For most of the time since the late-1980s, the market capitalization for Toyota roughly equaled, or exceeded, the sum of the “Big Three” in Detroit. Although wishful thinkers today attribute much of Toyota’s present profitability to currency manipulation of the Japanese yen, in the 1990s, with a depressed yen and an exploding U.S. stock market, Toyota’s market value still exceeded that of its much larger competitors. 
Here are seven books that I would highly recommend if you want to begin installing the new thoughtware that is going to make you a better, more effective executive or manager in today’s new normal of global competition, emerging markets and high volatility.
Read this one first.
Why? Because, when it was first published in 1987, U.S. industries were, for the most part, losing a heated battle for participation in a rapidly emerging world economy. Today, the emergence of third world economies as both threats and opportunities places your company and supply chain in a reprise of many of those challenges.
I watched the latest Starwars over the holiday break “Rogue One.” Not only was I was intrigued by the title but by the trailers’ reference to taking on what seems to be an enemy too overwhelming to ever defeat.
I found a lot of relevance in “Rouge One” to what we do as a company, and to what we see happening with our clients (in too many cases). I have outlined the connections I see in the table (below).
A new year is coming up. Time for more New Year’s resolutions and goal setting.
You and your supply chain will face a fresh set of challenges in 2017. We know it can be hard to decide what your focus should be when thinking strategically about your supply chain.
Most of the small to mid-sized enterprises with which we engage on supply chain matters have been taking a predictable path in addressing the challenges they face. The find themselves expending tremendous manual efforts—adding man-hours and people—accompanied by costly just in case actions.
These actions generally result in excess inventories and high operating expenses. As a result, even though they are able to grow their top-line by reaching additional markets and adding customers, their bottom-line stagnates—or even declines.
Having the least amount of inventory in the system is the natural outcome of the following interdependent and necessary conditions writes Debra Smith in The Measurement Nightmare:
- Producing [only] to order [read: actual demand signals, as opposed to forecasts]**
- Releasing material at the rate of the constraint or critical process
- Reasonably buffering the constraint to ensure it is not starved
- Maximizing the uptime of the constraint
- Purchasing to ensure a buffer of raw materials so the beginning process can start in time to maintain the constraint’s buffer
- Ensuring the reliability of all processes to support reasonable buffer levels in front of the critical processes
Got capacity? How much of it is being wasted—or, rather, misused?
Let me help you answer that question.Bimodal Inventory Distribution – A Common Malady
I don’t care where we go, or the size of the enterprise with which we are working, the most common situation we encounter is expressed in the accompanying figure, and in the following statement:
How are you dealing with cybersecurity risks to your business and supply chain?
Today, our reliance on computers is pervasive. As your company, your supply chain, and even your home, are increasingly reliant upon computers to control everything from the flow of electricity to the flow of products and services, you need to be informed about matters of cybersecurity.
Here are four helpful videos to get you started:
What is the single most crucial KPI for your enterprise, or your supply chain?
What is the biggest single factor limiting your ability to achieve more of your goal?
What single metric stands between you and making more money tomorrow than you are making today?
There are only two (2) system-level (enterprise-level) KPIs that matter—in the long run:
- On-time performance, and
- Return on investment
Interestingly, these two KPIs are inextricably linked. Almost without exception (in fact, I cannot think of any exceptions in the long-run), companies and supply chains that suffer from poor on-time performance, ultimately suffer from low return on investment, as well.
The first Industrial Revolution involved mechanization, employing water and steam power. The second Industrial Revolution moved industry further from artisans and craftsmen, and introduced the huge efficiencies of mass production and the assembly line.
The third Industrial Revolution (Industry 3.0) came with the introduction of computers and automation. This brought another huge wave of efficiencies and reductions in the costs of production.
Now, Industry 4.0 has arrived and the new Industrial Revolution is underway.