We Work Mostly With Qualifying Small- to Mid-Sized Manufacturers.
- We bring Focus & Leverage to Improvement Efforts.
- Results are typically Fast, Direct, & often Massive … and always reach the Bottom Line.
Routine results since 1988 include:
- 20% to 40% more products produced and shipped from the same Resources, and with the same or reduced Operating Expenses.
- 98% or better On-Time Performance
- 50% – 75% reduced Lead Time
- 50% – 90% reduced WIP
- 25% – 50% reduced Finished Goods
- Reduced Expediting, Overtime, Operating Expenses
Initial Results in 10 – 30 days.
Full implementation in 30 – 120 days.
Even if you bring to the table …
Massive variability in everything, all the time (in sales volume and sales mix, in vendor lead times, incoming quality, internal processes, process times even for the same processes, skills, manpower on any given day, quality, … you name it).
As our Results, Testimonials & References will confirm …
This is the nature and scale of business performance improvement that we ROUTINELY help our clients to generate.
I can’t stress enough … we do this routinely. It’s embarrassing for some companies to consider this, but this scale of results isn’t particularly difficult to achieve in most companies.
We can often have everything in place, with major improvements on the scoreboard, in 45 – 90 days.
For example, one recent client — a small metal fabrication shop — had 4 years of Lean-oriented efforts under their belt and while they’d seen some genuine improvements they were frustrated by lousy on-time performance that got worse every time they tried to move towards “one piece flow” — as the experts urged them to.
“Worse” as in, 74% on-time. The only good news is that their major competitor is also claiming to be “going the Lean route” (a lot of lip-service rather than the real thing, IMO) and their on-time is awful, too.
Anyway … 30 days after starting with Theory of Constraints our client had reduced WIP by more than 50%, reduced in-plant cycle time by more than 50%, shipped 15% more than in any month in their history and hit 85% on-time.
3 months later they were at 98% on-time, with the best lead-time in their local marketplace, still shipping 15% more than they ever did before TOC.
They’ve only slipped below 98.5% on rare occasions since, and always when an outside processor of specialty items let them down, and even then only by a day or 2.
Now these folks have gone further than most. They’ve identified their most profitable products – and they’re not what Cost Accounting suggested. They’ve adjusted a lot of their thinking and their operation around this realization.
They’ve also explored using Mafia Offers to win not just new business, but precisely the type of business that makes them the most profit.
It’ll be interesting to see how far they take this.
Think about it: they’re shipping more than they used to, from the same resources; their competitive performance is the best in their industry; they know which products genuinely make them the most profit; and they know how to win more of that business.
Now, it’s up to their will to execute a little outside of their comfort zone!
Here’s where several companies have similar stories. They invested heavily in Lean some years ago and saw some gains. Naturally, they remain strong Lean advocates. From my perspective, Lean “fragments” had definite applications here. But even a cursory evaluation reveals they have many of the characteristics that make the typical Lean “logistical” solution a poor fit in **their** environments in anything other than low volume situations.
Often high variability in demand, in processes, in process times, in capacity, … in everything.
With virtually no chance of reducing the variability, or at least not quickly. (Naturally we support the methodical reduction of variability **rigorously.**)
Often combined with aggressive promised lead times and sometimes some VERY aggressive shorter-than-normal lead time commitments.
Yet they were always trying to balance their lines! Sometimes informally, sometimes straight out of the text book with Takt times and all.
As an INEVITABLE result these companies play “Whack-A-Mole” all day long, in constant fire-fighting mode. EVERY order falls behind because variability means delays get passed along while dependencies mean catch-up doesn’t work backwards!
Any little “blip” in the system — variability in order mix, order volume, people absent, equipment issues, quality, anything! — is like a large rock being dropped into a pond, and ripples spread out, affecting everything and demanding instant responses to “fix” the problem. Trying for a balanced line in these environments just means that every day management spend most of their time running around, fighting fire after fire, no time to think or plan. Whack-A-Mole.
We deliberately UN-balance their lines! We use time-buffers to immunize delivery against Murphy! Which creates Stock Buffers! All of which would be considered “waste” by some – dogma can be so frustrating. Our system DELIBERATELY accommodated the reality that with statistical fluctuations (variability) and dependent events work falls “behind” at every stage … YET our system virtually guarantees high on-time performance DESPITE Murphy!
Let’s examine this “waste” claim. If doing what I just described brought WIP down by 50%, in-plant cycle time down by 50%, almost eliminated previously chronic expediting, produced on-time delivery routinely in less than promised time, and boosted whole-plant productivity in the shape of, shipping more products from the same resources … is that waste?
The purists will still say “yes,” of course. Sigh. But you know what … they are partly right. What we built is just a foundation for ongoing improvement and there IS still a lot of room for improvement. And Lean may be the best source of those improvements.
How does Synchronix do it?
I wish I could claim I’m brilliant, but even my nearest and dearest wouldn’t grant me that. I do it by using a long-proven, common-sense, and extraordinarily effective approach to business performance improvement called Theory of Constraints, or TOC. You may not have heard of it, even though the book that introduced it – The Goal, by Eli Goldratt – has been a best-seller for a long time. On Time’s list of the 25 most influential business management books of all time. One of only 3 books that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, insists all new managers read. And even though TOC is used by organizations world-wide, many of them household names. TOC is nowhere near as well known as Lean Manufacturing, or Six Sigma, or ERP. But we’ll claim – with lots of data to support us – that if you want a stand-alone improvement technology you’ll get bigger results, faster, with TOC than any of the other technologies. But we don’t need to get into a p***ing contest here! Improvement should NOT be “either/or,” and it isn’t.
Because what’s clear is that TOC makes the OTHER improvement technologies more powerful.
Want proof? Well, how about a 2-year, 21-plant experiment where a combination of TOC, Lean and Six Sigma out-performed solo Lean on financial measurements by 14X and out-performed solo Six-Sigma by 23X? Here’s the case study. It’s worth a read. The results are stunning. And it makes you think; if adding Theory of Constraints to the mix has THAT big an impact … how? What exactly does this technology bring to the table? The case study results are not a surprise. The beauty of TOC is that results are fast, direct, and often massive. And you don’t have to have a perfect implementation to make it so; it’s all about leverage and focus. Provided you focus in the right places, and apply the correct leverage, you’ll get spectacular results even if you do a lousy job. (But we won’t let you do a lousy job, of course.)
To be fair … results like this should be straightforward. 28 years experience should count for something!
And Synchronix has been generating these types of results successfully despite the special challenges posed by many small and medium manufacturing businesses:–
- Unreliable or even non-existent data
- Inadequate computer systems (where they exist at all)
- Employees who managers assure us are “too set in their ways to change” and
- A very thin layer of management that is so stretched with just day-to-day “stuff” that people barely have time to think, let alone get involved with performance improvement projects.
We (Synchronix) specialize in small- to medium-sized manufacturers.
We have colleagues that implement Theory of Constraints in large organizations, with thousands of employees. We’ve been involved with those in the past; they’re lucrative but I don’t have the patience to deal with the B.S. of these big corporations. So: a specialist in small- to mid-size manufacturers.
A suite of companies that have challenges that are different from the larger companies. Our smallest client ever has 3 employees, performing custom millwork for wealthy local clients in Ohio. This is unusually small; 25 – 75 employees is more common.
Synchronix’ largest client without collaboration with others had more than 300 employees, and sales that grew from $40MM to the $75 MM range while system inventories dropped from close to $29MM to less than $10MM. That was a fun project; they sold into Distribution Centres that supplied thousands of retail stores. We synchronized production AND distribution to be in sync with actual consumption at the point of sale. It meant our client wasn’t a slave to the forecast. And their inventories — as they learned when a competitor took them over — were only 30% of their competitor’s equivalent inventories while their on-time performance — 98% availability — was more than DOUBLE their major competitor’s level, despite the smaller inventory.
At a simpler level … we helped a Printer to increase Productivity on their Press (and therefore, in their case, on the operation as a whole) by around 30% while they’ve hit 98%-plus on-time delivery now for years. In that industry, that kind of performance improvement is huge.
And we helped a glass manufacturer where every scheduling approach they examined, wouldn’t work. We built a custom TOC-based system for them in 90 days that hasn’t needed a single day of support in many years. EVERY order these folks get, every job they do, is unique, in an extraordinarily complex environment with a notoriously problematic material and where lead times are brutal (days). Last time we spoke, admittedly a long time ago, their short lead-time and superb on-time performance means they were operating 2 shifts 24-7 while their nearest competitor was running a single 5 hour shift. They absolutely won the “turn-around” following a recession that hit the building trades very hard.
Also … our approach is fully applicable to Job Shops. With no work-arounds needed. (In fact, one feature of the Theory of Constraints essentially hands the owners of some job shops a license to mint money; not all job shops, but some.)
We work with very few companies at any time.
We work with very few companies at any time, and some of our clients prefer not to be identified publicly … but they are more than happy to provide private references. You’ll find them to be passionate about what we helped them achieve, and how we did it. We are not conventional consultants.
How much does this cost?
Look, you KNOW the answer has to be, “it depends.” After we’ve performed an Assessment we can give you a firm quotation.
But what I CAN tell you up-front are 3 things:
1. Improving performance the way we do it is surprisingly inexpensive.
2. While payback continues for years, the payback period is always less than a year; often less than 6 months; and in some cases we’ve had a positive payback on the whole investment before we’ve finished the implementation.
3. We’ll usually give you a fixed price and stick to it even if we’ve underestimated the effort. Which happens, sometimes. In which case, by the way, we do NOT hold back on our effort. We can point to a client that is still in disbelief about our extreme commitment, even when the commitment that we honoured WAS NOT OURS!
Yes, Our Approach to Whole-Company Performance Improvement is NOT conventional
We have been hired in the past to be the contrarian at conferences on performance improvement because we ARE so different. For example, if you were to check out Forbes advice for CEO’s … well, some of this is really good advice but there are a couple of items we’d strongly disagree with (with evidence and logic to back-up our case.) If you took a look at the Wikipedia entry for Performance Improvement, we could invalidate pretty much every point made in the first paragraph! So, if you want to be the same as everyone else … we’re not for you. There are a lot of “me too” consultants out there … we are not one of them. If you want extraordinary results that your competitors will not match … then we may be for you. Talk to us.
Does this interest you?
If this interests you, what do you lose by calling us to discuss it?