Power Systems West is an authorized KOHLER Generator dealer and service provider in seven Western states.
AJC uses a Three-Pronged approach for immediate, mid, and long-term improvement:
1. Full-Team Cross-Functional Process Mapping for Current State and Quick Wins: immediate improvement in communication, awareness, and alignment between team members
2. Process Documentation and Implementation of Quick Wins: mid term efficiency gains in operational processes
3. Systems Selection and Implementation: Long term automated improvements for scalability and growth
An Executive Leadership change at Power Systems West catalyzed a year-long assessment process whereby the interim Executive Team uncovered many opportunities to improve the company for scalable growth.
Given its long tenure of service and expansion for over 65 years, PSW’s operational processes were ready for standardization across their five office locations, and the Executive Team knew there would be low-hanging fruit, or “Quick Win” opportunities for efficiency gains across their full service value stream. The software they used to plan and perform services was outdated, and the team wanted to evaluate whether this system could help them grow in the future, or if they needed something different.
“We realized that we needed a lot of help with
execution of our plan!”
Figuring Out the Solution
PSW flew in team members from each of their five locations to participate in a 2-day Face-to-Face Current and Future State Process Mapping session. Most of these team members held the same positions, though in different offices, and had never worked together before.
Standardize to a single Operational Process across the five offices. Below is an image of the Current State Process Map with multi-colored sticky notes where differences existed between locations.
Identify “Quick Win” opportunities that could realistically be implemented in a 3-month time frame, which would have “High” impact on improving the overall value stream for both customers and internal efficiencies. These items drove the “Quick Win” projects.
Implement “Quick Wins” for immediate improvements in efficiencies, given current constraints in the system and resources.
AJC’s Process Improvement / Project Management Consultant lead four Working Group teams to realize all the High Impact areas for improvement. While PSW’s Strategy Manager was accustomed to leading these types of projects, he had other responsibilities keeping him busy, and was excited that AJC was able to keep the teams accountable without his need to intervene.
Determine if the current system could meet PSW’s needs to support future growth.
One additional Working Group was created to consider long-term improvements in technology. AJC staffed a second Process Improvement / Project Management Consultant to lead this team in a full System Selection process, starting with Requirements Gathering and a Current System Evaluation. AJC worked with the current vendor to understand the time and financial implications of modifying the current system, and when that proved too costly, AJC guided the team towards a prioritized Top 3 list of new systems which could meet most of PSW’s technology needs off-the-shelf.
*Note: AJC continued as the Project Manager for this ERP system implementation, the subject of another Case Study!
Bring a new President up-to-speed on the team’s progress!
PSW had been searching for a new President to run the company, and just before this project was scheduled to end, brought Brad Lyons on board. As AJC had been judicious with their budgeted hours, we were able to extend our timeframe without adding cost in order to bring Brad up-to-speed on what the teams had accomplished to date, and the rationale behind the recommended new system. Ultimately, everyone was aligned to the next steps, which were to proceed with implementing the new ERP system, while working with the “Quick Wins” improved processes until the new system was live.
All the little things AJC has done added up in small seemingly inconceivable ways, including the mentality of our meetings, and significant financial results are already showing up – this project has truly been transformational!
COVID hit just a month after the team met Face-to-Face, and thanks to their time together and focused attention on improvement for the full quarter after, all the PSW teams and locations are openly communicating now. People are excited, and many who never worked together before are now doing so regularly. Even though the project was ostensibly about improving operational efficiencies, the AJC team facilitated communication and teamwork that has transformed the way the PSW team works together both immediately – and for years to come. That result is a Future State that everyone can be truly proud to be a part of!