The Right Team
Sep 07, 2021
Scaling up a young product in the face of customer demand is always a challenge.
A client makes, packages, and delivers a key material for companies exploring novel lipid drug formulations. For much of 2020 the owner had great success in bringing in new sales and opening relationships with channel partners, and soon realized that production – staffed and managed by the same owner – wass reaching capacity. With sales driven in large part by channel partners, the owner is not in sole control of demand, but must please customers and the critical channel partners.
Sales always places pressure on operations to deliver. But when sales and operations are the same person – who presses whom?
The solution, to place production and sales under different managers, seems obvious. The owner had tried this before, but no one from the production crew had been successful in a management role. Putting the best crew member in charge reduced production rather than increased it.
Instead, we created a production manager role by focusing on the accountability of the position. Rather than describing the job, we described the responsibilities of the position in terms of the contributions to the company:
- Increase production capacity by 50% in 60 days with a one-year goal to increase by up to 200%
- Develop hiring training programs and KPIs to increase production staff productivity
- Reduce operating costs by developing an equipment maintenance program
- Implement floor safety protocols to reduce liability and risk to staff
- Monitor product quality as changes are implemented to ensure compliance and maintain customer satisfaction
- With Sales, implement a customer experience program using delivery KPIs and Net Promoter Score metrics
Within three months a production manager was in place who boosted production capacity by 60%, mainly by setting unit production goals for all staff members.
With greater clarity from management, now that the distracted owner was no longer managing production, we surveyed the production staff (TTI Stress Quotient, ttisi.com
). They reported enjoying their jobs more and feeling less stressed, even though they were producing more.
In 2021, the company is on track to nearly triple annual revenue, and the owner is happy, confident, and excited about the future. Focus and accountability helped the owner begin to build a team. No one can do every job well!