Transitioning to the communicative, flexible and self-regulating manufacturing methods of tomorrow usually takes huge amounts of time and effort. But it doesn't have to. Christian Zeller and Wolfram Hackbarth show how crisis-hit companies can re-point their production systems quickly and sustainably.
by Christian Zeller and Wolfram Hackbarth
With concepts like "just-in-time production", Toyota and its legendary Toyota Production System (TPS) have had a lasting impact on countless companies around the world. When it was introduced in the early 1990s, the Japanese manufacturing system established new standards and benchmarks for the automotive sector and other manufacturing industries. But today we know this legendary production system has to be closely woven into a company's DNA – its strategy, corporate and even national cultures. This takes time – something crisis-hit companies usually don’t have. Luckily, there’s ePS4x from enomyc.
For many companies, the introduction of classic production systems like TPS is a Herculean task. Employees in all departments and across all levels of hierarchy have to internalize the thinking of typical TPS concepts like process orientation, standardization and visualization. This implies a far-reaching restructuring of a company’s manufacturing system, which not only costs time but also a lot of money and resources. Moreover, successes – those process improvements and cost reductions – usually take years to become tangible.
Most restructuring or reorganizational projects in small and medium-sized companies usually contend with the same factors that are in short supply – time, money, resources and often also management attention. Companies laboring under these constraints usually need to urgently and significantly raise efficiency in core value added, reduce costs and increase flexibility in order to improve their operating performance. They need to do this because
These companies have to maintain maximum manufacturing efficiency because they usually do not have any low-cost manufacturing locations and maintain most or all of their value creation in high-wage Germany;
90% of our medium-sized customers do not operate a tried-and-tested, end-to-end production system – they might be familiar with individual TPS tools, but are not aware of the "red thread" which allows them to use the right tools in the right way in order to quickly improve their lot;
In a tough economy – the result of the coronavirus crisis or any number of other factors – the cost pressures are so immense that even reducing costs by 10% can offer a company a decisive edge over its competitors;
Smaller companies have not grasped the opportunities of digitization.
Smaller medium-sized companies often need intelligent and fast solutions for the optimization of their production systems and supply chain management. Having worked hand-in-hand with many medium-sized businesses on more than 900 customer projects, enomyc has built up extensive experience. It knows the particular challenges such companies face in difficult times. In addition, consultants in our Operations Team have been responsible for various production-management fields in a string of global corporations – not least in the automotive industry. We put all this experience together to develop a modular production system for medium-sized businesses. We call it ePS4x.
When our customers call for our help, they’re often already grappling with major challenges. Not infrequently, three crucial parameters are under pressure or even in the red – liquidity, profitability, return on investment. At the same time, many companies are dealing with a number of technical or organizational manufacturing problems. They need bespoke help very quickly.
ePS4x is the perfect solution. Our production system can adapt to every customer and project – it is modular, goal-oriented and fast. We can quickly set the appropriate levers in motion, even in the most difficult situations. We use ePS4x to develop a plan-of-action and to identify concrete measures to enable a company to quickly get back on course. Everything we do is aimed at eliminating the quality problems and resulting cost and deadline issues that hit sales and (if things get really bad) customer relations. Companies with these sorts of problems don’t have months to adjust. They have to very quickly:
Identify and rectify deficiencies,
Adopt tried-and-tested tools for use in everyday business,
Target useful and measurable goals on the cost side,
Find the motivation to realign the organization.
The measures identified and instruments used by enomyic usually allow our customers to experience rapid successes. As a result, company executives and their employees are very open to the subsequent introduction of new thinking using new concepts and standards. Being aware of the "red thread" helps our customers to improve their situation in the short term and to define a vision for the long term – and to choose exactly the right tools from the ePS4x system to get there. Our approach always aims to quickly and pragmatically tackle the issues occupying executives and shareholders in a crisis. As a result we:
Analyze the present state of a company’s production system in order to clearly identify its weak points (this takes about two weeks);
Define a company’s target condition with the aim of identifying its “red thread” and the appropriate ePS4x tools (this also takes two weeks);
Identify concrete measures and co-operative ways to implement them in order to stabilize the company and improve liquidity, profitability and return on investment in the long term (this takes two to six months).
Any company interested in enomyc’s expertise can profit from an initial survey and stocktaking in the form of our two-day Quick Check. In the course of this, we put together an initial assessment and identify quick improvements that can be made. If your company would like to react more quickly and flexibly to operational problems – whether brought on by the coronavirus crisis or other factors – please do not hesitate to contact us. Using its proven methods and tools, enomyc is an very experienced and established partner for business.