First Things First, And Nothing Else

First Things First
On Productivity First Things First has become my mantra as I try to quiet the noise that comes from too many things that are critical, first priority, get done or else. And then I just do the first thing first. I don’t prioritize it. I don’t schedule it. I don’t put it on a list. I just do it (thanks to Nike and Seth Godin for the inspiration). Do it without thinking about what com...

Supply Chain Risk – When Disaster Strikes

When Disaster Strikes
I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best – Benjamin Disraeli Even in the best of relationships, things can happen that are outside of your and your supplier’s control – i.e. weather, financial downturns, labor disputes, etc. In order to minimize the supply chain risk, have plans in place to source components from multiple suppliers (in multiple locations) and consider possible substitut...

Supply Chain Risk – Supply Side

supply side management
In this post I am going to discuss the supply chain risks that exist outside a company’s walls – i.e. risks with the suppliers of services, of raw materials, of components, of finished goods, etc. These are the risks that we have control over and can plan for. Stuff-In-A-Box Wants it All They believe that they deserve and can get the best quality and the best price in the shortest time-frame. Th...

Supply Chain Risk – Taking Care Of The Basics

supply chain
It Starts With You In the recent piece on the Overview of Supply Chain Risk, I listed events that could both delay and disrupt the delivery of product. These events typically result in hits to a company’s bottom line – let’s call our company Stuff-In-A-Box for the sake of this discussion. Stuff-In-A-Box has been seeing some significant cost increases and revenue losses due to factors they believe...

Supply Chain Risk – An Overview

supply chain
 Supply Chain Risk To recognize and manage risk in your supply chain you must first become familiar with some common and some less common events that can cause delays and more serious disruptions. Whether you work with single suppliers or a group of them to produce your products, risks from economic instability to natural disasters can affect your business. This post is a first in a series that w...

Q & A – The Small Business Supply Chain

supply chain
What’s a supply chain? Investopedia* defines a supply chain as “the network created amongst different companies producing, handling and/or distributing a specific product. Specifically, the supply chain encompasses the steps it takes to get a good or service from the supplier to the customer.” Supply chains can be very simple and others can be highly complex networks. When the NUMMI auto plant...

Q & A – Small Business Hiring

small business
A QUESTION IS POSED At a recent Small Business event, a founder – let’s call him Jeffrey - shared a concern that his small business has grown to the point where he would need to hire some help, but worried that he wouldn’t hire the right kind of person. In reading about all the mistakes that entrepreneurs and startups make, he noted bad hires are always high on the list. What could he do to minim...

Financial Breakdown of the Global Logistics Market

supply side management
As a follow-up to last week's post on Supply Chain and Logistics Management, we are sharing another piece from Cerasis again in words and pictures.  This piece is a breakdown of the value of the global logistics market.  According to the piece, "logistics is, by definition, a functional system which consists in combining and coordinating the operations of different modes of transport as a fundamen...

Supply Chain And Logistics Management

supply chain
The definition of Supply Chain is the sequence of organizations or operations that work together to design, produce, and deliver a product or service to a market, extending from the extraction of raw materials to the distribution of finished products or services. The chain is further extended when returns and repair functions are added and is anchored by infrastructure. Logistics is the part of th...

Taking Notes By Hand Versus On A Laptop

taking notes
In a recent article on learning, Joseph Stromberg, a science reporter for Vox.com, wrote about studies that showed that taking notes by hand is superior to taking notes on a laptop. The studies were done in an academic setting, but there are unmistakable parallels to business meetings and workshops everywhere. Stromberg says students are “using the computers to take notes so they better remembe...

The Etiquette of Texting for Business

texting etiquette
As technology evolves, so do the rules of etiquette surrounding that technology.  Texting is one of those areas whose rules are not cut and dry.  Some time ago, texting in a business situation was taboo, but has become more and more acceptable.  There are, however, guidelines that need to be followed with regard to who you can text and under what circumstance.  The following article from Entre...

My Favorite Kitchen Gadget As A Metaphor

metaphor
My favorite kitchen gadget as a metaphor? That might be stretching it a bit, but hear me out. The favorite kitchen gadget in my house is a garlic peeler. Just pop a garlic clove inside the nondescript rubber tube, roll it back and forth on a hard surface, and the garlic clove comes out with its skin removed or very loose. In my mind, it is perfect in its functionality, effectiveness, efficiency...

Supply Chain History And Future

supply chain
In 2010, Dan Gilmore - Editor-in-Chief of the Supply Chain Digest put together a list of the top Supply Chain innovations of all time.  With innovations since then, one can't help wondering if any of the new 'disruptive' technologies will bump any of Gilmore's top 10 off the list.  What are your thoughts? The Top 10 Supply Chain Innovations of All-Time The Toyota Production System P&G's...

An Overview Of Twitter For Business

twitter for business
Last month, I gave an presentation on Twitter for Business to a networking group that I belong to, Bay Area New Business Network, that was received well.  Following is the document that I used as a handout - adapted from a class on 'The Language of Twitter for Business' by Adnan Iftekhar. An Overview of Twitter for Business Twitter.com is considered a network of engagement – you follow people or...

Puppies And Kittens And Process Improvement

puppies vs kittens
At a recent get-together of recently launched and about-to-be launched business owners, the discussion turned to how to bring potential clients to our websites.  Two in our group have pet related businesses and can use the most "aawww"-inspiring images to draw people in and get them to stay and explore.  So, what about the Business Development consultant, the SEO and Web Services professional, and...

On Process And Process Improvement

process owners
A process is a series of steps and decisions required to get you from one to the next. Processes are all around us and we participate in many at any given time. For example, making a pot of coffee is a process. Putting the garbage out is a process. Getting dressed in the morning is a process. Process improvement means making things better. Not just fighting fires or managing crises, it means lo...

Small Business Process Improvement Increasing Efficiency

small-business process improvment
The following link is to an excellent overview of small business process improvement  from the Business Circle. - Business is process.  Whether you're hiring new people, carrying out market research, or launching products, having well-defined processes equates to greater efficiency, fewer wasted resources, and a reduction in customer complaints.  Click here to read more. If you find that you...

Change Is Good, You Go First

transformation
When a Business Process Specialist brought in to review processes, documentation and training is introduced to a group of company employees, one of two things generally happens. Well, first there is an immediate rush to judgment followed by either a here-we-go-again response or fear that there will be changes and they will not be good. With the right Business Process Specialist and the support of ...

I Am The Objective Outsider

objective outsider
I am the objective outsider. As an outsider, I bring the ability to view your business with objectivity, without bias, and without any preconceived notions of what your business is, what your business should be, and how to get there. Often, employees and managers alike are too familiar with the business to recognize issues or opportunities for improvement. In this case, the objective outsider c...

Costco And Small Business Advice

Small Business Advice
Can I be a small business owner and a fan of Costco? I think so, without even sacrificing my integrity.  There are many small, local businesses represented in the offerings at my Costco store and there are services offered through Costco that benefit small businesses nationwide.  That having been said, I want to share a very interesting article that appeared in the January 2015 edition of The Cost...

To Be Or Not To Be – Process Modeling

process modeling
Where the ‘as is’ or current state process is defined by process mapping, the ‘to be’ process is defined by process modeling. Business process modeling is a method for improving organizational efficiency and quality. It is represented by flowcharts and maps similar to the ‘as is’ process definition, but these show the more efficient, streamlined and, to some extent, automated workflows. Modelin...

Scope Established, Then What?

map the processes
Now that scope has been established and all parties are in agreement as to the parameters of the project, it is time to map the processes. The goal here is to create a visual representation of each current or ‘as is’ process within the project – this would be the way things are actually being done, not the way management thinks it is or should be done. There are many ways to approach process ma...

The Case For Building A Better Box

13655352_s
In a strip from the beloved comic ‘Calvin and Hobbes’, Calvin is working on a crossword puzzle and tells Hobbes, “Number three across says ‘bird’”. While Hobbes is thinking, Calvin exclaims, “I’ve got it! Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker!” Hobbes points out that “there are only five boxes” to which Calvin responds, “I know. These idiots make you write real small.” Proving once again that a picture is wort...

Why Process Matters

iterate on
Baked & Branded, a start-up tech services firm, wrote a very interesting blog post on the importance of process in business. 'Why Process Matters in Your Startup' is geared to the startup environment, but the concepts translate seamlessly to more established business, successful or struggling. "Process for process sake never has a good outcome..but..process done well can be a huge business ...