Wednesday, 17 November 2010

New location for blog

My company, Bluefin, now has the capability to run blogs on our website (I know, I know).

So to stay tuned, and join the debate, please check out


Thursday, 11 November 2010

Consumer Products - Social Media

I've written a short piece about whether "keeping it real" is really necessary any more in social media. I've been following a few manufacturing companies - consumer products primarily, almost by definition - and observed differing ways of using channels like facebook and twitter.

Engaging effectively doesn't necessarily mean being authentic...

Monday, 8 November 2010

Tomorrow's Manufacturer - Efficient, sustainable operations

Part of most any organisation's operations is the efficient sourcing and managing of supplier relationships. This is an area that can be dragged right back with bureaucracy, lack of clear authority, decision by committee and all manner of other red tape.

Tackling drags on processes in this area is actually reasonably straightforward. And although shining a light on where process delays occur can cause friction within the organisation - within purchasing, within requisitioning areas, and between the two - it is a great tool for empowering business leads to source with greater speed. It also enables purchasing to collaborate with areas that may harbour resistance.

Here's an article on the critical success factors in this area.

Tomorrow's Manufacturer - Collaborative Partner Networks

One aspect of improving your ability to collaborate with partners, is to properly understand who your partners are.

Although that sounds simple, in reality it is not. Partners often have complex organisational structures that can hide how much activity you undertake with them. M&A activity means that subsidiaries often change hands. Networks are increasingly global, involving trading with partners in a wider range of countries. For large organisations, customers are often suppliers too. And the sources of data can be spread across many different types of platforms, with differing data standards.

This article looks at the considerations in play when trying to tackle that issue with partners who are suppliers.

Tomorrow's Manufacturer - Optimised Global Value Chains

I've posted a blog on our company's site, about optimising working capital against customer service levels, which is part of optimising any value chain.

How does a company understand enough about its working capital to be able to cut where it can to deliver financial benefits in the form of reduced capital requirements and increased profitability, while at the same time not jeopardising the top line through reduced customer service.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Health, Safety and Marmite

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I was struck this week by a couple of articles, both illustrating (to me anyway) the difficult balancing act of Consumer Products.

One was about how promotions can excite an almost physical response in people's brains. Apparently a free jar of Marmite is akin to being physically aroused.

I get that.

The interesting thing for a lot of my customers, is how that can be used to counteract a little-known aspect of promotions - the fact that almost all promotions are short lived. Let's call it the "Jenny Thompson" effect. Get the free jar of Marmite. Get excited. Get a jar of Bovril next time.

Apparently the researchers are going to figure out how to make promotional excitement last longer - I would call that the 64 billion dollar question. Or maybe the £1,200 money back question.

Then I read another article about the much more mundane - but infinitely more tragic - health and safety aspect of the companies that make our favourite products. Somebody, in a plant, somewhere, had an accident that gave them brain damage. Sorry, but there's no happy ending and no punchline.

Promotions, efficiencies, effectiveness and consumer engagement are all well and good - even better when people are kept fit and healthy.

2010 IfM Symposium

Looking forward to the 2010 Cambridge IfM symposium on International Manufacturing next week.