Queen Bee Creations is a designer, manufacturer and retailer of unique hand-crafted wallets, bags and hand-printed textiles. Employing 3 full time employees, Queen Bee also hires several regular part time employees, and utilizes additional contract sewers during peak periods. They keep their loyal customers and brand ambassadors happy by regularly creating fresh and exciting new designs.
Queen Bee struggled with cash flow, particularly in order to meet seasonal demand due to long raw material lead times. On-line sales were flat. In 2016 Queen Bee owner Rebecca Pearcy and Operations Manager Abby Malzahn attended the Business Innovation Workshop, taught by OMEP in partnership with VanZoen Consulting. After the workshop, Queen Bee worked with VanZoen and OMEP to implement numerous lean driven improvements.
Queen Bee has begun building capacity for their in-house sewing operations and in managing their financials. They have worked to implement 5S in their workshop, as well as visual inventory management, and other work aids. They have also adopted Lean Accounting principles to better understand their true profit and loss position. Because of seasonal demand and part time employees, scheduling labor has been a focus along with improving their inventory and order management processes. To combat these challenges, they’ve begun using visual work planning and inventory management systems which have helped with managing their cash flow, shortening lead times, and reducing overall business stress. Their next focus will be on improving operational excellence, especially for higher volume products.
Consultant Roger Jensen has been working closely with the team at Queen Bee. He says, “Rebecca, Abby and the Queen Bee team are succeeding because of their enthusiastic embrace and intentional implementation of lean practices and continuous improvement within their operation. They set aside time for improvements, take small steps, experiment with alternative methods, and engage all employees in brainstorming and implementation. Their achievements to date are the direct result of their willingness to look for wastes to eliminate and their confidence in making small improvements each week.”
As a result of their work with OMEP and VanZoen Consulting, Queen Bee has embraced a continuous improvement culture. They devote time each week to improvement activities, which has set them on the path for great success moving forward.
Learning about Lean manufacturing has been a game-changer for my business. For years I had been struggling to find a system that would help steer the company in a better direction, to improve our systems, and cash flow especially. I feel better equipped to make smart decisions and I feel more hopeful and excited than I have in a while.