Organizing differently: Rushing orders is (almost) never acceptable!

By Etienne Timmermans – Censor, the Netherlands


What do you notice at the end of the year?

Around Christmastime, it seems to be the end of the world for many companies. Everybody is
working overtime to get the orders out on time. Customers indicate that their budget must be used up and would like to receive the products or services before the end of the year. Have you asked your customers if they actually need them? Is the answer “right now”?

What will then have to be organized differently?

Consult with the customer if direct delivery (during these busy periods) is really necessary. An industry in which Censor is active is the Carpentry industry. This sector is strongly related to the Construction industry. The weeks before the summer holidays and Christmas are two extremely busy periods. That’s not necessary at all, but the traditional way in which the industry is organized requires this. We see another example in IT: many assignments are ‘pushed through’ in the last weeks of the calendar year. The reason for this is the subsidy-related budgets that “still have to used up”.

What do you advise these companies?

Stay in touch with the customer if direct delivery is actually necessary. Can it also be divided up? Or delivered later? Do you really need it now? Ask yourself what you’ll do if you plan to more than 100% capacity by the end of the year. As a result it will lead to a lot of (compulsory) overtime in the last weeks. This means that employees are forced to do so, resulting in a lot of frustration. This period takes a long time (usually two months) and they have no influence on it at all. They start not feel great, deliver diminished quality and make mistakes. With even more work pressure as a result.

For many, the Christmas season starts with a feeling of tiredness. Due to all the festivities it’s difficult to actually rest, with as a result this feeling and process will continue as before in the first week of January. This does not motivate for the long term. You see it again during the Christmas or New Year’s toast: people do not come or stay for long. Tired of work and tired of each other. Especially wanting to go home. One drink and gone. Such a drink serves as a celebration, but people often experience it differently through the pressure they have experienced in recent months.

What can a company do to prevent this in the future?

By working on fewer orders at the same time and focusing on this, fewer mistakes are made and the work flows better. An order is being processed and not put away. This completes matters and prevents unnecessary errors, which increases the output.
Finish work on the floor in one go, do not put more in to the process. Hot jobs (emergency orders) are deadly for your organization and the flow of all other orders. Hot jobs lead to errors and those errors lead to new errors, etc …

What do you see within companies who have implemented QRM?

What stands out immediately: an almost empty shop floor! There is a strong focus on the orders that are available, which means more work goes through. Especially faster! But it’s not “busier”. It continues to flow and should the number of orders in the company pile up, then congestion is only permitted in work preparation and sales – in the form of (paper) files, not on the shop floor. This way it simply continues to run smoothly in production.

QRM in 2019?

January should be a time to look ahead to the new year, not a time to receive a returns book because of work that was not done right. That’s not a good start.
A resolution for 2019: Relax due to letting orders run faster through the organization, without having to work harder. QRM contributes to this.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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