X-Factory manufactures hard goods and ships them to customers. Prior to hitting the shop floor, orders need to be entered, planned, proofed back to the customer (each order is customized to some degree), scheduled and then delivered to the shop floor. This process can take up to 26 days. Once hitting the floor, there is a 2-6 week lead time to manufacture and ship
. That might sound excessive to you, but it was the case at X-Factory, and it was a problem because 90% of the company’s business rested upon 2 major customers, and one of them was fed up with the lead times and threatening to leave.
Clare entered orders. Will planned and assembled the bill of materials (BOM) that accompanied the job through the shop. Grant created the spec drawing that detailed all the aspects of the job for customer approval. Each functioned within their departments, located in disparate parts of the office. Typically an order would process sequentially through those steps refluxing upstream 3 or 4 times throughout the process for clarifications and rework. For 26 days.
To get to the point, one day Clare approached Will and Grant with a request to experiment. Her hypothesis was that they could reduce the lead time and re-work by working together simultaneously enter, plan, and proof an order.