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.
It used to take Queen Bee 1.5 months to develop/design a new product from idea to prototype, and now it takes them 2.5 weeks. This is thanks to the lean improvements they have made to keep pace with client demand. By implementing a better workflow, changing their plant layout, and using a Kanban and pull system to pace their order to production to shipping processes, Queen Bee has improved significantly.
The OMEP consultant who worked on this project said, “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.”
This company is poised to continue to build on their momentum and success!
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.