Hockey Management podcast: Offside

In this episode, I discuss offside (when an offensive player enters the defensive zone before the puck). Sales representatives may sometimes go offside by promising things that operations and manufacturing can’t deliver on.

How will you know when areas of your organization are going offside?

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – April 20, 2015
The future of manufacturing is not in the quality of the products being made. It’s in the speed at which those products can be delivered and the services that supports them.
Technology has allowed manufacturers to consistently improve the quality of the products they make. And since many manufacturers use similar technology – robotics, automated assembly lines, etc. – then quality control is not a differentiating factor.
It’s about how fast you can get the product in the hands of your customers. The kind of service can you offer when things go wrong. Other complementary services you can offer to your customers. Can you offer to help them design the product?
It’s no longer good enough to make something better than your competitor. You need to offer more value than your competitor.
If you are a manufacturer, what additional value are you offering your customers?
Looking for more insights?
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Andrew Miller
416-480-1336
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2015.

Manufactured in Canada

You don’t hear that very often, do you? That something is manufactured in Canada. No wonder. Our manufacturing industry is struggling and totally reliant on a small number of sectors like automotive and aerospace.

A recent report showed that manufacturing performance was getting worse in Ontario. This seems to be a common theme. But it’s always because the weather slowed down shipments, or the exchange rate with the U.S. was unfavourable, or the economy is slowing down.

Why can’t it ever be because many of our manufacturing companies are performing poorly? Maybe it’s because they are not taking advantage of opportunities presented to them. Maybe it’s because they are operating with the same mindset from 20 years ago.

We always make excuses why the manufacturing sector is declining instead of attributing it to an industry that has changed significantly in the ways it manufactures products, but has not dramatically changed the way it operates.

Resource productivity – what does that even mean?

I recently read an article from McKinsey mentioning that manufacturing organizations need to focus on resource productivity in order to be successful. They need to think lean, and all of that other stuff that we always hear about. That is a very tactical way of thinking and only applies to the manufacturing processes themselves. Of course manufacturers need to maximize the outcomes they produce through manufacturing, but the organizations themselves need to think differently.

They need to look at the market and their customers and determine what needs are not being met. They need to look at any additional services they can offer that would be of value to customers. They need to change the mindset of the organization to focus on operational excellence at all levels of the organization. They need to empower front line people to not only improve the current way they operate, but also suggest new ways of operating to increase profit.

The limitation with most manufacturing organizations is that they often only try to do what they are currently doing, only more efficiently. They look at manufacturing metrics, but not necessarily financial ones. Many don’t look at what else they could be doing. They still use the same approaches and methodologies they have been using for 30 years and wonder why they are struggling.

The question manufacturing organizations should be asking themselves is, “What opportunity am I not currently taking advantage of and how do we maximize outcomes from that opportunity?”

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Miller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – November 17, 2014
Every morning when I read the business section, it is filled with articles about resources. I get it. We have a resource economy here in Canada. But why does it have to be that way? We used to have a thriving manufacturing industry. Now all we are trying to do is save what we have. We are in full survival mode when it comes to manufacturing jobs, with the focus being on the auto sector.
 
No wonder Canada falls so low on the productivity rankings. We seem to be innovative when it comes to technology (see the Kitchener-Waterloo corridor). We have some of the top business schools in North America, if not the world. We have access to most major markets through air, land, and sea. We have a diverse population with ties to all of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Yet we score poorly on innovation and productivity.
 
I believe that is BECAUSE we are so reliant on resources. Resources are always at the centre of any economic discussion. Why can’t we become the experts at some type of specialized manufacturing? What about assembling parts that were manufactured elsewhere? Why not focus on developing new ways to manufacture certain products faster and better? Or create a new supply chain that reduces touch points and risk?
 
Many smaller and mid-sized manufacturers have figured it out. They use recyclable materials, a “made in Canada” label, outsource where required, and an effective delivery model created to minimize risk. And they are very successful, not just in Canada. Check out Cate & Levi or Canada Goose or Korhani to see what I mean.
 
It’s time to redefine manufacturing in Canada. We need to stop focusing on productivity numbers and start looking at growth and profitability. That will move us from trying to save the industry, to having it thrive once again.
To request an interview or more information, please contact:
 
Andrew Miller
416-480-1336

www.acmconsulting.ca