William C. Shriver, CEO
When General Motors and Toyota collaborated for a joint venture in the early 1980s, William C. Shriver, an executive at GM for over a decade, received firsthand access to the renowned Toyota Production System. Like a hungry scholar, he absorbed every last detail and became a walking encyclopedia in the lean materials management spectrum. Using his newfound savoir-faire, Shriver went on to help countless clients with both direct and indirect supply chain needs.
Fast forward to thirty years later, Shriver and his team at SETECH Supply Chain Solutions, a southeastern-based lean manufacturing consulting firm, are applying the same proven methodologies, even as his competitors tend to focus more on a technology-aided supply chain transformation strategy. “We’re more grassroots, and prefer a ‘place for everything and everything in its place’ 5S approach. We’re unique because we look at client’s pain points and build a transformation platform and our starting point is based on their needs,” says Shriver, the CEO of SETECH, who is also a strong proponent of Eliyahu Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints.
Having taken on the identity of its leaders, the SETECH team has melded together the principles of the Toyota Production System and the Theory of Constraints into their lean planning and execution practices. And the results have been exemplary. “We’re typically able to reduce inventory by 50-75 percent, improve cost of goods sold by three to five percent, and of course, our processes help clients improve their working capital,” adds Shriver.
Shriver calls this coming together of points of view as Smart IT. The company is introducing algorithmic tools into the market and explains to clients that they need to reduce variations in their processes and utilize the pull system to move materials quickly through the supply chain.
On the direct side, we’re typically able to reduce inventory by 50-75 percent, improve cost of goods sold by three to five percent and on the indirect side achieve consistent 10-15 percent year-over-year cost savings
It is this increase in velocity that drives value all the way across the supply chain. SETECH has utmost conviction in its unique approach. However, the organization isn’t averse to modifying practices, and continues to broaden its offerings based on specific client requirements. Most recently, when approached by a startup that didn’t have any supply chain capabilities, SETECH proposed to create a strategy and subsequently put a fully functioning system in place.
Shriver highlighted another such recent example. When a client in the chemical industry failed an audit and had spare parts lying all over their campus, SETECH tackled the situation by surveying the five-square-mile campus before utilizing the 5S approach. As a result, the client dodged a potential environmental health and safety bullet. They are now in discussions about a potential full indirect materials outsourcing program.
With the current U.S. administration’s attempts to create more middle-class manufacturing jobs, there are opportunities aplenty, especially in the B2B sector. Many startups, however, are operating hand-to-mouth because of excess inventory that they are unaware of. Due to excess inventory, they try to get the product out of the door to please customers. This is where SETECH’s approach comes in handy. “We look at the bottlenecks in the supply chain and then use our lean techniques to smoothen material flow. Since we’re technology-agnostic, we re-plumb the supply chain so that our clients can end up pulling material directly from their suppliers before the product reaches the customers,” says Shriver.
SETECH remains the only player in the market that drives value in both direct and indirect supply chain. “We bring process discipline, the appropriate technology, and our leadership skills to help our customers optimize their supply chain. That’s our differentiation right there,” concludes Shriver.