Think of Lean Manufacturing as a Business Development Strategy
Part of my goal with my executive coaching is to pair the right strategy with the right printing owner. If sales are slumping and you’re looking to grow, most printing owners instinctively either cut staff or quickly assemble an effort to target the new industry. But lean manufacturing can also be a business development strategy, helping you develop efficiencies you may not have ever considered.
Both are not viable strategic solutions.
Another method that warrants consideration is your internal processes, particularly “lean manufacturing.” If you’re unfamiliar with lean manufacturing, its focus really isn’t on trimming the fat and eliminating unnecessary jobs. Far from it, actually.
Lean manufacturing can help you discover new ways to cut costs and operate in a lean, efficient manner.
I recently did some work with a member of the LaManna Alliance, who specializes in lean manufacturing. We worked with a printer who, for a lack of a better term, was at the end of his rope. His million dollar business was losing more millions than it was making.
The problem? To be honest, it started at the top. The owner was making a myriad of management issue mistakes that prevented lean manufacturing from coming to fruition:
- He wasn’t using the resources that were in place. We were surprised to discover that many of the lean manufacturing tools were already in place. The right software was there for ERP, and the talent was waiting to use it.
- He was spending too much time on product development instead of a market development. My lean manufacturing partner told me that a typical entrepreneur will spend 80% of his or her time on new business development. This particular owner was spending less than 15%, and thought that was too high.
- He wasn’t on the floor. There appeared to be little interaction between himself and his people running the manufacturing operations. Not much walking the front line to keep troops focused on the hand.
The beautiful part of all this? The ship could easily be righted with some minor adjustments, and I’m happy to report that my client understands this. He’s not interested in selling his business, and I think he understands the need for change.
Sometimes we have all the tools we need, it’s just a matter of using them more effectively and efficiently. Don’t just hang that “For Sale” sign out when the going gets tough. Instead, take a look at how to get lean and mean.
(Photo by o5com)
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Rock LaManna is the President and CEO of the LaManna Alliance. The LaManna Alliance helps printing owners and CEOs use their company financials to prioritize and choose the proper strategic transition – including mergers, acquisitions, organic growth, and exit / succession plans.