Global Process Excellence (Part 3) … Streamline your Entire DC at One Time!

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How many times have you looked at your operation and thought about how you would re-layout and streamline the process flow if you had the chance?

When you are starting with a new, empty facility it is clearly much easier to layout the operations to make the best possible flow of materials and processes.  But when you have an existing operation which has evolved over a long period of time, you are likely faced with utilities, equipment, infrastructure, walls, and paradigms all of which have resulted in a rather inefficient flow of materials and people and processes.

This was the situation we had in one of our Distribution Centres. In this particular Distribution Centre the current layout of the operation had been the result of many iterations of adding new customers, new products and new processes over time with the associated fluctuations in demand for everything.

Yet with the launch of our Global Process Excellence project we had unleashed our employees to make the improvements they had imagined could be made for a long time.

Continue reading “Global Process Excellence (Part 3) … Streamline your Entire DC at One Time!”

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Network Optimization – What are your Criteria?

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Network optimization is a critical issue across all Supply Chains.  In Manufacturing, Distribution, Logistics and Retail the effectiveness of your network will make the difference between success and failure.

There are many environmental factors that must be taken in to account in order to define and optimize your network.  Your business may be growing or declining. You may be expanding into new channels, such as E-Commerce, or you may be pulling back.  And you may have just received a cash infusion allowing you to invest more, or you may have enormous cash and profit pressures forcing you to ratify your network.

Whatever your situation your network must continually be optimized.  Your facilities, whether owned, rented or outsourced, are the living organism which make up your network and define how your company goes to market.

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Global Process Excellence (Part 2) … Defining the Roadmap to Achieve Best In Class Results

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Global Process Excellence” was to be the platform on which we would propel the company’s Operations upward toward Best In Class status.  Our Call To Action objectives were clear:

  • We had a clear requirement to improve our profitability
  • We needed to respond to customer expectations for increased value and a consistent, exceptional customer experience in all Distribution Centres
  • We needed to lean out the operations and improve our productivity
  • We needed to create Best in Class capabilities
  • We needed to enable profitable growth on the back of an enhanced Operating model, capacity and capabilities
  • And we needed to unleash the tremendous experience and expertise that resided within our employees

Now we needed to formulate our Roadmap: the Approach, the Mandate, a set of Ground rules, and a process of Governance to bring together everything that would now be called Global Process Excellence.

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Global Process Excellence (Part 1) … A Journey From Disarray To Best In Class!

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My first Management job was on the Manufacturing floor on 3rd shift.  It was company policy … anyone’s first Management job was in Manufacturing.  The principle was sound: to really understand how the business operated you needed to be at the very core of what it did, which in this case was Manufacturing.  Only then could you really learn the business and how to work with people.

So as I started a new job further along in my career, with responsibility for Distribution Centres around the world, I knew that I was not going to learn what I needed to know from behind a desk looking at Powerpoint slides with pictures and statistics.  I needed to go to each and every facility and learn about the operation right from the floor.

I spent the next 2-3 months on the road.  For my direct reports this pace was unprecedented and I went to locations that no other Executive had been to.  While at the facilities I didn’t want to do the “Tourist” tour.  I wanted to spend time doing an in depth tour of the entire facility, literally walking through every operation, meeting the people and understanding each process, the metrics, the organization, the products and the customers.

Only then would I have the basic understanding and credibility necessary to define the strategy we needed going forward.  This was the start of what we soon named “Global Process Excellence”.

Continue reading “Global Process Excellence (Part 1) … A Journey From Disarray To Best In Class!”

E-Commerce (Part 3) – Get Ready for Holiday Now … Make It Boring (From A Supply Chain Perspective)!

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The 2016 Holiday season finished recently.  And the 2017 Holiday season may seem far away.  But in the area of E-Commerce Fulfillment it will be here before you know it.  Now is the time to begin implementing the improvements and strategies you need to make this coming Holiday season more successful than last year.

Having gone through the ups and downs and stresses of several Retail Holiday seasons myself, one January I gave this direction to my team.  For the upcoming Holiday our theme was that we were going to have a BORING Holiday season … from a Supply Chain perspective.

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Change Leadership (Part 4) – Attack on all Fronts! Hedge Your Bets For Success

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Have you ever tried to make large improvements for some aspect of your business only to find that after a period of time you feel like you are  pushing on a balloon?

Have you ever lead, or participated in, a project with some very lofty targets only to find that you come up short of your goal because of unforeseen circumstances or unaddressed factors?

Have you ever got into a project only to find that someone else’s objectives seem to be in conflict with yours, and these competing objectives ensure that you will not succeed?

Stuff happens!

And stuff will continue to happen.  So you need a Project Change Management Strategy to deal with the inevitable obstacles and influences that make achieving your goals more difficult.  In my experience, a very powerful approach to help ensure your success is to Attack On All Fronts!

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Inventory Turnover Breakthrough (Part 3) – Double Turnover In 9 months!

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“We are a Supply Chain Services Company,” I was told.

“If we are truly a Supply Chain Services Company, then why is our Inventory Turnover only at 7?”,  I asked.

I had just joined the company and in studying their financial performance it stood out to me that if we were truly a Supply Chain Services company then having only 7 Inventory turns was extremely uninspiring.

We needed to be dramatically better at managing Inventory to convince ourselves, and our customers, that we were a trusted and leading Supply Chain Services partner.

Continue reading “Inventory Turnover Breakthrough (Part 3) – Double Turnover In 9 months!”