Managing Global Supply Chains – Striking a Strategic Balance

Global supply chains are facing difficult times as the marketplace shifts to a more global environment. Companies want to enter new markets with lower costs and better speed. However, many executives are struggling to meet goals in the face of new challenges.


Factors such as higher transportation and energy costs are enough to throw a wrench into a company’s supply chain. Building a strong strategic plan can assist executives in achieving their goals.


Evaluate Higher Transportation Costs

It’s no surprise that energy and transportation costs have experienced a sharp increase. Companies are scrambling to balance these costs while staying competitive in current market conditions. Striking the right balance can add up to increased efficiency and profit gains.


Manage Product Lead Time

Although producing oversees offers less expensive labor, this may also result in longer lead time. This slows down the process of bringing a new product to market. These factors need to be carefully considered when planning production.


Review Exchange Rates and Tariffs

Tariff and exchange rate challenges are introduced when a company manufactures overseas. Senior managers should carefully evaluate these components and identify opportunities to increase efficiencies.


Manage Complex Products Closely

Consumers are demanding more sophisticated products. Companies are working creatively to meet these needs, but sometimes production gets left in a lurch. Producing more complex products can slow down production, leaving the supply chain out of balance.

The solution to this issue is forming strong communication channels between marketing and operations. Working closely will provide a synergy between launching a new product and meeting production demands.


The Challenge of Reducing Costs

Senior mangers are always evaluating strategies to increase efficiencies and lower costs. Managing global supply chains in this demanding market requires strategic oversight. Leaders from all business units need to come together to create strategic goals that are measurable and realistic. A systematic way to measure these goals should be established so results can be tracked.


Evaluating Ways to Get Products to Market Quicker

Once a company discovers an innovative product, marketing and sales push hard to bring the item to market. Operations is the business unit that can best provide knowledge on capacity to produce a product while maintaining a high level of customer service. If production is slammed with orders, angry customers will surface, creating a lasting affect on a business’ reputation.


A strategic plan for getting products to market in the most efficient way should be created. Senior managers should meet regularly to strike a balance between bringing a product to market while persevering production and customer service. Discovering this balance will positively affect the global supply chain.


Find Communication Efficiencies in Manufacturing

Companies serving a global marketplace may have manufacturing facilities spread out all over the world. The communication flow across such a large area may become challenging for some businesses. This can be addressed by creating formal procedures for sharing information across all locations. The results of making this change are improved consistency and performance.


Examine the Benefits of Centralization

Many companies are moving away from local management to a centralized model. The manufacturing may be accomplished overseas, while the home office is charged will managing those tasks.


Retaining Employees in a Global Marketplace

As your company goes abroad, attracting and retaining talented employees may be challenging. Spend time and resources on creating an attractive work environment for employees. The time and effort invested initially will payoff with a decreased turnover ratio.


Managing Compatibility Issues

Managing technical infrastructure can be challenging enough in the local market. But once you introduce vendors from around the world, the issue becomes more complex.

Spend time working with vendors to ensure technology works seamlessly across all channels. Front-loading your investment will minimize issues down the road. This will also improve your efficiency and profit potential.


Acknowledge the Environmental Effect on the Global Supply Chain

Consumers are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint. Companies are facing the challenge of finding a balance between being environmentally responsible and maintaining profitability. Working with leaders in your company to discover a harmonious solution will impact your business positively in the global marketplace. You’ll benefit from an environmentally conscious image, while preserving profits.


Forming a Partnership between Operations and Marketing

Executives from marketing and operations need to meet regularly to review goals. They need to form a partnership to improve the global supply chain process. This will enable a quicker response to change when working to bring products to market.


Most company executives agree that global supply chains have room for improvement. While facing economic changes and rising fuel costs, there will be opportunities to review processes and maximize efficiencies. Investing time and resources into maximizing the efficiency will preserve and grow your profits.


Samer El Bizri is CEO of the Zeconomy, Inc. With Zeconomy Bizri provides business-to-business online payment services designed to access liquidity from anywhere in supply chain. Bizri is a successful businessman also and he helps in executive management and cross-functional team leadership.
Also read here: Using Information Technology to Revolutionize Your Supply Chain

Enterprise Software Benefits That Can Turn a Company Around

We’ve all heard success stories about enterprise software – 30% increase in profits, products to market five times faster, project management overhead cut in half – but how, exactly, do those companies accomplish that? Here are three of the most important elements.


Sorting out flaws in organizational structure and processes:


In some companies it’s not always clear sometimes who is who’s boss. Some (usually stressed to the max) employees are getting orders from everyone and their brother. Approval hierarchies also tend to be unclear. Instead of having one person approve what you do and then send it on the next person up the line, everyone’s jumping in with their two cents worth all at the same time.


You may not realize how much confusion this sort of thing generates, and how much work doesn’t get done because of it, but it will be more than clear when you implement the task management and workflow solutions features of your enterprise software. You will see, for example, that some people have more to do than one person could possibly handle. They are trying to comply with so many viewpoints and orders at the same time, it’s almost impossible to complete something. Implementing an enterprise software solution can help bring that to light, and sort it out.


Giving executives the chance to see what’s really going on:


Have you ever felt powerless as an executive? You know there’s something wrong, but you just can’t get to the bottom of it. Largely, you’re depending on middle management for information. But acting on their information just isn’t resolving the problems.


Enterprise software can help you find out what’s really going on. You can look at what each person is doing on a daily basis, you can see what orders are being given and whether or not those orders align with company policy and strategy, and you can find bottlenecks and unresolved problems that are keeping people from getting their job done efficiently and effectively.


Middle management is necessary, no doubt about it. But every company has an assembly line, no matter how white collar the activity, and the people on the floor generally know their job better and have a better handle on the problems and solutions related to their job than the guys above them. Enterprise software offers executives the opportunity to easily monitor what’s going on right down to the bottom of the organization – and they can use that information to make things more efficient, get things done faster, and create a smooth-running, frictionless organization.


Finding a deadline is at risk before it’s too late to do something about it:


Billions of dollars are lost every year because deadlines aren’t met. Executives don’t usually have all the gory details on every single thing that has to be done in order to complete a project. By the time they find out a project is behind, it’s often too late to do something about it.


Enterprise software changes all that. The project and task management tools and workflow solutions feature show an executive exactly what’s going on in the minutest detail. The possibility of not meeting a deadline can be seen so far in advance that a resolution can actually be implemented in time to turn it around. You can see exactly what’s going on, and do something about it.


Ever wondered how people using enterprise software increase their profit margin so dramatically? Meeting deadlines is a big factor.


Enterprise software with features and functionality like project management tools, task management and work flow solutions can help bring about what you may think of now as miracles. Time to check it out.


Samer El Bizri is a successful businessman and CEO of the Zeconomy, Inc based in New York which provides help in supply chain management and enterprise software services. The company’s business-to-business online payment services are automated and secured, enabling businesses to trade liquidity for price discounts far beyond their direct customers and suppliers without increasing credit risk.

Also read here: Create Competitive Advantages with Enterprise Software by Samer El Bizri

Ways by Samer El Bizri to Stop Social Loafing In Cross-Functional Teams

People often take less accountability for individual and team performance when doing work as part of a group. This tendency, called “social loafing”, is well documented. In these cases, some of us may take advantage of a situation in which it’s harder to pinpoint responsibility-a situation created by the fact that many people have a role in the team’s performance.


This low degree of “identifiability”-when our individual performance is not clearly observable-allows us to more easily “hide” and avoid taking accountability for our role in the team’s poor performance. However, when others can see our individual performance and our contribution is clearly linked to us, accountability and performance levels both increase.


One example of the impact of identifiability on accountability and performance comes from a study that looked at the times of the members of the Ohio State Swim Team in a competitive event. Four teams of four men were formed by matching for ability and speed of each swimmer’s time for 100-meter lap.


Two of the four teams were randomly assigned to the “high identifiable” group, whose lap times would be announced aloud to them and to anyone else within hearing. The other two teams were assigned to the “low identifiable” group, whose lap times would not be announced or revealed even if the swimmer asked for the information.


The study found that when swimmers’ scores were not made public, they exerted less effort and swam both the individual and relay events more slowly. When individual scores were made public the swimmers exerted more effort and swam faster in both events.


It appears that the stakes are higher when we know our action will be attributable to us and that we have to justify ourselves and our actions to others. Knowing this, we seek approval and respect and try to maintain our own self-image-we try harder.


Social loafing is a common problem in cross-functional teams consisting of numerous leaders across departments or regions. Among these groups, it isn’t always clear who is in charge or who reports to whom. Team members may view the work as someone else’s responsibility, so they avoid taking ownership.


In these situations, it’s the leader’s job to monitor performance and motivate the team to excel. Here are three things leaders can do to minimize “social loafing” and enhance individual accountability within cross-functional teams.


Use Meaningful Metrics That Connect Individual Contributions to Team Goals


If the team’s ultimate goal is to increase sales, it’s easy to evaluate the sales managers based on monthly revenue. It may not be as easy to evaluate the marketing manager’s performance, but it’s just as important. Consider what metrics you can use to evaluate each role. For a marketing manager, it may be the number of qualified sales leads rather than sales revenue.


Ensure Transparency of Individual Tasks and Goals


Within a cross functional team, a lack of clarity about who will work on a specific task is not uncommon. This can be avoided by taking the time to develop actions plans and making them visible through shared documents or project management software, such as Basecamp.


When the tasks are clearly defined and assigned to a specific person with a set deadline, that person will have no excuse for not completing his or her work on time. In addition, the realization that others are aware of the work they are responsible for will also increase their level of engagement and accountability.


Track Progress On Assignments


Don’t simply assign a task and walk away. Establish key milestones with estimated completion dates, and use those milestones as opportunities to check in with individuals.


Take the time to discuss their progress and identify any roadblocks. If someone is falling behind on a particular task, find out why and provide coaching when appropriate.


These practical actions not only reinforce an individual’s role in making the team a success but also make their role and contribution transparent to others. This results in a high degree of identifiablity, which enhances overall team performance.


Samer El Bizri is a successful businessman who provides the help in executive management and cross-functional team leadership. Mr. Bizri works with teams in organisations who want to be more effective and achieve sustained success. He writes about Supply chain management and other related topics.

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How to Build an Effective and Efficient Team from Scratch?

If you’re in a managerial or team leading role, then it may get quite difficult to manage a group of people who are extremely opposite for each other, when it comes to thoughts, ideas, and conceptualization.


Finding mid-way resolutions and resolving on-going conflicts isn’t an easy task for everyone, but all of this can get streamlined by applying right approach to make your team members come together and work as an army.


If you’re planning to build a strong team that can help your achieve your business goals at a faster pace, then read the following tips suggested by Samer El Bizri about how to build an effective and efficient team right from scratch:


1.    Establishing Leadership


If you don’t think that you can take decision correctly, then it is sad to reveal that you must not lead a team ever. Compelling employees about your decisions, making them accept them happily and ensuring their constant contribution to make your vision turn to reality is the first step towards making a good team.


A lot of the team building companies developing the right kind of leadership skills before you start heading a team to ensure that they work effectively even when you’re away.


2. Maintain Strong Relationships With Employees


Picking your most favorite employee, connecting with him/her daily, and asking about project progress from a particular individual will never help you win the game. Treat everyone equally and maintain healthy relations with each member of the team to build trust and confidence amongst your team members.


If you wish to organize team building activities UAE at your office location, then study a few websites to know about the one that matches your requirements and help your team to maintain healthy relations with cross-functional teams, and members amongst themselves.


3. Fostering Teamwork and Goal Settlement


Never be a bossy leader. It is one of the most popular tips that you will find in popular business management books and leadership reports. The solution to this problem is fostering teamwork and appreciating individual contribution during success meets. No team can achieve the defined goals, if the members do not take active part in the tasks being performed or plan being made.


Encourage your team to share information, expert tips, suggestions and concerns, and other crucial matters amongst themselves to build trust and reliability. Next step is to plan out a detailed goal sheet for your team to help them stay productive towards common business goals while managing their individual responsibilities.


Samer El Bizri is an Executive Officer at zEconomy, Inc. and a successful businessman who provides the help in executive management and cross-functional team leadership. Mr. Bizri works with teams in organisations who want to be more effective and achieve sustained success.

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