HOW TO GET THINGS DONE (WELL) IN A HURRY

Also known as ACHIEVING Short Lead Times! 

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  • Are you often asked to pull off the “impossible”? And then succeed so are asked again and again?!!
  • Do you find many vendors end up stretching out the promised lead times which then blows out your entire project?
  • How do you mitigate risk factors in your procurement strategy before you even place your orders?

Gone are the days when a “Sorry, no, we can’t possibly deliver in that lead time” response is acceptable.  In our ever evolving fast paced society, the expectation for immediate or at best short term delivery is constant!  But the reality is that for custom manufactured items lead times are a fact, but how do you throw all the balls up in the air for a short lead time project and make sure you keep them up and landing at the right time to deliver a great product to deadline?

Planning

One of our first questions before we get into the details of how to get a project delivered is “when is it needed”.  Longer lead times obviously give us more options from a procurement perspective but they can sometimes drag things out longer than necessary!  We love working to tight deadlines as it is where we, and others, excel and often do their best work. But planning and understanding of the goals and the exact delivery date is where we start to allow us to work backwards to devise the best solution and plan to get there.   

We also tackle the difficult elements first!  Everyone’s innate instinct is to go to the easiest thing to complete, that’s the path to delays in our game, so we choose the harder parts first as it does make it easier in the long run!

Alternate Solutions (aka refine the design)

Sometimes we might suggest a change to a particular design element, component or material because the current specification is not possible to achieve to the lead time (and actually the suggested change is better in the long term too).  Just this week we had an 11 hour turnaround time for a powder-coated item, we didn’t have the exact custom colour in stock but after some quick research we found we had as close as possible match and were able to get the job through and ready to go on a truck to Victoria within 5 hours.  

Procurement

We start procuring a lot of the key components before we have fully completed the design solution as those are, for us, the factors we have least control over in terms of lead times and shipment from overseas is often the bit that kills us.  So, wherever possible, that’s the first thing we do for known parts. Then we go to work on the design, manufacture and production whilst we await delivery.

Tools

What tools do you use to track your critical path and budgets as well as remind you about upcoming deadlines? There are a myriad of options out there in the market, and sometimes it can be as simple as a spreadsheet!  But when you have multiple projects across a diverse range of clients you might need to look at something with a little more detail and automation. We use a combination of cloud based programs which we are constantly evolving and tweaking to improve our ability to deliver more and more custom projects to our clients deadlines.

Attitude

As well as our teams planning, culture of innovation and solutions based approach to challenges, our attitude is based around making it as easy as possible for clients to work with us.  We want to help alleviate some of their stress in their lives of keeping all their balls up in the air. We understand that they have a remit and their own internal customers to deliver to, so we do our best to help them do that.

WRAP UP

Every project is different so there is no one “right way” to do things or “standard" delivery time, but our key principles of planning, approach to procurement, using our innovation to provide alternate solutions and engaging the right tools and most importantly the right attitude has been our recipe for success in helping our clients with their time constraints and pressures in project delivery.

If you’d like to see how we can help you deliver to your deadlines please contact us, we love a challenge!

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