Systems2win: Excel Templates for Lean Manufacturing

Systems2win: Excel Templates for Lean Manufacturing

“Almost everyone uses Excel, but few use it well.” Those were the words that launched Systems2win, a leading provider of Excel templates to make lean methods easier to learn and understand. Company owner Dean Ziegler explains that when he was working as a consultant, a client asked him, “No one has tools like these. Have you ever considered offering those templates even without consulting?” The rest is history. Systems2win now offers more than 150 templates, each with comprehensive online training.

“Our focus is on developing Excel spreadsheets that can perform lean process analysis that is beyond what a typical Excel user is capable of programming,” he says. For example, the Standard Work Combination Sheet correctly analyzes cycle times for things that happen on different frequency cycles, including shift setups, batch changeovers and inspections. “This helps users to correctly answer questions like ‘How much does it cost?’, ‘What’s our capacity?’, ‘How will things change if we do a kaizen event to reduce setup time by 10 minutes?’” To answer those types of questions usually requires more than $10,000 software written on top of a database, “Systems2win has survived and flourished all these years because people are shocked to see that type of capability in a $300 Excel add-in,” Ziegler remarks.

With so many templates offered, the Tool Selection Matrix makes it simple for clients to drill down to find the right tool for what is needed next. The matrix “makes it easy to use Excel’s Filtering features to quickly filter a short list of the tools that you might consider using for the next phase of your lean journey,” he says. “For example, you might filter to show only tools that are popular for lean office or lean healthcare. And then further filter for the tools that are useful for lean management, or lean flow, or quality improvement, or whatever you are trying to accomplish next.” Each template can be personalized using familiar Microsoft Excel, and international users can optionally switch between English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, and Chinese.

One of System2win’s strengths is to thoughtfully respond to customer suggestions. The Takt Time Calculator and the Kanban Calculator Ziegler says are good examples of responding to real world customer pain points. “For years, we figured that there were so many free online calculators that people could use, but then a few of our customers asked us, ‘Have you actually tried to use any of those free online tools?’” Ziegler adds, “Five different calculators yielded four different answers. We couldn’t find one online calculator that took into consideration all of the factors that should be considered to correctly calculate either Takt Time or the correct number of kanbans.”

Our focus is on developing Excel spreadsheets that can perform lean process analysis that is beyond what a typical Excel user is capable of programming

With more than 100 customer testimonials on their website, the company has garnered satisfaction through their unique approach. “Systems2win has been a small, independently run business that has done very little advertising or marketing; relying almost entirely on word of mouth and repeat customers,” Ziegler says. “This proven successful formula could be continued indefinitely, but our current focus is to initiate new alliances with consultants to provide more options for personalized training and consulting to ensure that every one of our clients gets the most value from their world class tools.”