October 27, 2016
About the author : Ben Martin is a research and business development associate at Thera Rising Intenational. He also delivers seminars and oversees digital development.
An unresolved conflict at a high-tech manufacturing organization between operations’ customization coordinator and the sales group had undermined workflow and jeopardized profitability. Customized machines made up the majority of the organization’s sales, yet the coordinator’s quotes and feasibility studies were backlogged three months, resulting in the loss of an estimated 25% of their sales.
As in many situations, the conflict was personalized, and both groups blamed individuals in other divisions. The vice president of sales announced at a national sales meeting that the coordinator was, “The single biggest barrier to sales in the organization.” After the coordinator heard the VP’s comments, he stopped working overtime and fell further behind. His attitude deteriorated and he became belligerent, isolated, and cynical.
Working to understand the true nature of the problem, Thera Rising and the coordinator drew a processed map (flowchart) of the steps he completed to produce quotes on customized machines. They identified multiple process problems and many sources of delay.
Thera Rising arranged a meeting where the coordinator presented his process to the director of software and the vice presidents of sales, operations, engineering to a meeting where the coordinator presented his process. For the first time, the executives understood the barriers and complexity of the coordinator’s role and how each division was inadvertently contributing to the backlog.
Thera Rising then coached the coordinator and the executives through streamlining the process. After these changes were implemented, the time to create price quotes and feasibility studies shrank from 6 months to five days. They have remained in that time frame, or below, for the last two years.
Orders lost to delays dropped to zero, resulting in millions of dollars in revenue from sales.