Front End Process Improvement Project

ECI Screen Print has grown tremendously over the past couple of years and the larger the company, the more at risk of becoming more and more cumbersome in its processes. Growing companies need to focus on preventing this problem as well as improving their customer service, all while trying to compete in competitive industries. We have to be able to supply customers with more information that is more detailed and more accurate. There is a great need to be able to supply a surmounting growth of opportunities to the public as well as our customers, all of this while doing it in an easier and simpler way. The goal is to set new standards for service and to be able to increase those standards continually over time.

ECI has taken steps in improving the front end of the business of the company, which handles customer interactions.

Write Things Down!

Our team has started breaking processes down step by step and recording all information involved in each process, including any variables that may occur. This gives our team the time to focus on finding what’s most important in the company and our processes. First, we must understand what we currently do. Then, we need to find out what we need to do to improve what we currently do. ECI staff has put together activity matrices to get an idea of the different processes each staff member does, giving a visualization of what they spending their time on and if it is the most effective use of their time.

Measure Success

Staff should report output and metrics – the physical numbers that the staff can watch increase or decrease. This will give them a better understanding of what can be improved and prioritizes what needs improvement most.

Communicate: What needs to change?

Reports, metrics and activity logs are presented at the tier meetings each morning for the group to discuss and share ideas of why the numbers are the way they are and come up with ideas to improve them.

Once we have an understanding of what we are currently doing, we then must discover what things in our processes need to change. Are there redundant processes that are done by more than one person? By eliminating redundancy, you will be able to get rid of wastes in time, effort, paper and steps. Are there gaps, miscommunications or inaccuracies that can be improved upon in some of the processes? How can they be improved? It is all in asking the right questions and being able to answer them using the information from your measurements.

Then, decide what you will need to implement the changes – Training, technology and/or refinement.

Delegate and Distribute the Workload

Once you have broken up the processes, eliminated waste and improved upon the gaps and inaccuracies in the processes, it is now time to distribute the workload to specific staff members. Cross training each employee in each process takes the stress off of an individual and the company isn’t as dependent on them. The company will then continue to keep moving and progressing.

 In order to stream line processes such as job jacket flow, as well as quote and PO follow-ups, ECI’s front end team – including administrators, estimating, inside and outside sales staff, and our accounting and purchasing teams – who meet each morning to go over data analysis they collect each day to review to understand where they are and where they need to be. Once data is collected and we get an understanding of the information that we are dealing with, the workload is assigned and delegated to each person to ensure maximum efficiency and help the front office team handle customers better and more efficiently. Each staff member will be assigned specific customers to take care of and familiarize themselves with. The customer’s experience will be more personalized and receive a faster response time.

We want things to be three time faster, simpler, easier and better than how they are currently doing. Recording, measuring and communicating will need to be a continuous process throughout making improvements. We should be able to see the success through the results and because we will be recording everything every step of the way, we will see increases in productivity and outputs. Allow it to continually evolve.

The goal is to be able to do more, provide better service, increase the volume of activity and provide more accurate and complete information to design and production while making work easier for everyone. The company will therefore be more agile and have more resources to keep up with growth and provide better, more complete support and service to our internal and external customers.