Tuesday, January 08, 2008

College Football & Global Warming

I think the time has come to finally accept Global Warming and admit that Mr. Gore is right. The mighty Northern Buckeye, who for several years now has won its primeval duel with the small but ferocious furry animal from the upper hand, has now succumbed twice to warmer climate foes.

We can now conclusively say that Buckeyes cannot live in the environment of the Bayou Tiger or the Gator. In fact, the ecosystems that support these species appears to be growing and reaching north as global warming impacts These two species and their cousins, the Mizzou Tigers, the Longhorns, the Jay Hawks, and the Horned Frogs all moved north on the Crimson Tide which was helped by sensitive Volunteers in the cleanup of Northern carbon waste.

Could it be that the mighty of the north are becoming endangered species??? Oh my! This could be trouble but alas there is hope!!!!

Two species of the north seem to be adapting (one of Darwin's greatest contributions to environmentalism). The Gator was thinking his range was going to overtake all lands north, but the Wolverine is not yet giving up its territory a lesson that the Gator now has sorely learned. The Ducks continue to prove that they are small and mighty and can change with changing times.

While Sooners dry out and fade in the heat of the global warming sun, there is no place in this world for Trojans as they are not recyclable. Even the Sun Devils who should be enjoying the rise in temperatures were reduced to Bovine delights.

"Now, whats that? ... excuse me... SWAT".... So as the temperatures rise, get some good chemicals and spray away to remove all bumble bees as they are just pests.

So, the 2007 conclusion is that Global Warming is real and we must take heart that as the seas rise like our coming carbon footprint taxes, and California now requires an FM chip in your thermostat so the power company can monitor and LIMIT the temperature range of your home (yes they can reach in and control it!), we must align with Mr. Gore and worry (that means we all can eat more and not really do anything about it as shown by his personal demonstration of massive power consumption in his home and his suit size).

Probably an Aussie from down under will come and save us all (if they beat the Blacks) unless of course he is defeated by the Celtic anomaly of the North who comes cloaked in a new disguise as oilfield trash. And yes, we do always come back to the origin of all things environmentally wasteful, the petroleum industry, oilfield trash originally comes from where? ..... the home of the Bayou Tigers... Cajun Land.

In parting, before we loose one of our most valued species, can someone please have a biologist or someone who drives a taxi tell me what a Buckeye really is?

Welcome to 2008, Mr. Gore says a warm year is coming.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Interstate Congestion

As most of you know one thing that trips my trigger is productivity. And boy this time I have got one productivity sink that we must remedy before it breaks us.

Have you been on the rural interstate highways lately? I mean away from the big cities?

What do you see out there? Lines and lines of trucks. And those trucks are the lifeline of our economy. What this country needs to do is to go three lanes in all rural interstate highways, "Give Ike 3". As President Eisenhower started the interstate system after seeing the strength of the autobahn in Germany we need to get out of the 1950's and into the new century.

If we put a $0.10 tax per gallon on top of the $0.05 we already have for highways we could build more than 20,000 miles of single lane expansions in ten years.

I would also suggest that a portion (maybe 1/2 cent per gallon) become a tax incentive for railroads to build NEW track. Not repair or upgrade old track, but to increase capacity by adding new track.

If we cannot move goods and services in this country because congestion is getting to us in the next 30 years we will have a collapse of this economy.

Now for all you environmental types, its not more trucks or cars on the roads, its making room for those that already are on the road to move efficiently and turn miles for the gallons of biodiesel or biofuels that will be burning. We are already limiting the efficiency of the transportation we already are running.

I am not sure how to start a movement to get legislation going on this, but I will take a crack at it.

When was the last time you drove on a rural interstate only to be caught in congestion way outside of any city?

Turn the Key and Smile

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Culture of Courtesy, A Book

Well its time. Though I have not been blogging with regularity, I have finally gotten to the point that its time to do a book. I will start with an e-book format, but hopefully it will get enough interest to someday become a book.

I have blogged before about courtesy (check the archives) in relationship to business. But the time has arrived that we need to get some advocacy for courtesy. Bill O'Rielly in his book Culture Warrior has described the fight for supporting our traditional culture and the work and the enemy in doing so. Good stuff.

But we need some practical application of how each of us can affect the culture every day, and that is through courtesy.

Discourse these days is so defensive, name calling, finger flipping and four letter word using. Just check across the politically oriented blogs in this country. Then go out on the street and listen to what people say to each other, even when they are friends! The infection of the 'urban culture' on everyone has made words we dont use become common, nastyness we never saw normal, and everything is personal and emotional. Victims are we all.

So, as I begin to work on this project. Let me know what you think about courtesy. give me your ideas on how we should learn to be kind to each other. Respectful whether we agree or not, and just plain nice to others. Does that cost too much?

I dont think so. Let me know what you think.

Turn the Key and Smile.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Strategic Incrementalism

This term has been in my vocabulary for nearly 10 years now, and when I googled it up the other day I was amazed that someone I knew had used it on their website and not remembered me.

Of course, I am known for using things I have seen, heard or read and not always remembered who or where I got it.

Oh well.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

OK, the Immigration Issue

This country has been built by immigrants, its culture, its freedom, its entrepreneurship, its attitude are all because immigrants came here and became here. Most all of them legally. Ellis Island and San Francisco are tributes to all of them.

What faces us now are immigrants who are coming but not becoming. They say they want to be Americans but their actions tell another story. What other era of immigration has brought multi-lingual schools into our culture? Drivers exams, voting registrations, telephone answering services in multiple languages.

We should always have our arms open to those who not only say they want to be Americans, but then take action to assimilate to be the Americans they say they want to be. That starts with English.
Sorry, but its true.

There have always been enclaves of first generation immigrants who did not quite assimilate, but they made sure their children did. Mexicans, Koreans, Vietnamese, Polish, Italian, Nigerian and the list is endless......and all of them have made us great and have made us proud and have learned to speak and live in English.

We have listened to the teachers unions, the politically correct media and others who have said we need to make accomodation for immigrants, and we should and do, but those accomodations are for those who are working to assimilate, not for those who have no interest in the same. The teachers union and the media are just trying to grow revenues to push their agendas using immigrants for their own purposes manipulting for their advantage, nothing more, nothing less.

For those in the Lou Dobb's crowd who worry about jobs. Outsourcing or immigration has never broken our economy. What makes our economic engine grow is productivity. Hard working, English speaking people increase productivity. Even those who only speak a few words of English, but are learning and trying more. Of course, for anyone who already speaks English and whines about jobs look at the brand of car you drive, the brand of your watch, your TV or stereo before you whine any more. If it is not an American brand its like not voting, you have no credibility with which to complain, you brought it on yourself.

Many of those immigrants who are standing on the corners of the city where I live looking for work DO want to become Americans, with a vocabulary of 100 words or less, but when they have the opportunity they will grow that as they grow us. So lets find a way to work with those people and the rest, lets build the fence or the wall or whatever else.

If you question that and other job issues, who showed up to clean up in New Orleans? For the most part, immigrants did and if that changes the culture of the "Big Easy" so be it, it is a natural part of the growth and evolution of this Country. But even the Big Easy is intended to be English (with some special room for Cajun and its food of course).

Thats the great part of America, room for everyone, work for all who want it, a better life than most of the world, blessings from God, what more can you ask for a place to live if you are willing to work to live.

If you cannot work, then America will take care of you. From the government or the church, what a great place this is.

Enough rambling on, but it was time to say something. And honk next time you see an American flag on a toyota or honda or other foreign brand. See if they get it, they probably wont, but dont hear their complaints either.

Turn the Key and Smile

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Basics Its Only One!

The leaders of the supply chain, demand chain, value chain and other major descriptions of the movement , assembly, sales, & delivery of raw materials, work in progress and finished goods industries, have done a wonderful job of enhancing our knowledge in these arenas.

Association, cooperation, integration, partnering, communication and all the way to federation have defined and developed how we work together to leverage and deliver the definitions in the first sentence of this article.

Insourcing, outsourcing, rightsizing, offshoring, and on-shoring have given us some of the ‘how to’ of both previous sentences.

Technology has attempted to design and implement the capabilities, information and solutions for the three previous sentences through SCM, CRM, ABC, DP, BPM, BPI, WMS, TMS and other acronyms all of which deliver value in the right situations.

For all the terms, definitions, software, solutions, complexities or other descriptions of today’s global supply chains (I will use SCM, supply chain management the rest of this article) we don’t hear enough about SCM basics.

Operational excellence, optimization, leveraging, collaboration and connectivity are all considered ‘givens’ in the SCM world, but are they? Changing needs, demands, geographies and regulations are the standard fare. Delivering more for less is the mantra of the marketplace. Someone once said, that Customers expect a universe filled with lot sizes of one, cycle times of zero, no inventories and warehouses, and free transportation. Continuously trying to ‘half the distance’ to that universe should be the deliverable.

Having heard all of that what about the basics? What are the basics anymore? People immersed in the complexities don’t see the forest for the trees and the new entrants into the SCM industry have learned a lot but have not done a lot. SCM professionals, new industry entrants and executives from other disciplines all say they understand the importance of SCM and the basket of other names used to describe the same.

What is the core of SCM? When you peel the onion what do you find?

Ask 10 SCM professionals and you will get 10 answers. Ask 10 executives from other disciplines and many wont have an answer. The core is just one thing. It will let you down as a professional, you will say it’s a given, but nothing is a given in today’s environment. For all of you who are not professionals, but are trying to learn the basics one clue to draw you closer to the core and wraps itself around the foundations is the word systemic. Systemic means that you look or think end to end and take it all into consideration.

So, without further beating around the bush, what is the cornerstone of SCM? The customer’s order. Everything in your business should be about servicing that customer order or supporting someone or something who does service that order. The customer’s order is the most valuable asset in your company. Without it all your other assets and resources have no value.

Draw a line and call it your customer’s order. Then start to put points on that line that are raw materials, manufacturing, wip, finished goods, delivery, billing and collections. Then think of everything that is inbetween those points. Now you have a supply chain.

Do you think you know how your customer’s order is handled? How easy or difficult it is? In 1992 the Harvard Business Review published an article called “Staple Yourself to An Order” by Shapiro et al. to this day one of the most popular and purchased from their website. The article suggests that executives “Re-create the clients experience by following an order through your own plant.” Again, do you think you know how your customer’s order is handled, or do you know how it is handled. Follow one and see. It’s not what you think it is. It might be better or it might be worse, but it is NOT what you think it is. Those of you who have checked into your customer’s order, if you have not for a year or so, check again and you will find it has changed. Not what you think it is.

The order. So simple, but so meaningful. A given so given that it is most often overlooked. Many companies know how many orders they have, sometimes how many are coming, but do you know what happens with them as they go through your process?

How long do they take? Who owns them overall? Who owns which part of them? How easy is it to submit an order? How many are ‘perfect orders’? How many handoffs do they have, how many times are they sitting in an in-box or an email?

The order is the supply chain by any name. If you are trying to understand value chain, or you are building a demand chain, or you want to improve your logistics, start with the customer’s order and the findings there will drive you toward the operational excellence, the perfect order, the optimization that are the ‘givens’ and move you to the competitive advantage that today’s supply chain must deliver in today’s market place.

To be honest, the customer’s order is business by any name. No business is a business without them, no business will be successful without paying attention to them, and if your business is having trouble, check to see if it is focused on the customer’s order, your first sign of trouble and the first item to be fixed.

Turn the Key and Smile

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Corruption? Greed? No, just self centered.

In some meetings held over the last several months, I have been surprised to find a new generation of greed rising up in business. After all the news about fraud and corruption in business and B-schools getting focused on ethics I am a bit disappointed to have seen it again.

Companies often put parts of their work out for bid, RFQ or tender. Transportation, distribution and logistics are regularly outsourced and bid. Recently there have been young MBA's running the processes working hard to save their company's cost. Of course that is their job. Shockingly a large beverage company, going through the same process had one of their procurement people asking for NBA tickets and football bowl game tickets and wanting nice lunches and dinners and all this was before the actual bid was released.

We all have seen things in our careers that we did not like, but this was blatant. Credit is due to companies that have made procurement straight forward, did what they said they were going to do. I am going to slide out on the plank now and say thank you to the likes of IBM, Ericson Germany & Sweden, Reliant Energy, Xerox, Cemex, Intel and the company people love to hate, Wal-Mart. You may not like how they want to do business, you may not win their business, but you know that there process was clean. Yes there may be some politics, but there is no money or graft in the process.

I am not sure what the B-Schools are teaching these days, I have met several young MBA's with degrees in logistics and supply chain that really knew nothing about the business so I am not sure about the subject content, but to be faced with well educated people who want to enjoy themselves and pad their own situations, well its just a disappointment.

There is no more or less graft in this generation than there has been in other generations, but the amount of selfishness, the "you owe me" or the "start me as a director or VP" mentality is rampant and that selfishness at its extreme is what I saw not long ago with requests for 'goodies'. What really made this stand out is that it was not the operations or logistics people, but a procurement person. The very person in the process that is there to assure that the process is right and straight and honest. As my friend in Australia would say, I am gobsmacked.

Why does it take us all too long to understand that it is not about us, but something more. Its about being right, not correct mind you, but doing what is right, truthful, honest. I was once accused of being willing to go to any length to pursue what I believed to be right. Way beyond what was politically correct. It has gotten me in trouble more than once, but I have always slept well at night.

Being young is no crime, having an MBA is a good thing (I wish I had mine), but being so focused on yourself, that has to change. It will work for a while, but at some point it is going to reach up and bite and that bite will hurt.

Losing the focus on your self takes time, experience and hard knocks are the teachers, or the wisdom of a mentor can lead you there as well. Hear and heed that message early and you will be more successful than you ever thought, you will sleep well also.