StoneWorks services both residential and commercial clients and wanted to grow the $6M business. A market survey revealed that it was only getting half of the orders available from its current clients. Further analysis revealed that typical lead time in the market for stone countertops was running 6-8 weeks. StoneWorks was no exception. If it could significantly shorten its lead time, it would pick up the majority of the available orders from its current clients.
However StoneWorks couldn’t support any expansion because it was landlocked on a small industrial lot. There simply wasn’t enough space at that location.
The company was struggling with the impact of a 6-8 week lead time in its plant. Essentially 6-8 weeks of orders were in various stages of completion throughout the operation. This large volume of incomplete orders was creating chaos throughout the company.
A scheduling system was implemented that set Template and Install dates in a single phone call and with a fixed lead time between the two. Also, orders were not released into the plant if they weren’t absolutely ready for fabrication – all customer decisions were documented, the site was ready for template, and the slabs were at the plant.
As a result of the improvements, the number of orders in process in the plant at a given time was greatly reduced – along with the level of chaos. Lead time dropped from an unpredictable 6-8 weeks to a consistent and predictable 5 days. Capacity of the plant increased 30% with no additional labor. The company was able to pick up additional work from its existing clients as well as taking on new clients. This increased the size of the business to $7.5M in the same space that was struggling to support $6M of business.