Situation

Our client was one of a high-end specialty door manufacturing company. The company is a 100% Canadian owned company with over 60 years of success serving the international wholesale/distribution and construction general contractor’s markets.

Requirements

Schroeder & Schroeder was engaged to evaluate the overall operation and determine optimization potential by:

  • Pinpointing opportunities for profitability and competitiveness improvement
  • Offering an external opinion on the organization’s efficiency and agility
  • Training entrepreneurs (i.e., owner and management team) on the Value Creation Index (VCI) and on the Lean process improvement concept of “value” and “waste”
  • Creating awareness of the importance of continuous improvement

Challenges

The main challenges faced on this project included:

  • A third-generation profitable family-run business, with employees who have been with the company for many years and have been loyal to the leader and never challenged status quo
  • A very unstructured organization with little written definition of roles and responsibilities, processes, and performance requirements, relying on best efforts by employees

Actions

After reviewing the operation and interview with key members of the organization as well as the General Manager and President, we interviewed staff in both front office (sales, estimating, and design ) and back office (Manufacturing and Production) with including the following actions to deliver results to the client:

  1. Conducted a Business Practice Review and Analysis – used Lean methods including high level Value Stream Mapping, Ishikawa Diagramming, to identify challenges and root causes. A key performance factor audit and waste analysis was conducted to identify opportunities for improvement. Site observations and visual measurements were also made during facility visits and connected to Value Creation variables (sales, raw materials and labour)
  2. Identified Strengths and weaknesses – used the key areas of strengths to highlight better implementation of Lean operation and workaround the weaknesses. Compared Company Value Creation Index with the similar metric within their industry to identify relative competitiveness and areas of further improvement.
  3. Identified Challenges and Priorities – identified key issues related to cost, delay, and quality. In front end and back end of the business, i.e. Sales and Eng. Design, as well as Manufacturing. Translated key issues into two fundamental priorities: essential optimization projects and custom optimization projects.
  4. Identified Potential Gains – conducted a sensitivity analysis to identify potential gains with, and without, growth to estimate potential gains in different scenarios.
  5. Established a proposed 3 year plan – defined a project management approach and created multiple sequential projects in 3 phases (As it was requested by the client) with highest impact on cost/delay/quality.

Results

Through this approach, Schroeder & Schroeder developed a proposal plan for operations optimization with multiple projects and goals for the company in 3 phases, including:

  • Process Optimization of Engineering design and development to improve lead times in Sales, Engineering, and Manufacturing including establishing key performance dashboards
  • Standardization of processes and procedures that would quickly increase potential revenue due to better process for change orders
  • IT assessment of the current system to support future growth environments for an integrated system between Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Work method standardization and standard operating procedures
  • Workplace organization (5S methodology) and standardization recommendations to improve daily organization and efficiency
  • Definition of custom optimization projects such as production material handling, manufacturing process optimization, production layout optimization (cell mfg.) designed to improve manufacturing flow and lead time, and overall operational agility

Upon conclusion of the project, all key client expectations had been achieved, and the client was highly satisfied with both the project deliverables and the value added by Schroeder & Schroeder Inc. through exchanges and ideas submitted to resolve some of their existing challenges (quick fixes) and proposed initiatives for further improvements.