Our involvement falls into two categories; stabilizing existing operations and assisting companies through major change (like following an acquisition or during a facility consolidation or move). In all cases we believe in making sure that management and employees have clear and timely visibility of the key process indicators for the organization. The services we provide include:
- Transition guidance and support
- Process change implementation
- ERP/MRP implementation support
- Outsourced management
- Processes evaluation and resolution of issues
- Organizational evaluation and restructuring
- Development of management tools to improve visibility
- Development of KPI (key process indicator) tracking tools
- Cycle time reduction
- Scrap/rework reduction
- Quality improvement
- IT issue resolution
- Overhead reduction
- Labor content reduction
- Key employee recruitment
- Personnel relations
- Facility move/expansion evaluation and planning
Seth Silverstein is the President and Founder of Brass Rat Consulting LLC, a business management consulting firm specializing in business evaluation, operational improvement, and operational due diligence. He has a broad range of industry experience with a primary focus on government contractors and companies in heavily regulated industries. Mr. Silverstein’s skill in identifying the root cause of business problems and rapidly implementing solutions has resulted in millions of dollars of savings for clients in the US and abroad.
Over the course of his consulting career, Mr. Silverstein has implemented numerous programs addressing manufacturing cycle time, material utilization, labor utilization, business strategy planning, procurement efficiency, inventory management, and the creation of automated measurement and problem solving databases. He has successfully assembled and led teams of client personnel and consultants in developing new process and enterprise systems and implementing them to achieve performance improvement.
Mr. Silverstein began his career supervising and providing project management to the final construction and commissioning of large air separation plants for Air Liquide. His duties took him to sites all over North America. Since then he has applied his skill and experience as a consultant to a growing list of businesses both in North America and internationally. He has worked with major US firms and investment groups conducting business in the United Kingdom, Canada, Trinidad, and republics of the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Silverstein is a graduate mechanical engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
The resolution of complex issues requires change in multiple functional areas concurrently. The areas that we address include:
- Manufacturing (including stores)
- Program Management
- Human Resources
Our primary focus has been on manufacturing companies. Several of our clients have been either government contractors or in heavily regulated industries. Many of our clients have had large engineering groups. Industries that we have worked in include.
- Food/Personal Care Products
- Waste Management (including nuclear)
The client was a processing facility in a heavily regulated industry. The facility included several independent processing areas, none of which were loaded to full capacity. The result was poor operating margins.
In addition, the client was in the midst of implementing a heavily modified, high-end MRP package to satisfy industry specific regulatory requirements. The implementation was several years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget. The new MRP package was required to accommodate new manufacturing process that the old MRP package could not handle. The client had determined that the new MRP was corrupting data that had to be tracked to conform to their site operating license.
We were brought in to improve profitability; however it soon became clear that the most pressing issue was resolving the data corruption concern. The software development team was swamped with support requests and with meeting development milestones to which they had previously committed. We held an all hands meeting in which we resolved that data integrity was the highest order of priority. We isolated the development team and short interval managed them through a data integrity validation. We determined the root cause of the data corruption, developed a program to repair the corrupted data and piloted the repair program on a test database. We shut down operations and ran the retrofit program, a 72 hour processing task.
To improve profitability we developed a block-scheduling program. We cross trained their operators and began running different processing areas sequentially rather than concurrently. Additionally we restructured the client’s organization to improve information flow and reduce process decision backlog.
In addition to bringing the MRP implementation back on track, we provided the client with a different approach to running their business. This, coupled with the improved information flow and organizational restructuring, allowed a 20% reduction in labor (direct, indirect and overhead).
The client was a high volume aftermarket automotive part manufacturer. Inventory turns were on the order of four and they stocked approximately 80,000 SKU’s, 75% as finished goods. They had a high incidence of inventory obsolescence. The client MRP tool was a legacy system from the late 1980’s.
The parent company had mandated that they reduce inventory by 20%. The client had no metrics for buyers or planners. Our first objective was visibility. We developed a tool that interfaced with their mainframe to track inventory dollars by planner and by buyer. Reports were auto generated weekly. We performed an ABC inventory analysis and auto updated 80,000 parts with order/build rules. We conducted training to educate the buyers and planners.
In addition to providing the client with management tools, our updated MRP rules resulted in the required inventory reduction as well as a dramatic reduction in part obsolescence.
The client had been a low volume, high tech manufacturing division of a large corporation. They were in the process of evolving into a higher volume manufacturing facility. The parent corporation was selling this division to divest non-core businesses. The client was in the process of replacing an unstable, homegrown MRP with a very sophisticated ERP. Existing reporting was rudimentary with limited visibility into operations.
We were brought in to conduct an operational evaluation of the company for a prospective buyer. We identified several key development issues, all of which were determined to be of reasonable risk. In an effort to evaluate their sales forecast we developed a database tool to analyze an available production report derived from their existing MRP system. By comparing the MRP production schedule with the client’s sales forecast, we determined that the planned manufacturing output fell significantly short of forecast sales. Long component lead times made it impossible to achieve their sales forecast schedule.
The client adjusted their forecast to match the production output our analysis predicted. The prospective buyer was able to reduce their offer by 20% to reflect the resulting reduction in forecasted revenue and EBITDA.
The client was a low volume producer of high value consumer products. Cycle time was on the order of four weeks per unit. They had very poor inventory control and suffered from part shortages, excess inventory and high scrap rates. Despite the long manufacturing cycle time, all material was procured for the start of each unit.
We were brought in to help improve profitability. We implemented an inventory control system with discrete locations for inventory. We reduced the kit size from 1 week of work to 1 day of work. We developed a software program to track work orders and kitting requirements. We established task specific standards and developed an automated schedule. We implemented controls for issue of additional material and for root cause analysis of scrap.
In addition to providing the client with visibility of their inventory, we provided them with tools for activity based planning. We reduced the amount of WIP by a factor of three and dramatically reduced both the scrap rate as well as the incidence of part shortages.
The client was a high volume producer of automotive parts. Their existing facility could not keep up with scheduled delivery requirements. Scrap was extremely high and machine utilization was poor. Historically, the client responded to increasing demand by expanding production capacity through the acquisition of additional, high cost, automated production lines.
We brought in a team to perform a detailed analysis of the operating process at the new facility. The client had a cumbersome process for tracking failures and no tools to track productivity. We developed and implemented a comprehensive failure analysis and productivity-tracking package. This tool allowed us to implement productivity metrics in addition to improving the failure analysis capability.
We determined that the major problem in productivity was poor machine utilization due to excessive automation down-time (>60%). This led to poor labor utilization and in turn poor productivity.
We identified and brought in a manufacturing expert to resolve key persistent process issues. We identified the root cause of their highest failure modes and developed and implemented manufacturing solutions.
We developed a labor management strategy to take advantage of improving machine availability while minimizing the loss of labor productivity.
In addition to reducing labor by 20%, we reduced scrap costs by over 50%. Furthermore, we provided management with tools to assess future process improvement initiatives.
The client was a high tech, low volume manufacturer in a heavily regulated industry. Most of their contracts were government related and they had large R&D and engineering requirements. The client had recently been acquired by an LBO fund. The former parent company had provided key IT services including procurement and financial. Inventory was tracked using a home grown system that did not cross-check with procurement. Program forecasting and completion tracking was handled by an obsolete software package running on non-Y2K compliant IT system. Overhead rates were double best in class. Program management was client specific with dedicated design and engineering teams. The result was broad duplication of effort and proliferation of part numbers.
We became involved as soon as the client was acquired. We helped the client select a low-end financial package and integrated it with a low-end MRP package. Our approach was to implement the MRP without any software modification while transferring a sense of ownership to the key process leaders in each functional area. We set up and managed a team of key people to pilot the software. The team’s objective was to plan a job, write PO’s, receive material, and issue material to job work orders. We brought job planning and purchasing on line in 2 months with an additional month to integrate inventory.
Concurrently, we developed a simple software tool to let them track program completion and forecast. We migrated all the data from the non-Y2K hardware into this new tool, implemented it, and trained their people to use it. We set up a team of engineers and designers to develop a standard parts list and to identify common components.
Having provided the client with the tools required to streamline their business, we were able to achieve a 30% reduction in overhead rates. This resulted in increased proposal competitiveness and increased sales. The company was sold by the LBO fund 14 months after it was acquired for a 145% ROI.