Business Consulting Services
Not meeting customer expectations?
High rate of warranty returns?
Business not making money?
Need to make some major changes?
Don’t know where to begin?
If any of these questions describe your current situation, we can fix it.
Here are some examples of what our clients needed from a business consultant.
“I found Gary to be a real professional. He was articulate, smart, thorough, and knew his business very well. He’s easy to work with, and I believe he would be an asset to any organization.”
— Linda Braunhardt, Regional Sales Manager, New England Custom Molders
Their medical division was sick and needed a specialist
Jack (not his real name) called and told me, “I have two divisions of my company. One is an industrial division. The other is a medical division. The medical division is all f****d up. I need somebody to fix it.”
I asked him, “What’s the problem?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I sit up in the front office. I’m a marketing and sales guy. What goes on on the other side of that wall, I’m friggen clueless about. Go fix it.”
So we did.
Their product had some engineering issues. They had a lot of premature product failures and caught a lot of flak from their customers as a result.
Another issue they had was on-time delivery. They were a make-to-order company that promised delivery in 4-6 weeks, but they actually delivered in 10-12 weeks.
Their main competitor was a make-to-stock company. So jack’s company was using the wrong business model, and the competition was killing them as a result. Changing that factor made the biggest difference of all.
Jack told me that 1 out of 3 products shipped out was getting returned within 30 days for various failures, which ate up all their profit in warranty repairs. We advised them to make a number of changes, with the result that returns reduced from 1-in-3 to 1-in-20, reducing returns to about 1/7th their previous level.
In other words, with our help, product failures decreased from 33% to 5%.
The changes we implemented also shrunk their 10-12 weeks actual delivery time to an average of just 2 weeks. We also streamlined their inventory control systems, reducing their raw material inventories by 56%.
“I have enjoyed working with Mr. Smith and have great respect for his insight and abilities. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking to fill a senior level operations position. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance.” (read entire testimonial)
— Wayne Korteweg, President
Ultracell medical Technologies, Inc.
Wayne’s manufacturing couldn’t keep up with his sales
Wayne had a small company, about $3 million in sales, about 35 employees, and he was a really good salesman. He wanted to grow the business, but he needed a lot better organization in his company to get the manufacturing processes to the next level to adequately support the sales he could generate.
“I need someone to come in,” Wayne told me, “and over the next 3-4 months to reorganize the manufacturing operation, improve the throughput, identify and remove the bottlenecks in the organization, so that as I sell, we have the ability to supply product.”
We proposed changes that ended up doubling the output operation.
Soon, a client he long wanted to sell came to him one day and offered to buy his business outright. He asked us what to do. We helped him figure out that he really wanted to be doing other things in his life. So we helped him navigate a sale of the business for nine times earnings.
“Thanks for the work you did with our team to resolve inter-disciplinary issues. In a few short sessions you were able to help us define the concerns, determine our approach, and resolve cross-departmental points of tension. Our team felt comfortable and confident as you led us through the discussions. Your style set the participants at ease and sent us away with clear objectives to achieve. Your questions led us to take the critical steps to reach our desired goals. We look forward to working with you in the future.”
— Ron Dischinger, President/CEO, Elim Park Baptist Home
Michael’s company had a throughput problem
“We are not meeting customer expectations,” Michael (not his real name) first told me. “We have a bunch of upset customers because stuff is being delivered late.”
He believed that throughput in the factory drove the problem and that orders weren’t getting handled the proper way.
Throughput was indeed part of the problem, but they also had a problem with excessive amounts of scrap, causing manufacturing times to take a lot longer. We reduced scrap by around 25-30%, which contributed even more toward the goal of improving on-time delivery rates.
When we started working with Michael’s company, their on-time delivery rate was in the low 70% range.
By the time we finished working with them, successful on-time deliveries increased to 97%.
“Gary has clear insight and provides innovative solutions to help solve problems. Others always stop and listen when Gary speaks, because he often offers new and innovative thoughts on how to best approach issues. Gary also brings the often left out human element to conversations.”
— Newt Schoenly, President, Charter Oak Service Corp.
They needed to become profitable, or they would have to close the business
Charter Oak had been in the home-care business for more than 25 years. The owner, Newt Schoenly, was a personal friend. We had lunch one day, and I asked how his business was doing.
“Well, it’s not going really well. We’re not making any money. For the past four years, we’ve been at break-even. We’re covering our expenses, but that’s about it. My wife and I are thinking maybe we should just close the business because it’s not making any money. We’ve taken as much cost out of the business as we can, but could you do a financial analysis for me and give me your thoughts on what you see?”
We did the financial analysis and suggested fundamental changes in the way they run their business, moving away from taking whatever business the government sends them (at low pay rates), moving instead toward the private pay market. This was a particular good solution for this particular company because they are located in the middle of a very rich county with plenty of wealthy people.
They took our advice delving into private in-home care, and for the first time in four years they started showing a profit!
“Gary Smith is a person of profound professional knowledge, extensive work experience, and genuine integrity in his will to help people and businesses in their pursuit to develop and grow further. He is a real professional and a true friend who can lead people and businesses to their accomplishments through advice and guidance, and I believe that he would be a great asset in any organization.”
— Dina Belgibayeva, Translator, KPMG Audit
They lost 40% of their business, but they wouldn’t make changes
Jerry (not his real name) had a $10 million company, half of which sold automotive-related products. In 2008-2009 they lost 40% of their business, shrinking them to a $6 million company. Jerry wanted someone to come in and straighten things out.
“We’ve been working now for a year to try to recover the business that we lost,” he told me. “We realize that we’re not going to get back into the automotive business. We really don’t want to anyway. We need to take the company in a different direction.”
“What have you done so far?” I asked him.
“I’ve got one salesman out on the road so far, making calls,” he replied.
“What’s his canvassing process?” I asked.
“He puts a pin in a map showing where we’re located, and he’s been working outward in concentric circles since then,” Jerry told me.
“Gary has unselfishly given freely of his time and talent to many without expectation of reciprocity over the year. I believe he will underpromise and overdeliver anything he has to offer. He not only understands the concepts of World Class Management and Value Added, but lives them. I would highly recommend him to guide your team to real success!”
— JaK Wilberscheid, President, Hood River WaterPlay
I began to see part of the problem. “Is he targeting his marketing, so that he’s calling on companies that have a need for the products and services you guys offer? Or is he just pretty much calling on everybody.”
“He’s calling on everybody,” he said.
“Well, that’s a waste of time. Let’s get the salesman on the phone,” I suggested.
So we did, and I asked the salesman, “In the last three months, how many calls have you made, how many new customers do you have, and what does that translate to as far as new business?”
“I’ve been making an average of about 20 calls a week for the past three months,” he replied.
“So you’ve made about 240 sales calls over the past three months. How many new customers have you gotten?” I probed deeper.
“Two,” he answered without hesitation.
“What does that translate to as far as business?” I asked.
“Probably about $50,000 a quarter,” he said.
I turned to the president and said, “If we assume that’s the way it works, adding $200,000 a year to your sales line, it’s going to take you about 20 years to recover $4 million in lost sales. Are you comfortable with that?”
He said, “No.”
I said, “Then what you’re doing for sales isn’t working. In this particular industry, you guys should be closing 30% of the new contacts you’re making. That’s industry average for the kind of stuff you guys do. If you’re hitting 200 new people, you should be getting 60 new customers out of that 200. You’re way behind the power curve.”
Jerry’s salesman was simply targeting inappropriate potential customers, and it was costing Jerry a lot of money.
Then I shifted gears. We looked at his factory floor, and I agreed with him that he was running an efficient operation.
I then said, “Do you have an existing breakdown of your customers that says, ‘Here are the jobs we’re doing where we’re making really good money. Here are the jobs where we’re losing money or breaking even?’”
“Yeah, we’ve got a few jobs like that,” Jerry agreed.
“What you’re telling me is that if you’re running your operation as efficiently as possible, and you’ve got some customers where you either have to jack up your prices or fire your customer, because you can’t continue to lose money on jobs.
“You’ve got some tough decisions to make. The business can be turned around, but you’re going to have some difficult conversations.”
Jerry wasn’t crazy about what I suggested.
I kept after him: “Bottom line: you need to decide if this is something you want to do. I’m not going to come in here and spend 2-3 months working to develop and implement a plan to turn this business around, if when I bring you the plan, you back off and decide not to implement it.
“So make your decision, because I don’t want you to waste your money, and I don’t want to waste my time.”
We ended up firing Jerry as a client. Why, you ask? Because Jerry weren’t serious about making changes. We didn’t want to waste anyone’s time. Some people just aren’t willing to pay the price in order to get to where they need to be.
Don’t be a Jerry. Don’t continue to suffer. Call us right now at [ccontact]. There’s no risk, and you have no obligation by calling us. Just talk with us and listen to what we have to suggest to address your particular, individual situation.
As business consultants, we work on several levels:
Level one is working with your organization to solve a specific, pre-defined problem or set of problems. We will meet with the appropriate people in your organization to clearly define what they believe to be the problem/s. Then, working with your team, we will review existing data, gather additional data, analyze that data, and see what story the data tells us. We will then determine the proper tools for root cause identification so that we can eliminate symptoms and get to the real source of the problem/s. Once identified, we will define corrective actions and create an implementation plan and timeline to be reviewed with you and your team. Depending on the circumstances, you may elect to have us implement the solutions, oversee the implementation, or have your team handle problem resolution.
Level two is training your personnel. We provide problem solving training to a predetermined number of your employees and then use actual problems in your business to guide and mentor your employees through the data gathering, analysis, root cause identification, and solution implementation process until they are comfortable with the tools and process and feel empowered to use it on their own.
Level three involves a complete business analysis. We look at your business plan and goals, financials, organizational structure and capabilities, and key performance indicators to get a sense for how your business is progressing in meeting goals and satisfying customers requirements. We meet with key employees to get their assessment and input regarding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) facing your company. We create a summary report containing fact-based recommendations for how you can best move your company forward and achieve the goals you have defined.
Our skills in consulting have broad applications in both the manufacturing and service industries.