Intereum partnered with Herman Miller as one of two pilot dealers nationally to develop a new delivery and installation standard that could be replicated throughout the Herman Miller dealer network. Intereum began work on this new standard in 2008 with the close support of Herman Miller HMPS (Herman Miller Performance System) personnel who had worked for over a decade with Toyota in a close relationship re-defining Herman Miller’s manufacturing process and overall product quality. This work is known as the “Last Mile.”
The Last Mile is an extension of the operational excellence that Herman Miller has developed in manufacturing through the application of the Herman Miller Performance System. This system focuses on providing our customers exactly what they need, when they need it, the way they need it. Several years ago, Brian Walker, Herman Miller CEO, recognized that our customers were not experiencing the full benefit of our improvements in manufacturing, such as improved delivery or quality. He saw the need to focus on our distribution and installation processes and thus connect the work all the way through to the “Last Mile.” Since that time, we have been able to apply the same principles and see the same impressive results.
The first step was to “go and see” exactly what happens between product leaving Herman Miller and the completion of the installation at the customer’s job site and identify all the struggles, waste and opportunities. This important step helped establish a baseline or “current condition”. The furniture installation process has been basically the same for over 30 years, but by watching with a different set of eyes, we were jointly able to identify major opportunities such as walking, waiting and searching. From there, we experimented with one improvement at a time using the scientific problem solving process. Once improvements were proven out and refined, they became part of the standard way of working. Intereum has been actively working with other Herman Miller dealers across the country to implement this new standard.
Intereum has driven significant improvements and efficiencies in their project management and installations and are actually making the work better for their installers. This is possible not because they simply follow a prescribed “recipe”, but rather because we have been trained to identify struggles and waste and solve problems on an ongoing basis.
Benefits to our customers include:
- Cleaner, safer site conditions – no trash on the floor and only the product that is needed each day for installation. This also results in less damage to the facility during the installation process.
- Shorter and more reliable schedules – because of improved flow, more furniture can be installed each day and the result is very predictable. Schedules that previously required excessive overtime and cost can be accommodated in a normal work day.
- Improved visibility and peace of mind – customers can see completed work stations within a much shorter time. This allows the ability to respond much more quickly to issues, in the unlikely event they should occur.
- Improved quality – since many of our deliveries go straight from manufacturing to the job site, much of the handling and opportunity for loss or damage has been eliminated.