Karyn: Noah, can you tell us a little about AME and Hennig, your role, and what Goellner’s approach to continuous improvement is?
Noah: Hennig and AME are sister companies in the manufacturing industry, and are both part of the holding company Goellner Inc. AME does a lot of high precision machining, and is segmented into 6 strategic operating units. Hennig has been the leading manufacturer of machine tool protection, chip conveyors, and coolant filtration systems for over 55 years. My role at Goellner Inc. is Global Director of Continuous Improvement. Our approach to continuous improvement is to focus on developing our people with problem solving skills through a “learn by doing” approach through rapid experimentation. Through Hoshin Kanri, we align all our efforts to our vision statement “To make our customers successful”.
Karyn: I know that many manufacturing companies don’t think they need to use lean in services. Why do Hennig and AME?
Noah: What happens on the manufacturing floor is only a part of the overall customer experience. We strive to make each of our customers successful, and to do so we need to look at improving all aspects of the customer experience. It is not enough to have exceptional quality, a good price, and some of the fastest lead times in the industry. These things are all very important, but the fastest manufacturing lead times in the world mean very little, if we take too long to quote, or are unresponsive to providing help or support. Creating the best overall customer experience from start to finish, in everything we do, is the best way to help our customers be successful, not just manufacturing product.
Karyn: How do you think you will be able to make your customers more successful by using lean in both manufacturing and services?
Noah: To make our customers more successful, we are re-engineering our organization around the needs of the customer and our vision statement. We have restructured our sales, engineering, and manufacturing groups and collocated them into QROC’s (Quick Response Office Cells), in order to provide the quickest responses to our customers needs. We also created a new role in our company called our “Customer Success Specialist”. Through this initiative we are creating a continuous flow of the “Voice of the Customer” through real conversations and relationships in order to truly understand the needs of our customers through their own voice. Then we will be aligning our organizational efforts to fulfilling these needs on a continuous basis, including Continuous Improvement, and innovation in product, process, and customer experience.
Karyn: What are some of the challenges you’ve had in introducing lean in services to a manufacturing company?
Noah: Some challenges in doing this are that it can be more difficult to find good resources on lean in services. There are not too many great books like “The Toyota Way to Service Excellence” out there. So the fun/challenge becomes to focus on applying the concepts of lean into area’s outside the manufacturing floor and into all processes of the organization. Often many of the people are not used to these concepts at the beginning, but I have realized that when we work together towards a common goal, the creativity of our people can accomplish anything. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that we need to reset our thinking to stop assuming we know what to do, and what our customers want, and really take the time to communicate and listen to what our customers have to say.
Karyn: What do you think that the biggest benefit of having coaching on an ongoing basis is?
Noah: The benefits of having Karyn’s help with coaching on an ongoing basis have been huge. She has been crucial in providing a fresh customer-centric perspective, to not only get on the right course, but also providing the discipline and know-how to stay on the right course. Karyn’s help in the creation and use of visual management systems and Kata coaching has helped us learn to see the issues we face on a daily basis in a way so that we can better use our creativity to solve them. Her positive attitude and encouragement turns difficult problems into fun challenges, and her experience and knowledge in lean, and especially lean in services has been a massive factor in helping us bring out our own creativity to help continually improve our ability to make our customers successful.
For further information, please contact Noah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, if you’d like to learn more about how KRC is partnering with Hennig and AME, please visit Hennig’s Commitment to Excellence website page.