Magazine article Management Review

Getting Your Business on Track ... Cheaply

Magazine article Management Review

Getting Your Business on Track ... Cheaply

Article excerpt

Sometimes it takes an experienced outsider to get a company on track, but consultants may not be in the budget or have the type of experience you really need. If you're in that situation, two nationwide programs may have resources you need.

Manufacturing Technology Centers (MTCS) have been established in 42 states and Puerto Rico, with funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Although services vary depending upon the needs of businesses in their areas, all typically offer consultants to work with business to assess current technology and business needs and to suggest ways to implement changes. Quality management, workforce training, workplace organization, business systems, marketing and financial expertise also are available.

CEO Charles Deischter worked with the California MTC (CMTC) to transform Micro Precision Swiss in Rancho Santa Marguerita, Calif., from a defense contractor to a medical device manufacturer, beginning in March 1993. "The CMTC was making assessments of small companies that included all aspects of the operations. I had just purchased the firm and this offered me an unbiased opinion of how to take it to the next level. I followed their recommendations and our sales have nearly paralleled what they said was doable. The company had $800,000 in sales when I bought it. Sales for 1995 were $2.6 million, and sales of $3 million are projected for 1996."

During this time, staff has grown from 18 to 35 employees, the product mix has changed from 90 percent defense/electronics to 90 percent medical (bone anchors, dental implants, cutters to remove plaque from veins...) Micro Precision Swiss is still working with the CMTC, most recently to identify management control software.

Nationally, an NIST survey of 610 small and midsize participants indicates that, per company, an average of 5.6 jobs were saved or added, companies saved $43,000 in labor and material costs, and increased sales by almost $370,000 per year. A study of Southern California MTC's first 51 clients showed an average increase in sales of 18 percent, cost reduction of 11 percent, labor savings of $60,000, a reduction in costs of 11 percent, and scrap and rework savings of $146,000 per manufacturer. Fee struCtures for center consultations vary considerably among centers, but tend to be lower than costs for independent consultants. The U.S. General Accounting Office added that companies working with the MTCs used technology more effectively, and increased product quality, worker productivity, customer satisfaction, company profits and their ability to meet production schedules. …

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