Furniture Services Operations Review

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End-to-end effectiveness in Warehouse, Delivery and Installation.

Most dealerships are actually three businesses in one: a sales organization, a procurement firm, and a field services group. We help dealers identify improvement opportunities and implement achievable solutions across all three businesses through a crawl/walk/run offering that represents a range of investment in consulting services. See Dealer Self-Assessment and Gap Analysis (crawl), Dealer Diagnostic (walk), and Dealer Development Program (run).

In contrast, our Furniture Services Operations Review (“Ops Review”) is an exclusive focus on the field services business, with the ultimate goal of flawless execution on every project while achieving target margins. In performing the Ops Review—a three-phase effort—our operations consultant will:

  • Do an in-depth assessment of your current organizational structure, processes, staffing, technology, and financial results for Warehouse, Delivery and Installation (WDI);
  • Provide relevant comparisons to industry best practices and performance benchmarks; and
  • Develop detailed recommendations for improving efficiency and productivity, delivering higher value to customers, and mitigating or eliminating margin erosion.

Beginning with the assumption that nothing is “broken,” we examine the numbers and probe the realities in the office, the warehouse and the field. Through seasoned analysis of our findings, we look for process, staffing and technology improvements that could increase competitiveness, build repeat and referral business, and bolster profitability. Because we want to help you aim high, the reference points for our work are benchmarks associated with Top 25% high-performing dealers.

Foundational Considerations
We know from decades of Solomon Coyle benchmark research that certain traits are common among high-performing dealers. We look for these indicators during an Ops Review because they provide a foundation for consistently delivering successful projects with desirable profit margins.

The important traits we see include a disciplined quote-to-invoice process, knowing your true costs of doing business, well-defined roles and responsibilities, an effective process for project initiation (including a clear and detailed scope of work), effective use of technology, and employees who understand the financial impact of their roles and are accountable for their performance.

The one essential trait is a quote-to-invoice process that flows smoothly through the dealership, providing end-to-end connection for all aspects of project execution, from completion of the Sales Order process through the very end of the Work Order process. That’s why we observe and meet with all personnel who play a part in those activities, including Management, Sales, Sales Support, Design, Project Management, Customer Service, Warehouse Operations, Asset Management, and Installation.

Phase 1, Document Review and Analysis (2 weeks)
The Ops Review begins with studying information, forms and data provided by the client and making notes in preparation for the on-site assessment which will take place at the start of Phase 2. We will need you to provide us with the following materials:

  • Organization chart with titles
  • Current Operations process documentation
  • Current Operations financials and true hourly cost reports
  • Job descriptions for current Operations roles
  • Examples of all current forms (i.e., quote, schedule, service, etc.)
  • List of all technology tools utilized outside of the operating system

Phase 2, On-site Assessment and Report (4–5 weeks)
Phase 2 begins with a 3-day site visit during which our operations consultant gets a firsthand look at your company in action and conducts a series of structured but informal conversations with your managers and teams in the office, the warehouse and the field. The consultant will document key observations, clarify any discrepancies between the information you provided for Phase 1 and what he sees and hears while on site, close any gaps in his understanding of how you execute furniture projects, and seek answers to questions noted during the site visit.

Areas of particular interest during the site visit include the following:

  • Logistical planning prior to order placement, including tagging, sequencing, and phasing
  • Review and preparation of service packets
  • Warehouse receiving process, including space planning and utilization
  • Product pulls and set-up in the warehouse
  • Delivery of product, including efficient planning and loading of trucks
  • Equipment tracking
  • Overall quality and verification systems
  • Project coordination, logistics, and scheduling
  • Install process and procedures

Following the on-site assessment, our consultant develops an in-depth Owner’s Report which summarizes the assessment process and findings, provides performance-related analyses grounded in our experience with industry best practices and dealer benchmark research, and outlines practical recommendations for improving efficiency, productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

Some of those recommendations may amount to a quick fix. Others may require a long-term commitment to implement. In Phase 3 you’ll have the chance to discuss priorities, options and alternatives for implementing our recommendations.

Phase 3, Presentation of Findings and Recommendations (1 day)
In Phase 3, our consultant meets with select dealer staff members to review key findings and recommendations from the Owner’s Report. The meeting is typically done as a video conference. At the dealer’s option, it can instead be a physical meeting and, in fact, we prefer a physical meeting if the dealer requests a presentation to the entire management team.

The meeting is a great opportunity for dialog with our consultant to clarify the understanding or importance of any of Solomon Coyle’s recommendations and consider implementation issues and alternatives.