Category Archives: Cost

Important Yield Initiatives for 2017

In the world of food processing and packing, we spend a great deal of effort focusing on production efficiencies and lowering labor cost per unit to improve profitability. However, fresh food processing presents a number of challenges that requires additional focus on improved product yield.

The challenges of fresh food processing are obvious. Our products fluctuate in availability and demand based on seasonal harvest.  And most impactful is the fact that our product has limited shelf life. These obvious traits of the industry simply means we have less room for error as it pertains to processing and getting our end product to market. Not so obvious is the long-term, micro-level planning that needs to take place in order to eliminate waste; thereby increasing our yields and profits.

Of course eliminating product waste requires focus on improved cutting techniques, grading diligence and understanding the client’s needs. But to truly impact improved product yields, operation managers must develop a yield culture over a period of time and apply this top-of-mind awareness to all areas, including pre and post-production. Yield initiatives should also focus on:

  1. Education: It is imperative that from the beginning to the end of the process that everyone is educated on how they impact yields. This includes sales people and account managers.
  2. Supply Chain Shelf Life: Inserting processes throughout the entire supply chain is critical. Controlling temperature, storage and handling pre-processing is imperative.
  3. Procurement: Understanding the procurement process in necessary for quality control. The inventory management of suppliers, prevailing market conditions, and commodity volume requirements affect your ability to increase product yield.
  4. Inventory: Flawless inventory management at your facility is critical.
  5. Transportation: We must be fluent in securing the load.
  6. Facility Shelf Life: Maximizing shelf life through proper temperature, wrapping and ventilation is key to increased yield.

Lastly, the following consumer demands, market conditions and regulations have also created challenges as it relates to increasing product yield:

  1. Increased demand for organic and allergen free produce
  2. Increased focus on serving size based consumer demand
  3. More stringent brix requirements

These fluctuating factors must also be considered throughout the entire process in order to focus on improved product yield.

To learn how we improved yield, reduced unit labor cost and improved pounds p/man hour for a global processor of fresh cut produce in multiple North American plants, visit: Fresh Food Success

nGROUP performance partners are specialists in labor intensive process management for fresh food processors and packers. To learn more please visit www.nGROUP.biz.

Would your Distribution Center Win Best in Design?

As Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not what it looks like. Design is how it works.” So when we ask, would your distribution center or warehouse win best in design, the real question becomes, is your facility designed to succeed in meeting your 2017 objectives?

Clearly the designing phase of establishing a production system is the most important since most of the strategic and tactical decisions take place during this phase. While several academic studies seek to find a one size fits all solution to warehouse design, each industry and facility offers unique opportunities and challenges.

Despite the necessity to create custom designs to meet specific objectives, a general guideline keeps management on task when making crucial decisions. As reported by MHLnews.com (Material Handling & Logistics), there are seven essential steps in redesigning a warehouse.

  1. Identify and Document Areas for Improvement
  2. Gather Facility Information and Data
  3. Analyze Collected Data
  4. Develop a Thorough Plan
  5. Plan the Implementation Process
  6. Conduct a Post-Project Review

Throughout our 10 years in partnering with operational facilities, we have seen over and over how the smallest adjustments of motion or placement can dramatically impact bottom line results. Conversely, we have seen how the refusal to “switch things around” stifles a company’s ability to meet their objectives.

At one large distribution center for SONY, we found by rethinking the production flow we could not only improve productivity but improve space utilization by 30% saving the need for outside overflow space.

 

nGROUP Executives will be attending the RILA conference February 12-15. If you would like to schedule an appointment during the conference to discuss 2017 facility design trends, our contact information is below or simply respond to this email. Don’t want to wait until February? Give us a call for a brief phone conversation prior to the conference. See you in Orlando.  

About nGROUP As an on-site insourcing partner, nGROUP works with companies in a consulting or vested partnership relationship. For over 10 years, the nGROUP Performance System has been adopted by executives and managers in labor intensive industries to meet and exceed corporate objectives. NPS consistently outperforms other methods, increasing productivity, quality, and morale, and reducing labor costs by a minimum of 10-25%.

When in manufacturing, learn what the Japanese do, then do it better

By Tom Taetsch

Throughout the U.S., the greatest obstacle for Operational and Human Resource professionals hit while trying to improve their labor management is a resistance to change. The pressure to succeed makes companies less open to taking risks and trying new techniques. Yet, businesses have to make modifications to keep up with a shifting national and global economy.

Across the world, Japanese companies have gained traction as the global leaders in manufacturing.  This is a result of their history in creating sustainable labor practices and implementing a cost-per-unit (CPU) based labor model. So, what makes the CPU labor model so compelling and effective?

After World War II ended, American statistician, Dr. W. Edwards Deming, would visit an economically devastated Japan during his work at the USDA. He became fond of the culture and people and eventually influenced a group of top Japanese managers who were eager for new ideas to improve quality.  His approach was based on statistical analysis centered on 14 points for management.  Demings is also credited with devising and implementing some of the most influential concepts in today’s manufacturing industry, such asTotal Productive Maintenance (TPM) and Plan, Do, Check, Act.  Beyond Deming’s body of work, other manufacturing concepts originated through Japanese industry like Lean Manufacturing or TPS (Toyota Production System) and 5S Methodology.

The Japanese began to and still set the standard for sustainable production practices.  It is through consistent and automated implementation of these same practices that one workforce management company, nGROUP performance partners, has developed a highly effective CPU model for the American culture and business environment, and is able to achieve significant results for their partner companies.

nGROUP developed an integrated approach of converting traditional hourly rate workforces into a fixed cost per unit (CPU) arrangements, and helps clients budget labor cost more effectively, enhances stagnated quality programs, and integrates value stream mapping philosophies.  Through a commitment to lean manufacturing and Six Sigma philosophies, plus innovative human performance coaching, the nGROUP model guarantees clients positive financial and performance results, and a positive change in the production culture.

For more information on nGROUP performance partners visit www.ngroup.biz

Tom Taetsch, nGROUP Vice President,  has 25 years of supply chain experience, including 11 years of recreational vehicle manufacturing experience with Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corp of America.  His logistical and engineering workload has embodied Supply Chain consulting for Tompkins International and within the 3PL industry, working for companies such as Exel, Saddle Creek, and Weber Logistics.

 

 

 

Grow Top Line Faster with Innovative Labor Strategy

By David Hair, President and CEO, nGROUP performance partners

Labor-intensive businesses in today’s economy are up against a number of revised tax laws, making it increasingly difficult to maintain or increase profit. The Affordable Care Act alone places additional costs and compliance burdens on businesses with 50 or more employees.  Adding to this weight is the increased litigation and costs associated with labor unions and “permatemp” employment.  So, how can a company stay in compliance, reduce or maintain labor costs, AND increase their top line? Here’s a look at three innovative labor strategies that may be a viable solution for current companies to reach top line business growth:

  1. Reduce the Workforce

Reducing the workforce is the “solution” that many political and business leaders quickly cited in response to the ACA’s “50 or more” mandate.

A reduced workforce decreases ACA cost but hinders the ability to keep up with demand which may well exceed 50 workers.  Simply put, if a business grows or has a peak production season, it needs a larger workforce.  Beyond reducing hours or limiting the workforce to 49 employees, businesses may want to consider splitting their companies into smaller entities.

Entrepreneur Magazine noted that during a webinar on Obamacare, Bob Graboyes of the NFIB Research Foundation “advised participants that entrepreneurs may not be able to avoid the large-employer fines by splitting their companies into smaller, separate businesses. Even an entrepreneur with completely separate companies may find his or her workforces combined for the purposes of the health law.”

With the law being unclear as to how the government will treat multiple companies with the same owner, reducing your workforce or splitting your company into smaller, separate businesses is a very limited, short-sided approach to begin finding real solutions.

  1. Hire Independent Contractors

In a recent article, “Data Spotlight: Independent Contractors on the Rise,” Jeffrey Eisenach, an economist at George Mason University, cited that “the number of so-called independent contractors is up by more than 1 million since 2005.”  Independent Contractors work on a contract basis, file a 1099-MISC with the IRS and don’t draw the benefits of a full-time employee. When a service provider is classified as an independent contractor, the company is no longer liable for:

  • State workers compensation
  • Federal unemployment tax
  • Federal employment tax
  • State income tax withholding
  • Employer Civil Liability (wrongful discharge or entitling the employee to benefits plans)
  • Minimum Wage Laws

While avoiding these liabilities sounds like a winning solution, any HR Director can quickly point out that the legal requirements of hiring independent contractors is limited in scope. The popular website, LegalZoom, states, “Should employers incorrectly define a worker as an independent contractor, they may find themselves liable for past taxes including FICA and federal unemployment tax.”

In relation to labor-intensive operations, retaining Independent Contractors is particularly limited in its ability to provide solutions.  Typical distribution and plant workers do not fit the legal definition of an Independent Contractor.

  1. Partner with a 3PHL

Third Party Human Logistics (3PHL) is an innovative business model that offers services with best-in-class practices for a fixed cost. Most often they operate on site in the client’s facility. These amenities include labor solutions for manufacturing and distribution facilities and process management.

Unlike traditional temporary labor providers, 3PHLs are experts in engineering labor standards and production efficiencies. It is the responsibility of 3PHL firms to provide expert analysis and oversight of the production systems that provide a safe, efficient, and compliant-based operation that meets quality standards.

Additionally, 3PHL firms are financially accountable for delivering efficiency by means of process improvements and human (workforce) improvements, making a firm more competitive in speed, quality, cost and capacity.

When it comes to meeting compliance, remaining profitable, and increasing the top line, the 3PHL model is an attractive new solution.  3PHL produces the same flexibility as temporary labor while going a step further to provide a company with efficiency. The model offers reduced cost and liability with increased throughput and quality.

Workforce optimization is no longer just an HR issue. It touches all aspects of the business and requires the strategic input from top executives. Companies must concentrate in staying compliant with ever changing labor laws, controlling payroll cost while being competitive for good workers, managing risk for an increasingly ligatious workforce and avoiding the pitfalls of a collective bargaining table.   They must do all this without losing focus of their business. In 2016 CEOs and CFOs will want to consider the competitive advantages of the innovative 3PHL production model to maintain labor effectiveness and efficiency.

 

 

 

 

A new way to think about budgeting labor costs for 2016

by Jim Zimmerman

Many executives within the manufacturing and distribution industry are facing a budgeting process that will ultimately make or break their company’s 2016 earnings. Now is the time to think about what strategies will deliver desired results.
New regulations and a changing business climate are creating an environment that forces a company to find prosperity in innovative ways.

One area often overlooked but with excellent savings potential are departments with labor intensive production. Operating costs associated with labor intensive operations are a paramount concern for companies operating in the U.S.   Whether it is the uncertainty of regulations associated with the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) or increasing legal risks associated with staffing companies and labor unions, many American industries will need to rethink their labor strategy.

A trending new alternative to traditional labor strategies has been started by a U.S. company, nGROUP performance partners. nGROUP encourages executives to group employees by type of function, then evaluate if there is better way to drive results for each group.

For example, nGROUP has coined the term ‘Human Logistics’ to describe the groups of employees who do repetitive tasks to move product from A to B.  Not the trucks and boat logistics, but the people who do the work pre and post transportation.  They are often general labor workers that assemble products, pick and pack products, stack and unstack the pallets, load and unload the trucks, hang and tag garments, perform quality control, etc.
As a specialized 3rd party human logistics (3PHL) provider, nGROUP is leading the way in facilitating changes by providing midsize companies and major corporations with an alternative, more cost effective, human logistics strategy.

Instead of assuming the universal burden of budget cuts, nGROUP’s 3PHL model enables companies to outsource specific work cells or facilities. This allocates budget cuts into manageable units that do not sacrifice productivity and quality.  This ‘a la carte approach reduces the burdens of labor and production in the areas they choose.

With this alternative strategy, companies can partner with nGROUP as a consultant or vested outsourcing partner.  nGROUP applies a data driven lean manufacturing philosophy, 6Sigma principles and specialized workforce management technologies to improve performance metrics and drive down unit labor costs 10-25%.

In a recently published study, nGROUP revealed how one company’s adoption of the 3PHL model produced record breaking results in not just one facility – but three facilities.

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*Per man hour

What strategies could companies consider for 2016 to make it a record breaking year? Perhaps an alternative strategy that goes beyond being cost effective, such as the 3PHL model from nGROUP, that will produce the quality, speed, flexibility and scalability that are vital for companies to be successful in the upcoming year.

To read more nGROUP Case Studies, click here.

Alternative Solutions to Corporations Seeking Labor Compliance

With the majority of the “Obamacare” Affordable Care Act (ACA), mandates going into effect in 2014, executives and human resource professionals across the country are scratching their heads trying to figure out the best strategy for labor compliance and cost improvements. nGROUP Performance Partners, a national on-site outsourcing provider, is answering their call with a business model that offers solutions in both critical areas.

Our proven business model guarantees cost savings in labor, meets the ACA mandates, and eliminates most compliance and co-employment issues,” says David Hair, President of nGROUP Performance Partners.

nGROUP provides labor and process management services to companies with labor intensive operations. nGROUP oversees entire operations or a singular work cell. For example, a client may outsource an entire manufacturing facility to nGROUP, or nGROUP may only be responsible for one work cell within the facility, such as packaging.

According to Hair, it is the role of assuming responsibility that sets nGROUP apart from other industrial engineering efficiency consultants and other flexible workforce options, such as temporary staffing. “This year our clients are expressing concerns about a number of labor compliance issues, particularly those aimed at temporary employment. At the end of the day our job is to not only produce the results we guarantee but to also deliver a workforce that is motivated, trained, and in compliance.”

When it comes to compliance regulations, the ACA has gained a lot of attention from critics, citing that the law offers little guidance as to how mandates will be regulated. For example, one of the most controversial regulations of the ACA is the mandate that companies with more than 50 full-time employees shall provide “qualified” health coverage for all their full-time employees, or pay an annual penalty of $2,000 per full-time employee. If a company does provide such coverage but it’s not “affordable,” the penalty is $3,000 per employee. (Affordable is defined as less than 9.5% of the employee’s family income.) Many economists have reported that the financial impact of the penalties associated with this mandate will reduce profit margins and drive higher prices.

Regardless of any direct financial impact, the ACA will most certainly increase compliance burdens. As reported on the Committee on Ways and Means website, the ACA will add nearly 80 million man-hours each year to individuals and businesses. Critics point out that the IRS compliance burden is the tip of the iceberg. With agencies such as Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor, the fear is that additional and duplicate oversight and regulations will continue to add unparallel compliance burdens on corporations, small businesses, and individuals.

“Whether or not the ACA is here to stay or is destined for mass revision, one solid truth remains,” Hair says. “Companies throughout the United States need to take measures now to ensure compliance when the majority of its mandates go into effect in 2014.”

In instances involving the need for cost improvements, risk protection and a flexible workforce, companies are looking for new business models that ease compliance burdens. A performance based partnership is an emerging example of how companies are adopting alternative workforce models on U.S. soil.

For more information on nGROUP performance partners visit http://www.nGROUP.biz, view http://www.nGROUP.biz/movie, or contact David Hair, CEO at dhair@nGROUP.biz

Incentive Pay Programs – Casual + Structured

Many employers utilize incentive pay programs to motivate their employees.  The design of these programs are to aid in employee retention, company loyalty, worker satisfaction, and ultimately, lower costs.  By having tenured employees and a reduction in turnover, businesses benefit from not having to train new employees and can minimize mistakes in the production process.

Casual rewards include a pat on the back, a sincere thank-you, a $50 bill, a dinner for two at a local restaurant, or a gift cards to stores and gas stations. Many programs also entitle workers to choose from a menu of several rewards.

While utilizing a casual incentive program, jealousy and perceived favoritism toward those who get rewarded can arise if there is no data to back up why an employee received a reward.  Avoid potential pitfalls by developing rules and goals. Reward employees who offer suggestions that improve the process and result in a savings or increased productivity that can be documented.  Create a feedback mechanism for all of the legitimate ideas submitted.  Without feedback, confusion for the employees and frustration in the program will continue. Make your rewards system clear.

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By utilizing a structured incentive program, employees will have a better understanding of exactly what they need to do to be rewarded.  The positive results for businesses include cost certainty and cost reduction.  Results to employees are higher wages and improved satisfaction.  However, there are also potential pitfalls in a structured program. Avoid these by developing a structured incentive program by taking these 7 steps:

1. Analyze the challenge and determine if incentives are appropriate – the targets and goals need to be clear and specific, and achievable for the employees.  Support functions need to enable employees to be successful.

2. Link pay with performance – measure the output of each employee or group versus the developed standards, and reward the employees for exceeding the targets.

3. Anticipate loopholes – identify any shortcuts the employees may utilize to increase their productivity.  Many businesses initially add quality steps downstream from the process that will catch any errors before full implementation of the program.  The best programs actually link quality objectives into the incentive pay to ensure a positive impact on both productivity and quality benchmarks.

4. Establish standards and determine pay – This process involves clarifying expected performance, considering work content variations, contemplating potential savings and gains, determining base wage versus incentive pay, anticipating effects of technological or capital investment changes, and converting standards into pay.

5. Protect workers from negative consequences – establishing an effective communication strategy to keep employees up to date on performance and establishing fair expectations are critical for positive morale

6. Improve communications – both on overall performance, as well as how they rank in the group.  There also has to be a mechanism to allow for suggestions and comments from the employees to improve the process.

7. Periodically review the program – record keeping and statistical analysis must be performed to understand the success of the program, ensuring that all are benefiting from the implementation of the model.

Structured incentives are most likely to succeed if they have accurately established standards, clearly linked superior performance with pay or a valued reward and carefully considered what type of performance the incentive stimulates.  

Effective incentives are designed so the more an employee earns, the more the employer benefits.

Beyond Minimum Wage: Are You Paying or Being Paid a “Living Wage?”

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A term you’ll often hear in conjunction with minimum wage is “living wage”, which is the amount an individual must earn to cover a normal standard of living.  Living wage is becoming the standard for how the minimum wage should be calculated.

On the policy front, a $10.10 federally mandated minimum wage is being pushed in Washington.  Supporters say making the change would push nearly 60% of people who work full time jobs but earning below the poverty line out of poverty.  The federal bill is unlikely to get through The House, but 13 states approved plans to increase their minimum wage last year and several cities are going even further. For example, Washington DC raised minimum wage to $12.50, San Francisco is at $10.50, and there’s a push in Seattle for $15.00.

Ikea announced that it will be adopting a new wage scale in the US based on a living wage calculator developed by MIT professor Amy Glasmeier.  Want to see what might be coming down the pipe for your business?  MIT’s calculator is available for everyone to use. Check it out here.

To get a sense of what to expect, the following information was generated at nGroup’s corporate headquarters in Fort Mill, SC.

 

The living wage shown is the hourly rate that an individual must earn to support their family, if they are the sole provider and are working full-time (2080 hours per year). The state minimum wage is the same for all individuals, regardless of how many dependents they may have. The poverty rate is typically quoted as gross annual income. We have converted it to an hourly wage for the sake of comparison. Wages that are less than the living wage are shown in bold and italic. 

Hourly Wages 1 Adult 1 Adult, 1 Child 1 Adult, 2 Children 1 Adult, 3 Children 2 Adults 2 Adults, 1 Child 2 Adults, 2 Children 2 Adults, 3 Children
Living Wage $9.61 $17.85 $21.34 $26.05 $14.70 $17.53 $18.94 $21.95
Poverty Wage $5.21  $7.00  $8.80  $10.60  $7.00  $8.80  $10.60  $12.40 
Minimum Wage $7.25  $7.25  $7.25  $7.25  $7.25  $7.25  $7.25  $7.25

 

Typical Expenses 
These figures show the individual expenses that went into the living wage estimate. Their values vary by family size, composition, and the current location.  

Monthly Expenses 1 Adult 1 Adult, 1 Child 1 Adult, 2 Children 1 Adult, 3 Children 2 Adults 2 Adults, 1 Child 2 Adults, 2 Children 2 Adults, 3 Children
Food $242 $357 $536 $749 $444 $553 $713 $904
Child Care $0 $342 $533 $725 $0 $0 $0 $0
Medical $129 $387 $403 $384 $278 $385 $362 $372
Housing $670 $806 $806 $1,016 $726 $806 $806 $1,016
Transportation $318 $618 $712 $764 $618 $712 $764 $777
Other $77 $160 $200 $256 $131 $164 $186 $212
Required monthly income after taxes $1,436 $2,670 $3,190 $3,894 $2,197 $2,620 $2,831 $3,281
Required annual income after taxes $17,232 $32,040 $38,280 $46,728 $26,364 $31,440 $33,972 $39,372
Annual taxes $2,748 $5,098 $6,103 $7,451 $4,206 $5,020 $5,419 $6,275
Required annual income before taxes $19,980 $37,138 $44,383 $54,179 $30,570 $36,460 $39,

 

Typical Hourly Wages 
These are the typical hourly rates for various professions in this location. Wages that are below the living wage for one adult supporting one child are bold and italic.

Occupational Area Typical Hourly Wage
Management $39.16
Business and Financial Operations $25.00
Computer and Mathematical $28.02
Architecture and Engineering $31.68
Life, Physical and social Science $24.20
Community and Social Services $16.70
Legal $25.43
Education, Training and Library $20.80
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media $16.91 
Healthcare Practitioner and Technical $24.89
Healthcare Support $10.88 
Protective Service $14.57 
Food Preparation and Serving Related $8.56 
Building and Grounds Cleaning and maintenance $9.56 
Personal care and Services $9.20 
Sales and Related $10.47 
Office and Administrative Support $13.69 
Farming, Fishing and Forestry $11.78 
Construction and Extraction $15.48 
Installation, Maintenance and Repair $17.57 
Production $14.68 
Transportation and Material Moving $12.32 

 

What does the calculator say about your city?  What should minimum wage be?

Final nGroup Q & A: Break Out 5

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This is the last nGroup break out! We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the answers to questions we have commonly been asked.  If you have any others, please ask by contacting or tweeting at us @ngrouppartners.  Hope to hear your feedback soon!

How do you incent productivity without harming quality?
We put incentives in place and include disincentives for poor quality. Employees are only paid on first quality throughput and they lose incentive for passing on a product that is not up to standard.  Quality checks are also designed into the process. nGROUP understands the cost to quality, we can implement a program that reduces billing for sub-par quality and increases billing for exceptional quality. All product quantities and quality are confirmed by you as work is completed. This assures that quality processes have independent inspections.

How do I recover cost while investing?
nGROUP works with our partners to develop pricing structures that encourage investment and improvement.  The pricing structure results in the ability to easily cost justify improvements by evaluating investment vs. expected savings.

How do I capture year over year cost savings?
The savings are different in each location.  Operational improvements and savings are contingent on factors such as flexibility within the operation, extent of nGROUP’s services, work content changes from year to year, and the ever changing costs associated with labor.  It is typical to see savings of 3-5% from year to year.

What is the cost to use the nGROUP solution?
The only loser in the program is the inefficiency in the process.  If we cannot remove these inefficiencies and find a way to save you money, we will tell you that your operation is not an application. We do require a $10,000 upfront assessment fee but if we find that our program cannot help save you at least 10% we’ll fully refund the assessment fee.

How are new employees screened?
All employees are screened according to our client’s requirements.  This always include I-9 verification for appropriate work status and can incorporate full drug testing, background checks, and credit checks when required.

How does nGROUP train employees?
Training employees is a cornerstone of our program.  Each employee receives a location and client specific orientation package that includes a written training curriculum as well as hands on training on site.  nGROUP’s orientation program has proven to improve both productivity and quality for new employees.

How will nGROUP comply with all safety requirements?
nGROUP starts by mimicking our client’s safety programs.  We then utilize regional safety coordinators to assess risks and evaluate the program.  Specific risks are identified and improved so that we can maintain a safe working environment.  We also apply incentives for safety and ongoing safety results.

What happens if an nGROUP employee is injured?
nGROUP has a standardized process to ensure employees are treated at local medical facilities in a fast, responsible manner.  The onsite representative will work with the employee to certify the process is followed.

nGroup Q & A: Break Out 3

Can nGROUP help increase sales and be more competitive?
nGROUP’s program minimizes labor cost and improves key operational metrics such as turnaround time and quality.  This allows our partners to be extremely competitive versus the market.  In addition, outsourcing the operational components provides your team with the ability to focus on more strategic areas of your business.  nGROUP is also committed to continuous improvement  so you will continue to outperform your competitors.

How does nGROUP’s program affect our employees?
We focus on individual productivity within our program.  We only accomplish our goals with successful employees.  When appropriate, we are glad to discuss opportunities to join the nGROUP team in order to maintain the tribal knowledge of our client’s operation.

How do I maintain control of the operation?
During our assessment and implementation, the nGROUP team will interview important shareholders to ensure our partners are comfortable with the reporting structure, inventory handling, production tracking, or whatever information is important.  We also develop processes that confirm quality, production, and billing data with our partner.  Our quarterly business reviews (QBR) are always an opportunity to review and adjust what we all find important.  In the end, inventory, process, and product never leave your facility.