The seminar focused on "the concept of value-added activities and the seven deadly wastes (which I repackage as the nine circles of success) in LEAN," Seyfer explained. "We talked about how addressing a problem, like waiting for things to happen so other things can happen, can cause significant loss of productivity and what kinds of strategies can be used to do something else productive while we are waiting, or to structure our day so that we assume we will be waiting on some things and have other activities lined up to keep you from actually waiting."
Seyfer explained the difference between value-added and non-value-added activities in attendees' businesses, identifying value-added activities as items for which the customer is willing to pay. Non-value-added activities include items like moving cars and cleaning tools, which are still vital to the business and must be performed. Seyfer informed attendees, "By applying LEAN concepts to non-value-added items, we can spend less productive time doing those things, allowing us to focus on the things our customers perceive value from."
"In the current business environment, there are only so many places we can find to compete, and cutting our prices is not the way to ensure longevity," Seyfer elaborated. "It has become really important to take the example our collision members have been working on for years and implement ways to increase productivity without working harder or longer by simply cutting the waste out of our existing standard operating procedures or by creating new SOPs that take these wastes into consideration and reduce or eliminate them."
According to Seyfer, attendees responded favorably to the Learning Circle, asking lots of questions and requesting a two-night LEAN and implementation program for the entire shop, not just management.
ASA-CO plans to hold this event on January 12 and 14, 2016. In addition to receiving tours of the host's facility and gaining ideas for improving their businesses, Seyfer noted, "The Learning Circles are a great opportunity for our members to get together on a topic that is of interest to them and discuss how their businesses work."
As the Chairman for ASA National, Seyfer does not get to spend much time in CO, so he enjoyed the opportunity to visit with ASA-CO members. Regarding the importance of association-sponsored events, he explained, "Developing best practices is a challenge when you are buried in cars every day. Networking events that bring shop owners who really care about their businesses, communities and the industry together gives us some time to share ideas and learn that we all have similar challenges. Shop owners that get out of their shops and go to industry events are, in my experience, the best-run facilities and are long-lasting, successful businesses."
Because ASA National has undergone significant self-reinvention, “It will now allow our affiliates more time to focus on the things they do best, including networking, training and offering local benefit packages,” Seyfer stated. "ASA-CO has a new lease on life. I am very excited at the opportunity to work with the ASA-CO board actively again as past chairman and, of course, as one of their members."