Last month, the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) met to set the company plan for Q3. After a day and a half of debate and discussion, we came out with our quarterly plan including the company Rocks that we will focus on between now and October:
One Lone Star Lean Initiative – Last quarter we identified a consultant and decided on the three “value streams” where we will start our work: Sales to Design, PM Workflow, and Field Installation. Last week we were able to conduct our first major work session on the Sales to Design stream. A more detailed update from Holly Grissom can be read below. In September we will hold similar sessions for the other two streams.
LSAR 2023 Sales Business Plan – There has been a lot of change in Arkansas over the last few months and the whole company is dedicated to ensuring LSAR has what it needs for success. Marquis Woodard will be heading up this initiative to provide support and resources to develop a sales business plan for the remainder of 2023.
Gross Margin Review – To meet our Gross Margin (GM) goals for the end of the year, we need to have a better understanding of our current status. Kevin Henderson will be pushing this Rock to make sure we have visibility into the numbers we need to see and ensure, we get the right data to the right people to hit our goals.
In addition, we will be implementing formal project debriefs in all offices to help us understand how and why things go good and bad on a project. Ultimately this will be a process that we can apply to other areas of the company as well, but for now we will be starting with projects.
Alairo Program Development – At the start of the year we started work on the development of the Alairo program. Now that we are halfway through, we have all agreed the most important milestone for this quarter is for Alairo to begin generating revenue. There is still other work to be done before we can complete this, but that is our target for the end of Q3. Jeff Richard and the rest of the Alairo team will be focused on the continued development of the product, the sales and support structure, and the continued relationship with our partners while continuing to stay focused on the needs of our customers and our goals to improve things for the Caregiver, the Patient, and the Hospital.
This quarterly, we had an overall theme of providing clarity. If there is confusion among leadership, there will be confusion among the teams. One area of focus for clarity was understanding how we will increase our sales of recurring items like Alairo and Caresight. First, we had to understand that Alairo is a product that contains parts of CareSight – Alairo does not replace CareSight. Lone Star is a distributor for both solutions. This goes for all our partners (Helpp.Ai, Vizabli, IOW, etc). Second, we need to recognize when and where to offer one solution or the other. The solution will often be a combination of the two. Alairo can be sold WITH CareSight enhancements creating a unique offering that meets the customer's needs. More to come.
Now, as promised, we have an update from Holly Grissom on the first Operational Excellence session that was conducted last week:
We have successfully completed our first Operational Excellence Value Stream Mapping session, Sales through Design. It was fun, challenging, and made us all grow as individuals. But what did we accomplish during those three days?
Day 1 we started with training on the Nine Principles of Operational Excellence:
Takt Time and Takt Capability
First In First Out (FIFO)
Changes in Demand
The major realization from the Team during this training was the biggest improvements would come from reducing the wait time between tasks. By reducing the wait time, the results/products would be finished much faster without us physically working harder or faster.
Once we learned about the principles, our first step was to define the beginning and end of the process of Sales through Design.
The beginning: Sales enters an opportunity in Q360.
The end: Engineering notifies the PM that the construction drawings are ready.
Then the fun began! With representation from all four regions in Sales, Engineering, and Accounting, the Team worked together to define the current state process for the Sales through Design process. It became tricky capturing all four regions until… we focused on tasks, not positions. Suddenly, we all realized that we were all doing the same tasks, just in different people or positions.
Once we outlined the current state of the process, we began building our future state. Using the tools we learned, we took the value stream from 35 steps to 11, and then down to 5 value stream steps! We used the First In, First Out (FIFO) and Workflow Cycles to find consistent ways to reduce wait time between steps. We outlined six areas for improvement or Kaizen Events that would allow us to improve the process and reduce wait time. The best part? Our current state had 25 days of wait time… our new process only has 2!
Map of Future State
Kaizen 1 - Information Checklist
Kaizen 2 - One tool/process to create quote & proposal “Super Cool Tool”
Kaizen 3 - Technology for a walkthrough
Kaizen 4 - COO Checklist - contract review before reaching the COO
Kaizen 5 - One location for all documents that automatically connects/updates Q360
Kaizen 6 - Training process & work instructions for a future state process
Ask any member of the Sales through Design Team what these Kaizen’s entail or anything else about the session; they would love to tell you more about it!
A big thank you to the team for the work they put in last week: Marquis Woodard, Chris Andrus, Elizabeth Kovar, Prentiss Brown, Michael Lee, Cindy Burt, Richard Orvis, Hayden Hughes, Gus Torres, Hector Reyes, Jorge Garces, Jeff Banks, Kathryn Marshall, Melinda Gibbs, Violeta Soria, and Michelle Harris.
Thank you for the care and focus put in during the session and for your commitment to the coming implementation.
Now that we have outlined the future state, we have to implement it. The Team has created an implementation plan with Champions from across the company to Design and Implement future states. Our goal is to complete implementation by Christmas 2023, and we are confident that we will do just that!