If you are not already aware MAS are a government funded organisation that provide SME manufacturers based in England with impartial advice on improvement and growth. They also provide grant funding to manufacturing businesses, which enables them to subsidise paying for external lean manufacturing consultants like Futurestate Solutions.
The feedback we have received is based on 9 projects we have delivered for manufacturing SME clients such as Ritherdon, Mercol Office Furniture, Rattan Direct and International Pheromone.
The simplest way to find out why we score so high would be to ask our customers or follow our 10 step guide...
Staff feedback from the Lean Awareness training highlighted how refreshing it was to have no lecturing and how the hands-on, interactive teaching style really got the theories of lean philosophy across to everyone (which can sometimes be quite counter-intuitive).
Working with a cross functional team for the VSM project, rather than just management was a really powerful and effective way of getting better understanding, empowerment and buy in from the team. It made the job of selling some quite controversial changes in working habits a lot easier. A value stream that was losing money was identified, a huge amount of wasted time was discovered and attacked by the team and so far the job times have come down by 25-30%. I’d advise senior management just to stand back and enjoy watching your staff identify and fix problems in your company.”
Ben Ritherdon, Managing Director, Ritherdon & Co.
1. Internal Champion – A lot of the time the difference between success and failure for us is having an internal Champion. This is someone that feels empowered enough to take ownership and is willing to drive the improvement program. You know when this is working when progress is being made in your (Consultants) absence.
2. Senior Sponsor – If the senior team are not bought in it’s not going anywhere! We may make pockets of progress but ultimately it will not be sustained.
3. Why Bother? – The whole team needs to be aware ‘WHY’ we (Futurestate Solutions) are in the business. A clear message needs to be communicated before we arrive. It’s not healthy to hide anything from your team. Be honest from day 1.
4. Clear Outcome – Manufacturing Co be clear about what you expect from us. Consultant be clear about what you are capable of, where you intend to focus, what you intend to do, with who and when.
5. Timescale – We all know that the expectations are ‘we want this yesterday’ so Consultant don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Be clear about timescales and that progress will not be made without a time commitment from the team you are working with.
6. Involve People – Our approach is always as inclusive as our clients will allow. We use minimal amounts of PowerPoint (typically none) and spend the majority of our time DOING rather than talking. We always push for cross functional teams and to work directly with people at the coal face (the experts).
7. Visualise Everything – Keep everything transparent and visual all the theories, planning, brainstorming, metrics, etc. so all can see what is happening. We use huge sheets of paper, lots of post its and lots of colour. This makes it easier to feedback to Sponsors and other team members what progress is being made.
8. Live you Values – Every Consultancy has its own DNA and its own personality. We at Futurestate Solutions live by our values, this way everyone knows what to expect.
9. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – Communicate what you are planning on doing, communicate what is happening and communicate what you have achieved. I’ve never worked in any business where people said “we communicate too much”.
10. Have Fun! – It seemed a shame to leave it at 9 so do as I do every day of the week… have fun!
Hopefully these few tips have stimulated your thoughts enough for you to want to contact MAS and see how they can support your manufacturing business. Or you can contact us directly. Just don’t do nothing.
MAS Contact No: 0845 658 9600