Original Date: 08/30/2004
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Front Office Flow
TOMAK Precision has applied the same Lean concepts used in the factory to its Front Office environment, thus reducing travel distances, eliminating bottlenecks, and improving efficiencies for handling quotes, processing orders, and responding to inquiries.
TOMAK Precision’s Front Office Flow is characterized by the efficient handling of quotes, orders, and inquiries from its customers. The company has applied Lean concepts to its office environment to streamline processes and reduce non-value added tasks.
As with most small companies, TOMAK Precision’s Front Office consists of four or five people who handle a variety of tasks and are cross-trained. Most important to the business is the quick turnaround of quotes, order processing, and responding to inquiries. Delaying the handling of any of these tasks causes delays or losses in acquiring work and greatly impacts the reputation and credibility of a company, even more so with a small company. Most small companies do not apply Lean concepts to their Front Offices as aggressively as on the factory floor.
At TOMAK Precision, the same Lean concepts applied to the factory have been applied to the Front Office, thus reducing travel distances for processing quotes and orders, reducing non-value added work, and avoiding bottlenecks. The process starts at station #1 when a request for quote is received from a customer. The request is entered into a database for tracking and sent to station #2 where a rough outline of the manufacturing process is generated and the quotation is calculated. The quotation goes to station #3 for approval by the company President, and then goes to station #4 where the quote data is entered into the database and sent to the prospective customer. The entire process travels less than 20 feet and is typically completed in less than two days. If a request for quote is placed on an optional fast track, it is processed in only one hour. When orders are received, they follow the same flow as the processing of quotes. However, instead of returning it to the customer, TOMAK Precision’s production manager picks up the order and starts production. When the work is complete and the parts are ready for shipping, the job package is returned to the Front Office for data entry and job closeout.
TOMAK Precision’s Front Office Flow process provides the company visible verification of quotes and orders, as well as inquires that are still in the process cycle requiring action. Because steps were taken to eliminate non-value added tasks and remove bottlenecks, the Front Office Flow process is streamlined for efficiency and quick turnaround. As a result, TOMAK Precision maximizes its response time to its customers while continuously building its reputation and credibility.
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