Why a Lean Quoting Process - Part 3

Why a Lean Quoting Process – Part 3

This is an excerpt from Ed Grinde’s new book Leveraging Lean with Lean Quoting, now available on amazon.com.

This is the third and final article on developing a new lean quoting process.  In the first two articles I discussed (1) the need for a lean quoting process and (2) the part of the process that moves most quotes quickly through to completion.  This last article talks about what happens to the few that fail a filter and must go to the daily opportunity review process.  Those are the orange boxes below.

As shown in the flow chart above, any quote that fails a filter due to capability, capacity, material content, or strategic direction will go to the daily opportunity review boards.  This is a meeting at a location set up to have all functions of the value stream come together to discuss these quote opportunities that will drive the sales, and profits, of the value stream to a higher level by using lean accounting to take advantage of the gains you have made with your lean improvements.  

This meeting needs to be a priority for all concerned, and this is not a meeting for just the quote team.  You want to have people representing the plant floor, the quote team, value stream engineering, the value stream leader, accounting, sales representatives, and occasional visits from the general manager, marketing, and continuous improvement.  At this meeting key and/or large quoting opportunities will be discussed as a team and the decisions made will be by the team.  

The purpose for this cross-functional team is 3-fold.  First is that when it comes to these key quotes you want to hear all functions concerns/issues, if any, about the quote.  Next, with all functions regularly attending these meetings you can get most answers right there at the meeting that the quote team would previously have to wait hours if not days/weeks to get an answer. Lastly, this is a great learning opportunity for all attendees.  They will learn more about the overall business and will make better decisions in the future with what they learn at this meeting.  

What this standup meeting setup could look like is shown below.

The key reason for a stand-up meeting is that you want the meeting to be fast and focused.  If you allow folks to sit down it will make it easier for people to have side conversations and become a distraction to the meeting.

Note that there are 4 boards.  They are the Current Opportunities, Financial Impact, Key Opportunities Quoted Status, and the Opportunity Gap Board.  Also, of interest is that this should be a stand-up meeting, ADA considerations notwithstanding.  At the start it will be best if the value stream leader runs the meeting, but after everyone is comfortable with the process you should encourage others to take turns running the meeting.  

How the boards work is as follows:

  • The Current Opportunities Board will have all quotes that failed a filter and the final disposition has not been made.  There will be key data about the job being quoted, action items assigned with due dates, and any other pertinent comments.  After deciding to quote or not quote, you take the opportunity off the board.
  • The Financial Impact Board is where you will review how large opportunities will impact the value stream profits using lean accounting.  It will contain the lean P&L for the value stream in question, other value streams, and the plant P&L.  It will also show non-financial data to consider such as impact to inventory, is there a quality concern, and will it affect your value stream capacity.
  • The Key Opportunities Quoted Board will be used to track the jobs you decided to quote and will stay there until the job is won or lost.  Once a job is either won or lost you take it off this board.
  • The Opportunity Gap Board is where you will document jobs you passed on because you were lacking either the capability or capacity to do the job.  You will use this board in your annual or semi-annual value stream assessment to see where you can expand your core competencies and what the potential sales level could be.  It also helps marketing see where new opportunities may lie.

The first few meetings will be a bit awkward because most of these participants are not used to be asked their thoughts and opinions on future business opportunities.  But as you continue with these daily meetings, and encourage active participation, they will become more comfortable with the process and start interjecting their thoughts and opinions.