CWC Continuous Improvement

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Several years ago Herman Miller determined they needed to improve all aspects of their manufacturing process.  They partnered with Toyota and developed the Herman Miller Production System (HMPS).  The program delivered excellent results in regard to on time delivery, quality and cost reduction.  Herman Miller realized that the principles and tools of HMPS could be used by their dealer partners to help improve the processes at the dealer level.  For the past two years CWC has been involved with the Herman Miller HMPS Team. From a dealer perspective the HMPS program looks at problems and choke points to success and attempts to mitigate them. 

The approach is based on 3 things: First, let the people closest to the problem identify and solve the problem.  Second, have a standard method to evaluate and determine the effectiveness of the solution. Third, ensure the lessons learned are shared across the organization.

We let the field crews, designers, customer service reps or project managers identify the problems and proposed solutions.  We then attempt to develop a solution, and then generate an experiment to test the proposed solution.  The results of the experiment are evaluated, if necessary, the solution is adjusted and the experiment run again. We have a full time, internal, HMPS coach that runs the program and ensures that our successes (and failures) are spread across the organization.


Several things we have found as a result of this process:

  • Just in Time delivery.  If the installation site will accommodate it, we deliver on a daily basis and install everything before the next delivery is made.  This greatly minimizes the extra product that’s in the way on the floor. 
  • Smaller orders can be pre-staged in the warehouse on mobile carts and delivered directly to the installation location.  This process is referred to as kitting, and it reduces the trash and excess product at the jobsite.
  • The new, popular, height adjustable tables can be built outside the installation zone. This allows them to be built and moved into the installation area.  Again, faster install time and minimum trash in the building area. 
  • Technology tools like Smartsheet and PlanGrid have been added to our Project Management process to add efficiency, save time and provide better communication platforms.
  • A Punch Coordinator position was created to better expedite punch list closure.

Continues improvement continues every day as a part of our DNA.  As a Herman Miller Certified Network Dealer HMPS is a requirement and is measured through annual field audits by Herman Miller, annual meetings to share best practices with our dealer partners throughout the United States and satisfaction surveys required on every project—where CWC has a 99.4% satisfaction rating.


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