Process improvement had a knock-on effect, leading to business systems transformation
The business challenge
MenuCorp is a leading designer and manufacturer of menu covers for restaurants, cafes and major hotels in Australia and overseas. All items are crafted in the company’s Melbourne factory, using materials sourced from around the world. MenuCorp also creates a range of quality business products including presentation folders and boxes, folios, product catalogues, hotel guest room items, training manuals and general stationery. MenuCorp owner Joe Ritorto wanted to review all business processes, bringing in expert eyes to help identify potential improvements.
OE Partners carried out three key areas of analysis: product value and volume study, value stream mapping and team member focus interviews and workshops. The entire business team was then involved in reviewing the operation and pinpointing key areas for improvement.
The team achieved significant improvements in workflows, systems management, administration and removing production bottlenecks. Processes are now quantifiable, staff are more accountable for their work and efficiencies have been achieved. The bottom line will improve as all changes are implemented.
Process improvement has a knock-on effect,
leading to business systems transformation
Joe Ritorto has long been keen on studying and incorporating sound management skills in his business ventures. Like many small business owners, he was working heavily in his business but realised he needed to devote time to working on the business.
“I believed we could achieve improvements in areas such as workflows, our systems, doing more analysis of the type of work we do, and identifying possible bottlenecks that could be removed. And I thought an experienced pair of outside eyes would help identify potential improvements,” Joe says.
When OE Partners came on board, he focused on three main areas:
Product value and volume study
A top down business analysis involved a review of 12 months of sales data to identify the areas of the business (by department, product line and customer spend) which were generating profit. The goal was to identify the priority business areas and to discontinue non-profitable areas.
Value Stream Mapping Analysis
A whole of business operations map set out the big picture, showing how the business operates as a whole and identifying the key areas which set the pace of the operation.
Team member focus interview and workshops
One-on-one focus interviews with key stakeholders identified the operational problems, frustrations and blockers, and generated discussions about possible solutions. A whole of business team meeting workshopped overall ideas for improvement, then listed key priorities for immediate action.
“Using Lean principles, we focused on 5S & workplace organisation, continuous improvement thinking, KPIs, visual management, active scoreboarding and standardised production times for all processes and targets,” Damien says.
“We introduced a quality check gates system, where all necessary information and steps must be 100% complete before moving on to the next process.”
Rules were created on how to handle rework and scrap parts to dramatically reduce workplace clutter and gain more space for manufacturing. Production processes were standardised, particularly in the FolderCorp range, to reduce variations.
“OE Partners assisted in highlighting the principles of improvement and how these could be implemented, which is not always easy to do,” Joe says. “And when a third party comes in and is talking the same language as you are, it gives an extra level of credentials to the whole exercise with staff.”
The main business benefits include quantifiable processes, more accountability and greater efficiencies.
“When you start that process, it tends to have a knock-on effect, with the learning leading you to improve another process, and then another. Everyone now has more confidence in each person’s contribution to the whole exercise,” he says.
“I expect the bottom line to improve over time as we implement all the changes. The major benefit to date has been seeing ways in which we can standardise our products and begin the process of bulk preparation, rather than starting new jobs from scratch each time.”
“OE Partners valuable experience, strong work ethic and confidence generated a lot of respect from our staff. Personally, they gave me a fresh perspective on the business, encouraged me to revisit some good management theories and enabled me to see how we could bring about significant improvements in the business.”
Joe Ritorto, Owner, MenuCorp