Monday, August 25, 2008

Lean in Supply Chain is Key for Success

Although C-level executives are enthusiastic about the benefits that can be derived by “Leaning out” manufacturing operations from plant to plant, there is a large performance gap between those companies that are simply using Lean techniques on the shop floor and those that have built a culture based on Lean thinking throughout the Enterprise and in particular, the supply chain.

To be most successful, organizations need to extend the lean thinking concepts from the shop floor to the entire supply chain including, the front office and executive suites, customers and suppliers. By doing all of this, the company will progress from “Doing Lean” to “Being Lean”. Best-in-Class performers have three basic characteristics:

  • Transfer of Lean thinking from the shop floor to the supply chain
  • Consistent senior management commitment across the supply chain of suppliers, customers, and distribution partners
  • Extension of Lean concepts and techniques across the entire value chain

Once the Lean way of thinking is successful within the organization, suggestions for expanding into the entire supply chain include:

  • Include major suppliers, customers, and partners as part of the audience as they are deployed across the supply chain
  • Evaluate each supply chain process as to applicability of Lean concepts
  • Implement performance measurements that span the supply chain network. Measure quality, cost and delivery performance.
  • Build mutually beneficial relationships with partners to share information and synchronize planning activities driven by ‘Pull’ demand concepts

Are You Best-in-Class?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Peak is featured in the SB Tribune

South Bend Tribune Weekly
August 11. 2008 6:59AM

Consulting Firm Wants to Help Businesses Run Better

By JENNIFER OCHSTEINTribune Correspondent

Brad Staats wants to see manufacturers reach their peak value.To help companies realize this goal, Staats started his consulting firm, Peak Enterprise Solutions, just more than a year ago.“We work with manufacturing companies to help them run better businesses,” said Staats.While he and the consultants who work with him don’t touch finance, human resource, sales or engineering aspects of a company, Peak Enterprise Solutions deals with the rest of the business processes. “From the time the order is made from the time it is shipped — we deal with all the processes involved in running a business,” he added.

Staats and the consultants he works with work in four business practice areas: business consulting, which includes enterprise resource planning; lean manufacturing planning and implementation; systems solutions and educational programs.A resident of LaPorte for the past 20 years, Staats said he started the company partly because he saw a need for it within a 100-mile radius of South Bend.“I feel there is a lot of opportunity to help companies, and I wanted to keep consulting,” Staats said. “I saw a market for it.”

With 25 years experience in consulting and manufacturing management, Staats started consulting in the steel industry, deciding to go into business for himself in April of 2007.While there are three active consultants associated with Peak Enterprise Solutions, Staats has no employees. He said the three form an association of consultants that offer expertise in different areas of manufacturing. Staats calls in different consultants to differing business situations.

His company’s services are based on “rate of return” and savings to his customers. His goal is to save his customers “more than what they’re paying us. We want to bring value to a company.”That means that his fees cannot be justified if the company doesn’t see a savings after his services are rendered. And Staats said he believes he can help his customers see savings in the companies by helping them improve and streamline their business processes and strategies. On top of that, Staats offers a free, one-day analysis to customers to determine whether he can help them. It gives him and the executives of a company a chance to talk and for Staats to propose any savings he can bring the company through his work with them.“We can see each other firsthand and understand each other” with a meeting like this, said Staats.

He believes what makes his company unique is the methodological approach he takes to implement strategies and educate employees, which includes team building, supervisory skills, effective communication and time management classes.For instance, when helping implement a lean business model into a company, he has a step-by-step process he follows based on the needs of the company. His methodology also takes on a holistic approach, working with everyone in the company from executives to those who work the shop floor. And he can oversee the entire project with a bird’s-eye view through project management.“This is my one focus — to keep everyone on task and to keep moving forward for the project,” Staats said.

For more information, contact Staats at (574) 232-3610 or visit his Web site at

Monday, August 4, 2008

Supply Chain Management: A Key to Success

Aberdeen Research Group’s survey of over 800 supply chain executives found just how tough the business pressures have become in their supply chains and highlighted the critical role that supply chain management can play in the overall success of the company. They found that Best-in-Class companies had:

  • Finished goods inventory turns of 28 turns
  • Total logistics costs as a percentage of sales of 5%
  • Perfect order percentage (complete and on-time) of 96%

In order to achieve these results, they found that:

  • Best-in-Class companies are 1.7 times more likely to have end to end supply chain visibility.
  • Best-in-Class companies are 1.5 times more likely to have implemented cross functional metrics across the entire enterprise.
  • Best-in-Class companies are 2 times more likely to have a single executive with overall supply chain responsibility.

In order to improve and achieve Best-in-Class status, companies need to:

  • Invest in data quality as part of the supply chain initiatives.
  • Institute a formal Sales and Operations Planning roadmap to execute reporting and metrics.
  • Improve supply chain responsiveness in order to manage and react to market events.

Are You Best-in-Class?