Our client is a global power systems company. During a twenty-year period beginning in the 1990’s the company experienced 300% growth emerging as the sole independent producer of diesel power systems and components in the world.

In addition to rapid expansion the company saw the complexity of its products increase in a totally new and unexpected way. The introduction of ever-tighter emissions regulation first in the US and Europe and, then, slowly across other regions led to fundamentally new designs that resulted in a gradual tightening of tolerances in all of the components used on the company’s machines.

As if this were not enough, the company underwent an astounding conversion from a company that made most of their own parts and components to sourcing those same assemblies from the best suppliers regardless of location.

The potential for problems rose dramatically.


As the number of suppliers grew so did the distance of those suppliers from their customer plants. As the products became more complex the problems did too. These factors multiplied the impacts of part and component defects requiring a different approach than the one used when the company had more control of part and component production.


During the early phases of these complex changes the company began working with SBTI to deploy a continuous improvement methodology into its businesses. After establishing a strong foundation of skill based on practical application of the processes and tools of continuous improvement the company saw application with its suppliers and supply chains as a fertile field of improvement.

Some of the applications of continuous improvement methods include:

·         Using the processes and tools  to source and resource selected parts and components.

·         Integrating suppliers early in the design processes.

·         Chartering and completing joint continuous improvement projects focused on specific customer problems and issues.

·         Helping critical suppliers learn the processes and tools as an introduction to disciplined continuous improvement work.


The outcome was a direct contribution to improved net profit, improvement in product quality, and rise in customer loyalty.