Dr. Lisa: Breaking the Mold and the Constraints in Custom Manufacturing

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by Audrey Perrott

In a male-dominated industry, Dr. Lisa Lang hasn’t just made a name for herself—she’s become the name.

As a student and former Global Marketing Director of Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt, internationally renowned father of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) and author of The Goal, Dr. Lisa has become one of the leading TOC experts out of only about 300 worldwide in the field.

Her focus is on improving operations for highly custom job shops and on creating unrefusable market offers or “Mafia Offers” for all types of organizations. Dr. Lisa is considered the foremost expert in the world at applying Theory of Constraints to marketing and operations for highly custom job shops.

TOC is the application of scientific principles to business. It uses scientific methods and principles to help companies maximize their output with less people in less time resulting in a better bottom line. But this scientific method is no elementary science project.

TOC is a highly specialized way of applying science to business and is intellectually demanding. Very few people are educated in its theories and even fewer people are considered experts. There are several fields within TOC that a person can be knowledgeable in and most specialize in one of them, but Dr. Lisa is proficient in all of them.

She earned her PhD in Engineering Management with an emphasis in packaging and manufacturing. She worked for years for Clorox, Anheuser-Busch and Coors Brewing in product development, operations, purchasing, and strategic planning.

Dr. Lisa learned the science of TOC from the person who created it. “Dr. Goldratt was brilliant but demanding—it was very challenging but very rewarding and fulfilling to work with him,” she says.

And even though they no longer worked together they continued to remain close. Dr. Goldratt often asked for Dr. Lisa’s marketing advice and was dedicated to making Theory of Constraints available to all businesses.

“I was actually at his home in Israel right before he passed away. One of his goals was to make TOC the way companies are managed. Right before he died he said to me, ‘I need your help marketing,’ and I promised to continue to help him make Theory of Constraints known,” she says.

She is doing just that. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Theory of Constraints International Certification Organization or TOCICO and has developed a one-of-a-kind system for improving highly customized manufacturing that she’s now sharing in Velocity Manufacturing which appears in the book Trendsetters in the Current Economy.

Her method which she’s developed, tested and proven is called The Velocity Scheduling System or VSS. Her goal is to help custom manufacturers get more jobs done with the people and resources they already have.

“Theory of Constraints is really about focus,” she says. “It’s about where to focus and where to apply your efforts in order so you can maximize your profits. The challenge with TOC is that what you need to do is often counterintuitive.”

She works with small- to mid-sized manufacturers who make custom products.

She explains that custom manufacturers and job shops—companies that don’t make the same things over and over again—can struggle with a mix changes such as customer’s changing their mind, unreliable vendors and machines, employee skill issues and a constantly moving constraint resulting in difficulties with shortening lead-times and meeting due dates because of the nature of their work.

That’s where Velocity Scheduling System Coaching Program comes in. VSS provides the counterintuitive methods, step by step, that help each shop to customize the scheduling solution for their unique situation. As a result, shops reduce lead-times and improve due date performance with less chaos.

Dr. Lisa warns that VSS is not a training program—it’s a go and do coaching program. Every shop gets guidance to customize the solution for their specific needs during the 14-week program.

One of her clients, Contour Tool, implemented the Velocity Scheduling System with Dr. Lisa in February of 2010 and thanks to her method increased their on-time delivery to their customers from 69% to 96%.

Contour Tool President Michelle Reichlin said, “The Velocity Scheduling System helps you clearly see your bottlenecks, reduces your lead-times, and pushes you to deal with disruptions to ensure these issues to do not stand in your way of meeting your customers needs.”

“It’s obvious that Dr. Lisa knows what she’s talking about. She seems to have an uncanny ability to quickly diagnose a job shop and know exactly what they need to do to get back on track,” she said.

That knowledge and talent combined with her athletic background and no-nonsense all-about-the-results approach has made her online Velocity Scheduling System Coaching Program a huge success. It’s no wonder when describing her that Dr. Goldratt used the words fearless and tenacious.

“I think when you really want to win or get results you don’t give up. I stay after it until I make it happen,” she says.

“When you work in a big company it’s hard to have a huge impact. So when I went out on my own I went to small and mid-sized companies where decisions could be made quickly and the bottom line impact could be seen immediately,” she says.

Her work is having a huge impact on American manufacturing. As these highly custom job shops can produce more with the same people and resources they become more domestically and globally competitive. It is part of Dr. Lisa’s mission to improve business and make American manufacturers more globally competitive.

“If I can help a manufacturer get more done with the same people and resources, it reduces their costs and makes them more competitive internationally so we can bring work back from overseas to the US,” she says.

It’s also why she’s launched her Velocity Scheduling System Coaching Program in an online version to increase availability, ease access, and make it extremely affordable for every shop. Since it launched at the end of 2008 she has helped more than 100 custom job shops.

“We’re extending our reach. We can’t help as many people by traveling to each company, consulting on-site —that takes a lot of time and money,” she says. “Our program is inexpensive and designed to make them more competitive. I can have a greater impact on U.S manufacturing with an online program.”

Every company gets started by reading Dr. Lisa’s special scheduling reports and then watching her webinar, “How to Get More Jobs Done Faster.” In 47 minutes, Dr. Lisa showcases her no nonsense approach by explaining the mistakes most shops make and exactly what needs to be done to get more jobs done faster.

For Dr. Lisa, it all comes down to the bottom line.

“When the manufacturers I’m working with have a big breakthrough it affects their financial lives but also their personal lives,” she says. “It affects them, it affects their employees—it’s a big reward. And, I’m addicted to the huge results my clients receive!”

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