Strategies for Improving Business Performance                                    May,  2015

Hard to believe we are already heading into the summer!

Are you where you expected to be at almost 50% through the year?  Ahead or behind?  It's a great time to take stock and re-adjust plans for the second half of the year.  We're seeing that most of our clients are in a growth mode - have you thought about modifying or building upon your plans so that you can leverage opportunities for growth and profitability?
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Given the popularity of growth, we thought spending a bit of time on forecasting / demand planning would provide value in our feature article.  Additionally, with the prevalence of the Amazon effect (with 24-7 accessibility, same day and next day delivery expectations and a greater view into customer preferences), taking a look at a fundamental - customer service - is always a good idea.  

We have countless articles on our website.  Please take a look, provide us feedback and send your requests/ ideas for future months.  The summer is also a good time to plan for your growth - take a look at our upcoming events.  We'd love for you to join us or give us a call if you are interested in improving your operational performance.  

Where Should I Start to Ensure Demand Planning Success?

By Lisa Anderson, MBA, CSCP 


80% of companies are not in front of their demand. How can you decide what to plan for if you don't know where you are going? You don't! Thus, it makes sense to spend time upfront to determine your best estimate for customer forecasts and your demand plan.  Don't worry about perfection as the definition of a forecast is that it will be inaccurate; however, you can get in the ballpark. By achieving this goal, you will better serve your customers, grow your business and improve margins.

If you are unsure where to start, consider digging into the following:

1. Talk with customers: Pick up the phone and find out what is happening with your customers. Are they promoting certain items? Or focused on specific locations? What are they seeing in terms of demand further down the supply chain?

2. Talk with Sales: Certainly Sales should be staying on top of what is important to customers. Ask Sales which products, categories, and/or customers should be the focus.

3. Talk with Customer Service: Customer Service can often be overlooked as they might not be perceived as strategic; however, they can have 


Read the rest of the article


How To Improve Customer Service


Stop me if you've heard this before. Your CEO or some other top management type addresses the troops in an attempt to rally them to do better. 

"Our customers are revolting! They are demanding more for less. They want world class products and services. They want it all and they want it now. If we can't provide what they want, they will find some one who can. Customer loyalty is a myth formed in the mist of our distant past. We must be closer to our customers then ever. We must provide great customer service."

I'd bet some version of this speech has been made at every company in America. 

I have one question. Just what is customer service and how do we improve it? 

OK, that's really two questions. You may find yourself facing the same executive pressure to improve customer service, and you may be asking the same questions. What we need is a clear definition of customer service and a plan to 


The ACA Group:
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Focused on s olving manufacturing and distribution problems in a practical, understandable way through well-defined systems and ERP.

Ellen Kane has over 20 years of experience in designing and implementing manufacturing and distribution systems (both computer and manual) to solve "real world" problems. She has held data processing and line management positions in several manufacturing companies.  more
Service Focus:
Lean Enterprise

Lean transformation is all about improving the cash flow by improving the flow of materials and the flow of information. 


We help you improve your bottom line. Our services keenly focus on the operations improvements that produce desired financial results.

Through executive coaching, meeting facilitation, training modules, project planning, systems engineering and analysis, financial analysis and planning, and operations management improvement projects - we use a holistic, goal-oriented approach to producing results.

  • Develop or refine your strategy
  • Improve cash flow, efficiency and service levels
  • Increase throughput
  • Reduce waste
  • Develop a meaningful list of improvement projects
  • Create a learning organization
  • Improve company culture and decision making
We also have countless articles on lean enterprise. Grab a few tips on our articles page.

June 10, 2015 
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Corona, Calif.

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October 5-7, 2015
Las Vegas, Nevada


The ACA Group is an alliance of operations and supply chain management experts who partner with organizations to improve business performance

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