Volume 1 April 6, 2001
The Maset Web Site
Feature Of This Issue
Comments From Our Readers
Welcome to the first issue of MASET NEWS. We will be publishing MASET NEWS at least once a month and more often if there is sufficient reason for it. This is a method of communicating between MASET and our many interested Friends, Customers, and Potential Customers. Please let us have your comments, thoughts, and ideas so that we may better serve you. You may write us at Charles.Loew@masetllc.com. We would love to hear from you.
THE MASET WEB SITE:
The MASET web page is nearing completion; as a matter of fact it could be finished by the time you read this issue. You may reach the web page at www.masetllc.com. The major structural piece being completed is the searching capability in the Success Stories section. We hope that the web page will give you an easy place to find out about our abilities, capabilities, and our team.
In each issue of the MASET NEWS, we will be highlighting a different aspect of the web site as well as letting you know what we have added. We still encourage you to go to the web site often and learn from the information that we have gathered for you. Back issues of MASET NEWS will be on the web site.
Please be sure to look at the About Maset LLC section. In this section we describe our goals and who is on the team. Most of our associates' resumes have been included on this page. As we add more associates this will. of course, expand. We have also listed some of our Customers who are willing to talk to you about their experience of working with us. We are particularly proud of some of the letters from our Customers that have been included in the Quotes from Our Customers section: http://masetllc.com/about/quotes.shtml. The final item in this section is an explanation of our relationship with Motorola University.
FEATURE OF THIS ISSUE:
One of our associates, Paul Zaura, has written a very timely and interesting piece entitled "A Better Way to Fix the Bottom Line." In today's environment this is a very timely and accurate summary of how to fix things. Please read it and pass it on to others in your organization.
A Better Way to Fix the Bottom Line
By Paul Zaura
Everywhere we turn these days we see references to cutting costs. The newspapers, the web, the financial news programs all carry stories about the necessity of cutting costs in the face of declining or stagnating business. In the media today, Schwab, Proctor & Gamble, Motorola, K-Mart all announced cutbacks or "early retirements". These staff trimmings are all to try to balance the costs with declining sales to lessen the impact to the bottom line.
In spite of the advantages to the "downsizing", there are some problems. First of all, there is an up-front cost to layoffs or early retirements because the severance packages need to be funded. Secondly, who makes up for the slack in the processes that have to be maintained with fewer people? Rarely is an enterprise given the choice of cutting back Customer Service in the face of layoffs and declining business. What typically happens is the "survivors" add a bit more to their responsibilities and increase the stress levels accordingly to take up the slack. In some instances where inventory is high, the cutbacks are used to reduce inventory levels, but the remaining workers actually become more productive because of fear for their jobs and end up producing more anyway. Inventory levels may actually go up. You can see the next logical step coming -- another cutback.
There may be a better way. What if you could take this opportunity to streamline your operations by making your processes produce more efficiently? Then the increased productivity and efficiency could be used to offset the cutbacks before affecting the Customer. Of course, when the recessionary pressures are off and the economy begins to turn up, you are poised to take advantage of the new process leverage you have built in to your organization.
I know what you will say - "I can't afford to do this now. Wait 'till later, when things turn up." You know as well as I that there will never be time or opportunity later, when the demand rises exponentially and you try to keep up. This is the best and perhaps only time that this can be done. A relatively small investment now to re-visit those problem processes will reap the benefits in the bottom line later.
Does this take a certain amount of faith in the future? Yes! But you have been part of business cycles like this before. Out of the seeming gloom the orders begin to climb again, you wish you had those people you cut back only a few months ago, you wish you had removed some of those process obstacles when you had the chance. But it's too late -- you're on the treadmill again.
I haven't used the word "Quality" yet. But a by-product of using this opportunity for process renewal is the chance to also improve the Quality of the goods and services you provide. Use this time to improve your Customer Service as well. When the turn-around comes, you will be poised to improve market share.
How do you do this "miracle"? I propose that you identify a problem process that you have today. You know which one -- the one that keeps you in heartburn medicine or keeps you up at night. Take that process and begin a thorough re-evaluation.
The tool I propose to use is called Cross-Functional Process Mapping or CFPM. CFPM works for any process, in any kind of business. This tool basically calls upon the experts in the process to map out the flow and, more importantly, the problems or issues with that flow. For any reasonably-sized process that cuts across many functions, this takes about 3 days or so. The output of this session is then fed back to the others in the various functions to get their added inputs, prepare them for the coming changes, and solicit their support. The experts are then re-assembled after an appropriate "settling time" of about three to six weeks. The team then designs an improved process using no more than present resources (or less) to do the job. The new design is then implemented by the team to become the new way of executing the process.
Typical results using this tool are to significantly improve Quality, increase communications among your employees, reduce Cycle Time, and also reduce costs simultaneously. The Quality improvement will improve market share and reducing Cycle Time by at least 50% will provide increased Customer Satisfaction.
Take advantage of this opportunity you have been given to position your enterprise for the future. You know there will be one.
Contact Maset for assistance in using these tools to fix your bottom line.
COMMENTS FROM OUR READERS:
In this section of MASET NEWS we hope to have articles, comments, and other pieces of valuable information from you, our readers. Please send your contributions to this section to me at Charles.Loew@masetllc.com. We reserve the right to determine what will be published, but will endeavor to publish everything that is sent to us. I look forward to receiving your contributions to this section.
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Comments about MASET NEWS:
Please send all comments about MASET NEWS, the MASET WEB SITE, or inquires for help to Charles J. Loew at my e-mail address Charles.Loew@masetllc.com.
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