Lean Implementation for Business: Effort Versus Success

Throughout my extensive career I have seen a lot of companies from the inside, met a lot of managers and employees, observed a lot of processes and operations, and I still learn new things every day.  Access to information has never been greater than what it is today.  Books, articles, blogs and various forms of ... >

Value Stream Analysis – Dial Henkel

Problem / Challenge This fast-moving consumer products manufacturing operation had sub-par financial results but did not have easily identifiable improvements to improve performance. This plant produced liquid detergent and Renuzit air fresheners. Operations included formulating/mixing product, on-site blow molding and highspeed packaging. Value Stream AnalysisThe first step of identifying waste is to analyze the value stream. We used ... >

Balancing the Speed of Decision-Making with Having Sufficient Information

Balancing the Speed of Decision-Making with Having Sufficient InformationBusinesses must make timely decisions, but wrong decisions can be extremely costly. Failure to make timely decisions can be just as costly. The challenge is balancing having enough information while continuing to move forward and staying on track. Most decisions result in three different ways these decisions ... >

Supply Chain Network Design – Fortune 50 Manufacturer

Problem / ChallengeA division of a Fortune 50 manufacturer was preparing their supply chain network strategy for their divestiture from the parent company. The business needed to analyze a variety of supply chain footprint options to support the planned growth while exiting parent-company facilities at pre-determined time periods. The global supply chain consisted of raw ... >

Lean Production – PSC Info Group

Problem / ChallengePSC Info Group is a leader in data management, printing and mailing technology and online solutions that facilitate billing, collection. Originally a much smaller “making copies” company, growth into online solutions and advanced mailing technology opened up new product and growth opportunities but it quickly rendered their old production processes incapable of meeting a ... >

Value Stream Analysis – Save A Lot

Problem / Challenge This grocery retailer and distributor faced rising costs throughout its supply chain. It launched a field-to-table initiative to look at and develop a plan to eliminate non-value added work in its buying process, stores and distribution centers. It chose to use Lean to approach this challenge and partnered with Supply Velocity to facilitate ... >

Inventory-Network optimization – Ameren

Problem / Challenge Power utility needed to transform its supply chain including the inventory staging branches that it uses to support emergency repairs and maintenance to its network. The current network was built through a history of acquisitions and management wanted to explore if efficiencies could be achieved by rethinking the network locations and inventory staging ... >

Warehouse location optimization – Total Hockey

Problem / Challenge Omnichannel sporting goods retailer needed to expand its warehouse beyond the original Midwestern warehouse location where the company was founded. This scope included ecommerce order fulfillment and store inventory replenishment. In addition, the warehouse locations had to support the CEO’s goal of being 1 – 2 days away from a large portion the ... >

Food & Beverage

The Challenge of Food & Beverage ProductionLean Manufacturing was created by Toyota to improve car assembly operations.  For decades manufacturers were the key users of Lean Management.  However, food and beverage producers have always been challenged with managing the same issues that Lean Production is intended to improve; minimizing waste (or scrap) and balancing labor. Food ... >

Lean Time Study Clean Uniform Case Study

Problem / Challenge Clean Uniform developed time standards years ago and used them in a pay-incentive program. Investigations revealed that the standards were no longer accurate due to new products, new equipment and layout changes. Most importantly, customer complaints were increasing and management thought the incentive program was making people work faster but not better. Problem Definition Current ... >

Organizational Effectiveness

While strategic planning is a critical forward-thinking effort that company leadership can’t afford to get wrong, poor execution is a common problem that can jeopardize a great plan. Accomplishing goals is a necessarily important part, but the company also has to accomplish the goal in an efficient and sustainable manner. Organizational effectiveness addresses both quantity ... >

Lean Process Improvement Leonardo DRS

Problem / Challenge An aerospace, security and defense contractor needed to improve its Request for Proposal (RFP) process to speed up response time. The RFP process for these highly technical and critical products is complex, yet it needs to be swift and accurate. An RFP estimated poorly can cause losses for years on large multi million-dollar programs ... >

Lean Manufacturing & Coaching ETS Lindgren

Problem / Challenge A manufacturer of energy testing, shielding and mitigation solutions needed to bring multiple acquisitions under one roof and promote Lean best practices and techniques in order to meet a rapidly growing demand. Products form, fit and function varied greatly and ranged from small to very large electronics, specialty rooms and enclosures, and a broad ... >

Service Businesses

The Challenge for Service Businesses After manufacturers and distributors implemented Lean Six Sigma in their warehouses and factories they continued their process improvement efforts in the front and back office for customer service, sales proposals, finance and accounting and many other areas. These successes drove the use of Lean in Service Industries and Six Sigma in ... >


The Challenge of Distribution & Warehousing The great challenge in distribution and warehousing is how to transition to the new world of e-commerce and the expectations consumers and companies have of next-day service. This can be summarized in one word… Amazon, which has made an entire industry change their business processes. In response to Amazon and ... >


The Challenge of Retail Operations and Supply Chain Management The challenge in retail is summed up in one word, e-commerce. Retailers spent decades creating a low cost supply chain to serve customers from bricks-and-mortar stores and the replenishment systems to keep stores stocked with the right inventory. However, with the advent of e-commerce these systems are ... >


The Challenge of Manufacturing The traditional manufacturing efficiency formula does not work in today’s supply chain. Measuring labor productivity based on producing large batches of identical items may be efficient but it is not effective. Companies must engage their entire workforce to constantly generate manufacturing process improvement ideas to serve customers faster and manufacturing cost reduction ideas to ... >

Hospitals & Healthcare

The Challenge of Healthcare and Hospital Businesses There is no industry that is immune to the cost and quality pressures of healthcare. An aging and often unhealthy population, plus reduction in public resources is requiring greater healthcare efficiency and hospital productivity. Patient-focused and back-office processes must become leaner and more consistent. Not only is this challenge ... >

Lean Food Production Celebration Foods

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE This producer of Carvel® ice cream cakes consolidated production from two facilities to a larger new greenfield site. The new factory operated at 60% of demand, months after start-up, requiring one of the old plants to remain open. Each week the old plant had to operate cost $70,000. In addition, waste was 30% ... >

Lean Process Improvement Redwood Managed Services

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE A third-party logistics managed services business struggled with inconsistent processes across their client onboarding and ongoing operations. This inconsistency led to complexity in the day- to-day operations and ultimately eroded profitability. The significant growth of the business was the catalyst for the organization to focus on streamlining their business processes. LEAN ASSESSMENT A Lean Assessment ... >

Sales & Operations Planning TerraSource

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE TerraSource is a mining equipment and replacement parts manufacturer. The organization produces wearable (standard) parts, engineered-to-order parts and large material grinders and transport systems. With a high SKU count and significant demand variability, the organization struggled to meet customer expected lead times. This challenge became more significant as supply chain lead times extended. ... >

Lean Warehouse SKU Slotting

Download White Paper: Lean Warehouse SKU Slotting Abstract In most of our Lean Warehouse projects one of the final steps before the move is to “slot” certain SKUs into bin locations within the warehouse. If you will be using fixed locations for some or all of your SKUs in your future warehouse, you can use the methodology ... >

Lean Warehouse – New Building – Crescent Parts & Equipment

CHALLENGE OF NEW W/H LAYOUT Crescent Parts is a distributor of HVAC equipment and parts. They were growing and needed to expand warehouse space. They found an existing building that allowed them to combine 2 warehouses into one new larger warehouse. Many Lean Warehouse projects involve transforming an existing warehouse to a Lean layout. This project ... >

Manufacturing Overhead Reduction (Koller Craft Plastics)

Manufacturing indirect costs had grown faster than sales. The Value Stream project was used to identify all indirect costs, quantify them to supporting operations and make adjustments to staffing. Identified 10 major indirect manufacturing tasks and time studied to identify the real time required for each task Calculated labor required per day to complete each indirect task Evaluated ... >

Value Stream Map Kaizen Event for Consumer Products Manufacturing (Dial Henkel)

Conducted a Value Stream Rapid Improvement Event to identify areas of waste and launch Lean improvement projects. Analyzed entire value stream in the manufacturing plant: Receiving, Processing, Packaging, Warehouse Operations, Shipping Gathered data on OEE, Labor, Changeover time, Maintenance costs, Inventory and Material Yield Conducted 68 time studies Converted all costs to cost-per-case to evaluate equivalent units Used Pareto Analysis ... >

Value Stream Map ‘Fielded-to-Table’ Supply Chain for Grocery Retail and Distribution (Save-A-Lot)

Conducted a complete Field-to-Table analysis of Save-A-Lot's grocery value stream to identify areas of waste to launch Lean improvement projects. Analyzed Procurement, Inbound and Outbound Transportation, Distribution Center Operations, Store Ordering, Store Receiving, Customer checkout Identified 30 areas for improvement with 4 having multi-million dollar savings opportunities: SKU Proliferation: Company executives thought they had 1500 active SKUs but ... >

“Farm to Table” Supply Chain Redesign (Save-A-Lot)

Save-A-Lot created a supply chain and operations transformation that they labeled, “Farm to Table.” It was to streamline all processes used to plan, source, produce, store and deliver groceries from the most upstream part of their supply chain to their customers. Mapped their supply chain including food producers, distribution centers and stores with considerations of ... >

Redesign Emergency, Maintenance, Repair and Construction Parts Network (Ameren)

Midwest power utility initiated a supply chain transformation initiative. Part of that initiative was the parts network redesign to reduce inventory and transportation costs while staging parts closer to operating centers that serve as hubs for Ameren Operations. Mapped the 3 tier supply network including 2 distribution centers (DCs), major parts supply hubs and operating centers, ... >

Create Supply Chain Strategy for Specialty Transportation Provider (MTM Transportation)

Healthcare logistics company needed to support the overall business strategy by developing a supply chain strategy that would improve performance and create alignment in different supply chain functions Used SWOT and Porters 5 Forces models to understand the current state of the supply chain Created a mission statement, “To drive value while connecting members to healthcare solutions” Aligned ... >

SI&OP Implementation for Capital Equipment Manufacturer (Terrasource)

Terrasource manufactures mining equipment and parts. A significant portion of their sales are for replacement and repair parts. They were losing sales because of not having the finished goods or raw materials to meet customer leadtime requirements. Developed a model for classifying all finished goods inventory items based on multiple criteria to align sales, finance and ... >

S&OP Implementation for Importing Distributor (Horizon Hobby)

Horizon designs, manages the manufacturing, and distributes high-end radio-controlled planes, cars, locomotives and boats. Their sales increased dramatically during the 2020 pandemic while experiencing significant supply chain disruption. In addition, they plan to triple sales in the next 5 years. Developed demand planning and production planning functions to prepare for S&OP Implemented Lean Process Improvement in various ... >

Warehouse Layout for Industrial Distributor (Crescent Parts)

Layout for new warehouse site that will combine three existing warehouses into one Warehouse served customer pick-up, delivery to customers and customers shopping in retail branch connected to the warehouse Analyzed demand to predict new SKU inventory levels of the 3-to-1 combined warehouse Calculated space requirements for each SKU based on: 1) Maximum inventory levels, 2) Size, ... >

Warehouse Layout for Ecommerce (Tacony)

New layout for existing warehouse, implemented during the Client’s busy season Analyzed the current state of: 1) receiving to putaway, 2) pick/pack/ship, and 3) information flows from customer order to ship Discovered: 1) No identifiable “center of gravity” around shipping dock doors, 2) Racks are aligned wrong, 3) SKU locations do not match velocity, and 4) Value-add ... >

Light Assembly Plant Layout (BCI Packaging)

New layout to separate finished goods storage from production and to increase throughput and labor productivity for organization that employs Adults with Developmental Disabilities Used Spaghetti Mapping, Time & Motion Studies and Process Flow Mapping to analyze the current state of: 1) Raw material staging, 2) Scheduling, 3) Packaging, and 4) Palletizing and prepare for outbound ... >

Plant Layout Remanufacturing High-Pressure Cylinders (Gateway Cylinder)

New plant layout for test / assembly / paint operations to improve safety and product tracking Plant receives compressed gas cylinders from customers to test, performs re-assembly as needed and paints before returning to customers Used Spaghetti Mapping, Time & Motion Studies and Process Flow Mapping to analyze the current state of: 1) Inbound from customers, 2) ... >

Plant and Warehouse Layout for Industrial Valve Assembly and Distribution (Dema Engineering)

Client planned an addition onto their production and warehouse facility to support more finished goods storage and facilitate increased material flow in assembly operations. This project layout included (i) raw materials and purchased components, (ii) work-in-process, and (iii) finished goods Process flow mapped information flow supporting production and customer ordering, identifying 22 of 73 information flow ... >

Garment Stockroom Layout for Uniform Company (Clean Uniform)

Re-layout of uniform stockroom, including inventory storage locations and uniform customization/assembly operations to relieve congestion and allow for growth Process flow mapped stock room process, identifying 26 of 95 steps to be eliminated Used Spaghetti Mapping, Time & Motion Studies and Process Flow Mapping to analyze the current state of: 1) receiving to putaway, 2) pull for ... >

Greenfield Food Production and Distribution Facility Layout (International Foods)

New (green-field) facility consolidating separate manufacturing and distribution center sites into one facility Value Stream Mapped manufacturing operations to identify non-value added steps and internal best practices Used Spaghetti Mapping, Time & Motion Studies and Process Flow Mapping to analyze the current state of: 1) receiving to putaway, 2) pick/pack/ship, and 3) information flows from manufacturing plans, ... >

Scorecards for A&D Non-Conforming Material Process (Telephonics)

Telecommunications/electronics specialty manufacturer with highly complex, multi-departmental processes for handling Non-Conforming Material, needed more effective processes that ensured governmental and regulatory compliance Created high-level process overview to graphically show the core value-added steps in the process Overlayed the departmental/functional owners associated with each core step Identified the Key Performance Measures for the four high-level process owners and created ... >

Key Performance Scorecards with Monthly Reviews – Manufacturer of Specialty Technology Products (ETS)

Manufacturer of highly specialized and diverse technology products that were assimilated via acquisition, needed performance improvement, focus and alignment under a single operations management team Implemented Key Performance Scorecard for Operations VP, including Key Performance Measures for each Product Family Implemented Key Performance Scorecard for the Operations VP’s direct reports, creating an aligned organization With the Scorecard framework ... >

Performance Scorecards for Specialty Transportation Provider (MTM)

Rapidly growing, health care related transportation service company with highly complex organization structure and poorly defined / overlapping roles, needed to improve their processes and performance Implemented Key Performance Scorecards from C-Level down through Departmental VPs to establish and quantify the company’s core focus and objectives Rolled out Key Performance Scorecards to Functional Managers and deeper into ... >

Increase Capacity, Control WIP Inventory (Missouri Metals)

Critical metal component manufacturer was not meeting customer demand and had excess work-in-process inventory. Assessed that bottleneck operations were not being fully utilized and were often “starved” of work while non-bottleneck operations were overloaded Scheduling was releasing new work-orders without consideration of current workload Confirmed constraint operations’ capacity Implemented Theory of Constraints – Drum/Buffer/Rope pull and scheduling system to ... >

Greenfield Food Plant – Increase Capacity (Celebration Foods)

Ice cream cake manufacturer consolidated two plants into one new facility, with a completely new workforce. Throughput was half of required capacity, causing one of the old plants to stay open in order to meet demand. Assessed the current state of operations and material flow at the new plant Identified: 1) Production cells were sometimes over-staffed and ... >

Service Operations – Increase Capacity and Reduce Leadtime (Psychological Associates)

Service organization struggled with capacity and meeting customer deadlines. As the business grew their profitability and on-time delivery suffered. Time studied operations to understand costs required to support various service lines and customers. Aggregated time study data, other cost information and revenue data to create a full profitability model Using the profitability model, identified highest (and lowest) ... >

Develop Time Standards and Eliminate Non-Value-Added Work (Clean Uniform)

Production and logistics company needed to standardize labor across 5 plants to develop time standards that are used in an incentive-based pay system Organized time studies across all 5 plants based on product families using a time-study matrix Engaged management and direct labor to conduct all time studies and document results, creating transparency across the company Used time ... >

Manufacturing Flow Cells (Dema Engineering)

Implemented Kanban-Flow Cell for machining / assembly / paint operation to increase throughput and improve labor productivity Conducted Time & Motion Studies to understand labor standards and non-value-added steps Created balanced flow process using Takt-Time Grouping to flow all machining operations to a work-in-process Kanban Created one-piece flow process to flow all assembly and test operations to finished ... >

Supply and Demand Planning Organization Transformation (Horizon Hobby)

Facilitated the organizational transformation to split the purchasing department into two functional teams: demand planners and production planners while developing and implementing a Demand, Supply and Operations Planning process Leveraged lean process improvement tools to split the legacy procurement processes into efficient and separate demand planning processes and production planning processes Eliminated the manual “group think” forecasting ... >

Improve Forecasting and Inventory using Optimal Velocity (Sundberg)

Augmented existing ERP system with inventory-optimization-as-a-service (Optimal Velocity) to update reorder points and reorder quantities every month Educated purchasing and inventory team on forecasting, planning and inventory management models and methods Facilitated twice-a-year Multi-Criteria Inventory Classification (MCIC) to update A+, A, B, C and F SKU rankings Update reorder points and reorder quantities based on optimization model that ... >

Improve Forecasting and Inventory Levels using Existing Software (Volpi)

Helped Volpi use their existing forecasting software (Demand Solutions) and MRP (Great Plaines) to create robust sales and operations planning process Used Multi-Criteria Inventory Classification (MCIC) to create A+, A, B, C and F SKU rankings and upload to MRP system Researched Demand Solutions capabilities and settings to optimize forecast configuration for different types of finished goods ... >

NPD Streamlining at Engineering & Manufacturing Company (Dema Engineering)

Industrial valve manufacturer wanted to shorten new product development (NPD) time, improve new product quality and increase new product sales. The NPD process begins with input from Sales and Marketing and ends with commercialization by Sales and Marketing departments. Created a NPD streamlining team that included Research, Product Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Sales and Marketing Used Strategy Map ... >

Lean Process Improvement at Specialty Commercial Bank (Rabo Agrifinance)

Agricultural Focused Commercial Bank was seeking process improvement support and Lean Six Sigma training for personnel. Value Stream Mapped and Process Flow Mapped, Commercial Loan Processes resulting in streamlining and time saving recommendations Provided high level awareness Lean Six Sigma training for broad swath of personnel Provided customized Lean Six Sigma training to Continuous Improvement (CI) Team to ... >

Value Stream Mapping & Lean Six Sigma Education for Specialty Transportation Provider (MTM)

Rapidly growing, health care related transportation service company needed to improve their processes and simplify performance metrics Used a combination of Value Stream Mapping and high-level Process Flow Mapping to identify process work-arounds, document organizational complexity and execution inefficiency. Implemented Key Performance Scorecards from C-Level down through Departmental VPs and then to Functional Managers in order to ... >

Lean Process Improvement at Aerospace & Defense Manufacturer (Telephonics)

Telecommunications/electronics specialty manufacturer needed Business Process Improvement support for a number of processes to improve efficiency and ensure governmental and regulatory compliance Non-Conforming Material (NCM) process was overly complex, had multiple functional owners, inaccurate data and slow disposition. Analyzed and segmented NCM data, Process Flow Mapped the current state process, identified issues and developed recommendations including ... >

Supply Chain Strategy – MTM Transportation

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE MTM, a specialty transportation company that uses external transportation providers, had a company strategic plan but not a supply chain strategy. Therefore, efforts to improve supply chain operations were haphazard and misaligned internally and with external suppliers. In addition, while every function had key performance metrics, they were not coordinated, lacked clear goals ... >

Supply Chain Stand Up – MilliCare

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE A franchise cleaning business was being carved out of a large chemical manufacturing business. Historically, they had used the supply chain of the parent company. They needed support in the short term to stand-up a supply chain to maintain product flow to their franchisees. We analyzed various options for the medium-term supply chain ... >

S&OP + Process Improvement – Horizon Hobby

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE Horizon designs, manages the manufacturing, and distributes high-end radio-controlled planes, cars, trains and boats. Their sales increased dramatically during the 2020 pandemic while experiencing significant supply chain disruption. In addition, they plan to triple sales in the next 5 years. Supply Chain Restructure The supply chain team was restructured from one planning group organized by ... >

S&OP + Lean Warehouse + SKU Rationalization – Rio Grande Jewelry

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE Rio Grande, a Berkshire Hathaway company, experienced accelerated growth that outpaced the capabilities of its supply chain and warehouse capacity. On time delivery, fill rate, and labor productivity in warehouse operations had all suffered poor performance. The warehouse needed additional people to support both growth and the degradation of labor productivity. Customers complained ... >

Lean Warehouse + Inventory Optimization – Tacony

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE Tacony’s Nancy’s Notions (NN) sewing supply ecommerce division was struggling with order fulfillment to its consumers, while Amazon was increasing its penetration to the sewing and quilting consumer market. NN was 8 days behind on shipping orders and when orders did ship it had an 88% fill rate due to items not being ... >

Lean Supply Chain – Crescent Parts

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE Crescent is a distributor of HVAC equipment and parts in the Midwest. Their customers are heating and air conditioning contractors who install and repair residential and commercial units. Crescent Parts’ largest customer represented over 20% of total sales, almost 4 times greater than the next largest customer. As a result, Crescent launched a Lean ... >

Lean Process Improvement – Seyer Industries

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE Seyer designs and produces specialized aerospace products that require precision machining, welding and testing for commercial aircraft and the military. Each successful product requires an extensive back office set of processes. Seyer wanted to improve their “office” process efficiency and quality, which included the entire program cycle, excluding the manufacturing operations. LEAN ASSESSMENT We conducted ... >

Lean Manufacturing – Phononic

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE Electromechanical solid-state manufacturing company with disruptive technology transitioning from early-stage product development to full production, was squeezed into a small facility footprint, struggling with quality yield and throughput as demand ramped up. LEAN ASSESSMENT A Lean Assessment was conducted and the resulting recommendations were to apply 5S throughout the facility, Value Stream Map (VSM) the ... >

Lean Manufacturing – Dema Engineering

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE Dema Engineering is a designer and manufacturer of industrial valves and chemical dispensing equipment. (See below two valves in a assembly and test operation.) They needed to reduce cycle time and improve quality. Throughput time was as high as 6 weeks and yield on certain components was 93%. Both were due to batching ... >

Inventory Optimization – Sundberg

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE Sundberg carries a wide variety of SKUs to support their ecommerce and appliance repair customers’ needs. Because these items are used when home appliances are broken, availability is critical. However, inventory investment had grown faster than sales and customers were complaining about stock-outs of key items. REDUCTION OF LOST SALES AND SURPLUS INVENTORY BY ... >

Forecasting + Inventory Optimization: JCI Parts

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE Johnson Controls Parts NA business unit was experiencing a combination of increased inventory and backlog. They had too much of the wrong inventory and not enough of the right inventory. This problem became exacerbated during the pandemic as a result of the supply chain shortages and increased and highly variable lead times. They ... >

Lean Warehouse – Grand Rock

PROBLEM / CHALLENGE Grand Rock sells a wide selection of aftermarket exhaust products. They produce to order, have a product-line they produce and stock for inventory and distribute for other manufacturers. The production facility and warehouse are in one facility. The business has experienced significant growth and with increased raw material inventory due in large part ... >

Is Lean More Than Kaizen Events?

When to use the Lean Six Sigma Project Format Abstract Many Lean Consultants promote Kaizen Events (a.k.a. Rapid Improvement Events) or Kaizen Blitzes as the method of implementing Lean.  They are proponents of this method because that is how Toyota does it, and Toyota founded Lean.  What these consultants overlook is that Toyota has 50+ years of ... >

The Pillars of Supply Chain Strategy

The Need for a Supply Chain Strategic Plan For many years, Supply Chain Management was an overlooked aspect of business.  Everybody just expected supply chains to deliver.  The pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war changed the status quo while other big disruptions were already underway.  Amazon fundamentally changed the consumer economy (and soon the industrial economy) when ... >

The Ideal Lean Scorecard Assessment Tool

Using the Ideal Lean Scorecard to Assess Opportunities for Improvement One of my mentors, Dr. Joe Martinich, an Operations Professor at the University of Missouri St. Louis, developed a tool to help you assess where you should be applying your process improvement efforts.  What is so great about this tool is it really doesn’t have anything ... >

Ecommerce and Omnichannel Supply Chain Management

Download White Paper: Ecommerce and Omnichannel Supply Chain Management What retailers, distributors and manufacturers must know So You are, or Want to Begin Selling Online The purpose of this white paper is to give you a complete picture of ecommerce and omnichannel supply chain design. It will help you with the decisions you need to make when considering ... >

5S Revisited: Engage People with Video Work Instructions

Download White Paper: 5S Revisited: Engage People with Video Work Instructions Abstract 5S is the most foundational of the Lean tools. It is also easy to start, generates a lot of excitement and is a good indication that Lean improvements are being sustained. However, as anyone who has done 5S knows, it sometimes falls apart. We call ... >

Creating a Lean Warehouse

Download White Paper: Creating a Lean Warehouse Abstract Lean got its start in factories and for many years was called Lean Manufacturing.  However, if you analyze movement of people, there is often a greater opportunity in creating a Lean Warehouse.  When your warehouse is Lean the tools and information you need to receive, pick and pack are ... >

Lean Warehouse Aisle-Bay-Level-Position Bin Location Coding

Download White Paper: Lean Warehouse Aisle-Bay-Level-Position Bin Location Coding Abstract As we implement Lean Warehouses at numerous Clients, we are finding a multitude of bin-location coding schemes; the code that locates parts in aisles / bays / levels / shelf positions. As we’ve been to many warehouses, have seen different ways of coding, and came up with ... >

Lean Continuous Improvement, Sustainability and Toyota

Download White Paper: Lean Continuous Improvement, Sustainability and Toyota More than 40 years ago I started my continuous improvement (CI) journey as a young engineer and I’ve spent the last 15+ years as a Lean and Supply Chain consultant at Supply Velocity. We leverage Lean, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints and Supply Chain tools and techniques ... >

Resilient Supply Chains are now a Competitive Advantage

Resilient Supply Chains are now a Competitive Advantage We just got through the biggest health and supply chain disruption since WW2. As we move through the pandemic, the global Supply Chain is struggling to recover. Companies are challenged with limited raw material availability, extended lead times and transportation delays.  Their competitors, that have been able to ... >

Can Sales Reps Have Too Many Choices?

Business-To-Consumer (B2C) Consumer choice is the subject of many studies.  Should a company extend its product line or stay focused?  How does this affect physical distribution, in either ecommerce warehouses or retail stores?  Retail stores are fixed with limited shelf space and almost no potential to expand.  Warehouses can be expanded, but at a cost.  I think ... >

The Value of Sales & Operations Planning

Sales & Operation Planning (S&OP) is a process to make sure sales, finance, operations and supply chain are aligned, so customer service and profit are maximized. When done well, S&OP allows business to capture efficiencies because it can proactively adjust sales, operations and supply chain as forecasts change. However, this value is only captured when the company ... >

Uncovering Opportunity through Lean Assessments

When we are contacted by a prospective new client for consulting services, we typically recommend starting with a Lean Assessment. Assessments are a fast and painless way to uncover opportunities to improve your business with a plan for efficiently implementing those improvements.  During the Assessment we talk to people from across the organization, tour the facilities, and ... >

B2C and B2B Distribution Through an Amazon World

Navigating various sales channels, inventory, and pricing exposure when Amazon makes the rules Amazon is a behemoth in B2C distribution, and is growing their B2B business.  If you compete in this space, then you have experienced their wake or could soon.  Trying to fight or beat Amazon is likely a losing battle.  But there are ways ... >

How to Understand and Increase Profitability

Focus on Profitability; Revenue and Cost are just inputs To download this case study please click here. Profitability is Key! As business grows, declines, or remains steady, a clear understanding of profitability by segment is paramount.  Increasing revenue is great so long as your costs are not increasing disproportionately. Decreasing costs is also wonderful assuming it does not ... >

Quantitative Supply Chain Decisions Driving Your Business

Download White Paper: Quantitative Supply Chain Decisions Driving Your Business   Supply Chain Management Supply chain management involves the flow of products, information and money from suppliers (and their suppliers) through a company to its customers (and their customers) with the purpose of serving customers and maximizing profit.  Decisions driving supply chain management can be separated into internal and ... >

Case Study: The Benefits Of Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP)

Download White Paper: Case Study: The Benefits Of Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP)  Case Study Company Our case study company is a parts and equipment manufacturer for the mining industry.  They struggled to meet customer expected lead times due to high SKU count, lack of visibility into demand, and a challenging supply chain with long lead times.  ... >

Aspects of The Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) Model

Download White Paper: Aspects of The Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) Model In the 1990’s a consulting firm and market research firm, along with some academics got together to create a process and performance measurement model to support the growing field of supply chain management.  They created a non-profit, the Supply Chain Council, to share this ... >

Supply Chain Strategic Planning

Download White Paper: The Supply Chain Strategic Planning Process Creating a supply chain strategy is very similar to strategic planning.  The difference is we start with an “operational” mindset and finish with a supply chain framework.  Case Study Company Our case study company is a successful and profitable broker, working with providers (suppliers) to provide a specialty transportation ... >

What’s New in Lean

Download White Paper: What's New in Lean The Toyota Production System was created almost 70 years ago by Taiichi Ohno.  (There is no exact date but it happened sometime between the end of WW2 and the mid 1950’s.)  And 70 years later it is still a very active operations management practice.  We teach it at the ... >

Increase Profits by using Customized Value-Based Pricing

Pricing can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line extremely quickly, probably more quickly than any other business initiative.  Our method uses data analytics to identify value-levers for customizing pricing. These dramatic improvements do not come easy, they require putting resources on pricing analytics in-line with the value it can deliver.  Here’s an example ... >

6Cs to Drive Team Results

Download White Paper: 6Cs to Drive Team Results Over the past few years, as we have worked with many different leadership teams across a variety of industries and processes, we’ve observed repeatedly that when there are gaps in performance, most attention gets paid to processes and external forces, instead of focusing on the team and individuals.  ... >


Omnichannel is a supply chain order fulfillment system that uses all of the assets in the supply chain (stores, warehouses, return-centers, trucks, drones) to fulfill your order quickly and at the lowest cost. Stores Matter In an omnichannel, stores matter. Having physical retail stores is a way to increase sales... yes increase sales. Not everyone, even young ... >

Forecasting the other F word

Understanding How Forecasts Help your Business</strong Using the simple, but effective Dupont Return on Capital Model, we can see what can happen with more accurate forecasts. Profit = Sales - Costs Return on Invested Capital = Profit / Invested Capital Improving forecasts increase fulfilled sales and therefore profit at lower investment capital It is Hard to Hire, Train ... >

The Amazon Effect & Your Supply Chain

Download White Paper: The Amazon Effect & Your Supply Chain It is important to understand Amazon’s effect on your supply chain, your operations and your customers, and more importantly how you can adapt and thrive. The Amazon Effect Amazon earns 37% of all ecommerce sales in the USA.  What is even more incredible is their ecommerce market share is ... >

Executing Your Sales & Operations Plan

For those of you who have used but dropped S&OP or if you not familiar with the term, it would be best described as "Executing your Sales & Operations Plan." If you are having problems turning your sales plan into a reality because operations, sales and finance are not aligned, then you need to consider ... >

Do You Have the Right Inventory Metrics

Inventory Metrics for the New World Historically, companies that shipped product from finished goods inventory such as distributors and e-commerce companies, for their inventory performance measures (related to customer-service) used fill rate. Unit fill rate = units shipped / units ordered Line fill rate = number of lines on an order filled complete / total lines ... >

The Challenge of Retail, Omni-Channel and Supply Chain Management

The challenge in retail is summed up in one word, e-commerce. Retailers spent decades creating low-cost supply chains to serve customers from bricks-and-mortar stores and the replenishment systems to keep stores stocked with the right inventory.  However, with the advent of e-commerce these systems are not sufficient to be successful. Even the smallest retailers are selling products from ... >

Business Intelligence – Customer Optimization

Often companies rate their customers simply by revenue or unit volume and fail to recognize gross profit margin, maintenance cost and other strategic factors. This can result in an incorrect perception of which customers are the highest performers and most important to the company. Supply Velocity uses a new Business Intelligence System, Customer Optimization, and a new metric, ... >

Business Process Improvement

Processes are the heart of every company or organization, but as companies, products and marketplaces became more complex, the demands and expectations of processes become greater and they often fail to effectively meet the company's or the customers' needs and objectives.  Inefficient business processes can have 5 times the negative impact on the customer over ... >

Performance Measurement – Employee Retention

The link below shows two Performance Scorecards, one for a manufacturing business and one for an accounting firm. Performance Scorecards Download Accounting Firm The accounting firm Client was working with us on improving their Audit process. This project successfully reduced the time to produce audit reports for their clients from 45 to 22 days.  As you can ... >

Lean in Services Case Study

Client Background Recently we had the opportunity to work with a client that doesn't make or move any material goods.  Impact Group does the important work of caring for families that are being relocated because of the jobs of one of the adults.  28 years ago, Laura Herring determined that companies focus completely on the employee ... >

The Ideal Lean Scorecard (An Assessment Tool)

The Ideal Lean Process All employees show up to work every day, are motivated, can work at any operation and are constantly looking for ways to improve processes Supplies can be ordered and delivered immediately, in whatever quantities are needed and are defect free Equipment never breaks Processes have no variation and produce defect free ... >

Lean Product Development

Product development can include hard-goods, software or new services, and few processes involve as many different departments within a company as product development.  As the development effort crosses between departments such as marketing, research, engineering, purchasing, operations and sales there are numerous opportunities for the effort to stall or even reverse direction.  This can be ... >

Process Improvement Forum at Impact

In November we held a Process Improvement Forum for our Clients at Impact Group. These Forums are a chance for our Clients to learn from each other. Impact Group's trained coaches and research team works to solve the myriad of problems a relocating family can face. We thought Impact would be a great host because they ... >

Lean Meetings?

Do you ever feel like all you do at work is go from meeting to meeting? Is it a challenge to squeeze all of the meetings you are required to attend on your calendar? How many meetings should a healthy company have and when do we cross the line on healthy communications and too many meetings that ... >

Lean Meetings

Download White Paper: Lean Meetings  Do you ever feel like you are a prisoner to too many meetings, running from one meeting to the next? Do your meetings feel like they last forever and lack action or closure? Ever wonder why a meeting was called you were invited or other times why you weren’t invited to a meeting you ... >

Are You Brave Enough – “To Pay for Performance”

Pay-for-Performance: Quality & Throughput Many companies are worried about paying for performance because they are concerned that: 1) quality will suffer, and 2) it can inhibit teamwork.  Our case study for this e-newsletter shows how to balance quality versus throughput, and teamwork versus individual contribution. Designing a pay-for-performance system that everyone believes in is hard work, ... >

Is there anything better than seeing something first hand?

Thanks to our friends at MiTek, more than 20 of Supply Velocity’s client-companies were able to send representatives to see how MiTek is using lean tools to increase their capacity, ensure on-time delivery, and improve financial performance.  On 9 October, Greg Pritchett and his team hosted nearly 50 current and past customers of Supply Velocity.  ... >

Measuring Customer Satisfaction

The case study below is a summary.  For more details click on the full white-paper. The problems with surveys Most companies that want to measure customer satisfaction create a survey.  These efforts usually fail for multiple reasons. The "annual" survey measures satisfaction during too short a duration Response rates are low There are too many questions Questions ... >

Mitch Presented “What’s new in Lean”

July 10th I presented "What is new in Lean" for the Midwest Manufacturing Leaders.  100 people heard me discuss taking Lean beyond the facility and making your supply chain Lean.  My co-presenter was Ray Keefe, recently retired Executive Vice President of Manufacturing for Emerson.  If you would like a copy of this presentation send me ... >

Measuring Customer Satisfaction – Creating a Reliable Survey

Download White Paper: Measuring Customer Satisfaction – Creating a Reliable Survey Abstract Every for-profit, for-cause and even governmental organization cares about customer satisfaction.  When someone wants to measure customer satisfaction the natural instrument is a survey, but we all know that surveys can be problematic (more about this later).  This case study documents a process for measuring customer ... >

Effective Execution Using Key Performance Scorecards

Effective Execution Using Key Performance ScorecardsSome common themes we observe or hear from clients and prospective clients about their company: a lack of accountability for results organizational responsibility and ownership is not well defined poor communications; there are often department silos or walls that reduce communication departments are not aligned throughout the organization goals and objectives are poorly defined or ... >

Hospital HR Dept Performance Measurement

Lean Six Sigma in Healthcare The next few months' newsletters will look at Lean Six Sigma applications in Hospitals. We all have a vested interest in seeing our hospitals continuously improve productivity and quality. These case studies will show how we used Lean Six Sigma tools to improve various aspects of administration and patient care. Problem In hospitals, ... >

Hospital HR Dept. 5S Visual Management

Lean Six Sigma in Hospitals - 5S Visual Management Details: 5S Implementation 1). This HR department hoarded paper. Like many people the HR Specialists felt the messier their desks the busier they must be. It was cultural! Everyone's desk looked like these pictures. 2) Once we did the initial 5S blitz, we created a 5S Implementation Schedule for ... >

Evaluating Costs in the Entire Value Stream

Finding Cost Reductions in the Value Stream We used Value Stream Mapping to evaluate costs from "Field to Table". All processing costs were analyzed. The scope was to attack overhead costs and processes that were increasing expenses or reducing sales. "Costs of goods sold" was excluded. Examples of processing costs were distribution direct labor, store ... >

Streamlining Warehouse Operations

Lean & Six Sigma in Distribution/Warehousing This Distributor began their Lean Journey in the middle of the Great Recession. Despite the fact that sales were down, they were willing to invest in reducing costs and improving Customer Service. They chose 3 problem areas of the company and combined Implementation Projects with Supply Velocity's Lean Workshop. We will ... >

Streamlining Distribution / Transportation

Lean Six Sigma Tools Performance Scorecard 5S Visual Management Details 1) This project was totally driven by the Scorecard. Once the team created its Bulk Delivery Department Scorecard, they quickly realized what had to be done to improve performance. We came up with a saying that "the data will lead the way". Download Delivery Lean PowerPoint Presentation2) This company had ... >

Streamlining the Shipping / Accounting Process

Lean Shipping Process This company manufactured products for the construction industry and distributed highly engineered components produced by other companies.  Manufacturing and Distribution were separate businesses, which came together at Shipping. This project was driven by the company's CFO, who felt that shipping processes, which had never been looked at, were wasteful.  As you will see below, ... >

Inbound Freight Process Streamlining

Inbound Freight Savings Project Outline This project was fundamentally about getting two departments (Purchasing and Logistics) to see the entire process and determine how they could work together to save the company money on inbound freight. Our first objective was to understand the problem and the opportunity. We developed a problem statement. Download PowerPoint Presentation "Inbound Freight." The ... >

Six Sigma Sales – Ranking Customers

On-Target Sales Strategy / Six Sigma Sales We hope you find value from our examples of Lean Six Sigma at work. Due to the difficult economic environment many organizations face, we will spend the next few months looking at the application of Lean Six Sigma to Sales Strategy, or what we call On-Target Sales Strategy, and ... >

Six Sigma Sales – Understanding Customers Better

On-Target Sales Strategy / Six Sigma Sales The economy is not getting any better... but you can buck the trend! Knowing your customer creates focus and focus creates success. Read below how we used Six Sigma to create a focused sales and marketing strategy by deeply understanding the best markets for our Client. Problem This organization was featured in ... >

Creating a Lean Sales Process

Sales is like any process, it operates by design or default. Using Lean Tools we redesigned a very successful company's sales process to improve Sales Rep Productivity, getting more Profit from every Rep. Problem This month's case-study Client sells transportation equipment, services this equipment and sells replacement parts. The owner had executed a successful growth strategy, and in ... >

Six Sigma Sales Rep Analysis

Lean Six Sigma Tools Cause & Effect Diagram Pareto Analysis Comparison Analysis (Box & Whisker Chart) This manufacturing/distribution company had 8 sales reps that covered specific geographic regions of the northeast United States.  The company manufactured several components and distributed others to a very specific industry-niche. We started the project with a Cause & Effect Diagram of everything that impacts ... >

Six Sigma Pricing Strategy Analysis

Lean Six Sigma Tools Cause & Effect Diagram Scatter Diagram As stated above, the company's sale force all wanted to lower prices to help them sell more (close more business). We analyzed what impact (good or bad) that might have on sales and profit. We started the project with a Cause & Effect Diagram of everything that impacts sales ... >

Mitch is Streamling a Client’s Supply Chain Management Process

I am working at a defense contractor Client, streamlining their supply chain management processes.  We will definitely do a e-newsletter on this project.  The team identified 46,000 hours per year of wasted steps.  The future state completely changed their planning and purchasing processes. We are working with them now on their proposal development and program kick-off ... >

Sales-Estimating Strategy Analysis

Lean Six Sigma Tools Cause & Effect Diagram Performance Scorecards Scatter Diagram We started the project with a Cause & Effect Diagram of everything that impacts sales and close rate. Download Estimator Inside Sales Analysis March 2011 PowerPoint Presentation. This e-newsletter will focus on estimator effectiveness, which the team felt could be a significant area for improvement. The ... >

SKU (stock-keeping-unit) Optimization

One of the best aspects of pursuing (part time) my Ph.D in Supply Chain Management is that I get to research certain topics and apply them to help my valued Clients.  I am currently writing a academic paper on SKU Optimization.  It is based on a method that is case studied in this month's e-newsletter.  ... >

Decoding the DNA of Customer Profitability

This month we will feature ground-breaking work in finding attributes that predict customer profitability.  This project was done for a Supply Velocity Client (products shown below) with the support of a Ph.D Supply Chain Management study at the University of Missouri St. Louis. The Ph.D program has been a great way to learn new skills to ... >

Secrets of Winning Proposals

When it comes to winning proposals, we find that many companies, including this Client, over-estimate their Win %. Company executives stated that Win % was 80%. In reality it was 37%. Once we discovered this important fact they wanted to find out what helped them win proposal. Overall proposal data is shown on Slide 2 ... >

Lean Operational Process Improvement

This Newsletter will case study Phase 3 of the improvements made to our custom cabinet and millwork manufacturing client. The prior few months we profiled the improvements they made in their business, via Performance Measurement and On-Target™ Sales Strategy. This month we will review the improvements they've made in Operations. They produce custom cabinets and millwork ... >

Lean Scheduling & Order Delivery

This newsletter will case study Phase 2 of the improvements made at our Transportation Equipment Distributor client. Last month we reviewed how we streamlined the sales process to give Sales Reps more time to sell and grow profit. This month we will review how we delivered on the promises we made to customers, providing this ... >

Facility Location Optimization

Download White Paper: Facility Location Optimization Abstract Most companies make facility location decisions based on convenience (proximity to employees or existing facility), lease or start-up costs or subjective criteria such as liking a certain location.  In supply chain management we consider facility location decisions to be one of the most strategic and long-lasting decisions a company can make. In ... >

16 Critical Supply Chain Management Concepts

Download White Paper: 16 Critical Supply Chain Management Concepts Reducing variation in the Supply Chain The Bullwhip Effect / visibility of inventory and demand in the supply chain Choosing the best Supply Chain for your Product How Information Technology is used in SCM to reduce costs and increase sales Work-flow technologies Improve visibility of inventory and ... >

Lean in Hospital Primary Care

Lean Six Sigma Tools Performance Measurement 5S Visual Management Spaghetti Diagrams Time Study Details - Performance Measurement The team first learned about Performance Measurement and then created their Performance Scorecards.   As you can see, On Time Delivery of service shows up twice as measures of seeing patients at their appointment times. (How may of you have waited for your doctor's ... >

Biggest SKLUsers: SKU Rationalization

SKU Rationalization Project Outline Our initial analysis indicated that they had a high concentration of strong performing SKUs (70.63% of sales came from the top 25% of SKUs) and a significant number of low performing SKUs (1.47% of sales came from the bottom 25% of SKUs). SKU Analysis Presentation. The next analysis (slide #2) showed why ... >

Lean Warehousing

Lean Six Sigma Tools Pareto Analysis Spaghetti Map Process Flow Map This valve manufacturer produced a semi-finished product that its customer final assembled / packaged for their original-equipment-manufacture (OEM) and distributor customers. The final assembly/packaging was being transferred to the valve manufacturer. Instead of producing 200 stock-keeping-units (SKUs) in larger lot sizes they would be producing and shipping ... >

Using Value Stream Mapping to Reduce Overhead

Reducing Overhead Labor with Value Stream Mapping This Plastics Manufacturing Company was caught in the Great Recession.  They had to reduce costs when some of their customers cut back, including an auto-plant that closed.  However, being a capital intensive manufacturer, the options were not obvious. Lean Six Sigma Tools This project used Value Stream Mapping to identify underutilized ... >

Lean Six Sigma at a Custom Manufacturer – Performance Measurement

This custom cabinet and millwork manufacturer was the in-house manufacturing division of a larger residential construction company.  They grew very rapidly with a large multi-year order and were spun off as a separate company.  The large multi-year order ended and sales dropped precipitously.  The overhead costs from equipment and manufacturing space quickly created a loss ... >

Proposal Strategy using Strategic Filters

We will use as a case study the same Defense Contractor Client discussed in the April e-newsletter. One of the things we learned in that project was the significant labor that can be expended developing a proposal. Depending on the opportunity, engineering, materials and direct labor costs have to be estimated at a high degree ... >

Decoding the DNA of Profitable Customers

Download White Papers: Decoding the DNA of Profitable Customers Executive Summary Supply Velocity Client had engaged our research team to help them identify factors that would enable them to predict or identify potential profitable customers. Our team was able to determine that five of the seven factors (independent variables) that were discussed in our initial meeting were good ... >

Tradeoffs in Operations

Strategic Tradeoffs in Operations Don't Exist In an important paper written in the Harvard Business Review, Skinner (1969) stated that in operations you must make tradeoffs between quality, delivery, flexibility and cost. In other words, you cannot have it all. Academic researchers jumped on this idea and conducted many surveys of companies around the world to ... >

Important Qualitative Supply Chain Decisions

Download White Paper:Important Qualitative Supply Chain Decisions Important Outward-Facing Supply Chain Decisions What is Supply Chain Management? How is it different than Logistics? Why is this paper called “Qualitative” Supply Chain Decisions? In a prior white paper titled “Important Quantitative Supply Chain Decisions” I stated that quantitative decisions could be considered “logistics” decisions.  In addition, these decision ... >

Important Quantitative Supply Chain Decisions  

 Link to Additional Details Download "Important Quantitative Supply Chain Decisions" here.  We decided to call this "Quantitative" Supply Chain Decisions, but we could have called it Logistics Decisions.  Logistics can be described as the supply chain within a firm, encompassing the more quantitative decisions.  We will provide an overview of these decisions.  For more details you can ... >

Supply Chain Operations Reference SCOR Model

Download White Paper:Supply Chain Operations Reference SCOR Model In the 1990’s a consulting firm and market research firm, along with some academics got together to create a process and performance measurement model to support the growing field of supply chain management.  They created a non-profit, the Supply Chain Council, to share this model, the supply chain ... >

Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) Model 

 Link to Additional Details  Download "Supply Chain Operations Reference Model" here. You may be wondering, "What is an operations reference?" SCOR is a process model, and separately, but related, a measurement model. Process Model As a process model it follows the supply chain through five functional areas. These are called the Level 1 processes. Plan Source Make Deliver Return In the attached slide-set you will ... >

Designing Your Global Supply Chain

Download White Paper:Designing Your Global Supply Chain 15 Strategic Choices for Designing your Global Supply Chain In the 1990’s, and with the rise of the concept of Supply Chain Management, supply chains have gone global.  This has largely been enabled through information technology (the subject of a separate article).  Globalization has included suppliers in many different countries, ... >

Designing your Supply Chain 

Link to the White-Paper Designing Your Global Supply Chain  In the 1990's, and with the rise of the concept of Supply Chain Management, supply chains have gone global. Creating a global supply chain forced companies to consider the strategic choices they made when designing their supply chain. Globalization has included suppliers in many different countries, setting up warehouses ... >

The Ideal Lean Scorecard (An Assessment Tool) 

Link to the White-Paper The Ideal Lean Assessment Scorecard The Ideal Lean Process All employees show up to work every day, are motivated, can work at any operation and are constantly looking for ways to improve processes Supplies can be ordered and delivered immediately, in whatever quantities are needed and are defect free Equipment never breaks Processes ... >

Using Information Technology to Revolutionize your Supply Chain

Download White Paper:Using Information Technology to Revolutionize your Supply Chain Some have suggested that Supply Chain Management only exists because of Information Technology; that the IT revolution enabled supply chain management.  They may be right.  Supply chain management, as a discipline and profession, gained prominence in the 1990’s, the same time that many important information technologies ... >

Trust and Collaboration in the Supply Chain

Download White Paper: Trust and Collaboration in the Supply Chain Collaboration is Supply Chain Management Collaboration is a core component of supply chain management.  Supply chain management can be defined as: “The coordination and management of materials, information and financial resources from suppliers through a firm’s operations to customers with the purpose of maximizing customer service and minimizing costs, ... >

Choosing the Best Supply Chain for your Products

Download White Paper:Choosing the Best Supply Chain for your Products Choosing the Best Supply Chain for your Products In the Late 1990’s, Dr. Marshall Fisher, of the Wharton School of Business, revolutionized supply chain management by observing that companies were not choosing the supply chain that matched the nature of their products.  He presented a rather stark ... >

The Bullwhip Effect in Supply Chains

Download White Paper: The Bullwhip Effect in Supply Chains One of the most important phenomena in Supply Chain Management is the Bullwhip Effect.  It was discovered by Stanford Business School Professor and P&G.  P&G noticed that orders it received from its customers (Wal-Mart, grocery chains, Target, etc.) for diapers varied much more than the variation in demand ... >

What’s Mitch Up to

  I just finished work with a Client on creating a Direct Labor Performance Incentive.  I may present more on this later in the year.  I wanted to draw attention to the top of the photo.  You may be able to make out one of the greatest quotes ever, from the founder of this company, "Make ... >

The Importance of Change Management

Recently I held a Process Improvement Forum at Weekends Only; a furniture store Client with 5 stores in the St. Louis area. Last year we used Lean Six Sigma to improve the process of picking furniture for customer pick up. See the testimonial below from Weekends Only's COO for results. During the Forum they highlighted the importance ... >

Streamlining your Supply Chain

Download White Paper: Streamlining your Supply Chain Abstract To streamline their supply chains companies must use both Lean tools and principles of Supply Chain Management.  Each used separately will not accomplish meaningful and sustainable savings.  These basic principles are enduring truisms that companies often forget in good times.  Lean tools help to identify when the basic principles are ... >

The Secret to Distributor-Delivery Profitability

Download White Paper: The Secret to Distributor-Delivery Profitability Abstract Distributors who deliver with company-owned trucks incur significant overhead costs associated with their delivery operations.  Typically, a small delivery fee is added to each order.  In reality this fee almost never covers even 50% of the actual cost of the delivery.  In this paper we will show how a ... >

What We Are Up To

  Mitch is working with Diane, the Ops Manager of a Furniture Retailer, time studying the order fulfillment process. It is hard to see, but the order-selector is down the aisle on a forktruck getting a sofa. >

Increase Profits through Six Sigma Customer Analysis

Download White Paper: Increase Profits through Six Sigma Customer Analysis Abstract Six Sigma is a powerful tool to analyze and solve business problems.  A significant problem many companies have, even if they don’t realize it, is customer profitability.  This paper will show how one company analyzed their customers using Six Sigma.  They discovered tremendous opportunities to reduce costs ... >

Strategic Planning using Strategic Filters and WIGs

Download White Paper: Strategic Planning using Strategic Filters and WIGs Abstract The strategic planning process can take many paths.  It can require months of preparatory analysis or simply use the collective knowledge of the management team.  Either method requires that the company make decisions on its future course.  In this paper we will show how to use Strategic ... >

Lean Product Development Process

Download White Papers: A Lean Product Development Process  Abstract How many products hit the market and are too expensive, too big, don’t have the desired features or take too long to develop? Lean is a Process Improvement Tool to reduce waste in organizations.  Few processes cross over as many different departments in a company as product development.  Product development ... >

Improve Sales Force Effectiveness Using Multi-Variable Customer Ranking

Download White Paper: Improve Sales Force Effectiveness Using Multi-Variable Customer Ranking Abstract For effective sales, companies need to differentiate how they allocate their limited sales resources among existing customers, customer service and new business development (prospects).  When ranking Customers and Prospects, the common metric is usually either sales or profits.  This paper will show how you can blend ... >

Streamlining Warehouse Operations with Lean Six Sigma

Download White Paper: Streamlining Warehouse Operations with Lean Six Sigma Abstract Given the low margin nature of most distribution businesses, it is imperative to maintain the lowest possible labor costs.  This paper will show how to use Lean and Six Sigma tools to minimize the labor required to pick, pack and ship orders from a warehouse. Background This distribution company ... >

Performance Scorecards – The Foundation for Lean Six Sigma

Download White Paper: Performance Scorecards – The Foundation for Lean Six Sigma Abstract Most companies begin using Lean Six Sigma to improve their performance.  However, they forget the first and most critical aspect of implementing Lean Six Sigma… measuring their performance.  This white-paper will discuss how to launch Lean Six Sigma by first creating a company-wide Performance Scorecard ... >

Lean in Human Resources – Streamlining the Hiring Process

Download White Paper: Lean in Human Resources – Streamlining the Hiring Process Abstract As more organizations embrace Lean as part of a culture of continuous improvement they realize the broad applications it has.  All parts of the business can benefit from streamlining.  This white-paper will case-study the application of Lean in the Human Resource department.  Specifically, we will ... >

What We Are Up To

  Mitch is working with a Grocery Retail & Distribution Company, teaching a select group of associates to be Lean Six Sigma Champions >

Using Value Stream Mapping to Reduce Overhead Labor

Download White Paper: Using Value Stream Mapping to Reduce Overhead Labor Abstract Lean Six Sigma is used to improve quality, increase productivity and reduce cycle time.  However, most of the applications to increase productivity are dealing with direct labor.  We have extensive experience using Lean Six Sigma to improve direct labor productivity in Distribution (order selectors), Hospitals (nurses), ... >

Creating a Lean Sales Process

Download White Papers: Creating a Lean Sales Process Abstract Selling is a process.  Like many processes it includes tasks that directly add value to customers and tasks that are “non-value-added.”  Enlightened sales executives are learning Lean Six Sigma tools from their operations counterparts to streamline and simplify the sales process.  This white paper will case study how a ... >

Lean Healthcare – Streamlining Primary Care

Download White Paper: Lean Healthcare Streamlining Primary Care Abstract There are a number of articles that explain conceptually how Lean Six Sigma is being used in Hospitals.  This white paper will present a case study of how we used Lean Six Sigma tools to improve patient-service at a VA (Veterans Affairs) Medical Center. Background This VA Medical Center (located in ... >

SKU Reduction – The Biggest SKLUsers

Download White Paper: SKU Reduction The Biggest SKLUsers Background A Value Stream Assessment (See White Paper: Finding Productivity Improvements from Field to Table) at this Grocery Retailer & Distributor determined that core-items (stock keeping units or SKUs) for sales and distribution to licensees have increased from 2200 to 2800 SKUs, over the last four years during a period ... >

Finding Productivity Improvements from Field to Table

Download White Paper: Finding Productivity Improvements from Field to Table Background This discount grocery retailer wanted to evaluate its cost structure from procurement through distribution, retail and accounting functions.  They called this initiative “Field to Table”.  The CEO felt that costs had crept into their processes over the years and that the company had migrated away from its ... >

Improving Store and DC Productivity through Minimum Order Quantity Analysis

Download White Paper: Improving Store and DC Productivity through Minimum Order Quantity Analysis Background A Value Stream Assessment (See White Paper: Finding Productivity Improvements from Field to Table) at this Grocery Retailer & Distributor identified poor productivity in its distribution centers during order selection and in its retail stores during shelf restocking.  A very high percentage of the ... >

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“Supply Velocity has provided the technical expertise and political capital to move our project forward. They have just the right amount of push and the right amount of support. Supply Velocity has helped us make real changes to improve efficiencies in logistics without jeopardizing our performance. We’re happy and our customers are happy.”
David Walters, President, Hy-C

“I am thrilled to provide this testimonial for Supply Velocity and their outstanding work in implementing Lean Warehouses and processes at Crescent Parts & Equipment through the COVID pandemic. With their data-first focus and Mitch’s exceptional coaching and experience, they transformed our business into a more supply chain-oriented organization, enabling us to grow while prioritizing employee safety and creating a better work environment. Supply Velocity’s expertise in Lean methodologies and their comprehensive evaluation of our customers have been instrumental in optimizing our operations and increasing customer satisfaction. We highly recommend Supply Velocity to any company seeking to implement Lean processes and enhance their supply chain efficiency.”

Josh Cole, Director of Supply Chain, Crescent Parts & Equipment
“Our experience with Supply Velocity was one of the best values we have ever had from a consulting project. Cyril Narishkin brought a structured lean methodology, invaluable experience and engaging facilitation skills to help us streamline a very complex and disjointed sales order process. Just as importantly, our team now has the knowledge and process competencies to address other business improvement opportunities going forward.”
Mike Howard, CEO, Aspeq

“Supply Velocity gave us the tools to analyze our business and processes based on the facts and numbers versus our perceptions. Our common quote was “Let the numbers lead us”. The key for our organization was how quickly we moved from classroom to actual project initiation. We were able to jump in, start using the tools and see a difference right away.

The get-into-action approach was good for our culture.”

Ned Lane, President, CeeKay Supply
“In thirty years of hiring consultants, Supply Velocity, Inc. was the first to tell me what they were going to do, set a price they stuck to and substantially exceed my expectations. I have recommended them to friends and acquaintances. They were true partners in assisting with the turnaround of an acquisition we had been struggling with for two years.

Their math-based technology, solid down-to-earth facilitation skills, and positive, patient and enthusiastic attitude combined to make our implementation of Lean a very rewarding experience.

We increased our production by 50% in the first month of implementation and continue to see improvements. Improvements have not only been realized in productivity, but also in quality and morale. We have increased profitability by $2M on flat sales of $10M.

Based on Supply Velocity, Inc.’s integrity and our results, I will continue to refer them to others and utilize them in the future as we expand our company through acquisitions.”

Bill Gilbert, President, Fusion Coatings
“We are pleased that Essex selected Supply Velocity, Inc. as our Lean Implementation Partner. At one facility, we have saved over $350,000 in work-in-process inventory, reduced throughput time from 2 weeks to minutes and increased inventory turns 3 to 8 times per year. All these results are in just 6 months. Our return of investment is very high.”
Terry Etter, Vice President of Operations , Essex Medical Systems
“In the spring of 2003, the St. Louis Area Chapter of the American Red Cross engaged Supply Velocity, Inc. to perform a study and make recommendations to streamline office processes, maximize cash flow in purchasing and warehousing and restructure and enhance our maintenance department. Supply Velocity, Inc.’s process was methodical, flexible, staff-oriented, inclusive and, above all, trackable.

In the last six months, our Chapter has realized expense savings of over $380,000 annually, and significant improvement in intra-company service levels has been attained. Supply Velocity, Inc. will return to the Chapter periodically throughout the next 18 months to audit our newly implemented processes. We have been pleased with our results and Supply Velocity, Inc.’s professionalism.”

Joe White, CEO, American Red Cross – Saint Louis Chapter
“Supply Velocity has helped Clean succeed in a number of ways. First, they provided the education that kicked off our Lean Process Improvement journey. They also facilitated a number of large supply chain and process improvement projects including: 1) building quality into our direct-labor productivity incentive program, 2) designing the layout of our garment warehouse, and 3) streamlining our route service process.

We have integrated the methods that Supply Velocity taught us into our management and strategic planning. In the process our quality measurement has improved 22% from 2013 to 2015, we have reduced required annual labor by 2200 hours from the garment facility layout project and we’ve seen 50% decrease in error rate. Obviously the numbers speak for themselves, but just as important, Supply Velocity has been fun to work and have become true partners. They have “taught us how to fish” so our internal teams are able to implement change on their own, with the skills we learned from Supply Velocity. This relationship has been invaluable.”

Jeff Lazaroff, Senior Vice President, Clean Uniform
“We used Supply Velocity on our Warehouse optimization project. One of the key characteristics of Supply Velocity is that they listened to our requirements and provided a clear path for our Warehouse processes using lean tools and our future sales growth as objectives.”
Haris Tokalic, President, Grand Rock, Inc.
“For several years we have worked with Supply Velocity to support us with their expertise on Lean Operations and Supply Chain Management. Supply Velocity has helped us implement Lean, improve our inventory systems, and educate our people. They are professionals who are always available to help us as needed.”
Lorenza Pasetti, CEO, Volpi Foods
“Anheuser-Busch Precision Printing had been implementing Lean Operations on our own for the past two years. We needed to move faster and partnered with Supply Velocity, Inc. Through Supply Velocity, Inc.’s mathematical workflow balancing and visual management tools, dramatic improvements were achieved. The entire converting operation was rearranged based on Lean principles. The result is a 20.6% productivity improvement, enabling us to operate with 23 fewer people in production.”
Rich Lavosky, General Manager, Anheuser-Busch Precision Printing
“Myerson engaged Supply Velocity, specifically Ray Davis to visit our plant in Trinidad to conduct a two day assessment of our production procedures and provide us feedback on areas for improvement and where applicable, areas for future analysis.

Put simply, we got everything we paid for and in addition to more in depth analysis, we got specific tasks that were immediately actionable. Our local management team found Ray to be engaging, highly credible and insightful based on his wide experience. In other words the cultural differences and lack of specific industry knowledge weren’t impediments to things we could implement immediately and on our own. In a nutshell it was money well spent and will pay itself back many times over.”

Lee Hartwell CPA, Plant Manager, Myerson Tooth
“Mitch Millstein and his team helped guide our shop fabrication division in the re-layout of our custom pipe and steel fabrication facility when we moved into a new building. It is not only the results but how he helped. We were involved in every step. I personally did time studies and was able to see the non-value added steps required to manufacture in our old layout. When we created our new layout, everyone was involved, from the executive team to our direct labor force. With Mitch’s help we increased our throughput by a 3x multiple, while providing more competitive prices to our clients as a result of the efficiency improvements.

This has enabled us to not only make more money but also to expand our commercial reach and serve more, and larger customers. I would recommend Supply Velocity to any company that wants to make improvement in supply chain and operations.”

Geoff Gross, President, Gross Mechanical
“Isolating a problem, finding short, and long term solutions with measurable results is what was promised and results is what was delivered by Supply Velocity. Upon launch of the Lean Six Sigma Selling System, we knew more about our customers, our products, and were able to create a solid plan to increase sales of our most profitable products. Within months of implementation, our booked sales jumped 60% and our most valued customers were getting direct, active, and calculable attention.”
Mark A. Presker, General Manager, Architectural Millwork of St. Louis

“Your process encourages this group to work together, better communicate and have fun doing it.”

George Edinger, President, C&R Mechanical
“We engaged with Supply Velocity to help us embed process improvement at all levels of the business. Our team learned from Mitch to let the data drive decisions, to use Lean tools to help us see our processes critically and objectively, and to create a control plan to manage all of the tasks that were the outcome of the data study.

The project turned out to be very significant to the company and most importantly, our customers. We reduced our customer wait times by 40%, and cut in half the labor cost to fulfill customer orders.

Some results are not able to be measured. However, as a result of this project, we have started to build a Lean mindset and culture, which is part of our strategic mission to save our customers money. Supply Velocity has been a valued partner in this mission.”

Dionne Dumitru, COO, Weekends Only
“C&R was struggling with labor productivity. The construction crews were often missing materials that they needed to do their work. This caused significant idle time. Supply Velocity, Inc. and C&R used value stream mapping and visual management tools to make dramatic improvements in operations. Most importantly, two years later C&R is sustaining and improving on the implementation. C&R’s return on investment was 11:1. C&R had a record year last year in both sales and profits and would not have been able to pull it off without the changes Supply Velocity, Inc. helped us make.”
Tom Kuthe, V.P. Construction Operations, C&R Mechanical
“Supply Velocity’s Lean Six Sigma System has given us new tools to help improve our sales performance. We have learned new ways to analyze our business which makes problem solving more accurate and has made us better leaders.”
Rachel Andreasson, Executive Vice President – Marketing, Wallis Companies
“Many thanks to all three Supply Velocity presenters. I think you guys took a very difficult time for learning and capitalized on everyone’s time and training needs. I truly hope this helps your business as this was a considerable undertaking on the part of Supply Velocity. Outstanding!!”
Mark Holdinghausen, VP of Operations, DEMA Engineering
“In 2015 we began working with Dr. Mitch Millstein to optimize our inventory locations supporting e-commerce and in-store inventory needs. From this work we developed a new omni-channel warehousing and inventory plan that entirely redefined our approach to warehousing, inventory management, store distribution and fulfillment. As a result of the analyses by Dr. Millstein we have begun the move to an improved omni-channel design by reassigning MSAs to new warehouses, greater leveraging of in-store inventories to satisfy e-commerce demands, and exploring acquisitions of new warehousing space in strategic locations. We have already seen an improvement of $300,000 from both more efficient shipping strategies due to better inventory management.”
Rob Bowers, Vice President of Strategy, Total Hockey
“We used Supply Velocity to rethink our sales process. By analyzing the entire process we found wasted time in our Sales, Admin and Operations departments. Streamlining this process created extra time for each Sales Rep, allowing them to spend more time with Customers and increase the value we add. Gross profit margins are up 40%!

We are now using Supply Velocity to help us rethink our entire Strategic Plan.”

Jeff Reitz, Vice President, Central States Bus
“The role of the Erie Insurance Marketing Department has been evolving over the past several years – from a support role to a more critical role of driving growth in our organization. Because of our increased workload and desire to prioritize the most critical projects, we hired Supply Velocity to teach us the skills of Lean Six Sigma.

Participants included the Promotions, Market Research and Agency Licensing sections of the Marketing Department.

We learned valuable tools to help us to prioritize based on the voice of the customer.

I firmly believe these skills made a difference in how we work every day. We are moving new projects forward, eliminating or changing ineffective processes, and we are a much stronger department. We continue to use the tools to help us with our highly-complex and time-consuming projects. Supply Velocity helped us to accomplish our goals.”

Karen Rugare, Director of Marketing, Erie Insurance

“Supply Velocity created visibility within our Assurance Services Group… visibility of performance, Client-service, employee satisfaction and processing time. Using the Supply Velocity System, Audit Report Cycle time is down over 50%. We are using his strategies to create greater Client loyalty.”

Fred Kostecki, Partner-In-Charge, Assurance Services, Rubin Brown
“Closure Medical recently completed a major reorganization in order to enhance our ability to rapidly create innovative medical devices. We hired Supply Velocity to help us map out the process and service flows of the new organization that would maximize our product development process (PDP). In four weeks, Supply Velocity helped us envision a new PDP structure, develop measures and accountability for each step, and gain consensus within the organization. Supply Velocity’s focus on speed and accountability helped us complete a critical project in a timely fashion.”
Gabe Szabo, Vice President, Product Development, Closure Medical – A Division of Johnson & Johnson
“Supply Velocity is driving instrumental change in our inventory management processes. This is critical for us to be competitive in a supply chain environment with numerous disruptions. They are making change happen, which can be challenging in a 182 year old organization.”
Jim Carroll, Executive Vice President Operations, Schaeffer Manufacturing

“In a time of volatile supply chain disruption, Supply Velocity is helping us develop Demand and Supply Planning processes to proactively tackle these new challenges. They are genuine partners, working with our team, facilitating and teaching.”

Jane Thrasher, Vice President of Supply Chain, Horizon Hobby
“We are using Supply Velocity’s Lean Six Sigma methods to analyze a variety of processes including rationalizing SKUs (stock-keeping-units). By using math to evaluate SKUs we took some of the emotion out of our decisions. We expect significant increases in sales and productivity from reducing poor performing SKUs.”
Mark Kelso, Director of Process Improvement, Save-A-Lot