CASE STUDY – Michael Loschke
Problems and Situation:
Situation: $1.1M business was undercapitalized from aggressive acquisition/expansion plan. Very limited marketing dollars in a highly competitive environment. Management information systems were old and ineffective, creating accounting problems.
Solution: IMC conducted a 3-day Business Systems Evaluation for this multi-unit physical therapy business. Written report resulted in a plan for increasing cash flow, management training, generating publicity, improved customer service, and employee evaluations.
Results: Client focused limited resources on key issues and enjoyed 18% revenue growth in the first year.
Situation: $10M health care business suffered from morale problems and owners complained of customer service issues. Patient care was superior but referrals were marginal. Information systems supported billing but not marketing. Human Resource department and training programs did not exist. Growth was flat and profits were down.
Solution: Customer service training program with emphasis on tracking, increased customer satisfaction, rewards, and referrals. Design and build a customer contact program for marketing to use in the field. Build and implement marketing plan.
Results: Employees became more vested and focused. Management team was realigned and human resources emphasized training and customer contact. Focus returned to customers and market share rose creating first new profits in years.
Situation: Massage therapy business was 18 months old and not breaking even. Owners had no cost-effective marketing programs to generate new or referral business.
Solution: IMC re-positioned the business to appeal to medical-related and high utility clients. Best customers were identified and profiled. Created and implemented an integrated marketing program emphasizing a unique customer experience that would lead to more testimonials, referrals, and additional sales.
Results: New business increased 48% after first 30 days of implementation. Referrals and gift certificate purchases increased 18%. Business set new revenue records.
Situation: 34-year old clothing store had slow growth for past five years while costs continued to escalate. Market share was dwindling along with aging customer base. Employees and owner working hard but not smart. Data was incomplete and non-functional.
Solution: IMC implemented a data collection system to provide the owner with more accurate market information. A new customer-service training program was designed to more closely match the demands and expectations of the evolving client base.
Results: 300+ customer cards were filled out in 45 days. Employee focused on service, satisfaction and data collection. Owner could now make marketing and product purchase decisions based on knowing market needs and his customer base.
CASE STUDY – Dennis Gillen
Problems and Situation:
Situation: A environmental construction company in Fresno with annual revenues of $10 Million and over 100 employees needed to hire or move from within employees who would be effective as estimators. Satellite companies in three locations needed estimators.
Solution: The job was first benchmarked by assessing all estimators in the organization to determine the attributes of the job needed to ensure greater success of prospects in the position. Once the current estimators were assessed and the optimal skills and attributes identified to provide an objective perspective for the job, prospects were assessed to determine the optimal match as the last stage of the standard interviewing process.
Results: When the benchmark was used in the hiring process and prospects who best fit the job were hired, these hires were more satisfied, easier to manage, and more successful. When prospects were hired who did not match well with the benchmark results they were not successful. The cost in lost time, training and problems in managing these employee were estimated to be at least three-fold to find a better match. The employees who didn’t match but were hired usually were let go in six months after efforts to ameliorate the situation.
Situation: A manufacturing company in Fresno with annual revenues of over $5 Million and 45 employees wanted to improve the effectiveness of the Customer Service Department and coordination with other groups in associated with customer service. The Customer Service Department was already functioning well, however, in the current difficult economic environment the president felt it important to raise their effectiveness as a team to a higher level. The president had intended training the group himself but was dissuaded from doing so.
Solution: I reviewed the situation with the president and chose a process where all the four employees directly and two peripherally involved in customer service would be assessed in behavioral, motivators and soft skills and debriefed individually then as a group. In addition, I brought in another consultant to train them using a program specifically designed for Customer Service over the period of four half-day sessions. The combination of extensive assessments and increase awareness of the individual and the team provided significant insights into the styles of each employee.
Results: The employees learned more about themselves and how they perceive others. They learned how to communicate with, to handle conflicts, and to work more effectively with each other and, with the training became a much better team. The intangible results were and are very noticeable in how they work together. The project was completed so recently that measurable improvements have not been quantified. The president realized that it would be counterproductive for him with his time priorities, he would not have been as effective, and it was also far more productive to use objective consultants because the employees were more open and interactive. A higher level of accountability and employee satisfaction
Situation: The President of the environmental construction company in Fresno with annual revenues of $10 Million and over 100 employees was very involved with working IN his business on a daily basis even to doing significant amount of estimating.
Solution: The goal was to work with the President to better balance his personal life with his business. We went through a series of processes including to identify his person vision and the corporate vision, the major functions of his position, to prioritize, to identify and train the appropriate employee in order to more effectively delegate in key positions, and to devote more time to working ON his business by spending more time in developing strategic plans and implementing the goals that would grow the company.
Results: This process has taken several years to accomplish. Today the President is able to regularly take long weekends and vacations knowing that his business is doing well without as high an active daily involvement. He now “consults” with the satellite businesses run by their own senior management team. Over this period sales have increased 40% while net profits have increased by 100%.
CASE STUDY – Cyndy Cross
Problems and Situation:
Situation: A two hospital system in the Bay Area with approximately 3400 full time equivalent employees, annual salaries of approximately $223 Million and annual employee benefits of approximately $79 Million wanted to verify third party administrative control and responsibility for the following benefits: pension plan, retirement medical insurance, employee medical insurance and workers compensation.
Solution: Review the processes of providing employee information to the third party administrators, the reporting and results of employee information back to the hospitals and the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of these benefits. The review was conducted in an 8 week period.
Results: Improved the workers compensation process by engaging a medical examiner network and improved utilization review management to streamline the injury status reporting and return to work of able employees. Established cross-training for the internal administration of the pension plan and retirement health insurance and employee health insurance. This improved the coordination of benefits administration between the hospitals and the third party administrator.
Situation: A two hospital system in the Bay Area was engaged in an $800 Million construction project adding to the current $500 Million facilities with 534 beds and extensive outpatient facilities. This construction had the following goals: increase the inpatient bed capacity, build a cardiac inpatient and outpatient facility, increase the parking capacity, build a new outpatient surgery complex, and meet state seismic requirements. Hospital Management wanted verification of the current constructions procedures and fiscal accountability.
Solution: Review the entire construction process to determine if there were adequate controls over the funds being spent and if any improvements in the construction process were needed. The review was conducted in a 10 week period.
Results: Recommended methods to shorten the vendor invoice approval and payment process to meet vendor discount timeframes. Recommended an improved organizational structure consolidating remodeling/upgrading of current structures with building of new construction into one department improving planning, reporting and following standardized bid processes organization-wide.
Situation: A city government in the Central Valley with approximately 4300 employees and a salary budget of approximately $200 Million had not increased fees for services for 8 years over a time period of consistent increases in salaries, benefits and other expenses. This required the Local Government to cover a greater percentage of the cost of the services.
Solution: Review costs of providing services, identify a fee structure that covered direct expenses and administrative costs and implement the new fees with support of legislative bodies and business organizations.
Results: Increased the annual fee for services revenue by $6 Million per year from $14 Million to $20 Million. In addition, a cost methodology was developed in-house for use in analyzing the costs of any services for comparison to revenue and to adjust fees.
Situation: A city government in the Central Valley with approximately 4300 employees and a salary budget of approximately $200 Million was consistently spending more than overtime costs than budgeted leading the unbudgeted overtime expenses of approximately $1 to $3 Million per year on a budget of $8 to $10 Million or 10%-40% over budget.
Solution: Review the entire organization’s overtime expense use to identify the departments consistently using overtime than budgeted, analyze why this situation is occurring and recommend improvements to be able to control and effectively budget for overtime needs. Citywide review and five individual reviews conducted over a period of one year.
Results: In the five departments there were approximately 2000 employees with an annual salary expense of approximately $100 Million and an annual overtime expense of approximately $8 Million. All five of the departments had minimum staffing requirements to man vehicles each day to meet community service requirements. These five departments were consistently using overtime in excess of budget. The study resulted in the following identified changes:
- Improve the recruitment process by filling vacancies faster and including automation of recruitment and hiring forms.
- For the Fire Department, hire additional 12 firefighters and reduce salary expenses by $1 Million per year while increasing operational ability to respond to fire calls faster.
- Expand the departments allowed to hire during a hiring freeze from Public Safety to all minimum staffing departments. This would allow the Solid Waste Vehicle and Bus Drivers vacancies to be filled with regular pay rather than overtime pay reducing salary expenses.
- Expand the health and wellness plan used by the Police Department to the entire city to encourage preventative health care of employees and reduce on-going medical costs.
Situation: A masonry construction company in the Central Valley with an annual budget of $2 Million did not have the required safety policies, procedures and forms required to meet state and federal codes.
Solution: Develop safety manual and illness and injury prevention program manual along with required forms in a 4 week period.
Results: Provided consistent communication of safety expectations and requirements to all employees, established a full safety program and allowed the company to acquire larger construction jobs.
Situation: A hospital in the Central Valley was experiencing 11% annual growth in the Outpatient Services area of the organization resulting in annual outpatient visits of approximately 148,000 and annual Outpatient Revenue of approximately $43 Million. Outpatient Services had 25 managers reporting the same executive resulting in difficulty with administration, communication and organizational improvements.
Solution: Facilitate a process to identify alternative organizational structures that would allow for the continued growth and focus on outpatient care. This process included taking a survey of all managers and physicians in Outpatient Services concerning the current issues and recommended solutions, presentations and communications with the medical staff and managers in two separate groups with a summary of identified problems and recommended solutions. This process improvement was conducted in a 3 month period.
Results: Identified and addressed the high priority problems in the organizational structure, proposed alternative organizational structure changes, obtained group consensus with both the medical staff and managers and implemented an improved organizational structure that allowed for flexibility, communication and access to administration.
CASE STUDY – Nancy Kehr
Problems and Situation:
Situation: Two separate dental practices share the same cramped space. Staff and operatories are separate. The reception desk, flanked on both sides by entry doors, is also shared. Clinical and office supplies, equipment and phone/fax are divided 50/50. Office décor and design is dated and dull. The reception area is dusty, dark and cluttered. Front Desk workspace design is inadequate and confined. Patients entering or exiting are not properly directed. Things become easily congested. Office layout is poor for optimum production. There is no separate break room or lunch area. People eat everywhere including in the doctors’ private office. One doctor hired consulting help for his practice, and the other doctor practices dentistry as a hobby. Computer network is over 10 years old and is having issues. The practice management system was never fully utilized and is now close to obsolete. No one knows where the original software is, thus rendering the nightly back-ups futile. Accounts receivable is close to $200K. No one has time to follow up. Too many write-offs are being allowed. Dual coverage insurance claims are dropped. Staffing has suffered significant changes in the past few years. Two receptionists in the front office are ergonomically challenged. Morale is at the edge. More staff is needed for business office. No place to put another body. Production is not at optimum. A serious difficulty lies in the proximity of the two practices. We must improve one practice, while staying sensitive to the fact that the other will also be inadvertently affected even though that practice is seeking no changes. Office is in a crisis mode and needs intervention. This will have to be phased. First step is triage.
Recommendations: Begin collection activities. Deal with office workflow. Simplify certain office systems to provide the lone receptionist some relief while instituting permanent changes. Replace outdated computer network and practice management software. Implement staff and doctor training.
Results: Three months into project, the receptionist has been empowered. A financial policy was created and implemented. She is now collecting 100% of patient co-pays from insurance patients and 100% of treatment costs for cash patients. A 5% discount for cash up front was introduced. A 12-month interest-free finance plan was added to move the debt from the office to the bank. An aggressive collection call campaign has netted over $25K in 8 weeks. Write offs have been reduced by 50%.
Back office was gutted and cleaned. All business related machinery was moved out to the business office. Many steps saved. Outside shed was cleared and removed. Cement is being poured and market umbrellas added for outside staff area.
An auto set voicemail system was incorporated and phones roll automatically instead of being neglected when receptionist is busy with patient. Receptionist is now able to hand out maps, financial policies, office policy and other forms of communication to the patients. This has saved an enormous amount of time lost through repetition.
Training on current software was provided thereby increasing efficiency. The automated appointment book was added and saved at least 50% in time spent writing and editing a manual book. New computers and software were ordered and Trojan insurance/credit option added. After 10 weeks monthly production was at $56K (100% increase over the same time period) and collections were at $44K (a 50% increase from the last month).
CASE STUDY – Michael Dunbar
Situation: A diversified operation in the Central Valley. This operation generated revenues from a tire recycling business, an almond farm and an almond processing plant. In working with the client we sat down and in the process of developing information we needed to create a new budget and assumptions cash flow and planning package. The result was that he used it to create a new long term growth plan, shutting down the almond processing business, re-establish their operating line of credit while they recapitalized the tire recycling business. This has enabled the recycling business to more than double its revenue while still leaving the bank in a good collateralized position. This planning has also allowed them to take advantage of many U.S. Government grants due to the nature of their primary business. The business has retained us on an annual contract basis with monthly reports and meetings.
- Sales increased 35% and Profits increased 750%
- Saved $142K in workman’s compensation
Situation: A large manufacturing firm located in the Central Valley. This operation generated revenues from the housing industry employing 300 people. In working for the client as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer I was able to step into the position and streamline operations and improve the daily and monthly cash flow of the business. The business had a 40-year history however the Account Receivable collection time was over 95 days.
Results: After pin pointing where the problem was I was able to turn around the collection period from 95 days down to 62 days within a 60-day time span. This then enabled the company to payoff its operating line of credit to a zero balance and not touch it for a year. That was the first time in the company’s history that that had happened. Through creating a monthly operating budget as well as looking to streamline the workflow I was able to increase the businesses net profit margin by 150%.
Situation: A large roofing company in the Central Valley. This operation generates revenues from commercial roofing jobs working as a subcontractor for large national construction companies. This account had special challenges from the companies bidding practices to its leverage position. Working with this client on a monthly basis and creating a cash flow budget as well as creating a bidding process that maintains a profit margin was crucial. This also enabled the owner to see what jobs he should pass on based on the profit margin of the job. Much of their work is bid work and they must stay competitive. This company, when I originally got involved with them, was leveraged almost 9:1 with a negative cash flow.
Results: After creating a cash flow and assumptions budget and rewriting their bidding procedures the company has a reduced leverage position of only 3:1 with a positive cash flow and as a result has increased their sales by over 45% from the previous year. This in turn resulted in a more favorable client for the bank and enabled the client to increase their operating line to support the overall growth of the company.