Friday, October 26, 2007

Ambiguous Job Postings

As hiring managers, we've all seen funny, nonsensical resume statements. I probably have one in my resume, despite how often I've proofread it. Sometimes we get blind to the details when we've looked at something over and over.

It's not unheard of for job advertisements to have mistakes also, usually due to re-using and rewriting a previous ad. I came across one today. I am not going to identify the employer, but at the bottom of their ad they specify the following:
*This is an entry-level sales position, with opportunity to grow within the sales organization...

Previous experience selling to government accounts is preferred.

Ooooooo-kay, which is it? ;-)

Anyone else have any?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Feedback on the undervaluation of cycle times in offshore outsourcingdecisions

I received the following feedback by email (tim AT timlovelock DOT net) on my opinion-post regarding the undervaluation of cycle times in offshore outsourcing decisions:
Good piece, as far as it goes.

Uh-oh... ;-)
For instance, you might expand on the effect the long cycle time has on the ability of the manufacturer to implement "changes" or respond to a customer's request for expedite or change that they want implemented.


I don't know how important it is to quote a 5% year over year labor reduction...perhaps a more general approximation of labor savings or even just mentioning that there are some short lived labor savings (labor being less than 10% of the cost of most products might also be mentioned). You make a good point about trading off labor savings for reduced ability to serve the customer might not be in a company's best interests.

Also, developing a model to address the ideas in your last paragraph might be interesting...or...I imagine someone already has and, if so, it might be good to find out and possibly incorporate it into the argument.

That's what you get when your father is a retired electronics manufacturing CEO with domestic (US) and global contract manufacturing experience. :-)

Key points from his feedback:

  1. Labor is less than 10% of product cost. If you had any production/operations management classes in college, you know this to be true. As products grow more complex and require more automated manufacturing tools, direct labor goes down even more, but indirect labor may go up as these tools require skilled engineers to set up and maintain the programs and equipment.

  2. The effects of increased cycle time on the ability to respond to customer changes: While many electronics manufacturers have an objective to reduce manufacturing batch sizes to the smallest quantity possible, intercontinental shipping of most products is more cost-efficient as batch size goes up. This means the entire supply chain is holding more inventory, especially more finished goods, so engineering changes can't be incorporated, a direct "violation" of Lean principles.

  3. A model that incorporates the cost of cycle time in offshore outsourcing: It would be intriguing to develop this, but I have to believe one already exists. Can anyone point me in the right direction? If not, I might take a stab at this (with a little help... ahem...).

Anyone else have any thoughts?

I'm actually getting into this discussion a bit and doing some research (what can I say, I'm a geek when it comes to SCM and competitive advantage), so I'll have a few more posts on this subject, I'm sure.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cycle time is undervalued in offshore manufacturing decisions

Raul Pupo wrote an article over at EMSNow regarding the hidden costs of offshore outsourcing. He brings up many valid points: the increasing cost of logistics, increased cycle times, cultural barriers, and increasing wages in so-called low-cost geographies.

The item that appears to be least understood by OEMs, from my perspective, are increased cycle times. Unfortunately, current financial practices require only that inventories are measured while in the legal possession of the OEM. So, each company is optimizing around their local process. If OEMs considered throughput and turns for the entire supply chain, if there was a true partnership between these companies to optimize the entire supply chain, I believe the geographical solutions would be vastly different.

Ironically, many of these same companies tout their operations as being "Lean". The increased cycle time associated with offshore manufacturing is the exact opposite of the Lean mantra. Unfortunately, the elements affecting decision-making go much deeper than the dollars-and-cents; there are cultural and compensation issues in play as well.

As long as OEM supply chain, finance, and program managers receive incentives to provide year-over-year labor savings, they will chase wages around the globe. OEMs chase low wages from the US, where they may do prototyping, to Mexico, to China, to India, to Russia. Each year, the product moves to a cheaper country, and the OEM manager receives a 5% labor reduction for each of the five years, but his supply chain and cycle time grows. However, the manager has achieved his objective: he reduced labor costs, and earned his bonus.

Unless enlighted managers "dollar-ize" the effect of the integrated cycle time - and there are hard- and soft-dollar impacts associated with going from one week to four weeks, or one month to three months - manufacturing will continue to be performed where wages are lowest. It is the challenge of the regional contract manufacturer to educate and inform the customer, and develop financial models to highlight the true bottom-line impact of offshore manufacturing. Global contract manufacturers provide geographic migration plans as a standard piece of their proposals. Regional contract manufacturers must not be afraid to aggressively present these models and make the case for domestic manufacturing.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Interesting site

5000 years of history in the Middle East in 90 seconds.

Click through the link above to see a great flash map of the history of the Middle East. I used to have it embedded here, but this has proved to be a very popular post and I kept exceeding my CPU quota. It's a catch-22 - I want to provide popular content, but sometimes that popular content takes all of my sites down. Until I can afford dedicated hosting, I'll do the best I can to provide you with the source of the great stuff I find.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Job Search

In the coming weeks (months?), I will be putting a significant portion of my time into my job search. When I joined this company, I hoped to leverage my current position into a more significant role. Unfortunately, the company is not growing at a rate that would make this likely at any point in the future.

So, I am currently UNDERemployed in a company with stagnant growth. In fact, I have little work to do during a typical day. I yearn for challenges that will allow me to showcase my management, analytical, and problem-solving abilities. I would love to stay in manufacturing, but I believe my talents work well in other industries and the challenge of proving my case would be most welcome.

My specific experience includes:

Please see my Resumes page for html and pdf versions of my resume. Any job leads would be appreciated.