Friday, February 28, 2014

Tackling Business Pain Points

Business pains, much like pain from injuries, are not unusual. However, the cause and the cure to those pains can vary greatly. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to problems.

A Business Pain is defined as a problem or need a business or company aims to solve. For an entrepreneur, this can be the motivation behind a new product or service. For an established company, this can be fuel for new product development or the focus of an internal process improvement.

We hear regularly from companies with untreated business pains. Sometimes a company knows exactly what’s wrong, but cannot slow down or stop the line in order to tackle the issue. Other times, it’s not the pain, but identifying the root cause, that is an issue.


Some common pains we hear from companies include: 
  • "We struggle to meet customer demands”
  • “High operating costs are eating our profit margins”
  • “our scrap and rework is increasing and limiting our production”
  • “we’re growing so quickly we’re running out of floor space”
  • “We’re already at capacity so don’t have time to follow up on all the leads we’re getting” 

Not all ‘pains’ are bad, but ignoring or postponing a response can be more costly than addressing the need in a timely manner.
  • Case study one: a popular pickle manufacturer faced enormous pressure on production scheduling to produce enough product to meet customer demand. MMTC was able, as an outside observer, assess the production line, and propose a rapid improvement event on-site over 4 days, with the intent to increase production by 25%. The result, a process innovation that led to a 50% increase in production, as well as reduced first piece lead time. The company even added jobs.
  • Case study two: a local dried fruit provider was facing a scrap and reject issue due to unique weather patterns that negatively affected its products. MMTC trained staff and, through Statistical Process Control, was able to quickly determine the root cause of the rejects. A new process was established that help identify and correct issues before the products made it to final packaging. The result, improved quality that retained its multi-million dollar customer, helped increase sales, and improved communication through the supply chain. The company even added jobs.
  • Case study three: a family owned and operated business in northern Michigan wanted to expand its market. Its location was considered a barrier and the company wanted to grow its business. MMTC provided concepts and tools, including a new website, which helped increase traffic to the site and in turn, to the business. The result, a new website, increase in annual sales by 10%, and increase foot and web traffic, oh, and the company doubled its employment.

This is what drives us. We want to do what we can to alleviate the pains stressing out manufacturers today so that those same manufactures can focus efforts on what they do best . . . making great products, delivering exceptional quality, and exceeding customer expectations - on time, every time.

Hey, if it results in more people with jobs, that’s okay too.


Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org



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