In a previous article we talked about 3 ways to get 3 things every shop owner wants. Today, we are bringing strategy #3 to life with a real world example from our shop.
Let’s review our example to highlight the $1, $10, $100 thought process and then take a look at our video to see what it looks like in our shop.
I will admit that, at first, I did not understand the purpose of a vision statement. I just thought it to be something of a website filler or a cool banner hanging in the shop.
On the contrary, a vision is much more than that. A vision serves as a guide for every decision the company and employees make. It is your guide for the present and the future.
In the last two weeks, we dove deep into the lean pillars of Eliminating Waste and Continuous Improvement. This week are diving into Adding Value for our customers.
Remember, understanding these pillars on a deeper level IS WORTH IT. Once you understand and see the implications of lean in your shop, you will jump in with all you’ve got and NEVER look back.
In last article, we laid the foundation of pillars of lean and discussed the impact of eliminating the waste. Understanding pillars of lean on a deeper level IS WORTH IT. Once you understand and see the implications of lean in your shop, you will jump in with all you’ve got and NEVER look back.
In our last article, This is Your Brain on LEAN, we laid the foundation that we will build on for future articles about building a LEAN culture. In that article we established 3 pillars of LEAN. In this article we will dig deep into the pillar of eliminating waste.
Have you ever walked into your job and it’s just one of those days when you wish that you could just fire yourself?
Well I say, let's quit talking about it and just do it!
As we mentioned before, firing yourself is absolutely key to your shop succeeding and growing in value and it's one the most rewarding experiences I've ever had as a business owner.
If you grew up with my generation you no doubt remember the anti-drug ad with the frying pan and the egg. The message was simple and the ad if nothing else left a mark.
Before writing this article, I was driving down the road thinking about our production flow and thought to myself that I am brain fried right now with this LEAN stuff! You can’t unsee waste. Once you start viewing the world through waste goggles you start realizing it (waste) is everywhere.
Take a deep dive into your cabinet design and see what things you do that maybe are not necessary or creating more value for the customer. Are there things you do just because ‘that’s the way we have always done it’?
Start with those items and see if you can standardize them to make them easier and better.
Between our corrections and his input, we are building a foundation of excellent processes and quality control that produces reliable, consistently high quality product, day in day out.
Systemizing your own processes and prioritizing quality will result in three things every shop owner wants: happier customers, the ability to provide products on a schedule, and few defects, if any.
When you first start out in the cabinet business, excitement and possibility fuel you, but soon a reality hits: It is really, really hard to make money. With that reality comes the question we all hate but can’t help but ask, “Is there any money in the cabinet business?”
This is a question that I have asked myself on more than one occasion and if you would have asked me in the first couple years of my business, then I would have answered with an emphatic, “No!”
What do you want?
Seems like a simple question, right? I am not talking about right now but what do you want for the long road? Do you want to retire, sell, make a million dollars, or make a billion? Do you want to have a business that gives as its mission and that drives sales?
What do you want?
Last week, we went through the first three steps that will get you on your way to fueling your sales engine and escaping the vicious sales cycle.
We laid a foundation for your sales plan and now, if you've started tackling steps 1-3, you are ready to rev up your sales engine in a way that will blow you (and your customers') minds.
Does “increasing sales” to your shop generally mean you got a few extra referrals? Maybe your best builder pulled a couple extra permits?
While both situations are a welcomed event, they were not planned, and more importantly not under our control.
In this day of super connectivity, it seems that social media is the stage for looking as good as we can. This is not going to be that kind of article.
As a manufacturer, one of the most important things we do is control our quality. Without quality, we will not have customers.
I am sure we have all heard the quote, “When it rains, it pours.” For me, this week was a monsoon when it came to trouble with quality.
We have been a custom cabinet maker for about 15 years now. What I have been noticing in the industry, post recession, is the need to outsource for most small shops.
I have committed my business to automating as much as possible, and making standardized systems for everything we do. In doing this, we found our company was changing into a niche component manufacturer rather than a custom job shop.
No doubt we have all heard it before, “Great businesses are built with great people.”Easier said than done.
Learning how to truly team build changed our business and it will change yours too. There is no better feeling as an owner when you make a great hire and it moves your company forward, closer to your goals.
So how do you go about making those kinds of hires? How do you go about building an A-team?
Several weeks ago I posted an article on TOC, Theory of Constraints, and explained that in our operation a single bottleneck was needed to control the product flow. This thinking goes against the teachings of LEAN.
Over the years, I have met many shop owners and leaders in our industry around the world and I want to bring their struggles and successes to the masses. I truly believe that if everyone knows how to succeed, then the bar will raise and the industry will be better from it.
When we start a business our only concern is getting enough work to sustain and live another day. Sometimes this burden can drive a business owner to make irrational decisions like pricing cheap.
On the surface it sounds great to get that new shiny contract and add more revenue to the business. In reality if you discount you are crafting a bigger anchor.
There is nothing more frustrating than selling more work and not being able to produce it. If your monthly sales can no longer match your current throughput then you have a dilemma. Increase capacity, or ultimately lose the ground you just made by getting extra sales.
1 step forward 2 steps back.
At some point, every cabinet shop owner has faced the problem of running behind schedule. So we work all nighters, weekends, and do whatever it takes to make it happen….only to ultimately find ourselves stuck back in the Vicious Sales Cycle.
Many shop owners try to apply lean manufacturing concepts to fix this problem. I did the same, but the results came up short.
If you are anything like me the question, “What is my business worth?”, crosses your mind periodically. Speaking for myself, I know that this is my retirement, my savings, 401k and everything else. So it is logical to ask the question.
However, I have found that asking the question is much easier than finding the answer.
I have been in the cabinet and component industry for 15 years and the majority of those years I have been either learning about outsourcing or implementing better systems in my operation to make our standardized processes more efficient. I’ve done this because I know that it’s key to making it in the cabinet industry and because I have a hunger to get better every day.
During these 15 years I have tried every construction method for cabinets under the sun; from staples, confirmat, dowels, blind dado and screws.
Have you ever noticed in your business that sales activity and cash seem to be mutually exclusive?
In other words, when you are hitting the streets and drumming up new work, your cash is at a low point. Then, when you hit some of that work and start production you start to get cash, but your sales activity is low.
As a business owner wearing several hats, it can oftentimes be difficult to navigate these times of feast or famine. More importantly, it is hard to understand why it is happening.
Some call it the “Concierge Service.” We call it the “Experience Package.”
When customers are making a major purchase like new cabinets, it is an emotional purchase. Emotional purchases need a different kind of customer service. They need the Experience Package.
What do I mean when I say the “Experience Package”? Think Disney World.
Logically speaking, finish out should be the easiest and fastest stage of a project because you are dealing with finished products that are simply being installed.
If only that were the case.
The first time that I remember ordering online was in college. I had heard about Ebay and how you could buy things people were selling. I was skeptical so I bought something for very cheap. I remember it to be something for my stereo.
Back then I don’t think that the internet was well suited or ready for selling anything much other than stock products sold from a picture, and I certainly never imagined it having a place in the cabinet industry.
While it may be true that some employees don’t care, have you ever stopped as an owner or leader to ask, “What would this employee's approach to a situation be if he had all the knowledge he would need to do, not only his job, but any job in the shop?”
When I asked myself this question, I realized that equipping my team by standardizing systems could change everything.
Something was wrong.
I was literally going crazy about 3 or 4 years ago when I decided I needed a change.
I could never seem to move forward in the cabinet business for the constant moving backwards. One step forward, two steps back.
About 10 years ago I realized that, for a small to medium cabinet shop, outsourcing cabinet doors was the only reasonable way to go.
Beyond the normal problems of quality control, training, turnover, and capacity was the enormous amount of equipment needed to build doors.