Achieving higher levels of productivity through improved communications
For over 25 years, Spectrum Aeromed has designed and developed air ambulance medical interiors for hospital programs, multi-mission charters, private operators, and military branches around the world. The company also customizes VIP emergency medical interior suites for executive aircrafts and heads of states. Highly customized and field-tested, Spectrum Aeromed’s life support equipment provide unparalleled performance and responsiveness for both fixed and rotor wing aircraft. Spectrum Aeromed holds STCs (Supplemental Type Certificates) for over 400 aircraft and is AS9100D, Aerospace Quality Management System certified. Their mission is to save lives.
Their customers are EMS and SPAR operators, major hospitals and healthcare entities, aircraft OEMs, Royal families and heads of states, world government departments – militaries and health ministries, and private/executive VIP charter operators.
Spectrum Aeromed products include a standard line of FAA-certified air ambulance equipment. Most orders however require some customization to accommodate the needs of the medical crew or the location in which it will be serving. The company also custom designs and builds-to-order related products. Once the order is placed by the customer, the products are manufactured, tested, and shipped to customer worldwide. To stay competitive and expand its market/customer base, the company realized that the lead time from the receipt of orders to shipping need to be reduced drastically.
Previously Impact Dakota had provided Lean Enterprise training which included many of the lean building blocks such as production and inventory management, workplace organization, visual systems, and value stream mapping. The training was instrumental in further enabling Spectrum Aeromed to develop and implement countermeasures addressing the many challenges they had in reducing the order-to-delivery lead time.
A team made up representatives from functions in Spectrum Aeromed developed a current state value stream map studying and documenting activities performed in support of processing, manufacturing, and delivery of products. Heavy emphasis was put on capturing and documenting the information flow between and within different departments. The value stream included the production department. The team decided to create a separate value stream map showing much greater detail the communications in and out of production department. The value stream maps helped team to identify and eliminate the root causes of many delays due to communication in the order-to-delivery lead time. A new computer system for managing of information flow was put in place that helped to further improve communications and shrinking of lead time.
Increased productivity - the productivity of resources; mostly the human capital increased drastically. The wasted staff time due to multiple channels poor visibility of communication was drastically reduced and as a result the company is now able to process the products in 1/2 time, when compared to before, with slightly less staff. In term of number of days, the company has reduced the number of days for processing of an average order from 110 days to about 45-50 days.
Cost Savings - The increased productivity outlined above has had impact on cost performance. The excess time that was spent for redundant communications and searching for information has been drastically reduced. This translates to staff cost savings per product.
Increased Sales - The wide range of products combined with enhanced delivery time and superior customer service has allowed Spectrum Aeromed to increase its market share, with more than 60% of sales being international. The company has been included four times on the Inc. 5000 list and in in 2015 was placed 4384th on the list with a three-year growth rate of more than 60%.
“The training our team received from Impact Dakota was critical as we sought to build a culture of continuous improvement. Over a two-year period more than 150 small improvements of process and product were suggested by our team members greatly improving the flow of orders. There was no one silver bullet or software program that brought us success. Thank you Impact Dakota for helping make Spectrum Aeromed the best provider of air ambulance equipment in the world!”
— Michael Gallagher, VP Director of Production