Some of the success stories from our Clients
Scenario #1 – Equipment Manufacturer
SITUATION: How an equipment manufacturer converted their business structure from functional silos into process streams.
Over time, the structure of this organization had been divided into various functional areas, each one operating efficiently within its boundaries, but flow of customer orders were impeded as they passed though the department borders. They developed a process model of how their business operates and proceeded to re-organize their current departments to match it. Key process performance measures were identified, targets set and personnel were re-focused on this approach to doing business. To date they have cut cycle time significantly for both order fulfillment and new product introductions, with incremental improvements occurring each year.
LESSONS LEARNED: Use a process approach for managing activities and implementing “process discipline” so orders flow, can significantly improve business performance.
Scenario #2 – Healthcare Service Provider
SITUATION: How a service provider in the health care industry improved productivity by streamlining the paperwork across multiple locations.
Having multiple formats for collecting client information and for processing their requests, encouraged data entry errors and wasted valuable time trying to complete the various forms that had surfaced over time. During implementation of their ISO program, methods were developed to reduce the quantity of forms and to create standard templates available electronically at all locations. Not only did this significantly increase productivity (through faster processing and reduced errors), it had the added bonus of simplifying the review process, allowing more information to be processed in a given time period.
LESSONS LEARNED: Using ISO to get control over your paperwork doesn’t have to add bureaucracy to how jobs are done.
Scenario #3 – Small Business Owner
SITUATION: How a small business owner was able to take market share from large competitors by putting discipline into their business processes.
Many small business owners understand that in order to grow their company beyond the incubation phase requires talented people that are motivated to succeed with a sound platform to launch from. Using ISO as a model, this company developed a structured set of processes that transformed their informal ways of doing business. They have been able to ramp up quickly to meet higher customer demands, and have brought discipline and consistency to their back office operations (i.e. purchasing, assembling, inspecting and shipping of their products).
LESSONS LEARNED: ISO can be used to reduce the chaos found in informal business operations which will improve business performance.
Scenario #4 – IT Service Provider
SITUATION: How a large IT Service provider learned to use measurements to drive towards their business objectives.
Lack of information wasn’t the problem being experienced by this company, in fact just the opposite was true… they had a blizzard of data that was preventing them from seeing where to improve their business. Key customer requirements were used to first define their business objectives and then align a measurement system to them. This resulted in reducing the mounds of data down to a vital few measures that were regularly tracked, and used to set targets for driving their process improvements.
LESSONS LEARNED: Develop a model of your business that is used to set goals, then install processes to achieve those goals and apply measures to keep score on your progress.
Scenario #5 – Chemical Producer
SITUATION: How a chemical producer raised the bar with their internal audits and got more value from this activity.
Over the years, internal audits at this company had become stale, with similar results being recorded during each round. The pool of willing auditors was constantly diminishing and management support was fading. A series of workshops with the management team helped them understand that audits are a tool for measuring how effective their system is for managing their business. This was followed with sessions for the internal auditors showing them that they were assessing a “business” system and also how to perform “process” audits. Subsequent audits have since identified significant process improvements, to the point that department managers are using this service to help them uncover ways of reaching their individual targets.
LESSONS LEARNED: Internal audits can be a positive experience for the organization if carried out using a “process” approach that focuses on finding ways to improve the business.
Scenario #6 – Construction Company
SITUATION: How a construction company re-focused their organization on key business targets.
For many years this company only did informal business planning each year, trusting that each manager would understand the big picture and develop plans in their own areas to get them there. Over time this evolved into managers getting buried in the day-to-day operations, never having time to look further than next week or next month. The management team decided they needed to be clear on what direction the company should take, and then develop individual plans that would be linked and aligned, to get them on that path. A structured approach was used to provide a framework and to inject discipline/accountability into their strategic planning activities. Resources are no longer wasted from pursuing counter-productive activities, with regular “Business Plan Reviews” keeping company goals in sight and progress on track.
LESSONS LEARNED: Inject discipline and accountability into how the business is managed… and use basic common sense management techniques like Business/Strategic Planning.
Scenario #7 – Manufacturing Company
SITUATION: How a manufacturing company got front-line employees to perform internal audits and increased their buy-in for ISO.
This manufacturer struggled with maintaining a pool of qualified auditors that were motivated to perform audits year after year. After discussing this challenge, it was decided to look for resources from the hourly personnel, and a session was held that covered the intent/purpose of ISO and the basics of auditing. The success of this effort resulted in a team of volunteers being formed, who received further training, as well as one-on-one support during their initial audits. Not only has the pool of auditors remained well stocked over time, there’s been an added benefit of better buy-in from other frontline employees having one of their own explain what ISO does for the company.
LESSONS LEARNED: Most frontline employees (and managers alike) are misinformed on what ISO is and the purpose of it. In many cases, resistance to ISO is due to a lack of understanding, and investing time to address this issue will payoff in many ways.
Scenario #8 – Automotive Parts Supplier
SITUATION: How an automotive parts supplier reverse engineered their existing ISO documentation to streamline it and make it more effective.
With the constant changes occurring in how this automotive supplier operated, keeping their ISO documentation current was proving to be difficult. Numerous revisions had resulted in a complex structure that hindered it as a communication/instructional tool for their employees. To fix the problem, existing documentation was broken down into parts and re-built into simple process maps. This required a process approach to viewing their business, which in itself highlighted non-value added activities. The end result cut the quantity of ISO documentation nearly in half, which simplified the maintenance of it and also caused frontline employees to begin posting it in their work areas, without being asked to.
LESSONS LEARNED: Sometimes it’s not the “tool” that’s the problem, it’s how you’ve used it.
Scenario #9 – Human Resources Service Provider
SITUATION: How a human resources service provider found out that ISO isn’t just a good tool for the manufacturing industry.
This firm struggled with informal and inconsistent ways of handling orders from customers. Complaints were climbing as their methods of doing business were stretched to handle the increasing volume. Taking the cue from the manufacturing companies in their area, they investigated how ISO could be used to address their issues. The management team was trained on what ISO was and how it could be applied in their environment. They then developed their management system using ISO as a model, and discovered that it could be applied equally as well for a service provider. Implementation into the organization was welcomed by personnel who were searching for structure in how they carried out their daily tasks. Productivity increased dramatically, which easily offset the rise in sales volume, and employee turnover/absenteeism dropped significantly.
LESSONS LEARNED: Any type of organization, large or small, manufacturer or service provider, can benefit from the basic management ingredients embedded within ISO.
Perhaps even more important than all of these stories are the many other clients we’ve worked with that have improved their business performance in small, simple incremental steps, using proven approaches. It’s impossible to say that one strategy or tactic made all the difference, with this exception… “process thinking” is by far the most common element. We hope we have the opportunity to help you extract more performance improvement from your business.