Specialty Fabrics Review January 2021 - 40

KNOW JOB COSTS
Many companies can't accurately answer the question, " Did we make
a profit on that job? " According to Westlund, owners may know the
cost of materials and have a general idea of employee hourly rates, but are less
accurate when calculating indirect costs, such as taxes, insurance and other
overhead. Getting a better understanding of those costs creates a clear picture,
makes prioritizing and planning easier and drives lasting efficiencies. (For more
on job costing, visit www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com and search " job costing. " )

Business owners
often get bogged
down in day-today problems and
can't focus on
strategy and longterm growth-
which should be
their primary job.
RANDY WESTLUND
AWNING TRACKER

0121RV_p38-41_F3.indd 40

DO LESS
Limit the amount of work in progress to focus on the most profitable
and enjoyable jobs and customers. " When you're juggling too many
jobs at one time, you waste a lot of time jumping back and forth between
them, " says Torey Heinz, founder of Shopflow, a Zeeland, Mich.-based firm
that works with marine canvas shops to increase throughput. One easy way to
figure out where to focus is to make a list of projects/customers and rank them
by revenue (or profit, see step 3) and what Heinz calls the " level of joy " they
bring-how easy they are to work with. This process can clarify what types of
business segments and jobs a shop excels at and should pursue. Limiting the
number of jobs in progress will ensure that the jobs a company does take on
are completed efficiently.
" If you have 10 jobs in the pipeline at a time, it might take 10 weeks to
complete all of them, versus focusing on one job at a time, where each job only
takes a week, " he says. " It still takes 10 weeks, but you're delivering a completed
job every week, getting paid sooner, and the customer is much happier with the
quick turnaround. "
RETOOL WORKFLOW
Kamber Narrow Fabric Machinery LLC, based in Birmingham, Ala.,
rebuilds and sells secondhand textile machinery to domestic and
international clients in the military, aerospace and automotive industries. A few
years ago, the company implemented lean principles, an effort led by company
president Michael McGrath, who holds a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. The
first step was doing a Pareto analysis (or 80/20 rule) in every company area.
Operations manager Ben McGrath cites one example: " When we analyzed data
on machines sold for the last three years, we found that 80 percent of machinery
sold came from 20 percent of the types we offer. "
Kamber then applied Kanban-a lean tool that helps companies visualize
work to increase efficiency and continuously improve-to scale production
up or down to meet market demands without wasting time or creating excess
inventory. The process led to a decision to outsource some jobs such as painting
and tearing down machines in preparation for a rebuild, which gave the
company more flexibility and reduced fixed labor costs.
" This was a totally new approach for many of the employees, and it took a
while to adapt to these new ways of working, " Ben McGrath says. " However,
the benefits to the organization have been tremendous, and the employees
appreciate the eradication of pointless waste. " The company is now in the
process of retooling its sales process.

12/18/20 12:21 PM


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Specialty Fabrics Review January 2021

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