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.
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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.
Click here to learn more from Australian leaders.
A BUCK SAVED IS A BUCK EARNED
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)
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.
Tightening up on business-model alignment means shifting the way you do business in line with customers’ needs and expectations.
Arguably, the better you do this, the better the potential development of your value proposition built around your competitive advantage. This is the essence of surviving and growing. The question then becomes: Tighten up, or significantly change
Read more here from my latest article for CEO Magazine. Click through here
Review what other senior leaders say about drivers for business transformation. Lead indicators for your business’s future are key. Do your metrics cover today and how you visualise the shape of your success going forward?
Read more. Click through this link to CEO Magazine’s latest article by Pete Jeans
Go Deeper than Your Competitors in stagnant market conditions
Written for CEO Magazine. August 2016. Click through the yellow link below
What can you do to build business intimacy with your current and future customers in stagnant market conditions?
The major challenge, in my view, is how to win and sustain the prize of higher profit ratios, clear market leadership and greater share of customers’ wallets when demand conditions are unambiguously stagnant at low growth levels.
Refresh your view
You must start with a refreshed view of the racetrack, the market climate and headwinds, your own fitness, the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, the landscape through to the finish line and the prize.
That will demand a renewed focus on switching customer share to you using deeper segmentation and customer experience development tools and insights.
The deeper you go, the better you’ll understand opportunity. Those new segments that are viable, should deliver new opportunities to grow your customer portfolio profit-mix potential when others are still taking macro stances towards markets.
Marcomms governance – it’s key. Are your current marketing and communications operational protocols adequate to mitigate risk? Read my latest article on governance here
The level of rigour applied to standard operations policies and procedures should arguably also be applied to marketing and communications activities in our 24/7 digitally connected world. Not to do so is folly.
We’re experts at helping organisations integrate marketing and communications governance into their businesses and organisations at reasonable cost.
Please call me on Australia +61 (0) 432 113 930.