Easy Access: Reaching New Heights

Client Easy Access

Location Maungaturoto, New Zealand

Easy Access: Reaching New Heights

Easy Access is the premier wholesale supplier of height access solutions, enabling safe and efficient work at height on New Zealand work sites. Watch the interview with Easy Access’s Managing Director Jeff Wearmouth about the successful Lean implementation by Senior Consultant Ian Lines. Ian was able to increase the amount of throughput in the manufacturing facility by implementing standardisation across the facility. These improvements have helped increase the gross profit percentage for Easy Access helping provide improved customer service and visibility for the customer.

TXM Lean Minute: Creating Standard Workstations

TXM Lean Minute: Creating Lean Standardised Work for Customised Products

Read the Video Transcript

I’m Peter Davidson from TXM Lean Solutions and today I’m with Jeff Wearmouth who’s the managing director of Easy Access. So, Jeff, just tell us a little bit about Easy Access.

We’re a manufacturing business Peter, manufacturing height access equipment, particularly aluminum.

Which we sell locally and also export around the world.

So, Jeff, tell us about some of the challenges your business was facing for you engaged TXM?

Yeah. Well, we had we’d been manufacturing. We started off very small, and we sort of grew a bit ad hoc. We weren’t really familiar. We weren’t really you wouldn’t say Peter whether we are manufacturers.

You know, and the stuff that we took on weren’t necessarily professional manufacturers. So we kind of grew like that, and I don’t think we knew we didn’t know what we didn’t know.

We didn’t have processes.

We had a lot of quality issues. We seemed to have had a glass ceiling when it came to the amount of production we could get through the factory and place was a a bit of a mess. Yeah.

So, what were some of the key changes that TXM has helped to make in your business. Yeah. Good point.

I think firstly, the consultant he brought with him an expertise that we hadn’t seen before. He’d he’d had wide world experience, and he was prepared to challenge everything. He challenged everything we were doing. Some things we thought were doing well, He said you’re not doing it well. And this is this is world class. So he helped us to see what was world class, and then he gave us some really solid training.

On processes and held us to account to make the improvements that we needed to to improve.

It was hard work, Peter.

And it was we we got we got off to a slow start, but he didn’t give up on us. And I think now, you know, we’re we’re never there. But the difference in twelve months has been significant.

Okay. And, what sort of changes have you seen how has your business improved, since the engagement with TXM? If I remember you you saying we’ll improve your your production by at least twenty five percent.

And I’m happy to say that we, this, at this time, this year, twenty five percent ahead of where we were last year in terms of product through the factory. So our costs have remained the same. We haven’t got a whole lot more staff, but we’ve seen our gross profit percentage go up significantly and our production go up. Of course, production more through the factory immediately gives you more gross profit.

So that’s the biggest thing, but We’ve seen an intrusive morale too because the staff aren’t, they’re not working in a mess. They’re now working to processes. We’ve done with dumb things down so to speak so that it makes training staff a whole lot easier. And people are part of a of a team that’s going forward and they can see that.

What’s happened to your lead time with, interestingly enough, our our overall lead time, particularly export remains about five to six months.

But the amount of extra work we’re putting through is, as I said twenty five percent more, but the processes we’ve put in place have made it very visible particularly for our offshore customers to see where we are at. They can look into our system and see, okay, that container I ordered in March, I can see that it’s scheduled to be delivered in August. So they it gives them real clarity. We never had that before.

So while we’re not getting things through, perhaps a whole lot quicker in terms of the overall reduction in lead time, we’re taking on more work, and we’ve got a happier customer because they know we’ve arrived. So it’s no ambiguity anymore. And what’s been some of the secrets to getting it implemented on-site? Because Ian, the consultant’s only been here, let’s say you’ve few weeks.

Yes. And and you’ve gotta run the place in the in the in between. Yes. So what’s been some of the secrets to this the core secret to it is having a champion on-site.

And at a business this size, we employed to the sixty-five, seventy staff I don’t believe it can be the managing director. He’s gotta be a believer and he’s obviously gotta, you know, have oversight.

You need someone in middle management that absolutely believes and has the authority to make the changes in driving through. Absolutely critical. Without that, it’s really not much point.

So is there anything else you’d well say, about your experience with TXM? I guess what I said this before, the if a consultant it’s got the, the grunt to really hold a team to account and not accept excuses.

That is key. And that’s what Ian brought to this business. You know, he anything we put up as an excuse or a justification, he would not accept it. And as I said at the start, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. Now I think we do.

He helped us with process, he helped us with training, He held us here. He held our effect to the fire.

And the results have we’ve got a way to go as I said, but I’m really encouraged with how things have gone. And the cost that the upfront cost, we would’ve paid that off, I would say, in three months, just for the extra profit.

Thanks very much, Jeff. Thank you, Peter.