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Type of Business
Contract packaging
Problem
Equipment breakdown was frequent and the company was unable to comply with customer and FDA requirements calling for a comprehensive and fully documented system for preventive maintenance.
Actions
Repetitive actions and time intervals were defined for all major pieces of equipment.  A database program was written to monitor and track up to 15 separate actions for 244 pieces of equipment.  A procedure was written outlining the tasks and responsibilities of all key people.  Each week the database program queries all of the records for activities due for that week.  The program generates a hard copy of each activity which is given to the maintenance department while an electronic copy of each is downloaded to the Issued File.   As reports are returned from maintenance, they are recorded as complete in the Issued File.  Each week the program gnerates a list of all open items along with responsibilities and due dates.  Copies are distributed to key managers to encourage timely completion.
Result
This program along with the corresponding emphasis from key supervision has improved equipment reliability and resolved the compliance issue.


Type of Business
Print services
Problem
There were wide differences in productivity rates from employee to employee and run to run.
Actions
Management and supervisory personnel were polled on their estimates for hourly standards for each of 20 different production operations.  A database program was written to record and produce daily reports to evaluate performance against these standards.  After developing a history, the standards were revised to reflect what really could be achieved.  Each employee was counseled on the company’s standards and expectations.   A series of daily and monthly reports were developed for management and employees to measure progress.
Result
Rates became predictable and productivity improved by 25%.


Type of Business
Gravure printer
Problem
The company was producing a difficult product line and was experiencing a 10.5% customer reject rate.
Actions
In conjunction with a recently adopted TQM program, the company needed to measure and track its PONC (price of nonconformance).  A database was developed to record both the internal and external rejects in detail.   Fields of capture included customer, product, quantity, date of reject, type of reject, date and time of production, press, crew and production run size.  Periodic reports were designed to summarize and present the accumulated information in a variety of ways.  Both management and employees used the resulting reports to analyze and improve the process.
Result
Overall staff was reduced by 44% while output increased by 29%.  Customer rejects dropped to 1.3% and company’s achievements were recognized by an award from ASQ.


Type of Business
Laminator
Problem
Laminating film inventory was overstocked and out of control.
Actions
The usage history and the supplier delivery times were studied to establish min/max levels for each film used.  A cross-referencing method was devised to indicate where substitutions could be made.  A detailed database program was written to record receipts and usage.  Weekly reports were issued to supervision and production personnel showing where substitutions could be made along with the progress made in inventory reduction.
Result
Overall inventory decreased by 15% and available cash increased by 10%.


Type of Business
Contract perfume filler
Problem
The company’s pricing method was so complex and so detailed that it tied up a key manager a minimum of one hour per quote.   Pricing needed to satisfy three criteria – minimum contribution margin per shift, minimum contribution margin per line hour and a minimum multiple of hourly direct labor cost.  Tracking this combination with pen, pad and calculator produced numerous errors and quotes for similar items for the same customer were frequently inconsistent.
Actions
A detailed database program was built to record, track and maintain the company’s pricing.
Result
Meeting the pricing criteria became a non-issue and mistakes were eliminated. Instead of a key manager, an estimator produces the quotes six times faster than before.   Since the system easily allows the estimator to duplicate a prior quote and change what is needed for the current quote, quotes for similar items for the same customer are consistent.   The crewing estimate which details each task and the number of people required, serves as the first part in the company’s product master specification.


Type of Business
Chiropractic
Problem
The practice and billing software in use did not provide the information and order needed for collection calls to insurance companies. 
Actions
PDM built a database program that extracted key information from the existing practice management software and designed a report format that was organized and presented in way to simplify claims investigation and collection.
Result
Increase in collections, improved cash flow and reduced staff time.