Daily Archives: August 8, 2007

Manufacturing Insights From Motorola

Last week, Manufacturing Insights hosted a Webinar called Supply Chain Innovation with Perspective from Motorola that caught my attention. Since this blog revolves around innovation, and since Motorola has historically been pretty innovative, especially for a company of their size (and one of the first companies to aggressively pursue decision optimization, which helped them win the Edelman Award), I was intrigued.

The focus of the seminar was to announce some of the preliminary results of Manufacturing Insights’ recent global supply chain survey (which should be available to members by now) of 823 manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers across Europe, Asia Pacific (which includes China), and North America to identify motivation and IT investment in supply chain and relate it to the corporation’s overall business strategy.

Surprisingly, despite the fact that there’s never been a better time to be innovative with all of the great new technologies and strategies available to you, the survey uncovered that there was not much focus on innovation at all, with the majority of respondents focussed on reducing costs. Although this suggests that the supply chain is still not very strategic, the reasoning offered for this reality was that many of these companies rely on financing and regular access to capital, which is determined by their valuation, which is determined by Wall Street, which bases their valuation on numbers based on how well they control cost. So cost is king. And then there’s the added pressure of rising material costs across the board, which makes cost a double whammy in the forefront of one’s mind.

However, I would argue that this is precisely the reason you have to stop focussing on cost and start focussing on supply chain optimization, including award optimization, supply network optimization, inventory optimization, investment optimization, financing optimization, and working capital optimization. (The former three are good examples of sourcing decision optimization problems and the latter three are good examples of supply chain finance optimization.) But I digress.

The webinar also included an overview of Motorola’s current strategic plan for their supply chain and an overview of their progress to date which includes a 40% reduction in their manufacturing and logistics operation footprint, a 2X reduction in parts-per-million (PPM) defects, and consolidation of 91% of their top 150 suppliers. These are impressive goals for a company the size of Motorola only two years into a massive project to consolidate their four separate supply chains into one single supply chain.

Motorola is accomplishing this goal through strategic investments in critical IT systems that will give everyone on their team the ability to get the information they need when they need it. More specifically, 90% of their IT spend is targeted towards leveraged systems and visibility tools for business planning. This provides a solid foundation for good supply chain management.

For those looking to copy Motorola’s success, they are attributing part of that success to defining their top priorities and maintaining a sharp focus on those priorities. For Motorola, the top 6 priorities are:

  • Execution Excellence
    Meet commitments and numbers. Accomplish this by way of improved IT infrastructure and information visibility.
  • Deep Supplier Relationships
    Leverage the whole of Motorola in fact-based negotiations. Use supplier scorecards and cost management systems.
  • Manufacturing and Logistics Optimization
    Optimize the footprint, product flow, and lean best practice implementation across all sites. Integrate with partners and use advanced planning systems.
  • Quality Renewal
    Go back to the basics and ensure consistent deployment across all business units. Ensure product traceability and capture early returns indicators.
  • Common Leveraged IT Solutions
    Invest in common systems, drive efficiencies, and maximize the value of IT spend. Enhance software development processes and portfolio management.
  • Organization Efficiency
    Optimize the support structure and develop a (metric-based) culture to further growth and performance. Create a culture of doers, not talkers, and drive commonality and reuse worldwide.

In addition, Motorola is increasing their focus on market-based segmentation within the single supply chain, process simplification, and supplier collaboration. What’s great about this is that there’s nothing you haven’t heard about before as most of this is what leading bloggers, analysts, and vendors have been preaching for a few years now. This means that they key to success is to develop a good strategic plan, adopt the technology that is now available, and just do it. Couldn’t be simpler, right?

For those interested, the archived presentation can be accessed through this link.