Lean Manufacturing in Practice – Foamation

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In this blog series I will be showcasing products manufactured in my home state of Wisconsin. In addition to sharing some fun facts about the various companies and their products, I’ll be highlighting the Lean Manufacturing Principles that are best exhibited at each respective organization. These principles are derived from the Japanese manufacturing industry and center on making obvious what adds value while reducing waste muda. The six Lean Manufacturing Principles are: 1) Workplace safety, order, and cleanliness 2) Just in Time (JIT) production 3) Six Sigma quality 4) Empowered Teams 5) Visual Management 6) Pursuit of Perfection.

When you tell someone that you’re from Wisconsin, it’s almost certain that you’ll be associated will be the iconic Cheesehead® hat, worn by devoted Green Bay Packer fans. In the mid-1980’s the term “cheesehead” started being used to describe Wisconsinites at baseball games. Rather than be insulted by this term, Ralph Bruno, founder and owner of Foamation, decided to embrace and reappropriate the concept. He cut up his mother’s couch, and the first foam Cheesehead hat was born. For nearly thirty years, Foamation has been producing Cheesehead hats (along with a wide array of foam merchandise). If you placed Cheesehead hats back to back, they would stretch across America and into the sea!

Although the Cheesehead hat still leads in sales (especially during football season), this company continues to add new items to their product offerings, along with fulfilling high quantities of custom orders. “Even though we’re associated (not officially, but in some consumer’s minds) with the Green Bay Packers, you don’t have to like the Packers to like our brand. What other fun, goofy, silly thing can we do?” stated Production Manager, Mario Busalacchi. Should you already own a Cheesehead hat, you could purchase other headgear or accoutrement, such as: a baseball hat, cowboy hat, hanging dice, tie, bad-call brick, fireman hat, or ice cream hat in chocolate, strawberry, or mint chip.

Lean ManufacturingThe factory floor is the core of any manufacturing company, but a lean factory alone does not make a lean enterprise. There are also other functions that support manufacturing and contribute to the Lean Pursuit of Perfection. Design Engineering falls under this general category and includes the following attributes: Designing for Manufacturability (DFM), Being Reasonable about Critical Parameters, Having Knowledge of Logistics and the Need for Standardization, Driving New Product Design from Marketplace Needs, and Shortening the Design Process all while considering the Voice of the Customer (VOC).  (For more on VOC, see: Critical to Quality Trees, Kano Analysis, and Customer Segmentation.)

Lean companies include the customer in new product decisions so as to avoid wasting design efforts on an undesired product that will flop. In order to embody the Pursuit of Perfection principle, companies must constantly strive for improvement with an anti-waste mindset and understand that the organization exists primarily to provide value to its customers.

Foamation pursues perfection by constantly evolving and enhancing their products based on customer feedback. Through online analytics, social media, and general observations, this company identifies opportunities and sets the development process in motion. Foamation discovered that there were opportunities to better serve women and children by producing products geared toward their preferences.  Women who would rather not wear a foam hat, now have the option of showing off their brand loyalty through other products such as Cheesehead earrings, and children now have the option of wearing a smaller version of the Cheesehead hat.

Foamation is also aware of the importance of technology in their customers’ lives. They are Driving New Product Design from Marketplace Needs by offering NFCheese key chains and necklaces that have Near Field Communication tags embedded within the foam. With this Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, fans can converge their digitally enhanced Cheesehead product with their mobile device.

Here’s to a great season…Go Packers!

To view all of the Cheesehead products, visit Cheesehead.com.

For more information on Lean Manufacturing see: Learning to See by Mike Rother and John Shook, published by The Lean Enterprise Institute (www.lean.org), The Lean Turnaround by Art Byrne, and Creating a Kaizen Culture by Jon Miller, Mike Wroblewski, and Jaime Villafuerte.

Edgewater Consulting blog

Voice of the Customer – Kano Analysis

As a Consultant, I’ve acquired specific preferences when traveling, and learned to adapt behaviors that make these experiences as stress free as possible. For example, at airport security, I try to avoid standing in line behind anyone who is dressed too “casually” or has sun screen as one of the items in their plastic bag. Chances are that they will take twice as long going through security, thus delaying my time to reach my gate/flight. When selecting a hotel, I look for one with a good in-house dining menu. The benefit of coming back to the hotel and enjoying a good meal without having to leave my room is priceless. Also, let’s be honest, it all comes down to points.

The casual traveler might see little value in earning points or priority boarding; however, the business traveler sees great value in these service items.  Not all consumers value the same services and products on the market in the same way and many companies are keen to analyze these trends. To aid in analyzing customer needs, and provide insight into services or products of little importance or that miss Critical to Quality (CTQ) features, companies may want to perform a Six Sigma process based on the Voice of Customer (VOC), called Kano Analysis.

What Does It Do?

Kano Analysis identifies and prioritizes customer needs or requirements by classifying them under key categories, including: basic services a customer expects, services that a customer desires, and services that delight a customer. Below is a summary of categories and definitions (terminology may vary slightly).

Requirement/Need Definition
  • “Must Be”
  • Basic Requirements
  • Dissatisfiers
  • (Expected Quality)
  • Expected features – cannot increase satisfaction
  • Taken for granted, rarely voiced
  • If not fulfilled, customer is extremely dissatisfied
  • “More is Better”
  • Performance Requirements
  • Satisifers
  • (One Dimensional Desired Quality)
  • Linear effect – the more needs are met, the more satisfied
  • Customer is aware that feature is important to them
  • Remain in the market
  • “Delighter”
  • Excitement Requirements
  • Satisifers
  • (Excited Quality)
  • Unexpected feature – impresses customers
  • Delights when present – does not cause dissatisfaction when not present – rarely voiced
  • Leading edge in the marketplace

How To Do It?

Gather as much VOC information as possible (via interviews, focus groups, surveys, etc.) from your customers regarding service or product offerings. Have them classify the requirements / needs under the three categories. Eliminate any requirements that aren’t relevant. The example below shows classifications pertaining to hotel services.

Requirement/Need Definition
  • “Must Be”
  • Basic Requirements
  • Dissatisfiers
  • (Expected Quality)
  • Clean hotel room
  • Reinforced lock
  • Toiletries
  • Towels
  • “More is Better”
  • Performance Requirements
  • Satisifers
  • (One Dimensional Desired Quality)
  • Large work desk
  • Wi-Fi
  • Car service
  • Hair dryer
  • Bed-side outlet
  • On-Demand movies
  • “Delighter”
  • Excitement Requirements
  • Satisifers
  • (Excited Quality)
  • Dimmable lights
  • Heated floors
  • Bottle of wine on birthday
  • Cappuccino machine in room
  • Room access activated via smart phone

It’s important to point out that a customer’s needs / requirements change over time. What was once a “Delighter” could be a “Dissatisfier” nowadays. For example, receiving an invoice (slipped under the hotel room door) used to mean that it wasn’t necessary to wait in line to check out of the hotel. Nowadays, it’s just one more piece of paper to file. Many travelers prefer to automatically receive an electronic copy of the invoice.

Are You an Effective Leader?

Edgewater ConsultingI’m a bit of a history buff and I recently finished reading Jeff Shaara’s new book “The Smoke at Dawn” which focuses on the Civil War battle for Chattanooga.

The book has me thinking about what makes an effective leader. At the beginning of the novel, one general has every advantage, but focuses on the wrong things. While the other general begins at a major disadvantage, focuses on the right things, and ends up winning the battle.

The novel reinforced some core leadership principles that were good reminders for me.

  • First and foremost – where you decide to focus your energy matters. You can allow your attention to be distracted and squandered on the petty minutia or you can keep yourself focused on key goals. An effective leader doesn’t ignore the details, but does know what is important and what is not. An effective leader actively chooses to spend most of his or her energy on what is important.
  • Second, you need to identify a goal to be accomplished and share that vision. An effective leader ensures that everyone on the team understands what the goal is, why the goal is important, and the part they play in making the goal a reality. Even the “reserve forces” play an important role, and they need to be told what it is.
  • Third, you need to listen to and trust the people in the trenches. An effective leader listens to the team’s problems and removes roadblocks. He or she also listens to their ideas and lets them experiment with different ways to reach the goal.
  • Fourth, you need to recognize and acknowledge the efforts of the team, even when they don’t succeed. An effective leader holds people accountable, but also helps them learn from mistakes.
  • Finally, you need to recognize, acknowledge, and act to correct your own mis-steps.

So in brief, the refresher leadership course I gained from reading a novel. It seems that others have found similar inspiration:   http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/07/what-made-a-great-leader-in-1776/  http://theweek.com/article/index/259151/lessons-from-lincoln-5-leadership-tips-history-and-science-agree-on

So — What leadership lessons have you drawn from unexpected sources?

 

A CRM Year in Review

What a year it has been! Microsoft has been quite busy with Dynamics CRM. We have seen the emergence of Marketing Pilot, strategic partnerships with InsideView, advances in Mobile and of course, CRM 2013, just to name a few. Let’s recall each of Microsoft’s major milestones:

Polaris release: We began the year with a new UI for online CRM users which had just been introduced the prior month. This gave us our first feeling of a more intuitive, flat UI. It was a great “teaser” to what was to come later in the year. Sales and service professionals were able to work much more easily and efficiently in CRM. What a great success! The concept of the Business Process Flow was shown in the new flattened UI. Included in the release was support for using CRM on an iPad and use of CRM in web browsers Safari, Chrome and Firefox. This signified the beginning of the shift to a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy. Skype was introduced as an alternative to communication mediums in addition to Microsoft Lync. Lastly, Yammer was made available to integrate into the UI. While all of these updates applied only to online CRM users, the additional browsers were also supported in a companion release for on-premise through Update Rollup 12.

crm 2013 image 1Yammer: Microsoft acquired the social media company Yammer. It provides a communication medium by which employees may collaborate in a Facebook-like interface. Yammer may also be used to communicate with external audiences. All communications are held private and not available to the public internet.  The long-range implications include Yammer being used within/alongside Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, Office 365 and Skype. Already, the application can be used within Dynamics CRM.

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Netbreeze: Microsoft acquired the company Netbreeze which provides social media monitoring. In this way, your company is provided a snapshot summary (and can drill to the underlying data) of how it is perceived across social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This data is invaluable to companies who need to actively monitor and respond to the public’s perception. Netbreeze is still a stand-alone application, but will be integrated with Dynamics CRM in the not too distant future.

Gemini release: In early second quarter, MarketingPilot was popularized. It opened up online integration to CRM, previously available only through 3rd party integration efforts. MarketPilot is a companion application which further extends CRM. It provides end-to-end marketing management capabilities beyond CRM’s marketing list and campaign management disciplines. This list of additional disciplines includes but is not limited to: strategy and planning, digital asset management, vendor management, media planning, and budget management. Also included in its capabilities are behavior tracking and landing pages which, prior to MarketingPilot’s integration, was supported only by products such as CoreMotives, ClickDimensions and Constant Contact. While MarketingPilot provides functions similar to these named applications, Microsoft has been clear that each of these and others have features that still present a compelling case to use these over or in addition to MarketingPilot.

CRM 2013 (aka Orion) major release: As we all know due to the buzz in the latter half of this year, CRM 2013 (aka Orion) was soft-released in October 2013 with the global kick-off launch in early November 2013.  The changes flat UI and business process flow adjustments from Polaris were incorporated into this new release.  It is available for both online and on premise customers.  Similar to the roll out of Polaris-like features, the Gemini hallmark MarketingPilot integration was also included in CRM 2013, but also made available to on premise users of CRM in addition to online users.  An additional major part of CRM 2013, as if the business process flow and Flat UI improvements weren’t enough, was mobile for tablets and smart phones.  There are many new features in the new release. See my prior blogs for some of those.

InsideView: Microsoft formed a strategic partnership with InsideView.  InsideView monitors publically available information sources on the internet and summarizes that information for companies and individuals. It has been available as a 3rd party add-in solution for Dynamics CRM for several years.  The data is displayed in a window inside of lead, opportunity, contact and account records. Through this partnership, Dynamics CRM Online users get to use the tool at no additional license cost and there is a discounted license cost for on premise CRM users.crm 2013 image 3

As you can see, much has happened in the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM in calendar year 2013.  Microsoft plans to have approximately two major releases for online users every year.  Already, we know of a few enhancement releases coming, Leo and Vega.  We can’t wait to see what comes next.