We were reminded of this favorite client project and success story related to work processes recently as we were talking with a new GM at a key client about ways to improve service levels rapidly. It reminded us to pay attention to what "works".
So many clients try complicated and convoluted programs, thinking it is required for success, but it isn't! Why go down that rabbit hole when simplicity can achieve rapid, bottom line results?!
This particular favorite project made the list due to its simplicity and quick results in the face of quite a bit of doubt and several previous failed attempts to resolve along the way. Who doesn't love a great underdog story?
In this case, there was one area within the manufacturing process that held up the vast majority of the customer orders. The bottleneck was obvious; thus, identifying it wasn't the issue! Unfortunately, solving it proved elusive. What worked was simplicity — plan the work; work the plan. Not rocket science but it reduced 80% of the past due within 2 months’ time in a long lead-time, aerospace industry manufacturer.
As with every success, it wouldn't have occurred if the GM hadn't supported the plan and made the priority clear. Once the plan and production schedule was communicated, the sole focus was to prepare for and execute the plan. Thus, instead of not having the right skills available at the right time, we knew we'd run into this issue ahead of time, and we proactively resolved it.
And the next 100 items like this fell by the wayside as well. Manager's attention was redirected to this bottleneck. If the team needed help, the management team would jump to action. Soon, the bottleneck freed up and orders started shipping. Eventually our #1 customer went from being "off the charts" in negative territory to regaining bronze level status. I personally remember this as one of my favorite accomplishments as getting these long-term numbers up consistently over many months to bring the status level up was a TALL order — and great to see!
Are you so far into the weeds that you miss these sorts of obvious solutions? It is easy to do. Instead, take a step back, simplify, execute & succeed.
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