In 2015, Hayward Tyler Inc. in Colchester, Vt., USA implemented a new initiative, Value Stream Management. Value stream is all the things done to create value for the customer by focusing on the efficiency of an entire process instead of departmental efficiency. In a traditional department format, departments are physically located in different parts of the building and job movement includes many handoffs and wait times. With a value stream structure HTI’s value stream team is located right on the shop floor. Manufacturing and assembly personnel are just steps away, allowing for direct and efficient communication.
Since employing value stream HTI has seen cleaner handoffs, quicker turnarounds and more efficient workflows. Contributing to this improvement has been appointing one manager who can easily oversee the entire workflow and have productive dialog with team members. Ben Hardy, HTI’s Engineering Director is the Design Value Stream Manager, Jeremy Francis, HTI’s Continuous Improvement Director is the Service Value Stream Manager and Nathan Howard, HTI’s Operation Director is the Parts Value Stream Manager:
“With functional departments, it is possible to have metrics that do not align with business goals,” Ben Hardy said. “In the value stream, the department goals and the business goals are now aligned. There is no confusion as to how we are measured.”
Our customers as well as those within the company recognize that inefficiency wastes and delays are minimized. Our customers see improved lead times, better quality and greater value.
“Our lead-times in Service have dropped in half since we moved to this structure,” Jeremy Francis said. “We were consistently delivering 15 week lead-times to our customers. We now deliver in less than 8 weeks and maintain a +90% on time delivery. With reduced lead times and improved on time delivery, customer satisfaction has improved as well. This has allowed us to regain customers that had left us years ago.”
HTI’s value stream focus greatly simplifies the management of the company. Before value stream management, communication regarding jobs was commonly done by emails and meetings, both inefficient means. By locating the value-creating processes next to one another and by processing one job at a time, work flows smoothly from one step to another and finally to the customer.
Ben Hardy and Jeremy Francis have recognized this within their value stream teams:
“Internal supplies and customers are now collocated,” Hardy shared. “This drastically increases the speed at which these individuals can collaborate. At the end of last year, we were looking to ship a number of contracts in the last few weeks. Many issues cropped up, and we were able to deal with these issues efficiently and quickly to meet customer and management expectations. If we were not collocated, we would not have been able to solve the issues as rapidly as we did.”
“This structure allows us to respond to customer requirements much faster than we previously did,” Francis said. “In our Service department, our engineer sits next to our production planner, who sits next to our buyer, etc… Problems are solved faster because the employees required to solve them are sitting together and all focused on the same issues.”
A business that focuses on overall job flow efficiency allows itself to create real value for their customers, somthing HTI has achieved. With the team working alongside each other communication, work flow and productivity are maximized.
“Conversations can now bridge individual’s responsibilities,” Hardy said. “Individual contributors can hear and contribute to conversations happening between other value stream members that affect their work, or are influenced by their work.”
HTI will continue to see advances in efficiency and productivity with value stream management. Value stream management has proved to be a positive adjustment to our company, as it contributes to our ongoing commitment to continuous improvement and the advancement of the Hayward Tyler Group.