Prepare for the bounce

Did you lose the spring in your step as we rounded the turn into summer? Seems like some peoples' high-velocity hopes for second-quarter 2001 business wound up being a slow pitch. Before eyeing the next curveball, it might be good to assess your readiness. What are you doing? If things are slow, you can stop all spending; freeze new spending and continue with existing projects; initiate sel...

07/01/2001


Did you lose the spring in your step as we rounded the turn into summer? Seems like some peoples' high-velocity hopes for second-quarter 2001 business wound up being a slow pitch. Before eyeing the next curveball, it might be good to assess your readiness.

What are you doing?

If things are slow, you can stop all spending; freeze new spending and continue with existing projects; initiate select initiatives expected to maximize returns; or try a variety of new things while vendors are pricing inventory to move.

"The scariest is when people aren't spending any money on anything," says Ken Spenser, chairman, president, and ceo of Entivity (Ann Arbor, Mich.).

Mr. Spenser observes that some consider slower periods as opportunities to increase training, evaluate the competitive situation, and develop the next generation of products.

What are you doing?

Standing still is more hazardous than it used to be, says William C. Copacino, a Wellesley, Mass.-based partner with Accenture, a provider of global management and technology consulting services. "The best are getting better faster than the average performers," he says. "It's not like companies need to do one thing better or differently. They need to do scores of things differently." Fully Internet-enabling processes can take decades to do, Mr. Copacino admits. While that's happening, get your core business right, establish operational/functional excellence, create cross-functional harmony within, make ties to channels, then fully synchronize the supply chain. Blinded by the enormity of the task? Identify and start with a few fast-payback projects.

What are you doing?

Customers and partners place higher demands regardless of what's going on with the economy. "You have to have the right products in the right place, at the right time, in the most-effective way possible," says Rob Rodin, ceo of eConnections (Pasadena, Calif.), a provider of electronics industry supply-chain software solutions.

It's not company versus company, but supply chain versus supply chain. And, it's not even faster, better cheaper, but free, perfect, and now...or even yesterday, Mr. Rodin says. Look for higher accountability for the information you deliver adds Francis Scricco, ceo Arrow Electronics (Melville, N.Y.).

People should get ready, Accenture's Mr. Copacino warns: "We're going to jump out of this downturn; not crawl out of it." Changes will be faster, Mr. Spenser concurs. Companies that will do the best in transition now will have the people, relationships, and technologies in place to move quickly later. [Comments above were made the Movers and Shakers dinner in Chicago, June 18, part of a Cahners Supply Chain/OEM Group special supplement underway for September.]

What are you doing ?

Integrated control functionality (cover story, next page) helps control engineers maximize automation investment and accomplish corporate objectives. For example, says Control Engineering senior editor Gary Mintchell, "Servo motion technology integrated with sequential logic allows quick product changeover. Integration of data collecting equipment like vision, RFID, or bar codes with sophisticated database applications enable e-manufacturing. And advanced alarming and diagnostics improve uptime."

Too busy to learn on the road? SupplyChainLinkExpo is a two-day online conference and tradeshow, Oct. 17-18, with involvement from Control Engineering and others in the Cahners Supply Chain/OEM Group. Register at www.supplychainlinkexpo.com .


Author Information

Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief mhoske@cahners.com




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