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Client Assignment
The General Manager of a large cell-phone manufacturing facility in Brazil was faced with a process problem in its plants: The time needed for adjusting equipment to change from manufacturing one product to another was too lengthy, causing lost revenue and staff downtime. The solution involved both engineering and operational changes. Headwaters was hired to create a process for tapping the knowledge and expertise of the internal workforce to reduce changeover time by 50 percent.

Strategies and Approaches
Using the BreakThrough process, Headwaters designed and facilitated a three-day intensive session that brought together engineers, line leaders, and others with relevant expertise to define the problem and investigate solutions. We divided the team into three sub-groups, each of which was assigned to address a particular piece of the problem—engineering, production and workforce cross-training. The groups then came together to fuse their recommendations and develop a pilot strategy. Headwaters coached the newly empowered change leaders through the pilot run of the process.

The general manager was presented with impressive results from the pilot program and authorized immediate implementation of the new changeover process. Within three months, the company had exceeded reduced changeover time by an impressive 79 percent, making the plant one of the most efficient and productive in the entire company.