Acme Wholesalers Inc. did a lot of importing from other countries. Their customs team always had a lot of paperwork and there were always a lot of phone calls between the team, the border services agency, and the suppliers trying to get mistakes and corrections sorted out. Everyone in the company knew about the problem but no one knew how to fix it.
One day, the vice-president of Acme Wholesalers was at a conference. He heard about a new computer program provided by the government that enabled companies to order products from other companies. Customs paperwork was then automatically generated for all three parties, and corrections were made via a structured, real-time process.
The vice-president immediately went back to his organization and set up a project team to examine and implement this solution. He challenged them to have 75% of their suppliers on board with this program within a year.
The team did such a great job outlining the benefits of the program that 95% of the suppliers were on board within six months. Errors for those suppliers were reduced by 88% and the team’s workload was reduced by 78%. This enabled some members to be re-assigned to new tasks, and other members to take on new continuous improvement efforts. And, the team uses much less paper and other office supplies – extending the savings to the environment and the organization much further.