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Steve Shoulder is in the process of launching his book, 90 Days to Profits.

For the last 20+ years he has been doing business transformation and turnaround in manufacturing, including automotive with BMW, paper conversion in FMCG and cabling. He wants to share his knowledge and techniques he uses, and the new book 90 Days to Profits, available from 25 April 2017 captures the lessons from all his years of experience.

Steve proves that you CAN turnaround a business in 90 days. He challenges the big consultancy mind-set that it can take much longer.

Steve Shoulder’s 90 days to profits technique

Steve Shoulder establishes the current reality. He establishes what needs to be fixed. His focus is people and processes. He gets a consensus to establish:

What is the ONE thing that a business needs to fix?

How does Steve fix what a client believes is unfixable? He says there is always a way. In business, people start making allowances every day. Rarely do they challenge the status quo. He asks WHY cannot you do that? Identifying the one thing that needs fixing is the cornerstone for achieving 90 days to profits.

Steve talks about a buy-in piece. He gets the most senior person. The senior person buys in to the ONE thing. This is what we are going to fix. Steve is then is positioned as the person who will facility the fix. This establishes the narrowness of the focus.

Fixing a vehicle manufacturer

e.g. One of the most spectacular results Steve had was for a commercial vehicle manufacturer of Double Decker buses in Blackburn, Lancashire. They:

  • had work in progress everywhere.
  • were making 3 per week but needed to make 5 to break-even.
  • had up to 65 production stops for the buses going through the process.
  • tied up too much of their money in work in progress and couldn’t finance it any longer

So how did he do it? Blank piece of paper. He mapped their production process and determined they only needed 12 production stops, not 65. Concentrate on finishing the 60 buses they had in process, not taking any further in until they’d fixed the problem. He took 1200 hours out of the production build. In 12 weeks, he turned the entire business around.

The kit bag of tools Steve uses

He uses lean, theory of constraints and Kaizan. The people resident in these manufacturing businesses often know this stuff, but Steve taps into it and liberates their thinking. He helps build informal teams in the business. They know what needs what needs fixing they just don’t know how.

So how can manufacturers notice the erosions in performance exemplified by the bus manufacturers?

Steve asks the simple questions. He gets to trends. He’s not embroiled in history, decisions made etc. He will graph their output graph and then asks them what they see. People get so engrossed, they don’t step back and see what’s happening.

Steve relies on the people that are there. He brings a challenge. He taps into their people’s skills and experience.

In the above example, every bus was a mini project. It would go so far through the process then they’d realise they didn’t have the part they needed. So, they start with another chassis. Then they get the same result over and over.

Fixing a cable manufacturer

A Brand new facility with state of art kit, it was commissioned for several months, but had not turned a profit. Steve looked at the company and he determined the factory was designed to a budget not to an ideal setup.

He also knew that in cable manufacturing, there is a golden rule of manufacture – straight lines, not through 90 degrees etc. Unfortunately, 2 cable lines had 90 degree turns and went up and down. They had to remake cables several times to make a good one.

They had spent £40m building the plant. Steve determined in 3 days that it wasn’t fit for purpose. People knew but they hadn’t told the directors. It was an inconvenient truth.

The owner was a larger than life Texan. Steve spoke to him and asked him for another £4m to get it right. He offered him 4x more than he’s getting now for £4m investment. He straightened out the lines. On one piece of paper, he showed them what it was. He promised 4x output if you do. 7 months later, the factory was rebuilt. In their best month, they were doing 11x what they were previously doing.

With a proper process, anyone can do it.

Steve is the Red Adair of Manufacturing Process.

In the next 100 days, Steve would take you on the 7 step by step process that is described in his book 90 days to profits (we are generous we gave him an extra 10 days to turn a profit)

You need the emotional capability and intelligence to do this. What makes it powerful is the people and skills being put to test.

the 90 Days to PROFITS roadmap

  1. P = problems. Establish which ONE problem will you fix? Always the one thing. Instead of going straight to a solution based on a problem. They need to walk through a process.
  2. R = review. Review the available data in the business, analysing what that data is telling you. It is always telling you a story. People in the business don’t always see this. Put the data together in a different way.
  3. O = opportunities or options. What could you do. NOTHING is off limits. Kaizen process, creative processing to tease out the opportunities. There is always a set of alternatives to fix a problem. Sometimes a director will prevent a solution – hand-built quality – you cannot lie to a customer, so your options may be limited.
  4. F = fine-tuning. Identify what it is you are going to do to get to a different place. This could be about designing production slots. The total is greater than the sum of the parts. A selection process, the one thing you’ll use to fix it.
  5. I = implementing. Pilot a solution. Take one part of a process and implement what it is you want to get done. Lowers risk. Learn and develop insights. Build informal teams.
  6. T = tracking. Track the pilot programme. Simply monitor the results and tell it honestly.
  7. S = shaping and rolling it out. Shape your results to make it applicable to the rest of the business with confidence.

The key difference is Steve. He is not part of the problem He is part of the solution.

How do others fix the problem?

Do people need a ‘Steve’ to ask the daft-lad questions? The key point is to lay out this acronym out and because there is no rocket science here, as opposed to the biggest consultancies who blind people with their intellect, it just needs their determination and drive to get it done.

If you can get a seasoned person or a sceptic on a project team, this makes for a challenge and blissful way of selling the solution. If you can convince the sceptic, you’ll have an implacable supporter for your project.

How can you find out more?

DOWNLOAD 90 Days to Profit for FREE, Click this link.

Contact Steve on email

The Next 100 Days Podcast is brought to you by Graham Arrowsmith and Kevin Appleby


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