within the manufacturing and distribution community to also help them build their career.


Looking ahead to the APICS-IE Fall Symposium — the theme will be Navigating Global Supply Chain and will be held Saturday, October 29, 2016, at the Eagle Glen Golf Club in Corona, Calif. Fees to attend the event from 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM are $15 for members, $25 for non-members and students are free. Breakfast buffet is included.



Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:


The Value of Continuous Learning


8 Hot Trends in Supply Chain



As I was debating about what to write about this week, two colleagues walked into my client's office for help in resolving an issue. Upon leaving, one said "It's not what you know; it's who you know". I thought this phrase rang true.


Clearly, you have to be competent. However, assuming this basic, success hinges on "who you know". In my client's case, he was able to listen to his colleagues and provide direction in 5 minutes whereas it could have taken them hours to resolve on their own. Time is of the essence in today's marketplace – the Amazon Effect is of utmost importance.

Last week, I leveraged a friend and colleague's connections to help me sift through buying options. I could have done the same thing on my own; however, what took my connection an hour would have taken me at least 5 or 6 times as long. Also, today I've been working on an executive SIOP presentation with a key client. My graphics guru has been assisting and doing what would take me 10 hours in 10 minutes – not a bad trade-off!


One tip to implement this week:


Think about who you know. Are you nurturing your relationships? When it comes to delighting customers, gaining new clients, getting a great, new job and the like, it is not what you know that counts; it is more often who you know that matters. I hear frequently from executive recruiters that most jobs are filled before they go on the market. This concept applies across the board – whether related to a job or a customer interaction. Before you send that angry email or call your key customer or complain to your peer, think about what you would do if you knew that this interaction would follow you – because it will! Stop and think about treating others as you'd like to be treated. All else will fall into place.


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



The People Element

Posted by lisaanderson May 27, 2016

people.jpgI find that the best process will fail with the wrong people. The best system will not drive results if the wrong people are involved. Yet if exceptional people are involved, even the most mediocre of processes and systems will thrive! People are your #1 asset.


For example, I still vividly remember a project that had a “dream team” of people but the leader was inept. He managed to wipe out all progress continually – and frustrate the people to boot. On the other hand, I also remember several projects that looked somewhat hopeless in terms of delivering results according to the desired aggressive schedule yet they succeeded due to the people. Ask any of your great people whether they’d rather have talent or products, processes or systems? Undoubtedly, they’ll choose the talent.


Who is your talent? Start by making sure you are fully aware of your top talent. Nurture your talent. There is no better investment as you’ll move a mile with your talent’s innovative ideas vs. an inch by dictating “best practice” processes and ignoring your talent’s feedback. Your top talent is your secret to success. Treat it as such!



Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:


Retaining Top Talent – a Must for Success


Trends at the Top

Fotolia_80123240_XS.jpgAs with everything in business success, SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) success is a straight line back to people. Thus, it is the reason I started my business with the “Profit through People” brand and continue with it as one of our service lines and for our newsletter. In the last 5 years, we have completed many SIOP projects and have found the keys to delivering rapid, bottom line results – exceptional customer service, significant growth, improved margins, accelerated cash flow and high morale. These keys to success are built into our proprietary process for SIOP, 4 EXCEL, which drives exponential results.


Even though SIOP is all about aligning demand with supply and has many technical components ranging from demand planning to master scheduling to inventory strategy and cash flow planning, we have gained the most significant results by aligning ALL areas of the organization on one page – the PEOPLE! There is no coincidence that the first of the 4 E’s of EXCEL is ENGAGE.


Some of the most challenging issues we’ve faced while implementing SIOP had nothing to do with the technical components. For example:

  • How do we get sales and production on the same page?
  • Can R&D and production work to one integrated plan?
  • How can we align our customers and suppliers on the same page?
  • How can we get finance, sales and operations on the same page?
  • And so on…


We find that becoming expert in culture change and collaboration is important to success. Clearly, communication is at the crux of this equation as well. If you are thinking about how to get each of these parties to see how SIOP will benefit them to align on one page, give us a call to learn more about 4 EXCEL.


Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:


4 Excel for SIOP Success


Why Are Communications So Difficult?


IveBeenThinkingBlog-1024x459.jpgI just had a brainstorming session with one of my key clients about the integrated planning process — in essence, how demand and supply match up to ensure customer service (which is #1 for every client in today's environment), growth, and improved margins and cash flow. It almost doesn't matter the reason I come into a client — and the reasons can be wide ranging — there is always opportunity to improve the integrated planning process, get everyone on one page with clarity and sync up demand with supply. It sounds much easier to do than it is in reality. Yet it is vital!


Some of the results I've seen with this focus include the following: 1) Improved service levels from the low 60%'s to the high 90%'s. 2) Reduced lead times by 30-70%. 3) Reduced inventory levels by 30-60% while maintaining service levels. 4) Improved margins and reduced costs substantially — by millions of dollars, 5-20% and so on. 5) Improved employee engagement — probably the most important of all as happy employees not only ensure happy customers but they also are much more likely to be innovative in growing the business with new products, increasing margins, etc.

One tip to implement this week:


The good news is that there is a LOT you can do this week to improve your integrated planning process. If you are a leader, simply ask questions about this process of the people involved in these areas, customers, suppliers, etc. Listen for common threads. Undoubtedly, you'll uncover an opportunity or two, low hanging fruit and the like.


If you are "in" the process, take a step back and think about the inputs and outputs of your process. Of all the items on your to-do lists and priorities of customers (both internal and external), which inputs really matter — and are NEEDED to gain the right outputs (results)? Answering this question can be the 80/20 to success.


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

skills gap.jpgIn the past week, I've had the opportunity to hear the leading experts in manufacturing, distribution and logistics. There were a few common threads among EVERY expert yet one stood out from the rest — the skills gap remains alive and well.


For example, the Southern California Logistics & Supply Chain Summit keynote speaker was an Amazon executive. When asked what he wanted to talk about at the symposium, he chose "People, Careers and the Supply Chain: the Innovative Practices".


Whether $8 million, $50 million or a facility / division of a multi-billion dollar company, every one of my manufacturing and distribution clients state manufacturing and supply chain talent as a top concern. I facilitate a Harvey Mudd executive roundtable with the head of the manufacturing program at Harvey Mudd. At every roundtable meeting in the last few years, this topic arises.


What can we do to alleviate this skills gap? 

  • Retain top talent - Let's start with what is often overlooked. Look carefully — you probably have underutilized emerging talent. According to Gallup surveys, only 30% of the workforce is engaged. That is horrific! Imagine the fact that the majority of your people are not engaged; worse yet, there is a good percentage actively disengaged. Thus, there is VAST opportunity to engage and retain talent.
  • Mentor program - With baby boomers retiring, it is wise to consider putting a win-win mentor program in place. We guarantee your long-term employees have more knowledge in their head than you realize — until you try to replace it. And, often, if set up with win-win objectives, the younger workers can be inspired by retiring workers — and vice versa. 
  • Training & development - Often-times, offering training and development programs (such as those offered by my APICS chapter on the fundamentals of manufacturing, distribution and supply chain) can be quite valuable in providing a common language, bringing ideas and inspiration to the forefront AND, most importantly, in giving employees the knowledge that leaders are interested in investing in them. 
  • Performance management - Who has time? Well, we need to make the time to talk to our people. If we can find time to interview replacements, we can find time to talk with our employees about objectives and performance. Spend a few minutes to help employees think through a career plan. Address non-performers. You'll be amazed at the results.
  • Don't hire fast talkers:  It is extremely challenging to be a great interviewer. Be careful not to be enamored with fast talkers. Fast talkers do not equate to results. Ask your network for feedback!

Since those who have the best people thrive, it is in all of our best interest to figure out how to retain, develop and find the best people. In our experience, this is the #1 indicator to long-term, sustainable success. It is worth investing the time in your #1 asset. If you want to talk about ideas to make this happen, contact us.  


Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:


Employees: Your #1 Asset


Never Stop Learning


Read our Skills Gap Report from research conducts with APICS-IE.   



Fotolia_110616323_XS.jpgIn today’s Amazon-impacted world, customers have higher expectations of rapid turnaround, 24/7 accessibility, and increased levels of service. These events have contributed to an information-overloaded society.


Not only do we receive countless emails, texts, social media messages, marketing messages and the like, but we also are expected to be able to make sense of it all and execute projects successfully – on-time, on budget and on results. A tall order to be sure!


Survival seems challenging enough, let alone thriving in these sorts of conditions. In taking a step back from the details, it becomes clear that we must employ tools to increase our chances of success. And, of course, we’d like to make the process easier and clearer along the way. One option to achieve these goals is to delegate. Those who properly delegate will have more time to focus on critical priorities while keeping details moving in the right direction. A few tips that will help ensure success include:

  1. Choose wisely – One of the keys to delegating successfully is to select the “right” tasks to delegate. Delegating away your strengths rarely achieves success, and it does nothing for morale. Typically, delegating your areas of weakness can be a good approach; however, it is vital to take a few precautionary steps. Gain expert advice in surrounding yourself with strong project team members and supporters. Leverage those strengths of your team members that happen to coincide with your weaknesses. Don’t waste time delegating “C” items. Ignore them. Every action requires effort. Focus your efforts on what’s most important. Delegate the next set of priorities as you’ll want to make sure those get accomplished. Think about “C” items when all else is done.
  2. Empower – Don’t throw around the word empowerment lightly. It is the rare project manager who knows how to empower his/her team. It means you must start by being a great leader. Provide guidelines. Collaborate on goals. Address the hard issues. Encourage team members to try new ideas. Support them in their failures. Take responsibility for the problems and share successes. Give your project team the ability to make decisions within their guidelines with full knowledge that they’ll be supported no matter the result. Soon, your team members will feel empowered. Once they are empowered, delegation becomes more of a collaborative affair.
  3. Diversity – There are many different tasks required to ensure a successful outcome for a project team. In order to leverage your team members’ individual strengths while minimizing their weaknesses, you’ll need a diverse set of skills and people. Thus, you’ll have a much better chance of success in delegating the diverse types of tasks required if you have a broad set of skills in your team with a wide array of backgrounds. This will also stimulate ideas and debate which can encourage empowerment so long as the leader supports experimentation.
  4. Core Metrics – Undoubtedly, no matter how effective you are in delegating, it will fall apart without core metrics in place. Work with your team to determine which critical milestones should be monitored. Develop leading metrics that will raise a red flag if the project is veering off-track. Put effort into making sure that the metrics selected will provide warnings in advance if needed. Don’t have too many metrics which become burdensome to track; instead, select the “right” few that will be indicators of success. Agree upon them with your team upfront.
  5. Provide training & mentoring – In addition to delegating assignments, it is imperative that you take the time to accompany that task with the proper training and experiences to go with it. Mentoring can be valuable as well. Mentoring provides an example of someone who has “been there, done that” who is also an expert who is available for advice. By providing mentoring and/or helping your project team members find mentors in their area of expertise, you have, in effect, purchased insurance for your delegation. As anyone who has even been in an accident knows, insurance becomes invaluable when you need it.


Delegating project tasks has become a must in today’s new normal business environment. No leader has enough time to “do it all himself”, and no leader has the broad and diverse set of expertise required to be the ideal resource to handle every task. Instead, delegation provides not only a way to make sure the project gets done on time but it also adds to the quality of the result by leveraging team members’ strengths for the collective good.



Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to become a Systems Pragmatist:


Put Your Eagle Eye on What’s Key to Success-Leadership


Empower Your People to Grow

IveBeenThinkingBlog-1024x459.jpgLast week, Kash Gokli, the head of Harvey Mudd's manufacturing program and I facilitated an executive roundtable discussion with CEO's and senior leaders from around Southern California on the topic of IP. We had an IP guru at the roundtable to talk about IP and answer questions. It was a fascinating discussion. Do you develop new products to grow your business and to serve your market's needs? Do you have proprietary processes? Most likely, we all have valuable intellectual property, and we should protect it. The value of a business often relates back to the value of IP!


As we discussed last week, if you are thinking of selling your business or gaining investment in your business, it is not a topic you can overlook. Certainly navigating this process requires skill, and so you should gain top notch advice for one of your most precious assets. This is one of the reasons why excellent IP attorneys are tough to find — they need a technical degree and experience in addition to a law degree. 

One tip to implement this week:


So, what in the world could we do this week that relates to IP? First, if you are an executive, take stock of your IP. Is it protected? Should you put more emphasis on creating IP and protecting IP? Most likely, the answer is yes — assuming you want to grow your business and create a long-term sustainable plan for your business.


If you are not an executive, ask about your company's IP. Learn about what makes your company different. Why do people buy from you? In addition to service, I am sure there is some IP buried in there somewhere. The more you understand what makes your company tick, the more valuable an employee you'll be. And, I have no doubt, the better your career path will become.


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

Fotolia_87924730_XS.jpgThe best SIOP (Sales, Inventory & Operations Planning) processes that deliver significant returns on investment involve the extended supply chain. Since SIOP is about how to align demand with supply – and align all the process owners and executives on one page, it has far reaching implications beyond any one project, person or result. 


I find the most successful SIOP processes deliver the optimal combination of:

  • Business growth backed by operational readiness
  • Improved customer service levels
  • Accelerated cash flow
  • Increased margins


Thus, it is a worth-while endeavor for any business as not only a way to stay competitive but it is also a strategic process to grow the business and rise above your competitors with elevated business performance. 


Although a certain level of success can be achieved within the “walls” of your company, far greater success will be achieved by involving your supply chain. Talk with your customers about demand. Consider collaborative ordering processes with them as you’ll gain a greater insight into your supply chain that can be utilized to achieve a win-win!  Find out which products are strategic and think through pricing and costing. Partner with suppliers to develop improved materials, to design products, to collaborate on inventory and ordering and more.  Go beyond the norm and tie your customers and suppliers together in a win-win-win endeavor. And, consider other supply chain and business partners – transportation providers, trusted advisors and the like.  Find a way to make 1+1=16.


If you’d like to learn more about how to implement these types of advanced SIOP techniques in your organization, our proprietary model, 4 EXCEL has proven effective.  Contact me to discuss further.


Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to be the Strongest Link in your organization:


4 Excel for SIOP Success


Customer Collaboration on Orders = RESULTS



Data, Data, Data

Posted by lisaanderson May 17, 2016

data.jpg"Data, data, data" seems to be the hot topic for manufacturers and distributors, similarly to "location, location, location" in real estate success. What is going on?

As technologies have come a long way from the "old" days, we have massive amounts of data. I heard this statistic last week - 1 gigabyte cost $1 million in 1980 whereas it costs 1 cent today. Clearly, data is affordable and accessible. Now what do we do with it?

Here are some options my best clients have been researching:

  1. Dashboards: Get the "right" ERP system for your needs and display key metrics on a dashboard. We want to be able to slice and dice data to rapidly get to what we want when we want it — in a nice, visually pleasing format.
  2. Demand data is gold: Undoubtedly, my best clients use demand data from their supply chain to outperform their competitors — and sometimes to collaborate with competitors for win-win outcomes. A forecast is better than guesswork but actual consumption information from your customer trumps all.
  3. Big data: There is more hype over big data than anything else; however, since there is a ton of data available these days, those executives who figure out how to make good use of this data will succeed.
  4. Connections with data: The internet of things is spurring new uses of data. How do we connect data from our fit monitors, alarm systems, appliances, etc. in a meaningful and useful way? 
  5. RFID & Barcoding: Although these can be considered "old school", they are also solid tools that can provide tangible benefits in the right situation.

Don't just collect data to collect data. It might be similar to being a hoarder. Although data can be stored on tiny devices, the key is not to collect it but to USE it to achieve business results. If you'd like to talk further about how to do that for your company, contact us.


Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to become a Systems Pragmatist:


The Power of Databases


The Value of CRM


IveBeenThinkingBlog-1024x459.jpgI presented on "Inventory Accuracy Remains Core to Success" at ASQ (American Society of Quality) Palomar last night, and we had great questions and discussions on why inventory is important for success. In essence, it boils down to 3 C's — cost, cash and customer service. What could be more important for a business?


Unfortunately, inventory can often be overlooked in its importance because it is such a bedrock topic — and left to the people who focus on it. However, any executive who wants to grow the business, provide exceptional service to customers and accelerate cash flow better pay attention. I'm often-times called into companies to help them strengthen inventory-related processes. It is at the core — once inventory and related processes begin flowing, all else falls into line. Why not pay extra attention this week? There is no downside.


One tip to implement this week:


So, how can we pay attention to inventory? If you are an executive, the great news is that you can have a significant impact with a simple question — ASK your employees about it. Do they realize how important their role is on cost, cash and customer service? If not, tell them. There are countless numbers of positions in every manufacturer and distributor that relates to this area or is impacted by it, and so you don't have to go far!


If you are an employee, bring up inventory to a peer, manager or executive. Find an example of how having the right inventory in stock helped satisfy a customer or how being able to rely on where the computer said it would be located was helpful. Simply raise awareness of its importance. In the vast majority of my clients, I've found that a few of these simple questions can go a LONG way to getting people interested. Results will follow!


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

supply chain trends.jpgIt has been a week of supply chain immersion. We were knee deep in supply chain trends at MCIE's manufacturers' summit, the Supply Chain Summit and the APICS-IE executive panel and networking symposium on emerging supply chain trends. It goes to tell you that it is a hot topic! For a company to be successful, the supply chain cannot be overlooked.

As always, it is important to keep our ears open for trends and watch-out's. Certainly the latest trends were discussed at each event. What were most interesting were those trends in common among all events and speakers:

  1. Speed: With Amazon on the scene, speed has become the norm. Quick deliveries, rapid access to data, fast turnarounds....  If you aren't thinking about how to double your speed, you'll be left in the dust.
  2. Data: There is quite a lot of discussion on data. How do we collect data? More importantly, how do we access the right data at the right time to make informed yet quick decisions? Can we gleam interesting trends from data?
  3. e-commerce: Although it is becoming a bit hum-drum, e-commerce remains a hot topic. How do we ship both pieces and boxes efficiently from the same distribution center? Do customers have access to place their own orders whenever they want? 
  4. Bitcoins & blockchains: I heard a fascinating talk on this topic and became convinced that these concepts could have far-reaching impacts on the supply chain. Have you thought about instant, accurate access to inventory across your supply chain?
  5. Re-shoring: Perhaps we should think about this as positioning inventory closer to the customer while increasing control. It is gaining in popularity....
  6. Collaboration: Just think about Southern California (the #1 area for supply chain in the U.S. AND the #1 area for manufacturing in the U.S.) - without collaboration among the ports, railroads, trucking companies, 3PL's, manufacturers and other supply chain partners, it would be a very different world.
  7. The increased need for skills: There is a great need for high-skilled supply chain talent. Technical skills AND the big picture view are critical. With baby boomers retiring and supply chains becoming more complex and interconnected, the demand for skills will continue to rise!
  8. Persistence: Specifically related to CA, we must find a way to partner with government to make it a business-friendlier state. Persistence will pay off!


Which of these trends are most affecting you? If you'd like to discuss ways to drive supply chain performance, contact us.  


Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to be the Strongest Link in your organization:


Leverage Supply Chain Trends for Success


Warehousing Thoughts


thank you.jpgOne of the most successful yet NO-cost ways to create employee engagement is to recognize them. It can be as simple as saying thank you. Have you said thank you to any of your employees or peers lately? Find a way to say thank you at least once a day. Look for opportunities. Have they gone over and beyond? Have they finished an assignment early? Did they make a suggestion? Were they helpful to another employee? There are countless opportunities to say thank you.


Another way to recognize employees is to give them meaningful work. Make sure you communicate the value of the work your employees are performing. Look for opportunities to give them a meaningful project – either something important to the company's success or something the employee is interested in. Tell them you are recognizing their hard work and ideas with a special project. Ask if there is something they are interested in?


Recognize your employees in public. Write about their successful ideas in a company newsletter. Give them a gift card for dinner at a company lunch. Recognize the best with awards once a year. Typically these small gestures go a long way as the employee knows you were thinking of them and are able to share it with their colleagues. 

Last but not least, recognize your employees with what is meaningful to them. Find out about your employees. Some might prefer to take off time in the middle of the day to go to their child's school assembly. Others might prefer the opportunity to take a day off from time to time. Another might prefer to work on a priority project. Another might like to go to an Angels game. If it is meaningful to the person, it will go a long way!


Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:


Do You Have Engaged Employees?


The 3 C's to Leadership Success


Fotolia_73155397_XS.jpgSIOP (Sales, Inventory & Operations Planning) is one method to align demand with supply while also aligning the various functions within an organization to deliver strategic objectives and maximize business value. As popular as it is becoming, I think we must challenge ourselves further with SIOP beyond borders.


Although it certainly can mean the interconnectivity in today’s end-to-end supply chain, it also can simply mean the connectivity and alignment among supply chain partners. For example, as we connect our customers with our suppliers, our IT partners with our customers’ requirements and the like, we gain a distinctive advantage in the supply chain. It is simply amazing that we can gain exponential results by connecting functions within a company and organizations in the supply chain.


Why stop there? Many of our supply chain partners could be international partners and cross borders. How can we develop an integrated planning process that not only incorporates what is rarely done in any organization but also consider global impacts? Start by expanding your mind and thinking.  Global impacts affect us every day, ranging from natural disasters to port strikes to political unrest to rules and regulations. One of the best ways to bring out the strengths of a global supply chain and leverage the collective strengths for the common good is to think about SIOP beyond borders. If you are interested in learning more about this topic and implementing it at your company, contact us to learn more about our proprietary SIOP process, 4 EXCEL, proven to gain exponential results.


Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:


SIOP/Integrated Business Planning


Have You Performed a Supply Chain Checkup Lately?

IveBeenThinkingBlog-1024x459.jpgI attended a conference for ProVisors (premier organization of senior-level trusted advisers) group leaders earlier today. It was energizing to spend the day with top notch trusted advisers and leaders. One of the speakers was talking about the power of collaboration vs. competition. I've found this to be true in my group as well. If two people who seem like competitors (perhaps two CPA's) look for ways to work together, their business increases exponentially. For example, 1+1=16. If they see each other as competition, business declines. In this case 1+1=.5. In essence a scarcity thought process! 


The bottom line is that "our competition isn't the trusted adviser sitting next to us; it is complacency". I loved this quote! It is quite easy to become complacent! However, why bother getting out of bed to go through the day being complacent? There is NO point as NO results will follow. Worse — results will deteriorate.


One tip to implement this week:


So, what can we do to avoid complacency this week? The great news is that no rocket science is required. It can be as simple as stepping out of your comfort zone. I received a message from an employee of one of my former clients early this morning. She stepped out of her comfort zone to give the leader of her facility her ideas. It was a risk as he could have thrown her out of his office; however, complacency was no longer enough. Instead, she was excited with his positive reaction. Push yourself to take a step forward.


It also can be as simple as mixing things up. If you usually walk the facility every morning and it has become just part of your routine and you don't feel energized, STOP doing it. Instead, go to one of your employees, peers or leaders and ask him/her to walk the facility with you. Ask questions and listen. You'll likely see entirely new things. If you always run a particular report or email a particular customer, call the appropriate people instead. Mix things up, and you'll learn something new. 


For example, yesterday I spent the day with Harvey Mudd students at projects day. These students are impressive — no complacency allowed! I left feeling energized and interested in new ideas and thinking about how to raise the bar.


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

collaborate to thrive.jpgIt was not only a week of summits and symposiums but it was also a week for awards and recognition. In watching closely who won the top awards across the board, we saw a common thread in the winners — collaboration.

One of the award winners spoke directly to the critical importance of collaboration. She is also known for bringing together diverse and often-opposing opinions together to find common solutions. In another instance, the award winner complimented his business partners during the award speech. In another, a member of his rotary thought so much of the company owner that she went out of her way to make sure he was recognized again. It seems clear that collaboration is key to success.

Who can we collaborate with as a business owner or executive?

  • Executive team: Certainly, it is a good idea to start with your executive team. A top notch team will make "2+2=16".
  • Peer groups: My ProVisors group (of trusted advisors) contains an experienced and successful peer group leader (Ron Penland). His companies grow faster than average, are more profitable than the norm — and SELL at much higher multiples than the industry average. It certainly makes sense not to argue with success.
  • Trusted advisors: Those with exceptional advisors will perform better than the rest — hands down.
  • Industry groups: There is a wealth of information and contacts available in the best industry groups. Find those appropriate to you.
  • Alumni: The point of going to a top rated college is less about the education than it is about the connections. Have you stayed in touch with your alumni groups? There is an instant connection built in.
  • Community: Some of the best-connected people are community leaders and advocates. Last night, I went to the Claremont Rotary's Taste of Claremont. It was the epitome of top leaders and community advocates getting together for GREAT food and drinks. I tell you what — when my house burned down several years ago, I was quite happy when the community fast-tracked inspections and was supportive in general — invaluable!


As I often say in my speeches, collaborate to THRIVE!


Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:


Manufacturers See Critical Importance to Collaboration


The Hidden Benefit of Observation