It has been a crazy few years for Belinda and Tony. Ten years ago they started out with a vision to create luxury pools and spas. Every job was different but all jobs demand quality and attention to detail demanded by their high end clientele. Their customers had high expectations and they knew it.
As the business expanded, they reviewed the processes, improved the product, improved their customer service. The results were impressive. This meant that their reputation had been firmly established. James was involved in overall production and quality. He had been a strong part of the success of the company. Implementing some basic Lean stuff that he had experienced in a previous role. Even better, the whole team was enthusiastic about learning and encouraged each other to research in order to bring new ideas to help move the business in the right direction.
Bella had recently been hired to increase their customer service and sales. The impact was immediate. After networking across key markets, they had secured orders extending through into the new year.
On the whole, it was a successful business, they had won the growth category at last year's Chamber of Commerce’s business awards. As they sat down as a leadership team, they reset the targets - rather than the normal 3-4 units per month, they set their target to raise this to 6 per month, doubling again in 12 months time to consistently hitting double digit units each month.
The vision, the plan was set. What was the missing part of the puzzle? Tony and James had been discussing this issue and brought it to the leadership team. As James described, “We have been dabling a bit in this Lean stuff, which has helped, but we need next level thinking otherwise our efforts to scale up successfully will bring us a world of pain”. Bella was immediately excited! “I met this guy at a fundraising event last year and I think he might be just what we need!”
The following week, Rob from Plexus Consulting was walking through the facility and was impressed with what he saw. “You certainly have done well, I can see some positive signs of the Lean effort, but why do you want my help now?” Belinda responded with a clear vision “The team has done well, but some of the production team haven’t been involved so far and if we are to hit our goals, we need specialist help to get us there.''
After completing an in depth Operational Excellence assessment, the target areas were identified and the game plan was set. Rob introduced the findings. “We can improve Lean Thinking on the production floor, but I recommend we lift the focus to achieving an overarching culture of operational excellence”. “This will eventually impact on the customer experience from the first contact through to after delivery”.
The team were surprised by the assessment results. Comparing themselves to established world class standards, they were further behind than they anticipated. What it did show were the enormous opportunities ahead of them.
Bringing Rob on board has already brought benefits. He has helped lift the expectations and put them quickly on an operational excellence journey. The whole team now has the vision and the hard work was about to start. The next session with Rob will be playing with Lego - did they hear that right?