Rushed Orders at Louisville Slugger

Posted on May 10, 2012 | in Baseball, Inventory, Lean Tools, Lean Wastes, Manufacturing, Process Mapping, Sports, Time Savings, Transportation, Value Stream Mapping, Waiting | by

Norfolk Tides pitcher Pat Neshek took a tour of the Louisville Slugger factory while on a road trip and he shared this tweet and photo:

Hopefully rushed customer requests happen infrequently and that orders are placed and fulfilled with plenty of time and effort to spare.

However, if you’re seeing lots of late shipments and many “emergencies” you could probably use a full process evaluation. Look at the process from start (order placed) to finish (order shipped or delivered) and analyze the process for waste activities. How much time is spent on waste? Can those waste activities be reduced or eliminated? What kind of impact does that have on your cycle time?

You should be able to answer a lot of questions during your process evaluation. What are customer expectations and what is keeping us from meeting them? Why are processes taking so long to complete? Are we not staffed properly? Are process steps unbalanced, and lots of work-in-process is built up?

If you can eliminate waste activities, you can reduce costs and possibly grow sales through greater customer satisfaction from on-time deliveries.

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4 Responses to “Rushed Orders at Louisville Slugger”

  1. Mark Graban says:

    Expediting can be caused by the customer not managing their inventory properly… for the production volume they seem to do, that “rush” list seems pretty short as opposed to being “lots.”

    • Chad Walters says:

      I would agree with that. The “lots” was a reference to readers and their processes, not necessarily to Louisville Slugger, but it’s also possible our definition of “rush” is different than theirs when it comes to timing and when the order is needed.

      That being said, I also reference Toyota Way principle #11, “Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers by challenging them and helping them improve.” It’s possible LS can help team clubhouse managers with inventory management so the teams aren’t strapped for supplies and the factory isn’t pressed into rushed orders as often.

      • Mark Graban says:

        That would be great if LS used their lean expertise to help teams that way… teams shouldn’t let their bat inventory for a player get that low. Is that managed by a clubhouse manager? Do some players have a preference for how many bats they have on hand?

        I mean if somebody gets sawed off and breaks 8 bats in a night, I could understand an unusual situation… but if the Seattle Mariners are ALWAYS making rush orders, then maybe they could use some help.

        • Chad Walters says:

          I believe it is managed by a clubhouse manager (in the minors) and an equipment manager (in the majors – they have larger staffs with more focused tasks). I could be wrong, though.

          And that’s exactly the reason you would see rushed orders in an optimized process – a night where a player loses a lot of bats due to breakage and it is unpredictable.

          I so want to crack some jokes about the Mariners needing no bats since they can’t hit it anyway…

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