Panel Built and Tunley Engineering: First Steps and Assessment

Will Office

It is common for Engineering teams to find themselves always chasing overdues, some companies have never, or at least can’t remember a time where they didn’t have overdues. Like all things, if left unchallenged or addressed they can almost become the the norm within a company, however the issues consistent overdues cause never truly go away.
Mike Kieran, founder and owner of Panel Built was astutely aware of these issues,observing the moral of his team suffer, the high staff turnover and build up of other issues around his team he knew something had to change.
Upon receiving an email from Dr Will Beer at Tunley Engineering that introduced our services, Mr Kieran decided to book time out for an introductory call. Never really considering an outside source of help before, Mr Kieran wanted to see if Tunley Engineering were equipped to under take the task. After the call Will emailed a quote and proposal the next day. This early example of customer centricity was a contributing factor into Panel Built’s decision to proceed forward with an Engineering Assessment.
An Engineering Assessment is always bespoke to each customer we work with and each one includes a through investigation into your Engineering team, it’s processes, mapping the NPI and bespoke engineering processes and finally a value stream analysis.
In this case, the fully remote investigation into the Engineering department took only 5 days and culminated in a formal presentation delivered to Mike first then the wider Engineering team.
An Assessment’s findings always begins with a list of High Level Recommendations that are then explained in greater throughout the document/presentation. This report exists to give Engineering Teams all they need to address their issues, not just listing the issues.

The high level recommendations in this assessment included:

  • Implement a Part Data Management system to manage Engineering documentation
  • Use the PDM system to phase out the need for separate workload management systems within the Engineering Departments
  • Implement / run a recovery on late orders / overdues within the pre-assembly section of Engineering
  • Implement Standard Operating Procedures within Engineering (what does a drawing look like, how do we build it etc)
  • Make training a core component of the Department, it needs to be monthly (easy to incorporate in Team briefs)
  • Measure, measure, and measure. Key Performance Indicators need to be implemented, analysed, and put to work. KPIs need to provide weekly summaries as a minimum and cover Delivery, Quality, and Improvement
  • Develop a New Starter Induction program

Not only does this report detail how to go about addressing this issues but it also recommends software, where it can, that other customers or ourselves use everyday.
The next step, is always at the discretion of the customer, should they choose too they can take the findings of the report and begin to action them themselves. However most don’t, and not because of lack of ability or commitment. Panel Built through not just engaging with this assessment, but by having a team full of really bought in people are capable of delivering onthe the issues on the report
So why did they opt into engaging with an Engineering Recovery?

Every company has it’s own reasons but in this case an outside eye and support from Will Beer was particularly beneficial. The two people managing the engineering department, despite been highly qualified and motivated engineers hadn’t had the support they needed in the transition to their managerial roles.
That coupled with knowledge that a Recovery can move the issues raised on the Assessment from ‘to-do’ to ‘done’ quicker. Will, Mike and the 2 Engineering Managers began to move forward with addressing the companies overdues.
At the start of the project Panel Built had 133 orders, 39 of which were already late and had a collective value of over 3 million dollars. In just 14 days they were recovered and could report, for the first time since the companies inception, no overdues.
Even in these early days, the team at Panel Built have shown an increasing capability to take more and more control. Through their on going work with Tunley Engineering, taking advantage of their leadership and mentorship the goal is continue to prepare and upskill these Managers for the challenges they face.
With an outside perspective, illusive problems can be uncovered and a far more direct approach to issues can be taken. By setting up daily meeting with the team Will could ensure everyone was been held account and the correct,most time effective and customer centric actions were been taken daily,allowing the companies owner to take a step back, knowing progress was been made without needing his direct intervention.
This is only the first part of Panel Built and Tunley Engineering’s work together, at the time of writing overdues have re-appeared but only because of the implementation of reduced of a shorter lead time target and both parties are confident that they can be reduced further.
In just 19 days a though investigation into the company was undertaken,uncovering the issues at the heart of the team and then recovering some of those issues leading to millions of dollars worth product reaching clients with much more left to achieve.


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