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Client Results & Case Studies

Here are some links to case studies (all on this page):

  • Major Computer Manufacturer - How we saved weeks of training and restart hassles.
  • Major Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturer - How we documented business processes in every major department to save hundreds of employee hours every month.
  • Major Bank - How client was able save big $$ and restart hassles by hiring and quickly training new employees at their new home office location.
  • Startup Company in Wireless Technology - How our management training and brainstorming processes brought out workable ideas, united employees’ efforts, and improved morale and communication.
  • San Francisco Investment Company - How we delivered an unexpected advantage with our financial model to identify critical variables and their respective sensitivity to the overall analysis.
  • Major Information Publisher - How we used direct mail to obtain cash-in-advance orders of $7.4 million to empty a client's warehouse of nearly obsolete products!

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Major Computer Manufacturer - Business process management.

Client's Problem / Situation

The Educational Services Billing Group for a $1.8 billion company decided to move to Colorado. But, they had virtually no documented work instructions for the Group. The goal was to accurately document all the Group’s operations so they could hire and train new employees in Colorado.

Solution – what we did for the client

  • We interviewed many managers and employees in the billing and finance groups. In nine key areas, we developed employee work instructions in ISO 9000 format with improved new procedures and process flowcharts.
  • Software/Equipment used: Sun Sparc workstation and UNIX software, Visio, TopDown Flowcharter, and Macintosh.

Results

The client was able to save weeks of training and re-start hassles, and make a smooth move to Colorado. The verified work instructions allowed the Group to hire locals and continue finance department operations with minimal retraining.

TOP

Major Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturer - Business process management.

Client's Problem / Situation

Because of phenomenal growth of this 30,000-employee semiconductor manufacturer, business processes were undocumented in nearly all departments. For example, undocumented procedures in manufacturing, final test, QA, and shipping resulted in the following problems:

  • Chaotic and uncoordinated employee activities throughout the company weakened sales, manufacturing, delivery, income and profits.
  • Manufacturing results depended on "tribal knowledge" and departmental politics.
  • Field installers generated over 500 non-conformance (NC) reports per week for which there was virtually no tracking, repair, or vendor-return of defective parts.
  • QA Certification Training took 9 months at exorbitant expenses of salary and per diem.
  • A huge warehouse filled with $13 million worth of defective (and abandoned) parts.

Solution – what we did for the client

  • We interviewed over 100 subject matter experts in manufacturing, operations, finance, and marketing departments. Organized and conducted meetings to coordinate development of documentation.
  • Wrote and verified over 1,000 pages of ISO 9000 procedures, work instructions, business processes, etc. Created scores of business process flowcharts.
  • Designed 8-week QA Certification course for field technicians.
  • Designed and wrote computer programs to simulate and predict work flow and resource requirements for correcting non-conforming equipment.
  • Software/Equipment used: ProModel, Visio, ABC Graphics, MS Word, MS Mail, Windows 95, Lotus Notes, MS Excel, and Macintosh.

Results

Documented business processes in every major department.

Saved hundreds of employee hours every month and reduced reliance on "tribal knowledge" to near zero because employees could reliably inherit work.

Reduced QA training from 9-months to 8-weeks saving an estimated $26,000 per student.

Developed a new NC System allowed client to:

  • Report and return defective parts,
  • Simulate and predict departmental impact of correcting NCs.
  • Solve NC problems in Engineering and Manufacturing,
  • Return warranted parts to vendors for credit and to correct their manufacturing problems,
  • Reduced the number of NC reports by correcting problems and preventing recurrence.

TOP

Major Bank - A home office relocation project, business process management.

Client's problem/situation

Major bank was moving its home office from California to Texas.

Unfortunately, most back office accounting procedures were undocumented and most employees were unwilling to relocate thousands of miles away. This was a big problem because they would have to hire and train new employees for procedures that were known only to current employees.

Solution – what we did for the client

  • We interviewed employees
  • Compiled available information, and created detailed Operations Manuals for all their back office balancing procedures for PEP rejects, ST in process, IM in process, NOR clearing, savings rejects, Finesort clearing, etc.

Results

Client was able save big $$ and restart hassles by hiring and quickly training new employees at their new location.

TOP

Startup Company in Wireless Technology - Business management.

Client's problem/situation

Client was a growing startup company with new products and employees. Client’s server software lets businesses communicate with cell phones, pagers, PDAs, mobile computers, and all the latest wireless devices. Company lacked documented procedures for most departments, and lacked a documented management system and associated employee training.

Solution – what we did for the client

  • Developed and conducted 8-week Leadership and Management Training.
  • Conducted Thoughtstorm® sessions.

Results

Employees learned effective management techniques and how do document their work. Employees learned the principles of management for non-management personnel, how to delegate and regulate work , how to develop standards and benchmarks, how to obtain and manage employee promises, and how to develop position interface procedures.

Our Thoughtstorm® sessions brought out workable ideas, united employees’ efforts, and improved morale and communication.

TOP

San Francisco Investment Company - A Financial Modeling Project.

Client's problem/situation.

"Several potential resource acquisitions come our way each week. It would take a crew of several specialists many hours every week to do justice to the job of analyzing return on investment for each of these. So, we had to develop a system to do the job." -- John W, Manager of Investments Analysis, San Francisco

With over $600 million in annual sales, acquisition analysis is an important process that involves considerable risk and uncertainty. Yet, the company must be able to attempt projection to know what they can afford to pay today, which is 20-30 years before the investment begins to realize a return.

Solution – what we did for the client

John, and I developed a computerized simulation model, called the Acquisition Analysis System to analyze "lease/buy" considerations involving acquisitions.

Our simulation model lets management analyze potential acquisitions in terms of expected cash flows and ROI, given certain assumptions that we easily put into the model. We can adjust these parameters to fit any negotiation terms.

Thus, management can see in advance the possible effects of paying a certain amount per year to the seller at x% inflation rate over the next 30 years. But, if the seller prefers a lower fixed rate and higher compensation for inflation, we can plug that into the model and see results in seconds.

Our simulation model covers 20+ variables, ranging from applicable tax rates to industry various indexes. Critical assumptions revolve around future values and the escalation rates of costs, lease, or sale prices. These rates are not single-value inputs. Rather, a range is required which specifies the low, high, and most likely values.

A run's output includes a cumulative probability distribution of the ROI. We also print a list, by period, for items such as after-tax profit, cash flows, net investment, and net present value. Our program analyzes all these items for both lease and buy cases.

Results

The result is that my client's buyers need only call headquarters with potential acquisition information. Proposed lease/buy data is immediately fed into the model. If the ROI looks good, the resource is either bought or leased, or further negotiated. Any subsequent changes can be quickly reported, and alternate simulations run.

"An unexpected advantage of using the model has been the identification of critical variables and their respective sensitivity to the overall analysis. Discovery of these critical factors has led us to initiate further studies in an attempt to more accurately predict their values ... It used to take someone several days to do this type of analysis. Now we can explore several alternate lease/buy decisions in an hour or so. With our interactive features, we can change any or all our assumptions at anytime." -- A.S., Special Projects Manager, San Francisco" -- AS, Special Projects Manager, San Francisco

"Fast turnaround is important when conducting our negotiations because frequently we face a lot of competition for the same resource, and it's important when making an offer to know our limits -- what we can and can’t afford to pay... We've been pleased with the results of this approach. This simulation model gives us a more accurate means to forecast our revenue streams. And it serves as a good negotiating tool that allows us to come back quickly with some realistic answers on how our investments can be expected to work for us over the years." -- John W, Manager of Investments Analysis

TOP

A Direct Mail Marketing Project - Guerrilla marketing.

Client's problem/situation.

A client called me because his friend at a different company had just dropped over $200,000 on a direct mail project that was a complete BUST! Their response rate was so low as to be hardly measurable. And, those few that had "bought" hadn't paid their bills!

Their product was a business directory that competed with D&B directories, among others.

It was now September, and the company had a warehouse full of unsold directories that were dated for the year of publication. Like dated magazines, it is very difficult to sell dated directories after the year of publication.

Their directories were soon headed for landfill! Here's the gist of our first conversation.

I asked, "Who are your customers?"

"Libraries."

I said, "Well, libraries don’t buy directories, people buy directories, right?"

"Yes. We sell to librarians."

I asked, "How many customers have you talked to this year?"

"None actually, we have many librarians who work here. They help us compile the directory information."

"Great, how many directories have they bought this year?"

"None, of course."

"Did they advise you about what to put in your direct mail campaign?"

"Well, sort of..."

To sum it up, they had not been talking to their customers. And they had mailed everything to an untested mail list!

Solution – what we did for the client.

I advised doing some market research to talk to librarians. I offered to conduct a brief phone campaign to see whether I could come up with some useful ideas.

I created a questionnaire and started calling. I discovered that librarians almost NEVER buy those directories. They are usually only a buying influence. Purchasing agents buy the directories.

I also discovered big differences between small libraries that are strapped for cash and large libraries that typically buy one of everything.

I researched buying cycles and habits - who buys, why they buy, how they buy, when they buy, etc. I researched the kinds of problems that libraries have, the kinds of people that work there, and who has buying influence. I even researched what kind of buying incentives (bonuses) might work. (BIG surprise there!)

Incidentally, my research was complete in a week - not months.

I then scheduled the second meeting, where I would present my findings with some ideas about how to sell those directories. I now knew more about their business and customers than they did. And I hadn't visited a single library.

Here's the upshot.

The VP of Marketing worked with me to create a detailed Action Plan another direct mail campaign. As a result of my research, we divided the market into 5 segments, from the smallest to the largest.

We developed a direct mail package for each segment - with different headlines, different photos, different incentives, etc. Much of the copy remained the same, incidentally. All offers were for CASH-in-advance -- to STOP the backlog of accounts receivables with all its problems.

Results

CASH-in-advance orders began pouring in. My client was both thrilled and relieved.

We emptied the warehouse to the tune of $7.4 million in sales! And the VP of Marketing got promoted to their East Coast office.

The keys to the success of this project were:

  • Orchestrated market research,
  • Effective Action Plans,
  • Strategic market segmentation,
  • Tailored direct mail packages, and (especially)
  • A Marketing VP who fully participated in the process.

TOP

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Client Comments

"Nice job, Mike. I really appreciate you're coming through for ThinkFree. I found it extremely hard to find someone sufficiently diligent and competent for them who'd agree to work onsite as much as they needed. It was a major relief to have them off my "emergency" list." A.D., President, Synergistech Communications, Inc.

 

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"We were skeptical because you were not a radiologist ... Thank you for all the effort and time ... for being flexible in the times of the day (nights) that we could work ... for thorough research, design, organization, writing, layout, accuracy ... was impressed when the manual passed our stringent Configuration Control Board without changes. Your effectiveness as an individual was a major key to the success. Excellent!" C.N., Product Marketing Specialist, Diasonics, Milpitas, CA.