SOS has worked with a variety of manufactures from different industries to create innovate and execute solutions. Several examples are included below:
Global Chemical Manufacturer. Led team designing and executing a unique assessment / strategy formulation / project implementation methodology, and co-led its use with leadership of 13 strategic business units and functions. Focus was on the value chain and downstream customers. The assessment included evaluation of current strategy, systems and processes, culture, assets, competition, etc. Leadership workshops included evaluation of strategy, identification and prioritization of opportunities and chartering of projects to capitalize on the opportunities.
Manufacturer of automotive performance enhancing and maintenance products. The blending and packaging operations were plagued by quality events resulting in scrap, rework, missed schedules, low productivity and high cost. Firefighting and conflict led to inefficient use of resources and diminished plant capacity. SOS performed a strategic assessment of the organization’s quality management system. While the organization had a dedicated and loyal workforce, vision, strategy and quality expectations and roles were not aligned. Twelve opportunities for improvement were identified, prioritized, and sequenced in three timeframes – immediate, short-term and long-term. SOS then facilitated the execution of the immediate opportunities using learning cycles of Learn-Plan-Commit-Do-Report-Reflect with a small task team. The work resulted in the organization receiving multiple ISO registrations and facilitated the smooth start-up of a new blending facility.
North American communications provider. The print businesses embarked on an effort to improve cash flows by re-engineering and automating its business planning, financial and customer service operations with the goal to standardize these business processes across different print platforms and customers prior to installation of a new ERP system, SOS developed and documented a methodology to guide process teams to achieve the required timing in such a way that built collaborative teams across business units and functions and developed execution and improvement knowledge, skills and abilities within the process team members.
A national plumbing company saw its competitiveness decline due to high cost and poor quality. By looking at the value chain in which this company operated, we knew there were many downstream customers that had needs that were not being met. Based on this the company revised its concept of the customer, and started to actively work downstream by creating products with different characteristics that met the needs of these customers. These new products and relationships enabled the company to work with their suppliers in tool design, new materials, process cycle time reduction, and mindsets to save over $1million and position the company for a far more successful future.
Office Furniture Manufacturer. Consulted on vision, strategy and problem solving along a five business value chain. A mindset shift enabled improved execution, quality, innovation and productivity for what became the best-selling office chair of all time. Examples of innovation included plastic materials, elastomeric fabric, attachment technology, and development of team visioning and problem solving competencies to continue such innovations in other products.
Global food and beverage manufacturer. Experiencing waste, long cycle times, low productivity and high costs throughout its manufacturing operations, the organization chose to implement Six Sigma for breakthrough improvements. SOS co-led the development and delivery of Green Belt training, coaching 75 Green Belts to certification and over $2 million in savings.
North American communications provider. The print businesses sought an approach to change mindsets on the production floor and embed them into daily work practices in such a way that created standard work and took advantage of real-time process performance data. Working closely with a corporate task team, SOS helped create a process variability reduction (PVR) methodology that standardized print and binding operations and removed sources of variation within the control of the process work teams. The methodology created a foundation for Six Sigma breakthrough projects. Over the course of four years the print operations saw 4-10% sustained increase in throughput, an average $57k/year/press and $73k/year/ binding line in labor savings alone; savings in ink and paper ,and an additional 5.6million in Six Sigma Black Belt savings were also achieved. Operations teams owned daily process improvement and were more inclined to sustain the improvements over time. Capital expenditures for the improvements were minimal. Conformance to schedule improved with the reduction in variability and as a result customer service was able to commit to new work within a specified time period with more confidence. In addition, operations team members and leadership experienced less stress in their daily lives.
OEM Automotive Manufacturer. SOS was invited to innovate one of their truck cold air duct systems. Developing a collaborative approach across the value chain, from materials suppliers to OEM, approximately 1 year was eliminated in the timing to bring new products to market, eliminate 5 parts and achieve savings of over $1million. The project won numerous automotive awards for innovation, productivity and quality.
Appliance Manufacturer: Worked with a four business value chain. Consulted on re-engineering the design-build process, resulting in higher quality, shorter cycle times and increased innovation. Led to formation of strategic partnerships and creation of a collaborative and innovative business development method to increase project revenues by over 10%.
Additional Examples from Our Diverse Work Experience
Education. Planned and executed a joint industry-academia effort to build an alliance of leaders of over 100 firms, to develop vision, structure, assessment, strategy, detailed operating plans, performance monitoring, and problem-solving. The work resulted in building the largest customer focused plastics college in the USA at Ferris State University: The Plastics and Elastomers School of Technology.
State-funded research university. The Grants and Contracts department of a large state-funded research university applied SOS’s daily process improvement to their billing processes. Sources of variation in the process were identified, billing processes simplified and standardized, metrics introduced, and personnel trained in the new process. The need to perform manual billing was reduced by 13% and the time to create manual bills was reduced by approximately 25%, allowing the university to recover thousands of awarded funds from federal agencies and research foundations
An IT business had fallen victim to a common trap – that of having internal people design what they wanted to create, or what they thought the customer would want, without really knowing what was important to customers. Discussions with customers revealed large gaps between internal perceptions and customer wants and needs. This resulted in a new way to serve customers and catalyzed performance improvement across the rest of the company. In addition, there was a lack of accountability with suppliers. SOS’s work in “vision to action” catalyzed a budget reduction from $900k to $700k while improving organizational trust and morale.
A healthcare company asked for help to improve execution of the patient experience. Patients were engaged in a way that led to creation, prioritization and execution of improvement projects. The entire organization was engaged in benchmarking and vision to action business plans. Over $2million was saved, healthier mindsets built and the need for workforce reductions eliminated, saving many jobs. The approach placed more effort on working on instead of in the business. A regional network of healthcare providers who shared best practices in problem solving, patient experience and a future vision of how was created to provide better cancer care to the region.
“Working with an external consultant had not been an effective business practice at Wollin Products because of ongoing poor execution and results.
As a result of working with Ron’s collaborative and effective leadership s style, we successfully improved our productivity by over 20% in our agricultural tyne business. Our customer was prepared to make changes that were likely to increase costs and reduce our margins.
Ron was able to work well with our leadership team to build agreement on a vision to action plan that was a “win” for Wollin Products, our customer and suppliers. We improved our process and customer material quality by improving material, tool and screw design. We improved our relationship, product quality and margins with our customer while reducing their costs.
I would recommend that small to midsize businesses work with Ron and the team at SOS Consulting. His efforts at improving our execution were very effective. He helped change our mindsets as how to solve critical problems and achieve our goals and improve worker morale. I have been happy with the timely manner he bringsto his work. If you need everybody to come together to improve execution, bring these folks in. I want to thank him for doing so. I was very pleased with the quality and affordability he brings, providing much better value than we could have done alone.”
- Robert Howell VP Marketing and Sales, Wolllin Products Injection Molders
“We brought Susan in to evaluate our chemical manufacturing and packaging processes several years ago. Susan identified many areas where we were susceptible to issues due to inaccurate fill weights, poor QC reporting and the need for a robust Corrective and Preventive Action process.
With Susan’s experience and guidance, she helped provide the foundation of a top notch quality management system that resulted in our organization acquiring multiple ISO certifications. She was instrumental in getting our processes under control and educating the team of the strategic importance of “Quality” and what it means in a broader sense.
I would highly recommend Susan as a high caliber analyst and strategist for any company that needs assistance with their management systems.
- Darin Greseth President, BG Products, Inc.
I had the privilege of working with Ron Mathos, now a leader with SOS Consulting, while the Senior Director of Operations for a large private practice cancer center. Ron was brought into the practice to help improve processes and tear down silos that were hindering forward moving progress.
When Ron was first brought in, I thought to myself how is this person with no healthcare experience going to help us – we are a very complex organization with the honor and great responsibility of caring for people with cancer. My concern was quickly removed as Ron embraced the practice and immediately grasped the nuances of the industry like he had worked in healthcare all of his career.
During Ron’s time with the practice he engaged everyone toward a common goal – to improve patient outcomes. With Ron’s leadership we set up Quality Councils at each of our sites. These were cross-functional groups that as the name suggests, worked on improving the care of patients. I could list all of the projects that were accomplished while Ron was with the practice but the biggest impact were not these specific projects. The biggest impact Ron had was that he gave us tools and a sustainable process we could continue on our own.
I would recommend working with Ron if you want to give your business a competitive edge and improve your quality.