Growing a successful manufacturing business requires so much more than simply purchasing stronger, faster machinery. Changing market demands are influencing materials and processes, requiring more efficient and innovative manufacturing solutions resulting in higher levels of quality, efficiency, and productivity.
Florian Hauswirth, a Senior Consultant at Schuler Consulting, believes that businesses in the United States are experiencing a unique season of opportunity and growth, particularly in the woodworking and furniture manufacturing sector. Schuler Consulting helps companies within these specific industries to develop both short and long-term plans that position them strategically for growth and are tailored to their unique products, goals, and capabilities.
“Companies can’t just turn their manufacturing businesses around 180 degrees within a few months, they need a roadmap, conceptual help, visionary help,” says Hauswirth.
To address this need, Schuler Consulting, headquartered in Pfalzgrafenweiler, Germany, established an office in the United States in July of 2016. Led by Hauswirth, Schuler’s U.S. office was established within the headquarters of Stiles Machinery in Grand Rapids, MI. Both Schuler and Stiles are members of the HOMAG Group and both offer production strategies and solutions to help manufacturers of all sizes maximize their potential and achieve greater levels of success.
A Holistic Approach
With offices in Spain, Switzerland, China, India, Malaysia, Brazil, and now in the U.S., Schuler Consulting works with manufacturing companies all over the world. Many of their customers employ between 20 to 100 customers and are typically privately owned and operated.
Hauswirth believes that companies that fall within this size range can greatly benefit from Schuler’s services because they often don’t have the capacity to step outside of the company’s day-to-day work to think about long-term strategies.
Schuler also works with large companies in the woodworking and furniture industries, helping them to improve production methods and optimization of material flow, automation, technological development and IT architecture.
According to Hauswirth, clients come to Schuler in one of two ways. Companies who approach Schuler directly are typically looking to make major improvements and changes to achieve substantial growth. In other cases, Stiles Machinery will help make the connection between Schuler and a potential client by recognizing customers who could benefit from their services and recommending a consultation.
However a customer approaches Schuler, they always receive the same level of attention and expert insights. Schuler believes in providing the right solution to the right client, which is why they approach each project with a fresh perspective.
“When we make an analysis of an operation, we do not necessarily recommend a new HOMAG or Stiles machine,” says Hauswirth, “it’s a holistic approach. It’s not just about changing one thing or turning one screw. We might need to turn seven screws in different directions and at different angles.”
Whether a manufacturing company needs a quick check-up or an in-depth organizational analysis, Schuler Consulting’s services can provide solutions that improve efficiencies immediately as well as create a roadmap for the future.
Schuler offers two unique consultation packages that fit a variety of needs and budgets: the Company EKG and the Strategic Production Optimization.
Schuler’s Company EKG provides companies with a comprehensive “check-up” by observing their current production process and making recommendations that can instantly improve efficiency and effectiveness.
During the Company EKG, Schuler’s engineers spend a total of four days analyzing key areas of the company’s procedures and operations to pinpoint specific areas for improvement.
Potential areas of focus include:
Organization and information flow
Once Schuler has monitored the relevant areas of focus closely, they will then map out and prioritize recommendations for improvement and optimization.
Short-term improvements often require little or no investment and, in many cases, can be implemented by the customer instantly, such as rearranging machinery or restructuring the layout of the workplace. Longer-term recommendations may include machinery and technologies that can be introduced over time.
Strategic Production Optimization
Like the Company EKG, the Strategic Production Optimization zeros in on key focus areas, however, explores them in much greater detail and depth.
During the Strategic Production Optimization, Schuler Consultants analyze the details, definitions, and descriptions of technologies, material flow, machine specifications and factory layouts to help develop a strategic roadmap to success.
Once Schuler evaluates these key focus areas, they will conduct a current state analysis to determine how the company is responding and adapting to current market trends and identify areas for improvement.
The goal is to set the company up for future growth and development using findings from Schuler’s strategic research and analysis.
“It’s a totally flexible tool, tailored to each customer’s needs,” Hauswirth says.
Real Expertise, Real Results.
Schuler is using their expertise to help manufacturers of all sizes achieve real results.
In one recent example, Schuler helped a store fixture manufacturer achieve 20 percent more output with 20 percent less overtime.
“That’s an estimated 35 to 40 percent increase in efficiency, just by restructuring the right details,” Hauswirth says.
Schuler’s recommendations included rearranging the positions of the machinery and introducing a Kanban system to enhance storage management.
Another Schuler client, a manufacturer of children’s furniture, has reduced changeover times on their CNC machines by 80 percent. This astounding improvement was made by simplifying construction methods for the company’s furniture products. By employing the same construction methods for different parts and reducing the number and variety of hardware pieces needed, the CNC processing requires fewer tools, reducing the number of tool changes and therefore, increasing efficiency and productivity.
The expert knowledge and insights of Schuler Consultants are helping manufacturing companies like these, achieve exponential growth. And in today’s demanding and rapidly evolving industry, manufacturers need a partner they can trust and expertise they can rely on, not only to help them reach their goals, but to discover a whole new realm of possibilities.