• Are You Happy With the Performance of Your Manufacturing Team?

    Do you have a set of metrics to determine the performance of your manufacturing team? Are these metrics broken into subgroups for each manufacturing department? Another way to ask the question is how do you know if you're manufacturing team is performing at peak performance? Are there key performance indicators that you should be measuring to determine manufacturing performance? In our experience we've discovered 2 performance metrics that, if measured for each sub function in manufacturing, can provide a good picture of overall manufacturing performance. Those metrics are staying within budgeted hours and completing the function (or delivering) on time. Many manufacturing ...

  • Do your product/projects meet your customers’ expectations?

    The title of this newsletter “Do your products/projects meet your customers’ expectations?” Is a critical question that you should be asking constantly in your business. The first question I would have for you is how do you know if your products/projects meet customer expectations? Do you have the infrastructure in place to measure customer satisfaction? The infrastructure may be different for a product-oriented business versus a project-oriented business, but the results need to be the same. We need the infrastructure to be sure that we meet customer expectations for every single product/project we ship. That implies that you understand, up front, ...

  • Are your projects completed at or below budget expectations?

    Completing projects or delivering products at or below your budgeted cost expectations is critical in meeting financial projections for your company. While this is intuitively obvious, our experience tells us that the metrics required to determine this on a real time basis is something that is not necessarily an active function within all businesses. Do you have the metrics in place to determine accurately your cost performance for your projects or your products? Are these metrics reviewed in real time? And do you have a feedback system that incorporates these metrics into a “root cause” and “corrective action” evaluation and solutions ...

  • Do your projects ship on time?

    Delivering on time, in our experience, is a measure of quality. And in order to ship/deliver a product or project on time we believe it is imperative to track this metric and report it for every function that has any responsibility for a product or project. I guess the primary question is do you measure shipment or delivery on time? Is it an important metric in your business? Do you measure and report the sales function “turning over”/releasing an order with all the required information to the next business functions in a timely fashion? For example, in capital equipment markets, does ...

  • Do You Ever Have Difficulty Collecting Final Payments for Projects?

    Last month, we discussed the need for clear and concise definitions of what constitutes acceptance and transfer of ownership to be included in quotations. The need for these clear and concise definitions becomes apparent at the end of a project when you, as the supplier, are trying to collect the final payment. Unless the customer and the supplier clearly understand when the project is complete and the customer has accepted the project, there can be confusion, disagreement, and unneeded argument, all of which are avoidable if we implement this simple process of clear definition. I am sure that anyone that is ...

  • Do Your Quotations Clearly Describe Customer Acceptance and Transfer of Ownership?

    Over the last few months, we've been writing about the communication chain from the customer through the manufacturing function. As important, if not more important, is the understanding between you and your customer of “what constitutes the customers’ acceptance of your products or services and when transfer of ownership takes place”. We believe that it is imperative that the understanding of when the customer accepts your product or service and when they assume ownership is crucial and not one that should be verbal. During our careers we have seen many companies rely on handshakes and loosely worded quotations and as a ...

  • How Good is The Good Communication Between Sales and Applications Engineering?

    Over the last few months we have been writing about the communication chain from the customer through the manufacturing function. We have noted that communication of customer expectations is critical, and often, not done with excellence. The first essential element of communication for customer expectations is the communication from the customer through the salesperson to the people that do the quoting. In many organizations this function is called Applications Engineering. How smoothly does this communication go in your organization? Are your salespeople sufficiently trained to be sure that they can communicate customer expectations accurately to the Applications Engineering group? Do your ...

  • How Good is The Good Communication Between Engineering and Manufacturing?

    The topic last month was: How good is the communication between Sales and Engineering? We pointed out that this is important as engineering needs to understand “what was sold”. The same can be said for the communication between engineering and manufacturing. If engineering understands what was sold, and in a quantitative manner, including customer expectations, then it is up to engineering to communicate “what was sold” to manufacturing in a manner that manufacturing can understand and produce assuming that manufacturing has the capability to produce. Knowing manufacturing’s capabilities is crucial knowledge for engineering. Without this knowledge and the understanding that that knowledge ...

  • How Good is The Good Communication Between Sales and Engineering?

    We feel it's imperative that communication between the sales and engineering functions be excellent because engineering needs to know exactly what was sold. If engineering doesn't know, quantitatively, exactly what was sold, they will not be able to engineer to meet customer expectations! In many companies there is a “wall” between sales and engineering and in many cases the wall is almost impenetrable. In many companies sales and engineering do not get along to the point where there is real strife between the functions. The goal, and it is possible, is to have sales and engineering not only get along but ...

  • Do Your Design Teams Perform Service and Startup Calls?

    In our previous newsletter we observed: “An engineering staff that is not capable of going to the field and working with your customers is an engineering staff that, we feel, is operating at 50%.” This observation is based on many years of experience working with engineering staffs in various businesses." We have worked with engineering staffs that never went to the field and other staffs that were required to start up and service systems that they designed. It is no surprise that the engineers that started up and serviced their systems were much better qualified and productive than those that did not. It ...

Customer Testimonials

Ken Carter: EDL Packaging

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The 50 Habits have increased my sales…

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Growth happens from an objective view. Strategen works with you to evaluate and identify the primary areas of your business that require improvement. Using our 6-point business planning process, we will develop and implement a custom-tailored strategy for your business.

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