Praestar Consulting has been able to help manufacturers in several ways. Following are some case studies related to specific areas of improvement:
MANUFACTURING FIRM TURNAROUND +
PRAESTAR CONSULTING CAN HELP TURN AROUND FAILING MANUFACTURING FIRMS.
Who: A leading manufacturer of fluorescent light fixtures
Problem: Both revenues and profits had significantly fallen due to lack of cost competitiveness and poor pricing strategy. The organization showed very little teamwork with no evidence of cross-functional problem solving. At no point had the organization embraced Lean Manufacturing principles. The firm had no marketing or operations plan. The Sales Manager had no relationships with the independent representatives that sold for the company. The CEO of the firm was nearing retirement and felt his two potential successors were unprepared to run the firm.
Solution: Praestar Consulting was contracted to supply an interim CEO to the firm for a six month turnaround. After conducting an intense organizational assessment, Praestar terminated the Sales Manager, interviewed replacement candidates, selected and trained a new Sales Manager. Praestar formed company-wide Task Forces within the organization to address several key operating problems (inventory, lean manufacturing, quality, and Management Council). Additionally, town-hall meetings w3ere held monthly with all company personnel. Processes within the firm were formalized and improved. The two potential successors were intensely trained in all aspects of business administration on a biweekly basis. Operating, Marketing, and Business plans were written. Praestar supplied tactical execution guidance to the Management team for a smooth handoff at the end of the six month period.
Benefits: Client employees performed as teams, gained significant continuous improvement culture, and successfully increased both revenue and profits for the firm. Market share was increased dramatically due to faster response times in production, competitive pricing (which was made possible due to improved cost management), and better production quality. CEO’s successors were deemed ready to take over the firm when CEO retires.
QUALITY IMPROVEMENT +
PRAESTAR CONSULTING CAN HELP ELIMINATE UNRESOLVED QUALITY PROBLEMS AND REDUCE WARRANTY COSTS
Who: A Leading Automotive Manufacturer with Global Operations
Problem: The firm experienced abnormally high warranty costs across all product families. They also experienced increased customer dissatisfaction with repeat-occurences of the same failure mode.
Solution: Praestar Consulting analyzed warranty data and found that problems, when detected, were not adequately solved due to failed identification of root cause(s). Praestar Consulting developed Root Cause Analysis training, facilitated solving sessions (including Fault Tree, ishikawa, and five-why analysis), and helped develop “killer tests” to verify problem resolution. Training and consulting was delivered around the world by Praestar staff to all engineering, quality, and production engineering staff members.
Benefits: Measured customer satisfaction showed strong increases. Warranty costs were significantly reduced along with repeat-claims. The training program delivered by Praestar resulted in sustained quality improvement.
STRATEGY EXECUTION WITH INTERIM LEADERSHIP +
PRAESTAR CONSULTING CAN HELP EXECUTE STRATEGY WITH INTERIM LEADERSHIP
Who: A Leading Manufacturer of Industrial Automated Equipment
Problem:Firm had promoted their most technically savvy engineer into role as Director of Engineering position without any management or supervisory training. Consequently, when the Firm entered into a highly competitive situation due to industry evolution, the Director could not drive strategy implementation within his department. He did not measure nor manage schedules or costs within his department. Designs were habitually late and over-budget. There was also significant cost due to “design rework” because of lack of inter-discipline communication within the Engineering department
Solution:Praestar Consulting was contracted to supply an interim Director of Engineering while a nation-wide search was conducted. During the contracted period, Praestar established schedules and budgets within the Engineering department. Responsibility and authority was clearly communicated to all lead Engineers on projects. Visual displays were installed in the department for schedule and cost performance metrics. Weekly “stand up” departmental meetings were initiated where all engineering disciplines reported status and identified “boundary issues” between disciplines that needed further analysis and discussion.
Benefits:During an extraordinarily busy period of market share growth and record-setting revenue pace, all machine orders were brought under managerial control. Both cost and schedule targets were achieved for active projects. Departmental stand-up meetings resulted in enhanced inter-discipline engineering discussions thus eliminating missed features and significantly reducing boundary issues. A permanent Director of Engineering was recruited and seamless transition occurred.
DIVERSIFICATION OF CUSTOMER BASE +
PRAESTAR CONSULTING CAN HELP INCREASE DIVERSIFICATION OF CUSTOMER BASE
Who:A Leading Manufacturer of Wire Harnesses and Custom Cables
Problem:The Firm had organically grown sales over its 30+ year history. In doing so, one local large manufacturer had become their largest customer, enjoying 70% of their annual sales. The Firm identified this as a significant risk and sought to broaden its customer base.
Solution:Praestar first analyzed current and historic sales to identify strengths and weaknesses of the Firm’s marketing and sales capabilities. Praestar immediately identified several opportunities to expand current customer relationships to decrease reliance on the primary customer. Praestar then conducted some marketing research and identified several industries (and target customers within those industries) where the Firm’s strengths would be very attractive to the customers. Praestar interviewed, selected, and negotiated agreements with several independent representative firms that sold to those markets on behalf of the Firm. Praestar coached the Firm on dealing with independent representatives since they had no experience with this sales channel.
Benefits:The Firm experienced significant sales growth through new and existing channels. The goal that no customer held a majority share of sales was achieved. The Firm experienced significant growth during this period.
Sales Management +
Praestar Consulting can help manage sales for growing businesses.
Who: A machine rebuild and fabrication Facility.
Problem: The Company, established over 30 years ago by the current owner, found that sales had declined significantly. A new sales manager had been hired who had no experience.
Solution: Praestar Technology Corporation was contracted to assist in business development and to train new sales manager. Combination of sales and marketing theory as well as field sales calls were conducted to train the sales manager. Sales leads were identified, qualified, and provided to Sales Manager for follow-up.
Benefits: New sales manager was trained to lead business development. Company realized new business opportunities. Trend of declining revenue was reversed, resulting in growth of the company.
SALES INCREASE +
PRAESTAR CONSULTING CAN HELP DEVELOP BUSINESS AND INCREASE REVENUE.
Who:Leading manufacturer of Protective Enclosures
Problem: Company consistently missed sales and profitability targets after acquisition by new majority shareowner.
Solution:Praestar Technology Corporation was contracted to analyze sales management and business development efforts. PTC personnel conducted a thorough organizational analysis, identifying areas of opportunity for new owner. Market research was conducted and visits to customer trade shows were worked with interviews of existing sales representative networks.
Benefits:Company received a comprehensive plan for its representative network, including a model of the ideal representative and growth opportunities. A solicitation was mailed to prospective representatives and company received an extensive, screened candidate list. A new market was identified for the company along with specific sales leads and contact information. New customers with specific projects and leads were provided to company as a result of trade show visits.
QUANTIFY LEAN MANUFACTURING PERFORMANCE +
PRAESTAR CONSULTING CAN HELP IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES FOR PROCESS IMPROVEMENT WITH A LEAN ASSESSMENT
Who:A Leading Manufacturer of Cable Assemblies, Wire Harnesses, and Control Cabinetry
Problem:The Firm was faced with strict guidance from top customers that costs must be reduced from key products or they would be forced to “shop around.” The Firm had never implemented any aspects of Lean Manufacturing within its operations. While they hoped to reduce costs, the Firm had no sense where the largest gains could be made or how to start the Lean Journey.
Solution:Praestar Consulting was contracted to conduct a Lean Assessment (http://www.measure-lean.com) . Praestar assessed each area of the Operation and identified gaps between World Class Manufacturing and the performance of the Firm.
Benefits:The Firm received as outputs of the Lean Assessment a measure of their current operational performance relative to World Class Manufacturing. Additionally, the Firm received complete gap analysis showing the areas where the Firm can improve. Finally, the Firm also received recommendations and a process roadmap for the Lean Journey.
MARKETING STRATEGY AND SALES TACTICS +
PRAESTAR CONSULTING CAN HELP DEVELOP MARKETING STRATEGY AND SALES TACTICS
Who:A Leading Manufacturer of Equipment used in the Parking Industry
Problem:The Firm had experienced significant competition from low cost countries (particularly China and India). Losing cost advantage, the Firm lacked significant competitive advantage with their products and had no strategic direction within the firm. Sales had significantly declined.
Solution:Praestar Consulting analyzed the Firm’s current and past customer base. Additionally, Praestar analyzed the cost structure of their products. Significant opportunities for cost savings (new vendors and product design for cost savings opportunities) were identified. Additionally, Praestar conducted market surveys and identified opportunities for marketing success. A strategic and tactical marketing and sales plan was developed.
Benefits:After integrating cost savings into more competitive pricing (which resulted in higher margins for the products despite the lowered prices) and utilizing the Praestar marketing process, the Firm saw increased sales through past and new market channels. The firm is now sustainable in the long-term.