I was fortunate to purchase a company in 1997. I am a Mechanical Engineer and completed an MBA in business, ran corporate divisions, etc.
When I first purchased the company I felt qualified to run and operate the enterprise. After all I have been educated, had a lot of experience and should know or be able to figure out the right thing to do and be successful. I soon found my element — I was not even close to fully understanding and growing the business.
My first few visits by major customers brought the reality of being in charge. I tried very hard to discuss the three keys to running a business, Price, Quality and Delivery! I believed you could have two of the three but not all three. In other words people were told they could have quality and delivery but not most favored pricing. Or, best pricing and quality but delivery may suffer. I did this in meetings and pretty much ran the company to this standard.
Years later I learned about Lean Manufacturing and the possibilities of eliminating waste in the organization. Without even thinking about it or acknowledging it I began to understand that if you want to be in and stay in the market you need really good pricing, quality and delivery. Almost like magic I found all three were achievable.
It wasn't until years later that I was called out in front of several hundred people at a major supplier conference, in a Q&A session. One of the attendees was in my plant and knew me back in the beginning when I purchased the company. He raised the question “Mr. Fry — years ago you said we could only have two of the three Price, Quality or Delivery.”. What do you say now?
Needles to say I had not thought of that question in many years. however, my answer changed — “Sir, — after getting really into Lean Manufacturing I can say and I fully believe that we now can and do and provide best in class on all three points. Our costs are lower and we are more competitive. Quality, especially to stay in the aerospace industry, has and will continue to improve. Deliveries are very much improved on-time and our lead times are becoming lowest in the industry. My story has changed and I can back it up.”
Get into “Lean Manufacturing” — And see what can happen!
Remember “Lean” works only if all involved “believe” from top of the organization down.
Make 2016 your best year yet!