I spoke at APICS San Fernando Valley a few days ago on the latest trends and what's in store for 2018.  We had a great discussion on topics ranging from people (or lack thereof) to technology. 

For manufacturers and distributors, a few of the highlights included: 

1) The Amazon Effect - the customer experience is the ultimate! 

2) Near-sourcing - I go beyond the mainstream and am boldly saying "Southern California is "the" place to be! 

3) The skills gap - if I could only convey how much trouble several clients are having finding the right fit for open positions.....!!!!! 

4) Technology (with lots of details behind this one!) and a few more. 

Have you thought about what trends are most likely to impact your business?

One tip to implement this week:
I also attended a Board meeting with a client a few days ago, and this topic is quite relevant.  Staying on top of what is likely to impact your business gives you the clarity of priority! 

Start by taking a few minutes with your top team to brainstorm.  Give a few customers a call to find out what's happening with them.  Check in with a few of your key suppliers.  Drop in on your trusted advisors and attend a trade association and/or alumni networking meeting.  You'll soon be well-versed to come up with what is trending AND relevant to you.

Once you have thought through the trends most likely to impact your business, it might make sense to think about how to transform these impacts into opportunities.

Profitable and scalable growth is the common thread among every single one of my clients - how can you leverage these opportunities to aid in creating scalable, profitable growth?  

Take a tip from the LEAN toolkit and involve your people.  You might be surprised how many opportunities will emerge if you put ALL the brain power in your company on thinking about how to do this.