Best-practice processes

Pete Jeans hosts IGNITE’S Innovation Panel

Pete Jeans  hosted Regional Development Australia’s  NSW Mid North Coast IGNITE Symposium INNOVATION PANEL at Bowraville on November 8 2017. Click through the link below to view SMO’s credentials around complex project and change leadership.


Click here


Pete Jeans hosts IGNITE’S Innovation Panel 2018-01-30T14:21:53+11:00

Innovation? Alive?

Innovation in Australian business. A new article for CEO Magazine from Pete Jeans.

Is innovation in Australian businesses alive and well?

Organisations should place more emphasis on innovation as a core value in the chase for growth and success.

What’s the rate of innovation amongst Australia’s corporate sector? And what’s driving it? R&D tax incentives? Or more?

Click here  to learn more from Australian leaders.

Innovation? Alive? 2018-01-29T11:22:10+11:00

Materials handling insights


The days of merely carrying out a warehouse site inspection at each location to review materials handling, forklifts and racking needs in order to develop efficiency improvements are probably largely over.

The materials handling industry in the USA defines materials handling broadly as the movement, protection, storage and control of materials and products throughout the process of their manufacture and distribution, consumption and disposal.

According to the MHI website: “This process involves a broad array of equipment and systems that aid in forecasting, resource allocation, production planning, flow and process management, inventory management, customer delivery, after-sales support and service, and a host of other activities and processes basic to business.”

“Solutions include sophisticated techniques that expedite information flow, including RFID and satellite tracking systems, and the electronic transmission of order and shipping information. These innovations along with traditional material handling and logistics equipment and systems are the solutions that make manufacturing and supply chains work.”

Wow! That’s some mouthful! But very real and relevant in our digitally connected world!

The reality is that supply chains contain multiple materials-handling platforms, processes and approaches to particular organisational and market challenges and cost streams (rather than revenues).

Leaders like me, I guess, probably have tended to rely historically on their ops leaders to drive continuous improvement via judicious capex through the supply chain and materials-handling side of the equation.

Not any more. The opportunity to initiate supply chain task projects, I believe, is squarely on the Group CEO’s list of KPIs; particularly when the potential to unlock efficiencies and deliver savings could be substantial. A buck saved, is a buck earned.

Who does it well in Australia?

Brett Ambrose is CEO of Blum Australia; well known for its high-stack warehousing and materials-handling solutions in servicing furniture and cabinet-hardware customers throughout the nation.

Blum was ahead of the game and still is when it comes to major supply-chain components like materials handling.

I asked Brett what were the key reasons, drivers and outcomes for Blum Australia in its investment in leading-edge materials handling solutions?

“Blum has around 15 ASRS’s or high-bay automated warehouses operating around the world. As Australia is one of the larger markets for Blum, it was logical for Blum to construct and operate one here. What also suited our operation here was that as Blum Australia sells through a distribution network, we are moving larger pallet quantity orders through the warehouse rather than small picks. This suits the particular ASRS installed at Hoxton Park.”

“With the ASRS, our customers benefit from this facility in a number of ways: 100% inventory accuracy, increased warehouse capacity on a much smaller footprint; and a simple process of adding additional cranes and racking to our original site.”

“With the additional storage capacity and the speed of the cranes, we have been able to double our output with minimal increases in staff numbers. As the warehouse is a machine-only site, we do not have the usual safety issues a typical warehouse with standard pallet racking would have,” he concluded.

In the forklift industry, Chris Spence is Chief Operating Officer of Hyundai Forklifts in Australia.

Interestingly, the company’s website focuses on the benefits of using the product from an operator’s viewpoint: “a forklift operator, who enjoys his work, does a better job. That is why we at Hyundai do everything we can to make that happen. We have merged operator preference, fast precision and lasting performance into a quality product.”

I asked Chris what were the key materials-handling issues and challenges at the client level in Australia now and in the future in major Australian user sectors.

“Our current focus in supporting our clients is to continue to innovate flexible and transparent rental solutions for the MHE market. The traditional fully maintained rental offering no longer suits many larger corporates that are always looking at ways of achieving cost down structures. Hyundai has globally been at the forefront of technological innovations and is now looking to partner this with a more customer centric approach to MHE rentals.”

“In regards to technological advancement, Hyundai will continue to produce new models to meet growing client demand and given our global footprint, we are able to take industry best practice from across the globe and implement it here in Australia.”

“The introduction of driverless equipment and full automation will start to impact in some operational environments, but given the diverse and irregular tasks undertaken in many of the shared operations, we expect it to be some time before automation takes the lead over operator controlled machines,” he concluded.

(This article was produced for Industry Update Magazine. Published March 2017. Click through the link here)

Materials handling insights 2018-01-31T09:09:48+11:00

Marketing’s true value

A rant? No. A rave about marketing’s true value

My goal is to reinforce to you that best-of-breed marketing processes can make a difference; particularly in these challenging times of relatively stagnant demand growth; growing intensity of digital connectivity and the ever-increasing complexity of communications channel-choice to reach target buyers.

Here we go…

In some business-to-business market segments, Australia in my opinion is relatively unsophisticated in the adoption and application of professional marketing practice, techniques and tools.

Why is this the case?

Probably, we’ve never had enough competition in some Australian ANZSIC sectors to stimulate and adopt the fundamentally important view that marketing’s role is to create value for customers.

Does this happen in your industry?

Is it your view too that marketing means only promotion for many?

Where’s the professional integration of product, pricing, promotion and distribution issues; not-to-mention critical strategic issues like development of value propositions, market positioning, brand strategy and executing implementation so well, that disruption actually happens… to access and satisfy previously-unserved potential customer bases. How does this  marketing integration make a difference? Would you play a  full round of golf  without all your clubs?

This is not a criticism of those segments; but an observation based on long-term involvement in and around those spaces. I’m reluctant to name those sectors; but I suspect you know which ones I’m refering to.

And guess what! Our digital revolution is creating a tsunami of data which presents some significant challenges for businesses. What do we collect? How do we collect it? What do we analyse? How do we use the information? How do we track the impact of decisions we make from information application?

That tsunami of opportunity is going to expand exponentially in my view. Are most of us digitally ready for that? Are you ready to understand that you could  segment more closely, make more money, save more money and improve risk management? Would these embedded  digital marketing processes make a difference?

Lastly, the communication channel options we have today are enormous compared with the pre-social and pre-digital media era some dozen years back or so. Communication channels are many, fragmented and often don’t provide adequate or reliable analytics around viewership, readership or participation. And, I’m not just refering to conventional communications channels; but the plethora of digital channels as well.

So the question I ask, is “so what?” “what do we do?”

Firstly, great strategy was never developed without the preparatory hard work around segment identification and viability, buyer needs and behaviour, competitor strengths and weaknesses and market positioning gap opportunities.

It has to be done, It isn’t cheap to undertake it. But, without the spadework, you might as well go fishing for a target species without the right bait, gear and sonar…in the wrong location. How costly would that be? Probably much more expensive than doing the hard yakka up front.

Secondly, don’t be afraid of the plethora of  conventional and digital media communication channel options. Pick the ones that seem appropriate. Insist on evidence of how  well those channels reach and engage the profiles of your desired buyers in preferred market segments. Media  channel mix selection is exactly a combination of science ( media planning software and insight ) and art ( media advisory services and experience ). Then it’s up to us to make a judgement. Just like we do as leaders day-in day-out. Imagine the difference these marketing processes can make. Now, we are in a stronger position to measure the outcomes over time. Does ROI seem plausible. Yep.

Test. Test. Test.  Test your promotional messages ( based on your value propositions ) and channel mix choices. That’s the key.

So,  in conclusion, here’s what I believe.

Yes, we’re in a different digital world. Yes. Things appear more complex. Yes, business is faster. Perhaps more competitively intense. More margin-sensitive.

But remember, the benefits and processes of professional marketing practice are in principle, no different to 5 years ago. 10 years ago. 20 years ago.

Professional strategic marketing processes will arm you for the future. They’ll allow you to determine strategic clarity from  ambiguous complexity. They’ll enable you to withstand margin dilution. They’ll create value propositions of yours  that customers of your competitors won’t be able to ignore. Imagine the difference that could  make to your revenues.

Professional strategic marketing processes and the right advisory support will make a difference; because you’ll be fore-warned and fore-armed before your competitors. In tight demand conditions, you want to be in better shape don’t you?

Make sense? Please contact me to learn more about marketing initiatives you could implement quickly. Details are below.


Pete Jeans is an expert business developer. He facilitates  the Marketing for Managers  unit at the Australian Institute of Management School of Business MBA programme; and is Chief Operating Officer at SMO Sydney which is celebrating its 25th successful year in 2017 as one of Australia’s pioneers in strategic mission-critical growth project leaders. Contact him on M: 0432 113 930.


Marketing’s true value 2017-09-20T14:38:57+10:00

26 years of creating success

Pete Jeans. Chief Operating Officer. SMO Sydney


2018 celebrates 26 years of creating success for clients. Back in 1992, we started small and thought big. How can we create value for clients in complex markets?

The answer was best-practice strategic processes.


But most importantly, we decided to focus on the implementation side.

Clients wanted mission-critical strategic growth-project leadership when their talent is already committed on other tasks; or when incumbents don’t have the potential to deliver; or they needed deep and wide experience with fresh independent strategic eyes to drive results quickly; or they  needed absolute confidential arms-length resources to maintain anonymity on a key project; or their in-house professional marketing capability is underweight.

We delivered the solution; and still are.

Thankyou so much to our clients, Associates, staff, suppliers, supporters and business network. Our celebration  is because of you.

Click here to learn more about our 2017 refreshed portfolio of services



26 years of creating success 2018-05-25T12:36:38+10:00

Danger defines your future

Moments of danger can re-define your future

Sometimes in business, danger “suddenly” emerges. Don’t believe it. The danger has been developing for a while.

Read my latest article for CEO Magazine here

To find out more, contact me at this link

Danger defines your future 2017-09-20T14:40:54+10:00

Marketing knowledge gaps?

We all have gaps in our marketing process knowledge.  For example:

  • What are the options around pricing to create value for us and our customers?
  • What’s the optimal social media mix for our business?
  • How can we better design our route-to-market and channel strategy to gain competitive advantage?
  • How do you build a better value proposition to attract and keep new customers?

And more.

NOW, you can QUICKLY  fill those gaps through  a few one-on-one sessions with Pete Jeans; highly experienced marketer and business leader with years of  facilitating, lecturing and tutoring for managers across a very wide and deep spectrum of industry sectors.

Contact him here

It’s not expensive AND it’s QUICK AND EFFECTIVE!

Marketing knowledge gaps? 2018-05-25T12:46:43+10:00

Rockface gems for CEO’s

Rockface gems for CEO’s and senior corporate leaders in my opinion are those simple things that can save and make you money.

You’re the CEO. MD. The GM. The boss cocky. You’re accountable for results. Profitable growth. Customer success. Safety. Corporate social responsibility and a whole lot more.

And the buck stops with no-one else except you for governance, compliance, best-practice, efficiency, and a bunch of other stuff.

But, how do you overview the important dynamics?

Morale? People living the vision or not? Attention to detail. Emerging customer needs? Waste. Inefficiency. Useless initiatives.

Opportunities to be disruptive through new customer engagement and innovative business models that could change the future for you?

Do you walk your talk? In the marketplace? Inside your business?

When was the last time you had a flash of insight. A WOW opportunity that emerged from working at the rockface?


The Australian Bureau of Statistics in their 2014/15 release – Innovation in Australian Business (ref: 81580DO008_201415 ) published some interesting data.

In manufacturing, it appears from their data that the most important driver of innovation in the competition, demand and market-related reason space; is profit-related reasons.


But the second most important driver was “be at the cutting edge of the industry”.


In my opinion, you don’t get to be at the cutting edge; unless you have damned good market, competitor and consumer/user consumption-trend scanning processes in place first. And then, go looking.


Professional director and seafood industry leader Grahame Turk, A.M. says ” I’ve always believed in leading from behind, unless you are going through a minefield when you should be at the front.

When you are supporting from the rear, listen to those up front. They see things you can’t see. Spend time with them and you will be rewarded by gems that sometimes they don’t even recognise.

In my management career I have had incredibly valuable advice from machine operators in the factory, front line salespeople, design engineers, truck drivers, receptionists……..the list goes on. Just make sure you listen, not just hear. Sometimes the sounds are different!” he concluded.


Harry Petropoulos, Director at performance consultants – redPILL – says “during the past 30 years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with some exceptionally talented people. These people have tended to come from vastly different backgrounds; have operated across a spectrum of professions and/or industries and have delivered enormous value to their respective organisations and contributed to their wider community in a variety of ways.

We’ve all met people like these. Sometimes they’re in leadership positions but more often than not, they’re in 2IC or customer-facing roles, buried deep in the engine room of the business, doing real work; their finger always on the prevailing pulse of the organisation; their behaviour constantly modeling the firm’s values and guiding principles.

While they may not get the big bucks, they are typically the backbone of their organisation. And they know what’s important to the company; they know where the gems are buried’” he concluded.


Pete Jeans, Chief Operating Officer at strategic mission-critical growth-project leader SMO Sydney says “There’s nothing like working at the rockface to pick up ideas that potentially morph into gems to create value for customers. I’ve done it. I do it all the time. But that’s easy in a small agile best-of-breed organisation. Larger scale outfits makes the challenges harder.”


Tony Simonsen, Managing Director – Australia & New Zealand – at industry leader in unified collaboration solutions – Polycom says “the coalface is a must for any new leader seeking to understand a new company; or for an existing leader seeking to better understand their customers, partners and market. I get as close as possible to the day-to-day activities of my teams without interrupting their rhythm.This gives me instant insight and access to current and potential customers; and allows me to ask valuable questions around our value proposition. Ultimately being at the coalface shifts you to a customer centric organization focussed on positive outcomes for all stakeholders” Simonsen said.


Maybe you do this now? Perhaps not regularly. But maybe frequently enough to be engaged sufficiently throughout your organisation and market segments, to have a good feel for what’s right and what needs reviewing.

Jeans’ view is that he’s been lucky enough to work for leaders who made a point of getting involved in downstream customer engagement activities. Simple stuff. Sales promotion. Key customer presentations. Discussions with major specifiers. All fundamental opportunities to listen and learn, watch and absorb, question and confirm.

He says “I reckon we all have a responsibility to work at the rockface from time to time. In the field. In front of customers. Inside factories, processing plants. Call centres.

The added-value from investing some time alongside the troops …means you can experience feedback first-hand as well as the frustrating anomalies….and fix them quickly.

 Odds on, your competitors’ senior management are in the trenches already.”

Are you?

Rockface gems for CEO’s 2017-09-20T14:45:41+10:00