I am a supply chain and operations consultant and former executive. Based on my experiences, I have seen many companies look for the “magic ingredient” in how to achieve profitability. Several high-priced consultants and programs (such as Six Sigma, Lean, etc.) later, the company is still searching for the answer. My question is: what really matters to profitability? I think it is going back to the basics.
No matter the client, I’m continually reminded of the critical importance of leadership. If you have to choose between leadership skills and prior work experience / technical skills, undoubtedly, leadership skills must win the day. My clients with exceptional leaders outperform the rest – every time.
In today’s new normal business environment, leaders must do more with less – and deliver superior customer service at the same time. In my 20+ years of experience as an operations executive and global business consultant, I’m seeing an unprecedented number of projects that must be run simultaneously to deliver business objectives.
Do you sit in project meetings? How about develop project plans? Report out to executives or board members? Track results? I’d bet if I tracked the time of 10 managers on any day of the week, at least 8 of the 10 would have some sort of involvement in a project for at least part of the day.
I’ve yet to meet a manufacturer or distributor that didn’t want to improve customer service and operational performance – and preferably yesterday. In today’s new normal business environment, it is a tough competitive environment – you must be ahead of your competition in understanding your customers’ desires and provide them at a competitive price while improving margins if you want to thrive.
Is accountability a key component to project management? Only if you want to succeed! I often make the mistake of assuming that project leaders and team members understand the critical value of accountability (as I believe it is bedrock to success); however, it isn’t necessarily true. Recently I received feedback about the importance of accountability and the focus on results, and so I thought it prudent to focus on the why and how of accountability.
In today’s economic environment, slow and steady progress, a continuous improvement philosophy and a low-cost producer, commodity focus will likely result in death. Why? Because it takes more than “good” to stand out in the crowd and deliver consistent and growing profitability; it takes radical change and innovation. In a recent survey by Deloitte & Touche LLP and the Manufacturing Institute, it was discovered that Americans continue to view manufacturing as the most important industry for a strong national economy.
There has never been a better time to create a customer service edge! Gone are the days of the last decade when we saw examples of 10% sales growth achieved solely by picking up the phone. Unemployment levels remain high and there are limited opportunities for growth. Who knew business executives could be so excited over 1% growth? If that wasn’t enough, customers’ expectations are elevated – suddenly, they want more for less too.
In my recent speech to a project management special interest group in Silicon Valley, a few participants raised some intriguing questions about how to ensure your project is on track. As it’s a timeless topic yet vital to success, it seemed appropriate to discuss a few key strategies to tracking project progress.
There’s no doubt that those companies who successfully execute projects will be in a dramatically superior position to their competitors. In today’s new normal business environment, there is no margin for error; you must deliver project results on time, on budget and with exceptional customer service. So, what are the keys to success? 1) Rigorously track the critical path. 2) Track objectives AND milestone metrics. 3) Ask questions.
I’ve always seen the power of networks; however, there is a heightened sense of urgency surrounding the topic for those executives who would like to thrive in today’s new normal business environment. In just the last month, I’ve witnessed countless examples of the critical importance of networks.