Seeing the Forest and the Trees

The Weekly Report – May 16, 2022
Turning supply chain challenges into opportunities at the state and local level.

Over the years, Dr. Kingshuk Sinha, chair of the Supply Chain and Operations Department at the Carlson School of Management, has invited Enterprise Minnesota to share our State of Manufacturing survey with his students. With our 2021 survey showing that supply chain issues were the number one concern among Minnesota manufacturers, we decided to tap Dr. Sinha to share his insights and expertise on the topic with the readers of Enterprise Minnesota magazine.

In Four Questions, Dr. Sinha highlights how different disruptions around the world can have a compounding effect. As he puts it, “The Four C’s currently in play are: COVID-19, climate change, conflict and cyberattacks. All four of them are currently converging. I would venture to say the mean time between any of these episodes is getting shorter and shorter.”

He presents these complexities not just as challenges, but also opportunities for our state. With several major industrial sectors represented here, including med device and health, food and agribusiness, retail, and global manufacturing, we have an opportunity to make Minnesota “a magnet for supply chain talent development.”

“We have to straddle between the forest and the trees. That’s what is unique about supply chain thinking and training. One moment you’re sitting in the supreme command, thinking geo-politics, and the next moment you’re in the trenches. Strategizing and executing go hand in hand,” he said.

Our own consultants are seeing Dr. Sinha’s comments play out with our clients, such as increasing inventory, as manufacturers look to reduce their exposure to upstream uncertainties.

The natural result of increasing inventory, however, is to have less space on the floor or in the warehouse. The traditional best practice of “just-in-time manufacturing” has been upended, and floor layouts across the state are now feeling the pressure. Oftentimes, manufacturers see expansion as the natural progression to constrained facilities, but our consultants recommend that this doesn’t necessarily need to be the next step.

An opportunity that can arise from increased inventory and reduced space is to take an honest look at space utilization and production processes before committing capital to expansion. As our continuous improvement expert Ally Johnston puts it, “Don’t just expand and bring all your crap with you. Let’s get rid of it, and then really expand with production in mind and effective storage, not clutter.”

At Enterprise Minnesota, we have been shown time and time again that when manufacturers are faced with unexpected challenges, they respond with creative solutions and innovation. The summer issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine is full of stories of manufacturers rising to the occasion and taking their companies to new heights. I invite you to read the issue on our website, or the print edition published on May 12th.

Read “Four Questions with Dr. Kingshuk Sinha”

Read “Make Sure Your Space is Making Money Not Taking Money”

Enterprise Minnesota® Magazine summer 2022 issue

Events Calendar

May 19 – Profiting from Revenue Growth
Strategy & revenue growth workshop. Exclusive to manufacturers. Online via Zoom

May 25 – A Model for Manufacturing Excellence Using ISO 9001
ISO 9001:2015 manufacturing workshop. Exclusive to manufacturers. In-person in Sartell.

June 8 – How to Better Learn From Your Manufacturing Peers
How Peer Councils help executives lead better companies. Exclusive to manufacturers. Online via Zoom

Executive Manufacturing Forum
Leading Daily for Results – How continuous improvement leadership and communication work together. Exclusive to manufacturers. In-person in Maple Grove.

Industry News

Local drink makers aim to do more for your body than quench thirst
May 13, Star Tribune

Upsher-Smith Laboratories names Taku Nakaoka as new CEO
May 13, MSP Business Journal

SunOpta starts seeing turnaround in fruit business
May 12, Start Tribune

Bobcat building new assemby plant in Rogers, Minnesota
May 12, Business Facilities

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