The Daily EO: September 4th, 2013

I have a tough job.  But most days I love it.  Other days I do not.  Other days I really do not.  You have to generally love working in manufacturing in North America because it is an industry without glamour and under continuous pressure from all aspects.

But all that aside as today was a good day.

All three were somewhat nervous – one was absolutely terrified and kept telling me she would be sick that day.

I got through my portion and then it was their turn.

I thought I’d get the terrified one the chance to go first – get it out of the way.  And she was shaky.  She was wavering.  She was hesitating.  But then she started to remember why she wanted to tell the story in the first place.  And started to tell it.   And connected with everyone.

Then up was number 2 – my prickly team member that I can’t often figure out what she is thinking.  British and contrary.  She told her story beginning with telling all of us how much company and the people who work there mean to her.  And she started to cry.  And she got hugs and applause and managed to carry on with her story.   And we saw a different side.

Last is the rising star.  He was nervous but would never admit it to me or anyone else.  So, he got up there and told his story that he was really proud of.  And stood even a little taller.

As I stood there, I was teary eyed with pride watching all three of my team members stretch to grow and overcome fear, knowing that I helped a little to get them there.  They did it, but I helped a little.  I am proud of all three.

September 4th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  A day of clarity when you understand exactly who and what you are working so hard for.

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The Daily EO: February 13th, 2013

If any of you reading this works in manufacturing, operations, or supply chain management, you’ll cringe when I tell you what I have been doing this week.

Inventory.

Financial institutions and accounting departments see them as necessary, but I see them as a source of stress, pain, sleepless nights, anxiety, and error.  Because you shut down production and count everything you own, it gets boring very fast.  And when you are counting a 40,000 square foot warehouse, it takes a very very long time.

The worst part is that inventories cause as many issues as they resolve.   The inherent issue of team members spending all day painfully counting and recording everything in a warehouse is fraught with errors.  Its manual, and its boring and it is endless.

And when they finally are done?  Then the recounts start.

Many organizations see inventory as a thing that can be controlled, that can be managed, but it truly is not.  Inventory is a symptom of how well you are running your business.  Forget “goal keeping” (delaying receiving transaction until after month/year end), forget manual manipulation.  You will be partially successful, but you will never achieve high inventory turns through force alone.

Worry about accurate transactions, strong contracts with your customers (detailing inventory management), align your supply base with the needs of your customer, improve reporting, reduce lead times, eliminate purchasing outside of your ERP system.

But I digress.

February 13th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Physical Inventories.  The bane of any Materials Manager’s life.