SPL Consulting, LLC. was introduced to a prospect in late 2019. A salesperson I worked with previously had joined them and saw tremendous issues with leadership focus and performance that were holding them back on sales growth. We had an initial meeting where one of the owners said let’s go and how soon can you start. After that meeting the process stalled and met silence on follow up for the next month or so.
Ultimately, there was resistance to bringing SPL on by one of the owners. They had hired consultants in the past with no improvement. Their salesperson continued to champion bringing me on as he had seen the transformation created through my leadership firsthand. Eventually one of the owners said we’re bringing him on and the other acquiesced and our journey began.
Over the next four months, we conducted a number of Kaizens, created their first Strategic Plan and made significant changes to the Organizational Structure of the leadership team roles and responsibilities. SPL recognized the leadership potential of one of their mid-level managers and recommended a change. His promotion from Quality Manager and Head of Estimating to the Director of Operations was foundational for things to come. These and other focused actions generated thousands of hours of capacity in numerous departments. By following SPL’s guidance on how to effectively lead to ensure sustainment of results they recognized the fruits of their labor.
While on-site for another event, the owner said “I think something is wrong with our financials because our previous quarter net income is four times higher than any quarter in history. That can’t be right.” We sat down and in reviewing the numbers, showed how the hours we generated directly correlated to the reduction in labor as % of sales, lower waste and increased profits. Needless to say, they were ecstatic.
Even with the gains we accomplished, there were a couple major problems they struggled to overcome. One was frequent, daily break ins on jobs that were already on press, averaging 25 times per week. The other was nearly every square inch of open space was filled with WIP. Stress was high, on time delivery was low and they could not keep up with demand.
Fast forward one year. Through continued dedication of the leadership team to execute the Strategic Plan, change some leadership habits and having made hard choices to remove a small number of employees that refused to support the new direction, they turned the corner with culture. In a call this month, they shared they now have essentially no WIP and they can feel the positivity from their team. This has translated to significant increase in profitability.
The owner shared this as a reference for SPL. “I was the one who resisted bringing you on. We had used consultants in the past and they could tell us what was wrong, but not how to fix it. Once we started this process, it is the best thing we have ever done.” SPL’s emphasis on leadership of change was the difference maker. The Kaizen or Strategic Planning processes are the easy part. The hard part is establishing a leadership culture with a steadfast, team-based dedication to execution.
Brian Van de Water
SPL Consulting, LLC.