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  • 07 Aug 2017 8:25 AM | Christon Valdivieso

    By: Lars Schmidt 


    You’re looking for a job—which means you’re networking your pants off. Wisely, you’re focusing on contacting recruiters and human-resources folks in particular, and you’re (just as wisely) taking a two-pronged approach: paging through LinkedIn for all it’s worth, and piecing together the email addresses of the contacts you identify, whenever you’re unable to send them an InMail message.


    You realize it’s a bit of a crapshoot, since a lot of the time, this means reaching out to people you don’t know, so it’s all the more crucial that you nail your introductory message. But how do you do that? Recruiters and HR professionals receive loads of unsolicited notes from jobseekers, and yours needs to stand out.


    So Fast Company asked five recruiters which types of messages—via email and LinkedIn alike—make them reach for “delete”, and which ones they actually respond to. Here’s what they said.


    What They Ignore

    Questions that five minutes of research can answer. “Are you hiring?” “What jobs should I apply to?” “What’s the best way to apply?” These are all straightforward questions that take mere minutes to answer just by checking out a company’s careers page. If you pose an easy question to a recruiter, it sends the message that you may not be willing to put in the effort needed to perform at their company.


    Anything too generic. Don’t fire off an obvious mass email—to a recruiter or anyone. While recruiters may rely on template emails themselves, that’s all the more reason why they’ll spot yours in a second. Sure, you might cry hypocrisy here, but the fact is that if you’re shotgunning canned messages and hoping for a response, don’t expect to get one.


    Instead, do a bit of homework on the recruiter you’re contacting. Do you have any shared connections, alumni, or interests? “Personalized, tailored outreach with a warm intro is easier than ever with data at our fingertips,” LinkedIn’s VP for global talent acquisition Brendan Browne points out. That means there’s no excuse for errors. “I received a few recent ones saying, ‘Your experience at Google is impressive’—I never worked at Google.”


    Show recruiters you take networking seriously enough to deserve their attention. Also, be sure to check the recruiter’s profile to see if they list the types of roles they recruit for (sales, tech, etc.) so you can target recruiters who actually work in your field.


    Anything that makes them look up basic info on you. Just as you need to take the initiative to do your homework on them, don’t make recruiters hunt down easy-to-find data on you. When you reach out, always cover the basics: Say who you are, where you work, and what you’re looking to do next.


    Anything too long. Don’t write an essay: Be brief and get to the point. “The great messages that get my attention are short, sweet, convey genuine interest, and clearly connect their background to our hiring needs,” says Duo Security senior recruiter Jasmine Burns. Pro tip: Adding hyperlinks lets you add more content and context without adding length.


    Blanket requests for job-search help. Not all recruiters are the same. Agency and executive recruiters represent candidates and help connect them with employers; corporate recruiters focus mainly on hiring for their own organizations. That distinction matters. “I’m a corporate recruiter, not a headhunter,” says Pete Radloff, principal technical recruiter at the media analytics company comScore. “While I’d love to help everyone find a job, asking me to generically ‘help with your job search’ isn’t realistic.”


    What They Respond To

    A clear objective, request, or call to action. Don’t be vague about why you’re connecting. On LinkedIn, it isn’t rude to send a connection request and then immediately follow up with an ask or a pitch as soon as it’s accepted. Same goes for email: Include a call to action in your very first message. Most recruiters are turned off by vague messages that dance around the point they know you want to make. Be clear about why you’re getting in touch and what you hope to gain.


    Modesty. Check your ego. If you include awards or accolades on your LinkedIn profile, trust that recruiters will see them. Lead instead with your work and what you offer, otherwise it’ll sound like an oversell. As Lyst’s head of talent Matt Buckland puts it, “It’s important to maintain a calm certainty of your own skills and how they’ll benefit the company.” There’s a balance here, he explains: “Too modest and you risk sounding needy or desperate, too far in the other direction and you may sound arrogant.” So stick to the facts. “Tell us what you did, how you did it, and what you learned. Your skills will become obvious, and you’ll sound measured and confident.”


    Messages that are personal, accurate, and specific. Be specific about the type of job you’re interested in (even if you haven’t spotted an opening for that precise role), and why you feel your background and experience would benefit the company. “I prefer [candidates being] very specific on parameters, such as why they’re interested in my company’s stage, location, and scope of job,” says Anna Ott, an HR expert at the incubator hub:raum.

    Mentioning outright that you’re excited to work in an organization that’s in the middle of a “restructuring phase” or “growth/scaling,” Ott explains, combined with your “functional skills and/or industry expertise, helps me gauge alignment.” Recruiters get a lot of outreach emails, so the sooner you can get to your value proposition, the more likely your message is to be read.


    A measure of polish. Your initial outreach is all a recruiter may have to make an initial assessment of you. That means typos, punctuation, and grammar matter. This shouldn’t really need saying, but recruiters say they encounter basic writing errors all the time. So take a moment to perfect your message. Proofread it twice—or even ask a friend for help—because you probably only have one shot. 

  • 03 Aug 2017 10:11 AM | Christon Valdivieso

    Original Post


    It’s our perpetual hobby horse here at Argentus that Supply Chain needs to be doing more as a field to attract young people. And the industry has started to pick up the slack. Whether it’s organizations partnering with universities to provide information and educational opportunities, or industry associations holding informative events aimed at the wider public, many Supply Chain leaders are using creative strategies to develop the next generation of talent in the field.


    But is there something about Supply Chain’s image that’s holding it back from being seen as the crucial, strategic function with tremendous career potential it is today?


    This is an issue that popped up in our discussion of why there aren’t more Women in Supply Chain Leadership roles: it’s the question of Supply Chain’s popular image and whether it’s preventing women and others from viewing it as a lucrative and vibrant career option.

    On company websites, magazines, promotional videos, and industry association pages, the Supply Chain industry has always employed imagery of the nuts-and-bolts of how products get to market. We’re all used to images of hard hats, warehouses, trucks, trains, shipping containers, boxes, and palettes as a sort of visual shorthand for Supply Chain as a function. We use plenty of these images here at Argentus in our blog posts, service pages, etc.


    We get it: there needs to be some kind of imagery to associate with an industry or function. But it’s worth considering: does imagery of trucks and boxes adequately convey the strategic edge that Supply Chain offers to companies? Does it offer a realistic vision of what Supply Chain Directors, Planners, Strategic Sourcing professionals and others do every day to uncover efficiencies and integrate global processes across a business?


    Or does it send a message to young people that a career in Supply Chain is, let’s face it, boring?


    We all know that’s not the case. We recruit for jobs in Supply Chain every day, and we hear this from candidates all the time: A progressive career in Supply Chain is fast-paced, with tons of variety. It’s very closely tied to both technology and globalization, so it’s rapidly evolving. And it’s rewarding, both intellectually and financially. But many people outside the field have a persistent perception that is rooted in Supply Chain’s origins: that it’s a blue-collar, transactional function. And the imagery that we often employ hasn’t caught up with how the field has evolved.


    Let it be said: we fully support and admire all the front-line individuals who make Supply Chains run effectively. Distribution centre staff, drivers, and transactional buyers are all crucial components of Supply Chain success. But it can’t be denied that images of trucks and warehouses end up reinforcing an image of Supply Chain as a purely “blue collar” function. Beyond that, they often don’t show the people themselves who really provide the value. Maybe part of the difficulty is that Supply Chain offers value as a connector. It connects suppliers with businesses, manufacturers with distributors with customers. And it’s harder to depict the connections between things than it is to depict the things themselves.


    We’ve written before about how Supply Chain isn’t the flashiest business function, and it rarely gets recognition in the news. In fact, many in the wider public aren’t even familiar with what Supply Chain is. But at all levels of business all the way up to the C-suite, more and more people are noticing that Supply Chain offers a strategic edge that allows companies to succeed in a global context. It brings business functions together, streamlines operations, and ensures positive customer experiences.


    Isn’t it time that Supply Chain’s image caught up to the times? 

  • 11 Jul 2017 8:00 AM | Christon Valdivieso

    By MGravier · on


    Companies depend more than ever on collaboration with suppliers and customers, yet they’re terrible at it. According to a recent study from 3M, 70-percent of suppliers claim that half their customers do not have systems in place for collaboration – this leads to inefficiencies.


    Only 43-percent of suppliers feel fully empowered to collaborate, and half have held back on strategic innovations because the customer does nothing to encourage or facilitate improvements. The result is unresponsive supply chains, particularly in the current economic environment characterized by volatility with unpredictable peaks and troughs of demand. Staying profitable requires finding new efficiencies.

    The biggest opportunity is operational: companies need operational processes that translate collaboration into bottom line supply chain performance. Here are some operating techniques you can implement to try to manage to manage collaboration to ride the wave of demand uncertainty.


    On-site assembly and inventory – Keeping a small store of finished or semi-finished product on-site is a powerful method that requires active collaboration to create flexibility and adaptability to customer demands. A widespread approach in healthcare and trade crafts, the method does require some skilled workforce and a degree of modularity.


    Centralized planning/information, decentralized execution – Long a staple of military doctrine, this approach is a hallmark of Seven Eleven where store managers use local knowledge to make ordering decisions in the uncertain convenience store environment. The centralized information and analytics tools help store managers at the same time it more tightly integrates the supply chain.


    Replace inventory with rapid replenishment – A staple case study in supply chain classes, the use of expedited transportation to reduce both pipeline and on-site inventories has yet to achieve its full potential as indicated by Amazon’s rapid expansion. Customers are willing to wait for a variety of products, particularly if the wait is only a day or two.


    Refer customers to competitors – Not a first line of defense, but customers that see that you help take care of their needs are more motivated to return. After all, if you don’t have it but know where to find it, you preserve your role as the go-to supplier. And too many companies are oblivious about when customers order from someone else—you want to know when and why this happens.

    Collaboration is a necessity in today’s supply chain and companies need to better embrace it in order to be successful. Managing your demand uncertainties may be as simple as asking your paid experts to offer their expertise.


  • 06 Jul 2017 12:32 PM | Christon Valdivieso

    Original post on LI by Nainsi Jain


    I came across this question when I was preparing for the behavioral questions for an interview. While thinking about the answer, I actually discovered my personality trait. I am passionate about Improvements. During my career of almost 9 years, I always strived for continuous process improvements, even after making an improvement I start identifying another loophole into the system to make the system more efficient. My team members used to call me 'Ms. Perfectionist', who is never satisfied with the present system.


    I never knew I was following lean concepts of eliminating Mudas, Kanban, 5S etc. while making those improvements. These fancy words were taught to me at ASU and I actually start relating my past experiences while learning the concepts. So, in a way it was a reverse education for me wherein I applied concepts earlier while working and learned the terminologies later.


    Yes, the question helps me discover my hidden passion. A passion which I follow even when I am at home. A passion which is an integral part of my thinking. A passion which defines me completely. A passion which explains my curiosity of learning new skills, attention to details, taking initiatives and ownership, the foresight for eventuality.


    Find out your hidden passion!!! 

  • 22 Jun 2017 11:40 AM | Christon Valdivieso

    By: Christon Valdivieso, CSCP, SSBBP and Afton Knight, CSCP, SSBBP


    The Beyond the Horizon (BH) supply chain research project, a joint venture between APICS and Michigan State University, recently released a report which investigates the focus and “current business practices” of supply chain executives. One key questions they asked supply chain executives was, “What keeps you awake at night?” Not surprisingly, one of the top six answers was capacity and resource availability.  

    Over the past decade most American industries have experienced some level of contraction followed by consolidation. Now, after several years of soft, yet steady, growth, companies are starting to outperform their operations.  


    Read full article 

  • 25 May 2017 11:16 AM | Christon Valdivieso

    By: Christon Valdivieso, CSCP, SSBBP and Afton Knight, CSCP, SSBBP


    Making strategic business decisions can be stressful and difficult in the best of situations. Having good data and insight provide objective support and fact-based grounds for those decisions. I was able to work on a project recently with a California-based beverage company that was looking to develop an advanced planning and scheduling (APS) system. Manufacturers have historically relied on experienced production managers for their planning and scheduling needs but, as complexities increase within manufacturing processes and the supply chain as a whole, companies, including the beverage company we worked with, are moving toward automating their production planning and scheduling functions. After reviewing the benchmark data, we supply this thought: How advanced is your APS system?


    The APICS dictionary defines an APS system as "any computer program that uses advanced mathematical algorithms or logic to perform optimization, and/or simulation on finite capacity scheduling, sourcing, capital planning, resource planning, forecasting, demand planning.” Our initial step in the project was to benchmark industry standards by spending time with planning teams from various operations. Through this process we developed three key factors needed for a successful APS system implementation: 1) Communication, 2) Visibility, and 3) Integration.


    Read Full Article 

  • 10 May 2017 2:11 PM | Christon Valdivieso

    By: Christon Valdivieso, CSCP, SSBBP and Afton Knight, CSCP, SSBBP 


    Recently a friend and I were discussing the value of blockchain technology to businesses. He pointed out that blockchain has the potential to increase visibility and decrease processing time allowing businesses to operate faster and with greater integration. My point is that businesses are not ready for it and thus it’s a pointless technology.               


    While blockchain is a great technology that can increase speed and visibility, companies are already way too much “block” with no desire for the “chain”. Working with different companies I have found that most companies do not share data cross-functionally well, making the idea of sharing information across companies laughable. 


    Read Full Store Here 

  • 08 May 2017 4:00 PM | Christon Valdivieso

    By: Abe Eshkenazi


    Last week, The Telegraph highlighted examples of supply chain strategies for small businesses that are ready to grow. “Suppliers can make or break a smaller business, especially when it’s scaling up,” Lucy Douglas writes. “Securing sufficient product or service to support expansion is a minimum requirement for growth.”

    The three entrepreneurs featured in the article offer the following supply chain advice:

    • Focus on sales forecasts.
    • Have a backup plan.
    • Invest in your suppliers.

    Tim Westwell is the co-founder and chief executive of Pukka Herbs, an organic tea producer. He stresses that it is important to look two to three years ahead in terms of sales forecasting and planning. This strategy has enabled the company to grow in its 16 years to produce 1.5 million teabags every day. Pukka Herbs sources its ingredients, including more than 150 herbs, from about 30 countries around the world. 

    Westwell also explains how weather can create a risk to his supply chain. One year, in India, the weather changes at harvest time rendered Pukka Herbs’ field mint unsalvageable. Westwell could rely on backup inventory and an alternate supplier, which reduced the delay in manufacturing the company’s Three Mint tea to only a few weeks rather than an entire year.

    Frontierpay, which was founded in 2009, is an international money exchange broker. As the company has grown, its main business interest has also created its biggest obstacles. The company must keep up with the different and often changing financial regulations in the countries to which it delivers payments. To ensure that it appropriately follows these regulations and manages this risk, Frontierpay works with banks and other payment providers in 109 countries around the world.

    Nat Davison, a Frontierpay partner, says the company was able to grow because it has multiple partner options in each country. “We always look to multiple partners and solutions per country to make sure that if one thing falls over in our supply chain, we’ve got a plan B, C and D.”

    Similarly, Portview, which creates interiors for shopping, dining, working, living and entertainment spaces, sources its materials and products from all over the world. However, because of the deadline-driven nature of its work, Portview strives to work only with trusted suppliers.

    “We’ve been in a few situations where, for example, a client has recommended [a supplier], then they go bust or don’t deliver,” said Simon Campbell, Portview managing director, in the article.

    After some challenges in the beginning, Portview now also utilizes a systems approach to supplier management, which alerts company executives when supply might become problematic.

    Lastly, when it comes to investing in suppliers, Pukka Herbs ensures that partners in its supply chain have the tools and know-how they need to meet specifications. The company spends time educating producers about organic farming. This enables the tea company to meet many requirements related to its organic certification. Efforts include simple books written in native languages that explain to farmers how to plant, maintain and harvest organic herbs.

    Scaling up

    As businesses grow, the ability to meet demand is a critical component of success. Consider the first definition of scalability from the APICS Dictionary, 15th Edition: “How effectively a company can grow its business in order to meet demand.” A key component of scalability is lean production practices, which help ensure that a company manages its resources and reduces waste in terms of material, time and overall costs. Lean practices boost efficiency and enable growing companies to accommodate growing production needs.

    Now think about the definition of sales and operations planning (S&OP): “A process to develop tactical plans that provide management the ability to strategically direct its businesses to achieve competitive advantage on a continuous basis by integrating customer-focused marketing plans for new and existing products with the management of the supply chain. The process brings together all the plans for the business (sales, marketing, development, manufacturing, sourcing, and financial) into one integrated set of plans.” 

  • 30 Apr 2017 1:37 AM | Christon Valdivieso

    Co-Authored by: Christon Valdivieso, CSCP, SSBBP and Afton Knight, CSCP, SSBBP

    With seemingly weekly news of data breaches, it can be tempting to bring data security in-house and off the cloud. But will that make your data safer? Cloud computing—services offered over the internet—can be a scary decision, but as business advisor Carol Roth points out, “[cloud computing] technology can help make your small business safer.”


    Most businesses are continuing to streamline workflows and increase workforce demands. This creates more pressure to get tasks done effectively. For many small businesses who cannot afford top-tier talent, this puts an even greater strain on their workforce. In the middle of this struggle for associate’s energy is the company’s systems. Having secure, reliable data and systems is paramount to an operation’s success and Carol points out four undeniable reasons why cloud computing makes that a better option:


    1)        You’re not a security expert

    2)        Your staff members wear enough hats

    3)        Cloud providers have better safeguards than you do

    4)        It’s not just about data protection


    While business leaders have experiences that qualify them to run an operation, “does that background include intensive knowledge of cybersecurity?” As for associates, Experian predicted in a 2015 data breach analysis “that the largest threat to businesses will be employee errors.” In effect, maintaining data and processes in-house puts operations at greater risk due to lack of cybersecurity training. Cloud providers have a core competency in cybersecurity. Pulling these functions from local operations allows for increased focus on business operations while decreasing the operation’s vulnerability.


    Carol’s final point is possibly the most poignant. Cloud computing is more than data protection. Similar to the difference in e-retailing and e-commerce, cloud computing goes beyond data protection. Cloud computing—through its various forms—increases transparency, efficiency, and business continuity.


    In the end, “no matter how impressively cloud providers protect data, security is a team effort” and “small business owners still have to take common-sense measures”. Companies spend vast sums of money to recruit and train associates, but that cannot be the end of the story. Companies must ensure they have the best tools in place to allow their associates to be successful. That being said, I supply this thought: Is fear of the cloud keeping you grounded or rooted?


  • 28 Apr 2017 12:32 PM | Christon Valdivieso

    Original post:


    In order to reduce turnover, focus on hiring the right person for the job, not just someone to fill a vacant seat, according to Nancye Combs, president and CEO of HR Enterprise, in 5 Tips to Reduce the Cost of Employment, from the 2016 Distribution Trends Special Issue.

    Too many distributors suffer from “warm body syndrome,” Combs says. “They hire someone who’s there, breathing and alive because we’ve got a vacant seat and we’ve got to fill it right now.”


    Too often that person isn’t a right fit for the job, and you end up spending even more money to fill it again later. “The minimum cost of replacing an employee, any employee, is $4,000,” Combs says. If your turnover rate is 30 percent, that can add up quickly.

    Focus on hiring the right people at the start to reduce that rate and lessen the amount you spend on hiring and onboarding.


    Read more HR advice in 5 Tips to Reduce the Cost of Employment


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