06 Feb 2018

We Needed To Understand

Have you ever had a business problem that needed to be fixed, but you were too busy?  Was it that you didn’t know where to start?  In this blog, one of our expert consultants talks about a specific issue, and how they brought about change.


THE PROBLEM: We had a product that our competitors also offered. It was a very seasonal product so several times a year the orders came in hot n heavy.  In order to keep up with our competitor’s offerings, we had to promise the product in 5 days.  The problem was, in reality, we were taking 12-14 days to produce it! This strategy didn’t work too well for us, and you can image the calls we received and the business we lost!


THE QUICK FIX: We called all hands on deck, and got our orders out as quickly and accurately as we could.


THE LONG TERM SOLUTION: We had to better understand our process and our bottlenecks, so we gathered the staff, and took them offsite for a one day meeting.  Why was this successful for us?  WE LET THE STAFF RUN THE MEETING, WHILE MANAGEMENT SAT AND LISTENED. 


THE DETAILS: The staff made a list at the meeting of all the things that were causing issues with the production.  We ended up with over 30 issues creating problems.  From those, as a group, we choose the top 10 problems, and vowed to correct them together, as a team.


THE BONUS:  With everyone brainstorming together, we came up with some really creative ideas for helping with this process and others.  Besides clearing our 10 biggest problems, we ended up creating a new process – a reservation system for the orders.  This resulted in us getting our orders out in 72 hours!  We changed our production time from 14 days to 72 hours.  That was unheard of!!  The result was that we had so many happy customers and employees, it was simply beyond belief.  Friends let their friends know too.  The following year our volume in the peak period was 90% greater than the year before, and this continued to happen year after year.


Sometimes life gets busy, jobs get busy, family gets busy, and we forget to stop and review.  We forget to stop and talk to each other.  We sometimes forget to work as a team.  We forget to listen to our employees.  In this case I always remember that when management finally stepped back and let the employees get creative, we came up with a brilliant solution, and many new clients!


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