• 29 Aug 2016 9:40 PM | Christon Valdivieso

    Authored by: Luis Valdivieso

    Now that the end of the U.S. Government’s budgeting fiscal year is almost over, it’s time to ask some difficult questions. Where you successful in gaining any new contracts? Did you meet your goals? The question I feel is the most important of all is did you execute your capture plan? This last one has the implied question of “do you have a capture plan”? As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.

    Most of us understand the basic need for plans. We understand business plans, transition plans, budgets, or marketing plans as essential to being successful. All too often what’s left out is the planning for your sales activities. Depending on the organization that can include which databases to use, sales script, and of course goals. After evaluating sales processes, it makes it easier to create a worthwhile and timely pipeline.

    Far too many businesses looking to supply the U.S. Government simply believe they can be successful by waiting for a RFP to be released, and that’s usually too late in the process. To be successful, we need to plan ahead of time. Something you have thought through already that can help you execute throughout the year. That goes as much for a budget, as a sales pipeline. With a plan you can prioritize. With a plan you can hold people accountable. With a plan you can improve processes. Most importantly, with a plan you can have success.

    Do you have a plan?

  • 26 Aug 2016 4:33 PM | Christon Valdivieso

    There is a growing body of knowledge that suggests without a full 7-8 hours of sleep, none of us are working to our potential.

    By Rosemary Coates

    original post on

    It’s no surprise that supply chain planning and operations are among the most complex processes in business. This is because everything in supply chains are based on cause-and-effect relationships across multiple supply chain partners and often multiple regions of the world. Add to this, the complexity of optimizing planning, production, logistics and inventories with complicated algorithms, software, and decisions and you can see why the brightest and best performers are often found in company supply chain functions.

    To be a top performer takes the right education, experience and brainpower to make the supply chain respond to ever-changing global business conditions. Supply chain personnel must be in tip top mental shape, alert and available to handle the inevitable challenges and emergencies which are part of our daily life.  But getting enough exercise, fresh air, healthy food and sleep are often challenges in our busy lives balanced with family and other commitments. Yet all of these ingredients are essential for top performance.

    I will be the first to admit that I skipped the gym on many occasions due to my workload and ate less than healthy meals. I lived for years on 4-5 hours of sleep per night (normal in the consulting world) and was proud of my stamina and ability to work 18-hour days.  I am notorious for middle-of-the-night Skype calls with China. But there is a growing body of knowledge that suggests without a full 7-8 hours of sleep, none of us are working to our potential.  Which makes me wonder what more I could have accomplished over my 35-year career if only I had gotten more sleep.

    I just finished reading The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington, CEO of theHuffington Post.  She makes a great case for how we have become a culture that treats sleep as wasted time and as optional. But more and more professionals are making the connection between sleep and performance.  We already know that truck drivers and airline pilots can be dangerous when they don’t get enough sleep. Collegiate and professional athletes and Olympians are now tracking their sleep patterns against improved performance results. Some athletes have recorded as much as 8-10% improved batting averages, basket shots made and race times when they get eight or more hours of sleep.  In addition, academic scores improve and in a corporate setting, decisions are better.

    So how is our performance as supply chain professionals affected when we don’t get enough sleep?  Are we alert to the changes that affect our supply chains? Are we making the best decisions? Are we as productive as we can be throughout the day?

    Are you up for a challenge?  Try sleeping 8 hours every night for a week and see for yourself how much better you feel and how much your productivity improves. Just like me, I think you will be quite surprised.

    original post on

  • 12 Aug 2016 11:14 PM | Christon Valdivieso

    Over the last couple years, consolidation and M&A have dominated headlines. Ocean liners are consolidating to stay competitive, logistics companies are merging as weak demand is straining smaller operators. Sadly, the market has remained skeptic about M&A and profits have largely remained anemic. That’s what makes Verizon’s recent purchases so interesting.

    If you missed the $4.4bn acquisition of AOL last year, or the $4.8bn purchase of Yahoo last week, then you probably missed the $2.4bn planned purchase of the cloud based fleet management firm Fleetmatics Corp—along with the purchases of nPhase, Hughes Telematics, and Telogis. What makes the recent moves interesting is that they are not consolidation moves so much as strategic steps toward repositioning. Facing a saturated mobile market and difficult margins to maintain, Verizon—a global communications company—is focused on staying at the forefront of how we communicate. Enter IoT.

    For the average consumer, IoT (or the internet of things) provides control of lights, garage doors, and cursory home security systems. For a communication provider this represents a rise in machine to machine (M2M) communications. The GSMA, an international organization tasked with uniting and advancing the mobile communication industry, reports that while, “mobile is at the heart of the new digital future…smartphone adoption is already reaching critical mass in developed markets.” More importantly, “the mobile ecosystem is a major driver of economic progress welfare globally.” Therein lays the problem for companies like Verizon. If mobile is the key to the future and is oversaturated, how can the brand grow? Worldwide data traffic and cellular M2M connections is on pace to increase from 243 mn in 2014 to almost 1 bn by 2020. This growth is expected to originate from several key verticals including utilities, healthcare, commerce (what GSMA calls M-Commerce), and automotive.

    Verizon’s planned purchase of Fleetmatics strengthens their position as a partner of traditional automakers, driverless automakers, third-party logistics companies, and various fleet operators. It seems Verizon has learned from companies like Kodak and Blackberry who failed to see the shift in technology and adjust their business scope.

    If you’ve watched or read the news the last couple years—not that the news should be trusted (read “Old McDonald”)—it is apparent that the way we do business and the business environment has changed. Verizon has illustrated how using industry specific knowledge and company trends can be used to pivot a business’ strategy. The thought I supply is this: What is your company’s role in the new economy?


    Authored by: Christon Valdivieso

    Edited by: Afton Knight

  • 07 Aug 2016 10:09 PM | Christon Valdivieso

    With all the news about logistics making, or breaking, companies don't miss this PDM.

    OnTrac Senior Industrial Engineering Manager Mike Harris has 14 years of career experience in the transportation and logistics industry, which includes creating, managing, and improving Standard Operational Procedures (SOP.)  A West Virginia University alumnus, Mike began a career with FedEx Ground following college and later returned to school in conjunction with his career to obtain his Masters of Business Administration from Mount St. Mary’s University. Mike strongly believes in continuous education and professional development. He has a proven track record of improving overall performance and employee productivity, as well as developing and leading teams through community service and peer-to-peer mentoring groups.

  • 07 Aug 2016 11:37 AM | Christon Valdivieso

    By Patrick Burnson

    Original post on

    The official launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has created a $2.6 trillion market with a population of more than 622 million – and although implementation will be a long process – it represents an important milestone, say analysts with A.T. Kearney in a recent report.

    China, one of the most dynamic retail markets in the world, is ranked as the top country in the 2016 Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), titled “Global Retail Expansion at a Crossroads.” India’s high market potential, fast growth, improved regulatory environment, and ease of doing business pulled it up to second in the rankings.

    The 2016 GRDI marks the 15th annual edition of the report. During the past 15 years, developing markets have seen tremendous growth both in terms of population, which has grown 21 percent to 6.2 billion, and in terms of retail sales, which have increased 350 percent in developing countries and now represent more than half of total global retail sales.

    The GRDI ranks the top 30 developing countries for retail investment worldwide. The Index analyzes 25 macroeconomic and retail-specific variables to help retailers devise successful global strategies to identify emerging market investment opportunities. The study is unique in that it not only identifies the markets that are most attractive today, but also those that offer future potential.

    In the unlikely event that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be ratified, analysts say it could boost GDP in several Asian countries, including Vietnam (#11) and Malaysia (#3).

    Conspicuous by its TPP absence has been China, of course. That nation was deliberately left out of the agreement to counter its dominance in the region. But does that have anyone worried? Certainly not Ben-Shabat, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study.

    “Despite China’s slowing economic growth, the GRDI’s top-ranked country remains one of the most attractive global retail markets,” he says. “The economy is gradually shifting from an investment-driven model to one driven by consumer consumption. The growing middle class coupled with strong demand from inland and lower-tier cities and the loosening of the one-child policy will continue to drive growth over the next 10 years.”

    Come Out Swinging
    Elsewhere in the world the financial volatility due to the aftermath of the Brexit vote may have pushed some spending from the end of June into July, especially for big ticket items and luxury spending, says HS Global Insight Economist Chris Christopher. But he contends that real consumer spending growth is likely to be slightly above 3.0 percent in the third quarter.

    “Consumers came back into action in the second quarter after being cautious in the first three months of the year due to volatility in the equity markets,” he says. “Americans were shaken up by the poor performance of the stock market in the first quarter, sending the saving rate from 6.2 percent in March to 5.3 percent in June.”

    But in April, consumers “came out swinging,” followed by a relatively good showing in May and then again in June. Real consumer spending accelerated to a 4.2 percent growth pace in the second quarter from a 1.6 percent reading in the first quarter, reflecting sizable gains across the board. Second quarter real GDP advanced 1.2 percent; it is obvious that consumers are doing almost all of the heavy lifting in the American economy.

    “Consumer spending growth will moderate in the second half of this year, but will be supported by gains in real disposable income, jobs added to the economy, increasing housing asset values, and modest consumer price inflation,” adds Christopher.

    Political Uncertainty
    With increases in consumer spending expected to remain solid during the remainder of the year, the National Retail Federation today said retail sales for 2016 are now expected to grow 3.4 percent over last year rather than the 3.1 percent forecast earlier.

    Online and other non-store sales, which are included in the overall figure, are expected to increase 7-10 percent year-over-year rather than the 6-9 percent forecast earlier.

    “Economic indicators are showing positive trends for retail,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, citing the improved housing market, job growth, higher wages and other factors that have boosted consumer spending.

    “Challenges remain, with some greater than others depending on the retail category, but consumer confidence remains high and we believe that retail customers will continue the positive trends we have seen in the first two quarters of the year,” he adds.

    Retail sales in the first half of 2016 performed at a solid pace, growing close to 4 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to NRF calculations, which exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants. NRF expects gross domestic product to grow between 1.9 and 2.4 percent.

    “There are many factors that could prove to be hurdles but our overall outlook is optimistic,” observes NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Uncertainty surrounding the presidential election could make consumers more cautious, and the combination of a rising dollar and global slowdown have impacted exports, but other factors like favorable weather patterns that will help move winter merchandise support our outlook.”

    Meanwhile, the nation’s supply chain managers are watching economic developments closely, and we can bet that the NRF and will evaluate any changes to its forecast as necessary. If needed, the next update will come as part of the retail association’s annual holiday predictions in October.

  • 06 Aug 2016 3:45 PM | Kerrell Dunsmore (Administrator)

    Register online to attend!

  • 01 Aug 2016 9:17 PM | Christon Valdivieso

    Authored By: Christon Valdivieso

    Edited By: Afton Knight

    You could tell they do not understand what I am talking about,” Ray, a recent graduate student, said as he summed up his workplace frustrations. Like many professionals, Ray works at a company that promotes cross-functional alignment. His day consists of lots of meeting with lots of people from different functions collaborating to streamline and improve a given set of processes. Many students today, Ray included, learn all about how cross-functional teamwork is critical to alignment and success. What educators and change managers forget is that these groups all speak different languages.

    Whether the company has recently changed leadership, IT systems, or just a report type, the language inside a company is frequently evolving. Last week’s TPS report is now the CAR report for instance; and, just like a resume with industry-specific jargon on it, most of it is incomprehensible to other departments.

    Historically, kings and emperors set the national language and religion to ensure commonality and peace amongst a nation. But who sets the language at the modern day enterprise? 

    Emily, a replenishment professional, said that she spent the first few weeks after starting her job focusing on using the “right” words for her actions but during her first meeting with buyers received blank stares. In order to increase collaboration and break down silos in the workplace, it is important to be aware of these communication gaps and focus on gaining understanding. One way to do this is by paying attention to how other groups talk during meetings and try to find out the synonyms for words you are familiar with.

    Sadly, direction from most change managers and industry leaders focus on performance, vision, and information sharing to build trust. Only when dealing with IT integration does language uniformity come into play. However, if people do not understand each other are cross-functional teams truly productive? The truth is, not understanding jargon places a communication and informational gap that is detrimental to the team. Understanding what each member does and how allows each member to add more value during every interaction. Knowing other functions ensures members will understand the needs of teammates and can thus be better prepared which makes the entire team more productive.

    What Emily and Ray experienced is not unique. While cross training and job shadowing is often effective in ameliorating the confusion it is not the only solution. It takes a commitment from leadership and the associates to bridge language gaps and unify cross-functional teams. Thus I supply this thought: What language does your company speak?

  • 27 Jul 2016 6:41 PM | Christon Valdivieso

    Authored By: Christon Valdivieso

    Edited By: Afton Knight

         Companies are finding an increasingly complicated environment in today’s recruitment world. PwC’s19th Global CEO Survey illustrates that 93% of CEOs recognize the importance of developing new talent acquisition strategies. Unfortunately, 61% of respondents admitted they haven’t taken the necessary first steps. Today, many companies have moved toward computer assisted screening programs that—in their efforts to sift through hundreds and thousands of applicants—often block good candidates. At the University of Tennessee there is a different approach taking root.

         SCMR contributor and director of marketing at University of Tennessee, Dianne Marshall, reports on a concept University of Tennessee is promoting where companies get to know students and develop relationships prior to hiring. “Developing early relationships with students…helps companies identify the diamonds in the rough that other companies miss,” Marshall reports. A Pepsi recruiter describes the value of relationship building even more succinctly, “there is a lot of information about undergraduates that they aren’t capable of conveying in a resume”

         In the previous system often recruiters found that while coordinating second interviews recruits, “were already entertaining another offer.” Under the new system, besides allowing companies to better understand recruits, engaged companies become the “first booth they go and talk to,” another Pepsi recruiter explains. This is the essence of the talent supply chain. The goal is more than finding potential candidates. The talent supply chain’s goal is to create a pipeline of engaged, eager, and qualified star performers. Just as vendor relationships are better with those that are engaged and aligned to a company’s business strategy, so are associates.

         This is not to say that college recruiting is the only avenue for recruiting. Recruiters, including leadership at every level, are challenged to use every interaction as a recruiting tool. Everyday companies engage with internal and external customers through social media, e-commerce, and open doors. Those relationships can drive new business as well as new associates.

         As Dianne Marshall indicates, this process is often a four-year commitment. For small business owners this may seem unrealistic. If done properly, time can be spent finding new associates and leading the company’s direction instead of accepting unengaged associates because they fill an open position.  While this practice of talent supply chain management, in general, seems time intensive I supply this thought: How much business are you loosing due to a re-active talent supply chain?

  • 25 Jul 2016 10:49 PM | Christon Valdivieso

    Authored By: Christon Valdivieso

    Edited By: Afton Knight

    I was warned when we had our first child that life would change. While I did not doubt my friends and family, I suppose I did not fully appreciate them until last week. Last week, while reading another article about e-commerce (e-comm), I found myself singing ‘Old McDonald’ in my head. Sure ‘Old McDonald’ teaches children about animals and their corresponding sounds, but the facts about e-comm seem to be ‘here’, ‘there’, and ‘everywhere’. What is worse, far too many people in the workforce accept what they hear as fact. As managers, making the leap to leaders involves building the critical thinking muscle.

    In today’s supply chain the major hurdle is a profitable e-comm wing. To create an e-comm solution businesses need to know what is really going on and how the supply chain can adjust? The problem, as indicated above, is that “research” is inconsistent and often misleading. For instance, The Philadelphia Business Journal recently reported on a study that found only 26% of businesses are using their websites for e-comm. From a consumer trend point of view a WWD article indicated “96 percent of Americans are shopping online…allocating 36% of their shopping budgets to e-commerce”. Taking these studies as fact, most companies would call a meeting to discuss how they are going to close the gap in their e-comm presence and capitalize on a booming field.

    Unfortunately, these facts are misleading. First, e-comm is more than a “Pay Here” button on the website. E-comm is the digitalization of all the various steps of business including online catalogues, EDI communications, forecast and demand transmitting, and POS data sharing as well as online purchasing. The online purchasing and corresponding delivery service, e-sales, is a small part of the total e-commerce ecosystem. Additionally, the data on e-sales habits mentioned above was sponsored by an e-comm platform provider and directly conflicts a timetrade article that states 85% of consumers prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar stores. When it comes to e-comm data, businesses are exposed to a myriad competing information. Namely, while most conversations and articles headline e-comm, they really mean e-sales.

    Supply chain leaders can create strategies despite inconsistent information through critical thinking and data-driven information. Critical thinking is imperative in creating a robust strategy that mitigates risk and is profitable. Throwing together an e-sales strategy to be “competitive” without thinking through the repercussions on logistics and distribution channels has proven disastrous for companies. While investments into logistics solutions have ballooned recently, less than 20% of major retailers are profitably executing Omni-channel supply chains. Thinking critically requires an ability to sift through the chaos to find the truth—relative to your business.

    Nike, for instance, saw a 50% increase in online sales in 2016 and the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry saw a 42% increase in 2015. Using actual data allows Nike and CPG companies to look at their supply chain with an honest and critical microscope. One Northern California wholesaler was recently purchased by a team that faced this issue. The former owners were eager to sell product through their online catalogue and online retail marketplaces. What the new owners found, was that 40% of the products offered online sold for a loss. What do these three scenarios have in common? Each example required companies to look at what is actually happening to their business. Instead of creating solutions based on information pulled from outside sources, they looked inward. For many companies this could involve hiring, contracting, or reassigning a data analyst to create data collection protocols and sift through large sums of data. Regardless of how relevant data—which can then be supported by outside articles and research—is collected, it is critical to creating a sustainable strategy.

    Assuming your company has delineated the difference between e-sales and e-commerce, I supply this thought: Does your strategy resemble a nursery rhyme by following headlines or does it consist of a data-driven, well-supported plan of attack?

  • 11 Jul 2016 11:24 AM | Christon Valdivieso

    I had to take a minute and tell everyone why I am excited about the second half of the year for APICS Phoenix. If you've looked at the schedule for the past year you will no doubt notice that our events were lacking. This fiscal year—starting in July—we already have five dynamic events  booked. Keep an eye out for more details and remember to block off your calendars for the third Thursday of every month.

    OnTrac's Mike Harris will be our speaker in August. I met Mike on a site tour a few months back. Not only does he have an approachable personality, he is very knowledgeable. Most of us are dealing with a transition from intuition based decisions to data driven decision making. Mike was open about what that meant for his team and gave my group a great view of the OnTrac world. Later in the year we have two partner events with other organizations in health care and quality management. These will provide a great opportunity to network and hear business solutions from a different perspective. Be sure to keep an eye on the calendar for what's coming up and when to register.

    Also, APICS Phoenix is actively on Twitter (@APICSPhoenix)! APICS Phoenix is driven to be, "the leading marketplace provider of knowledge and education for operations and supply chain management" and @APICSPhoenix is an extension of that goal. Highlighting industry trends, news, and thought, make sure you are following @APICSPhoenx to stay up-to-date with the supply chain industry.

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