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Wet Design Realizes Success with Afterburner's Flawless Execution Methodology
By Jim Murphy - Wet Design, creator of spectacular water features and perhaps best known for its 9-acre lake of animated fountains at the Bellagio, Las Vegas, has long practiced and espoused the benefits of lean manufacturing. In seeking to apply the same efficiency to all aspects of its business processes, Wet Design has partnered with Afterburner, Inc. with a commitment to support an ongoing program designed to educate employees in the principles and techniques of Flawless ExecutionSM.
It has been said that Wet Design's CEO, Mark Fuller, has a talent for unconventional thinking. It was, therefore, not surprising that after reading Flawless Execution by James D. Murphy, founder & CEO of Afterburner, Inc., Mr. Fuller asked his team to read the book and then investigate. Afterburner's project leader, Jim 'Boots' Demarest, was then invited to share the Flawless Execution methodology with the Wet Design team. The methodology, born from fighter aviation, is a continuous improvement process that incorporates four steps: Plan-Brief-Execute-Debrief.
According to Harvey Goldstein, V.P. Marketing for Wet Design, one of the appeals of Flawless Execution is that it is "universally applicable and makes sense because it has been real world tested." Despite his initial concerns that the military aspects of the program would prove too counter-cultural to Wet Design's creative/entertainment-based philosophy, Mr. Goldstein said that within a month team members began to see how easy it was to adopt. Before anyone realized it, the Plan-Brief-Execute-Debrief methodology took root in the daily routines of people in the company and execution began to improve.
Jason Hall, V.P. of Achieving Excellence and Manufacturing at Wet Design, was truly impressed by the way Jim 'Boots' Bemarest "came in, became one of us, fit in, dug in, and understood our business enough to help us get more aligned with our goals. He taught us how to discipline ourselves and have the accountabilities built into the plans."
Mr. Hall's "Kaisan" (from the Japanese meaning "change for the better") training taught him how to get production up to speed but not how to manage production, hold people accountable, or organize and plan. By incorporating the Flawless Execution process into the Kaisan, he has been able to change the management of the line assembly area. The team now plans, briefs team leads, incorporates changes and executes, then debriefs at the end of the shift. It used to take 18 hours to build 10 "fire shooters". The same number is now achieved in just 8 hours. "The Afterburner methodology helps us react quickly to the abnormalities of manufacturing that occur on a daily basis... unchecked, the abnormalities throw everything into an emergency mode which turns into one big avalanche and then you just can't plan and execute."
Afterburner, Inc. is an international management training company that teaches the techniques of Flawless Execution and peak performance, born in the high-reliability environment of fighter aviation, to the world's top corporations through keynote speaking, corporate teambuilding events, seminar workshops and leadership development. Afterburner has trained the sales teams and top executives of more than 100 of the Fortune 500 companies. Inc. magazine has named Afterburner to its prestigious Inc. 500 LIST twice. Over the past two years the company has expanded its operations to Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact Afterburner at (800) 261-2912.