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Driving Efficiency through Digital Transformation

Author: Jason Zenger
Published On: Aug 14, 2023 12:00:00 PM

MC 371 Blog Image

“Sometimes the biggest benefits you reap come from the biggest risks you take.” – Kevin Richards

Four years ago, just before COVID hit, JJR Fabrication made a concerted effort to change the trajectory of their company. They took a leap of faith to change how they did things. So they spent $55,000 on new software that they thought would change their world…and it did nothing for them. 

Every day seemed harder. Nothing went smoothly. Then they came across ProShop. They decided to make the switch and cut their losses. When they first started using ProShop, they were surviving. 

They were in the implementation phase when the Covid pandemic started. Unfortunately, their team was whittled down to six. Lynne came back in a different role, and they had to start over with ProShop. 

But as Lynne dove in, she immediately saw the benefit of ProShop. She worked with the help desk to clean up the bad data in their system. Then, two years ago, they were finally able to roll it out. It quickly replaced everything they were using (an Excel Sheets document).

But once they implemented it, their business accelerated in ways they never imagined. ProShop is your QMS, your manufacturing plan, and it drives everything. It just clicked

The physical changes they’ve implemented

When they rolled out ProShop, they realized their digital infrastructure was going to outpace what their physical infrastructure was capable of producing. 

ProShop is intuitive and straightforward and anyone can understand it in a matter of days. So they applied the same concept to their shop. Now, with a neat, clean environment and a digital interface that told them what they were supposed to work on, the process has become smooth. 

Each workstation has tools and workspaces and racks fit to what they’re designed to do. Kevin’s goal is to have a new hire—by day three—be able to look at a work order and be able to know where to perform the work and where to take it next. 

They never have to hunt for anything. They don’t want their team wasting time and energy wondering what they’re supposed to do next. They built their physical capacity to do 3x what they were doing before. And it’s working

The premise of “2 Second Lean”

Paul Akers is the owner of Fastcap, a company that makes tools for woodworking. He also wrote a book called “2 Second Lean.” The basic premise is that you should try and improve your process by 2 seconds every single day. That means you have to work on lean improvement activities every day. 

At Fastcap, they spend the first 30 minutes focusing on lean improvement activities to try and remove steps from their process to remove waste. That’s one of the greatest benefits of a digital transformation and automation. It starts by asking the question: Are we getting the most out of our human potential? 

People inspire people. Every second of a person’s time that you can free up to change a company is tenfold more valuable than anything else you can do. Kevin used to spend half of his time printing out a spreadsheet and walking around their facility identifying the status of every part and updating it accordingly. Now, he spends 100% focused on what they need to do next and improving their business globally every single day. 

Why they implemented a morning meeting

To implement their own version of 2 Second Lean, every one of JJR Fabrication’s employees is encouraged to write down and track any inefficiency or frustration that they come across during their workday. Then, every day after they clock in, they can sip their coffee and spend time focusing on making some sort of improvement to their process. 

This is followed by an all-hands meeting at 9:30. Based on Kevin’s calculations, they technically lose $167,000 a year by doing this. However, it’s been worth every penny. They recently hit their 31st week of the year and already beat the previous year’s annual total. Efficiency is the absence of waste. And because they’re more efficient, they’re getting more done, and actually making more money. 

Listen to episode #371 of MakingChips to learn about their game-changing pre-production checklist and other ways you can make a successful digital transformation in your shop!

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