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Frequently Asked Questions

The following are questions often asked about KED and our services.  If you have a question that isn't listed below, please contact us

Select a question to view the answer.

KED is based in Minneapolis, MN.  We primarily provide services throughout the upper Midwest including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Illinois, Colorado and Nebraska.  Upon request, we will provide services for companies throughout the United States.

Yes, our process, approach and methodology works with companies of all sizes, from small to large.

While each Client requires the development and implementation of specific and customized KPI’s related to their business model and improvement requirements, the following are a sampling of typical KPI’s that KED could utilize:

  • Improvements in processing lead-times, cycle times, and turnaround times
  • Improvements in purchasing costs, inventory levels, and carrying costs
  • Improvements in Direct/Indirect labor productivity and performance levels
  • Improvements in scrap, reject and rework levels
  • Improvements in employee health, wellness and safety
  • Improvements in safety incidents levels and workers’ compensation costs
  • Improvements in customer and employee satisfaction levels
  • Improvements in compliance to policies and standard operating procedures

 

In order for our Client’s to achieve all of the operational improvements and results available to them it is imperative that the organization (or specific department(s) if there is a limited focus for change) embraces and is actively engaged in the KED project and the various changes resulting from our approach and methodology. While the specific roles and responsibilities will vary, the following are the key expectations that KED would have:

  • Streamlined decision making processes related to the project’s scope of work
  • Improved resource availability and utilization for “Corrective Action Teams”, etc.
  • Improved clarity and follow-up on performance expectations
  • Increased time in the work environment and interaction with employees
  • Reduced “fire-fighting” and improved timeliness of decisions
  • Establishing and following-up on corrective action plans and timelines
  • Identifying and eradicating root causes that are driving performance variances
  • Holding everyone accountable for the attainment and sustainment of the results
  • Instilling a culture of proactive communication and continuous improvement

 

At KED, approximately 50% of the work that we do is the direct result of previous success with the same Client. The vast majority of our Clients act as References and share their experiences and successes with KED with their industry colleagues.

There never is a perfect time, but keep in mind these 2 things:

  1. You are probably not servicing your employees or clients at their expectations right now
  2. KED doesn’t bring ‘flavor of the month’ initiatives, but rather a culture change and an overall upgrade of your organizational processes

 

We are experts at optimizing processes by changing behaviors at the point of execution. ISO programs and OSHA compliance only standardize and document your current processes to the specific requirements of ISO or OSHA. It does not challenge and optimize your processes. Keep in mind that we can also train and coach your management team and employees and work with you to optimize your methods and procedures resulting in significant productivity gains.

YES! KED’s approach and methodology can be used in any environment where there are systems, processes and people. Some non-manufacturing industries where KED has provided services include:

  1. Call Centers
  2. Warehousing and Distribution
  3. Engineering
  4. Utilities (Gas/Electric Distribution)
  5. Office-based

We work extensively in non-manufacturing environments utilizing Lean office and ergonomic principles and methodology, and are well recognized for our ability to deliver tangible and sustainable results in these environments.

 

At KED, our projects are highly participative and make employee input and involvement a priority.  We engage your employees in the change and improvement process. In addition, our approach prioritizes open and honest communication throughout the project and at all levels of the organization. The result is an improvement in employee morale, engagement, and enthusiasm throughout the workplace.

 

We have your employees participate in the project by having them help us, and their management team, map out your processes in detail. They will also assess each process by highlighting “what prevents them from having the perfect day”. Once all of the opportunities have been documented and quantified, employees will be asked to participate in problem solving teams to help resolve those problems.

Most companies are working on improving. We are and have worked with ‎a number of clients in this situation, and we were able to help them achieve and exceed their goals much faster as we bring our expertise and our training/mentoring/facilitating of their management and employee teams.  We helped them see and identify the issues and solutions much quicker using our approach while building the accountability and ownership to ensure perpetuation of the results.

 

Consultants do have a role to play to accelerate the changes within any business. It is much easier to understand new principles and implement new processes if there is an opportunity for the new techniques to be explained in detail with practical examples to aid the understanding. Without external support then the process of improvement can be applied but with perhaps less efficiency. To have someone 'hand-holding' then the process is usually easier to understand and roll-out.

 

Some of our Clients have had less than successful experiences in the past, but by talking with some of our references, and by going through our approach and processes, it became clear to them that our proposal made sense.

 

In fact, there are many differences. One major difference between KED and all of these programs is that we have a unique and proven approach and methodology that utilizes and integrates engineering, psychology, and business principles from different methods.  In addition, programs such as Lean, Six Sigma, TQM, etc. focus on specific methods and techniques but do not address the behavioral changes required from management and employees as they relate to recovering and sustaining improvement opportunities. Other consultants do not all look at every aspect of the process such as the human-machine interaction, the changes and impact the technical and human aspects of the operation, effects on safety and productivity, work balancing and bottleneck reduction.

 

Generally, a Lean approach focuses on process alone but does not address human factors, ergonomics or change management, nor does it address front line management and supervisory skills, nor the operating system tools and techniques an organization requires to identify and resolve modifications to plan and operating problems.

KED approach PVA’s approach provides an all-encompassing structure and sustainable approach with a focus on “Day 1” and “Day 2” at the time of program development.  Most consultants and organizations spend time planning for “Day 1” but ignore or give minimal thought to “Day 2”.  We plan for both from the beginning.  Excitement is easy to generate for Day 1 but sustaining a new process over time is where the hard work takes place.  Day 2 planning relies on establishing systems that include employee engagement; training, coaching and mentoring of program managers, team leaders and team members; implementation an effective management system; and ensuring that the results are perpetuated by a fully engaged organization driven by accountability.

 

Before we answer the question directly then we ought to perhaps think back to the purpose of implementing our system. Our basic aim is not to implement a 'nice' system but to save cost, optimize people and system performance, and maximize the profitability of the company. The philosophy and the tools of all of the methodologies we use help us to realize the goal in a structured and sustainable manner.

 

Yes it can, and should (must!), be applied to all aspects of your business. Many companies spend all their time and effort in the Operations areas of their businesses but there just as many savings to be made in the office or indirect based activities. Significant improvements can be made in these areas with the net effect of reducing costs, improving quality and productivity.

 

Ergonomic/Human Factors Specific Questions:

Yes.  We will provide only the services that you want.  If you want a workstation, work area or the entire shop floor assessed for only ergonomics we will do that.  If we see other issues, we feel obligated to point them out, but that will not be the focus of our assessment.  Our consultants are board certified ergonomists through the BCPE.

 

We provide industrial, construction and office-based assessments.  Examples of the type of organizations we have worked with include:  healthcare, foundries, asphalt/paving, construction, landscaping, tree service, computer-website, accounting firms, law firms, other office-based companies, manufacturing, clean rooms, labs, etc.

 

Yes, KED does provide home office assessment but only within 2 hours of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.  For areas beyond that we provide Remote Office Assessments.  Please contact us for more information.

 

KED has extensive experience with Lean and Ergonomics—as separate programs and as an integrated program.  We will work with you to understand your current Lean (Operational Excellence) program and MSDs issues and will work with your safety and Lean/operational leaders on designing the ergonomics program to fit with your current Lean systems.  It is our experience and recommendation that the ergonomics program initially be run alongside the Lean program and then over a 2-5 year period (time line depends on the organization), be integrated into the Lean program so ergonomics and Lean are thought of, embedded and analyzed in all operations.

 

Yes!  We can perform what we call a “Job Fit Accommodation” which is where we document the physical and mental demands of the job and compare it to the work abilities from the physician.  We outline the difference between the two and identify the necessary point of recovery.  We then help you determine if there is any transitional/temporary work available and will add that information to the report.  This is oftentimes helpful in reducing the duration of temporary work disability which will minimize the impact on your workers’ compensation insurance cost and allow the employee to return to meaningful work.

 

Lean/Six Sigma Specific Questions:

Yes, KED does provide Kaizen facilitation.  We have worked with several organizations who have similar manpower or experience limitations.  And some who simply want to have an independent 3rd party facilitate the Kaizen event in order to avoid the perception of favoritism between participating employee groups.  We provide facilitation services for the Kaizen event itself and for the duration of the Kaizen project.  We keep your employees accountable, on task, on time and on budget for the Kaizen event and project deadline.

 

We provide training on the basic Lean fundamentals such as 5S, Standard work, visual management, value stream mapping, Kanban systems, Kaizens, etc.  We also provide training and workshop on Lean Office where to apply the basic Lean fundamentals to the office and office systems.