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business overhaul

Does Your Business Need an Overhaul?

It is extremely easy to get caught up in the daily execution of running your business, we call that “run mode” and losing sight of the small process improvements that could drive incremental change in your business and give it a necessary overhaul.  Incremental changes with voice of the customer, revenue, or employee satisfaction.

One of the many tools of Lean is the Gemba Walk.  The Gemba Walk is an opportunity for staff to stand back from their day-to-day tasks to walk the floor of their workplace to identify wasteful activities or process inefficiencies. The objective of Gemba Walk is to understand the value stream and its problems rather than review results or make superficial comments.

Here is how the Gemba Walk works:

  1. Pick a process to walk, walking can be an actual walk or observing a process in motion
  2. Create a high-level process map
  3. Identify the people who execute the process
  4. Select Interviewees and process walkers (or observers)
  5. Schedule a date to walk and/or observe the process
  6. Summary the findings of the walk and/or observation with the key stakeholders of the process and as necessary, work towards process improvements

When to use the Gemba Walk methodology:

  • When a problem arises such as a customer complaint an error occurs in a process
  • Focusing on the seven deadly sins of waste:
    1. Overproduction
    2. Inventory
    3. Defects (ex: process or products produced)
    4. Motion
    5. Wait (queue times)
    6. Over-processing
    7. Transportation
  • Implement a temporary change
  • Identification of a root cause
  • Standardize a process to avoid recurrences

What are the benefits of the Gemba tool?  It helps to drive a culture that thinks more about change because it is simple and easy to execute therefore teams are more accepting. There will be less resistance to change given that fact that change can occur rapidly and solves a problem that may have caused frustration in the organization.  Gemba promotes quick wins, and who doesn’t love a quick win.  It does not require executive governance to execute the quick wins of change.  While this may sound simplistic, it is an effective and efficient tool to drive incremental process improvements.

Curious and want to learn more on how to overall your business processes, please reach out to xSynergy Solutions and we would welcome the opportunity to provide more insight to Lean.

xSynergy Solutions is a full-service business transformation firm located in Centennial, CO.  We impact every aspect of your business from marketing to operational strategies.  Learn more at xsynergysolutions.com

your domain name matters

Choosing a Good Domain Name

The first domain name was registered more than 30 years ago. Since then, over 330 million domains have come into circulation. With that kind of competition, choosing a good domain name for your business is imperative. A memorable domain name makes all the difference when it comes to creating a successful online presence. In simplest terms, a domain name gives people an easy-to-remember name and address for your website and allows for brand consistency.

The Importance Of A Good Domain Name

Domain names establish a unique identity for your website and represent your brand. Does it matter if your domain name is different than your business name? Yes! A targeted domain name that matches your company name is critical for avoiding brand confusion, so the ideal situation is to have your domain name match your business name. If you’re just starting your business and haven’t yet decided on a business name, you may even want to adjust your business name to match available domains. For example, suppose you were planning to name your business Shoe Palace, but the domain name shoepalace.com is taken. If shoeemporium.com is available, you could change your business name to Shoe Emporium.

Choosing a good domain name does more than identify your brand. It serves to strengthen your brand’s credibility and enhance your domain SEO.

Things to Avoid When Choosing a Domain Name

1. Domains that are too long

You want the domain name for your website to be something that’s short and to the point. This is what’s going to make it memorable and encourage people to visit it.

In an effort to make your domain name unique, you might be tempted to go with a name that’s on the longer side. But this could lead to people typing your domain name wrong when attempting to visit your site and cause you to miss out on traffic.

2. Domains that are difficult to read

Make sure your domain name is easy for people to read and, maybe more importantly, easy for them to say when they’re discussing it with others. Your audience should have to wonder if they are pronouncing your domain correctly. Also, avoid using any words that might be hard for the average person to spell.

3. Domains that contain numbers

This is almost always a bad idea since it often leads to confusion when people go to visit websites. Let’s say that you want to sell the fact that you own the best gym in town. You might be tempted to make your domain name something like number1gym.com. To you, this might seem like a perfect domain name. But what’s going to happen when half your customers try to visit your website by typing in numberonecarwash.com? Unless you buy that domain name, too, and have it redirect people to number1carwash.com, you’re going to miss out on a lot of potential traffic. It’s best to leave numbers out of the equation altogether.

4. Domains with hyphens

Adding hyphens to a domain name can be tempting because it opens up so many possibilities by giving you access to a domain name that you wouldn’t be able to get without hyphens in it.

But here’s the problem: You’re going to have to work really hard to get people to remember to put hyphens into your domain name when trying to visit your site. Many of them will end up typing your domain name in without the hyphens and visiting a site other than yours. You’re better off coming up with a different domain name than trying to squeeze hyphens into bad domain names.

5. Domain names different from your business name

When you start a business website from scratch, SEO is very important. SEO, or search engine optimization, can give your site a big boost and help it land higher on search engine results pages.

There are a variety of ways to improve the SEO of your site. You can fill it with high-quality content that contains certain keywords that are important within your industry. But one of the simplest ways to improve SEO is by making your business name and domain name the same. Google has been known to give businesses that take this approach to create domain names a slight bump in the SEO department.

6. Avoid using an extension other than .com

A .com domain name is the most common extension and still generally carries more significant value for companies. That’s because most of your customers are going to assume your website is [your business name].com. The .com extension will also have a direct impact on your search rankings. Google prioritizes this extension because Internet users default to .com domains. People expect sites to use the extension – many associate real businesses with .coms, and Google tends to play on user assumptions.

There are a few exceptions to the rule. For example, the .org extension is well-known and trusted. The .org stands for ‘organization’ and is the primary choice for charity or non-profit websites. Website with the extension .edu are assigned to educational institutions.

Your domain name matters, and with a good domain name, you can set your business up for success. Make sure that you avoid the types of domain names that we mentioned above. The future success of your website and business could very well depend on it.

Looking to learn more about coming up with a great domain name or need help with other marketing aspects? Give xSynergy Marketing a call. xSynergy Marketing is a division of xSynergy Solutions, based in Centennial, CO. As a true, full-service marketing partner, we can manage all aspects of your marketing needs: branding and design, website development, digital marketing, social media management, paid search, content management, photography, and video production. Contact us today for a complimentary marketing analysis of your existing collateral.

The 5 Whys of Lean

When you think about the power behind the five (5) whys process for lean, it’s best to reflect on a conversation with a young child.  The inquisitiveness at that young age when they repeatedly ask “why” in an exhaustive fashion. While believing the first couple of responses should have quelled their constant but “why” and yet it does not, there is delight in the end with successfully helping them find the true answer to their original why.  What is fascinating with this process is that it will drive an understanding of the core why (root cause).

There is a tendency when examining a failure in a business process to stop when the first or second why is answered so we can move onto the next business issue.  The shortcut: stopping at the first or second why does not allow an organization to get to the real why (root cause) and thus does not allow for the creation of a solution that prevents the error from occurring again.

What is the five (5) whys analysis process:

  1. State the specific problem that needs to be addressed
  2. Identify and categorize the possible causes for that problem (the first “why”) and attach any supporting documents
  3. Rate each cause based on the likelihood that it led to the problem
  4. Move forward with the top-rated cause and identify the possible causes for that problem (the second “why”)
  5. Repeat steps 1–4 until the root cause of the problem is identified
  6. Develop an action plan to resolve and mitigate the identified root cause

Why use the five (5) whys process?

  1. Identifies the root cause, not just the symptoms
  2. Allows users to perform an evidence-based analysis
  3. Ultimately eliminates issues in the system for good
  4. Seeks to drive improvements and welcomes change
  5. Builds a culture that embraces progress

The power of the five (5) whys is to poke yoke (error proof) the process where the root cause occurred, and the benefits come in many forms.  The benefits include improved customer experience, process waste eliminated, and employee satisfaction to name a few.  To learn more about lean please contact xSynergy Solutions at info@xsynergysolutions.com

xSynergy Solutions is a full-service business transformation firm located in Centennial, CO. We impact every aspect of your business from marketing to operational strategies.  Learn more at xsynergysolutions.com.

What is Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP)?

We get asked that question a lot, and after describing what S&OP is we often hear; “Oh, that will not work within my company because we are different, and there is too much variability in our demand patterns to effectively plan” or simply, “That will not work in our industry”. Our leadership team has worked in the technology, manufacturing, and defense & aerospace industries for over thirty years and has witnessed firsthand the power of S&OP.

So what is Sales & Operations Planning? Let us start by breaking down the elements.  The first critical fundamental to understand is that S&OP is a business management process where leadership and executive teams meet to ensure each business function is aligned to balance supply and demand.  The executive leadership team also has an accountability to meet monthly in the executive sponsored S&OP meeting to make decisions to assure that supply and demand.

These decisions will be focused the demand forecast (forward volumes to be produced), capacity plan (how many people or how much equipment do we need to produce the demand), inventory plan (what inventory investments are required), surge plan (what customers or product could surge in the last two weeks of a month or quarter and can we support that surge) and lastly what risk could occur and how do we manage or mitigate it?

These are critical business decisions that require numerous decision-makers. Those decision-makers include Sales, Finance, Supply Chain, Operations, Manufacturing, Engineering, and the S&OP functional leader.  It is the responsibility of the S&OP leader to facilitate the monthly meeting, guide the executive team through that meeting, and ensure that the required decisions are made to balance demand and supply.

It is important to note that before that monthly executive decision-making meeting there is a tremendous amount of work effort that occurs within the demand and supply planning functional groups.  It is their accountability to start the planning cycle which is as follows:

  1. Data Analysis: In this phase of the planning cycle the planners are actualizing and analyzing the prior periods’ performance. Meaning what was forecasted compared to what was produced or consumed against that forecast (accuracy and bias), the inventory forecast; did we meet the financial inventory forecasted for the prior month ending inventory, and supply optimization; did we level-load manufacturing and optimize the resources people and equipment?  This and then analyze what caused variances to the plan.
  2. Demand Planning: In this phase, the demand planners are simulating planning scenarios that include product mix performance change, average sales price performance, and the impact on the demand, and customer surge performance. These are only a few examples of the scenarios that a demand planner will run. The goal is to determine if there are changes required to the forward demand twelve (12) month forecast.
  3. Supply Planning: In this phase the supply planners are utilizing the output of the new demand forecast to access impact to inventory (do we need to purchase more or less), running the capacity planning algorithms (do we need more resources or will be constrained by machine capacity)? The goal is to determine what, if any, resource changes are required to supply in the future time fences to support the new demand plan.
  4. Pre-S&OP Meeting: This meeting allows the supply and demand planners to present the output of their analysis to key stakeholders which include Manufacturing, Engineering, Customer Operations, Finance, and Quality. The key takeaway of this meeting is to discuss any other factors that could influence the demand or supply plan before presenting to the executive S&OP leadership team.
  5. Preparation for Executive S&OP Meeting: Now its time to tell the story and provide the likely demand and supply scenarios that will lead to decisions for both demand and supply by the executive team.

After all this work, effort occurs and the decisions are made by the executive team, the respective teams will implement the approved demand and supply plans and then the cycle starts again.

The exquisiteness of the S&OP processes is that when there is planning efficacy there is a significant impact to the customers’ experience in relation to a vastly improved on-time delivery, cost reductions occur resulting from improved inventory turns and resource utilization; less or planned overtime, and more efficient operations, cross-functional team collaboration, an executive team that is aligned and risk understood and planned for.

xSynergy Solutions is a full-service business transformation firm located in Centennial, CO. We impact every aspect f your business from the marketing and operational strategies to your IT infrastructure-even the energy usage of your facilities. Learn more at https://xsynergysolutions.com.