A family company and producer of operator cabins—both standard and customised (special)—for crane operators. It has a great deal of engineering knowledge and project management experience, since each cabin is a project in itself. The majority of its customers are container handlers in sea ports, but they also operate in the bulk handling, steel, offshore and dredging industries.
The margin on specials was too low—sometimes even negative—due to high costs. Management believed that production costs in particular could be reduced by improving the end-to-end specials process.
Our first step was to set up four workshops to improve and redesign the specials process, from first customer contact to delivery. We then developed a change management plan to let the new situation become a reality. The start-up and supervision of the workshop improvement project was carried out in collaboration with the operations manager, supervisors and fitters.
The redesign of the specials process has led to higher margins for the specials products. An improved quotation process has resulted in more precise quotations and fewer ad hoc changes during the realisation phase. Collaboration between sales and engineering, and engineering and production has improved, and a more effective project management role is in place. These positive results have prompted the start-up of a wider operational improvement project, including visual management (KPI signs).