According to Gladwell, the tipping point is the moment at which “an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire..”
Recently, HRB was engaged by an ESOP. An employee stock ownership company (ESOP) is an employee-stock owner program that provides a company’s workforce with an ownership interest in the company. This manufacturing firm was having serious deliver issues with its three major customers.
The situation involved several issues. Machines and contracts were transferred, without adequate banks and customer notification. Staffing was behind plan. There was an absence of metrics, processes, sense of urgency and material shortages were all hurting production. When analyzing issues sometimes it best to consider a cause and effect analysis tool, also known as a “fishbone” or Ishikawa diagram. In manufacturing, we talk about the Four M”s-Man Machine material and method; our initial analysis was shocking! There was not one thing thatwas not broken. The machines were in poor condition, worn and weathered with an absence of Preventive maintenance. Man-power was another dreadfuly dark issue, 30% absenteeism with 50% turnover in the first 30 days. Shocking! Over 50% of the budgeted technical positions were unfilled.
The methodology was missing.
Tool changes were an art form, not a process. Each one different and very time consuming, with no clear plan and schedule, the Plant Leadership called these events SMED. The acronym means the single minute exchange of dies. Tool changes were averaging 360, minutes or 6 hours. These issues were crippling the plant’s production capability.
Our Team huddled, prepared a plan, outlined resources, costs and timing. While waiting to present to the Owners, two of the three customers called and questioned when we would start. How fast could we get some boots on the ground?
A quick meeting followed, and we began to deploy resources. The first wave was a three pointed attack; we rallied our hydraulic press experts, deployed a team working on the clients largest presses, Team two was an advanced manufaturing group, three very talented leaders, one in HR/Manufacturing, quality,and finance; the second in shipping and reciecvng and the last deployed in the assemblly area collencting data.
Fast forward, well maybe not fast enough for some customer, now nine weeks later:
- Customers have moved over eighty tools to other suppliers.
- Large tonnage machines have been triaged and running more consistently.
- The press floor has been divided into four focused factories
- Andons installed
- Interplant moves are now a process
- Housekeeping is improving.
The Tipping Point
After twelve weeks, it was a different Plant. Company. All the customers we’re beginning to ship clean trucks. This is plant speak for “No Shortages at Point of Assembly”
We had reached condition-stable one. Stable one is defined as the situation is right side up. In Plant turn around its similar condition- right side up and ready to start the real improvements.
This is where the real story starts. Manufacturing is a process, like any process the initial key is to get the process in control; for Operations, Businesses, teams or society, this is the Tipping point where is spreads like wild fire…