Situation

Our client was a small family owned custom kitchen manufacturing company.  The company is a 100% Canadian owned and operated company with over 20 years of success serving the retail and wholesale kitchen markets.

Requirements

Schroeder & Schroeder was commissioned to determine the operations optimization potential by:

  • Pinpointing opportunities for profitability 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”
  • Creating awareness of the importance of continuous improvement

Challenges

The main challenges faced on this project included:

  • A rapidly growing business, with 30 employees plus subcontracted installation teams
  • A staff with high skill levels in their niche areas but limited or no cross training
  • Manual business process execution across the entire company
  • Poor communications between “siloed” employees

Actions

After analyzing the project requirements our consultants addressed the challenges presented and performed the following actions to deliver results to the client:

  1. Conducted a Business Practice Analysis – used Lean methods including Value Stream Mapping, Ishikawa Diagramming, and 5S Analysis, to identify challenges. A key performance factor audit and waste analysis was conducted to identify opportunities for improvement. Observations were also made during facility visits and connected to Value Creation variables (sales, raw materials and labour).
  2. Identified Challenges and Priorities – identified key issues related costs, delay, and quality. Translated key issues into two fundamental priorities: essential optimization projects and custom optimization projects.
  3. Identified Potential Gains – conducted a sensitivity analysis to identify potential gains with, and without, growth
  4. Established a Comprehensive Action Plan – defined a project management approach and created multiple project plans with individual activities and duties, timelines and impacts.

Results

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

  • Standardization of operations and methods.
  • IT development to support current and growth environments.
  • Guidance for supervisors on how to empower their workforce toward operational excellence.
  • Workplace organization (5S methodology) recommendations to improve daily organization.
  • Performance dashboards, including select performance indicators and objectives, and the introduction of routine quality and performance meetings.
  • Definition of custom optimization projects such as an inventory management system, and layout optimization, designed to improve customer satisfaction, profitability, and operational agility.
  • Continuous improvement investment recommendation required in order for the organization to improve competitiveness.

Upon conclusion of the project, all key success factors had been achieved, and the client was highly satisfied with both the project deliverables and the value added by Schroeder & Schroeder Inc.