Architecting procedural change within a business is hard work, but it’s the vital and often overlooked work that can make or break the long-term success of a business. No one knows this better than Kevin Kohls, Director of Continuous Improvement for Rex Materials Group, makers of refractory (heat-resistant) and high-temperature materials commonly used in the plastics, light metals, solar and semiconductor markets.
Kohls joined Rex Materials Group in early 2015, after spending more than a decade helping major companies in the automotive industry improve throughput. His charter at Rex was simple: Increase productivity by optimizing how the business tackles every step leading up to the manufacturing phase.
So far, the team at Rex had already optimized its manufacturing operations through the implementation of Drum-Buffer-Rope, a manufacturing execution methodology in which the outputs of system can never be faster than the constraints of the system; but Kohls quickly realized that this method would not work when applied to managing people’s work efforts in advance of the production phase.
A New Approach, Process and Work Management Tool
Kohl applied Theory of Constraints and Critical Chain management techniques to the problem—the most effective way to re-architect how the company approached the multitude of steps leading up to the manufacturing phase of each project. These techniques, along with a capable work management system in LiquidPLanner, enabled Kohls to tame the chaos of work and establish order in 60 days.
In just two months, the Rex team went from fielding daily calls from customers wondering when their order would ship, to providing a 90 percent accurate ship date estimate along with an initial price quote.
“We knew that the ability to generate a ship date when a PO was submitted—with 90-percent on-time performance—would make customers happier and give us a competitive edge, and LiquidPlanner was the least expensive and lowest-risk way to achieve that goal.”
– Kevin Kohls, Director of Continuous Improvement, Rex Materials
In addition to improving pre-manufacturing processes, using LiquidPlanner let Kohls and the entire team at Rex Materials gain visibility into the complete manufacturing lifecycle—from initial customer order all the way to product creation and shipping. The results, which include faster delivery of ship dates, improve plans, fewer calls and interruptions throughout the organization, have most importantly enabled greater business throughput, and an increase in the amount of orders that can be processed. What business doesn’t want to see those kinds of improvements?
To read more about how Kohls and Rex Materials use LiquidPlanner to improve and optimize their entire value stream, read the full case study.
Curious to know how LiquidPlanner was able to tame chaos and improve the Rex team’s processes so unilaterally? It’s our adaptive methodology. To learn more, download “An Introduction to Dynamic Project Management.”