Blog Posts

Quality Management (Part 2) – Design in Quality First!

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The Division I had just joined was enjoying great success in Sales and Development.  They had created a modular building block design for their products.  Simply there were over two dozen different building block designs which could be configured in innumerable combinations to create the end product.

Each building block was designed to be a low-cost item.  Based on the customer requirements and specifications the building blocks could be combined in varying quantities.  Then a custom outer case, with the appropriate inputs and outputs, would be created to house all of the building blocks, interconnected on a master mother board.

It sounded great on paper and on Powerpoint slides.  But what came next was an absolute nightmare.

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E-Commerce Fulfillment (Part 2) – Move The Material To The People, Not The Other Way Around!

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“Here Come The Bots!”

Wow!  This was the headline caption on the presentation I was about to see.  I had just joined the company.  I had just spent the last few years in Retail.  I had done a lot of research on how to improve efficiencies and productivity in Online/E-Commerce Fulfillment Distribution Centres.  And I had lived through the agonizing process and resource challenges of fulfilling E-Commerce orders during the Holiday season, which is far and away the busiest time of the year in Retail.

So I was very intrigued to see the strategy the company was about to embark on with this presentation.  From experience I knew that having operators manually pushing carts up and down the aisles of vast warehouses was inefficient and wasteful in most every way.  I had been working on plans to improve this and I certainly had my own point of view.

At it’s core I knew that the paradigm had to be one of moving the material TO your employees, not moving your employees to the material.  But what I saw next fell far short of what I hoped to see.

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Supply Chain Impacts of an Increasingly Protectionist World!

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A strong political sentiment these days seems to be more about protecting one’s own national territory and interests rather than those of the Global community.

Yet we have for a long time been a global economy with unprecedented levels of international trade and commerce.  Virtually every company and country relies on goods and/or services from countries all around the world.

So how do we manage the Supply Chain in the face of this political myopia?

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Supplier Collaboration is a Win-Win Strategy!

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Suppliers are an intrinsic part of the Supply Chain.  It does not matter what business you are in, what products you make, distribute and sell, or what part of the world you are in.  And it doesn’t matter where in the Supply Chain you are.  You can not accomplish anything without Suppliers.

Yet I have seen, like many of you, Suppliers treated in many different ways.  No matter what the circumstances are poor treatment of Suppliers is never appropriate.  Given that Customers fundamentally need their Suppliers to be successful why do people treat them badly?  And how do we ensure there is a healthy and productive relationship between Suppliers and Customers?

Working together with your Suppliers is always a formula for success!

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Inventory Turnover Breakthrough (Part 4) – Creating the Culture to Break Barriers!

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In my experience when you embark on driving any kind of Game Changing Transformation you will most likely also need to change behaviours if not the Culture.  As the saying goes, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results”.  So in order to get different results you may have to break through barriers and drive different behaviours from what are inherent in the current Culture.

Your organization is an ecosystem of policies, practices, processes and procedures that are the result of decisions, beliefs and  behaviours.  Over time much of this generally gets accepted as the way it’s always been done and is not open to challenge or to change.  Therein sacred cows, whether real or perceived, can become obstacles to making the changes needed to derive different results from the status quo.

Having your Call to Action in Place, A Project Name and mandate, and a Holistic Approach are critical.  But the “X” factor that you also need to have a strategy for is Cultural Change.

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Executive Sponsorship … A High Powered Enabler For Changing The Game!

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Anyone who is trying to make changes will be met with a variety of reactions and responses.  This will happen regardless of how important the change is to your Job, your Department, your Function or your Company.

Certainly there will be people who will happily, and openly, be willing to support you and help in any way they can.  While this is critical, it is more important to understand that there are those who will aggressively oppose you.  They may put obstacles in your way or they will be passive aggressive in their lack of support.

There may be many good reasons that you will be faced with this kind of opposition.  However it is incumbent upon you, as the leader, to take all necessary steps to address these issues head on.  One technique that can help you and your Company is to solicit and acquire visible and active Executive Sponsorship!

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What gets measured is what gets done!

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There are a myriad of variables and factors which affect your ability to achieve your objectives.   Deciphering this complexity to determine what is important to measure is critical for driving improvements and change.

As with many aspects of your business there can literally be dozens and dozens of different metrics.  The same is true in sports.  So if you are trying to drive breakthrough results in your company or win on the field how do you determine what is important to measure?

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