No Value Added, is very expensive

Improvements are not always adding processes or procedures; many times it is about removing things that do not add value to the whole operation.

(NVA) NO VALUE ADDED: Being profitable is not just what you do. It is also removing obstacles that cost you money. Does extra walking add value? Do Phone calls add value? Do slowest possible methods add value? Do the slowest tools add value? Do paper systems add Value? Does guessing add value? Does industry slang or attitude add value? Constantly finding wasted time NVA parts of a day and changing behavior is a major part of being efficient and profitable. I can only turn a wrench so fast. Do I need to touch it 15 times in a build?  Can I reduce the number of time I touch a tool? Can I use an adjustable Torque Pulse Tool, adjustable clutch screwdriver, to obtain consistent torque values? Or should I guess torque values with my hand?

Modern tools make measurable differences in quality of work, speed of operations, and profitability of service centers; without cutting corners.

Job Shop Lean is applying the philosophy of “Lean” to the small service business organization known as service centers or job shops.These characterized by skilled hourly employees that perform non-repetitive service operations.

Creating a Lean Service Center is the concept of making all processes as efficiently as possible. How a customer is greeted, how a bike is inspected, how a customer is consulted, how documentation is created, every little detail is not left up to how you feel it should be done. There are best methods in many industries that can be used and improved to best fit your business. This is a team effort, start with good procedures and make them better.

Change for the Best Improvement,”CBI” refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in service centers, business management or any process. CBI  has been applied in many other industries. When CBI is used in the business sense and applied to the workplace, refers to activities that continually improve all functions, and involves all employees from the owner /CEO to the front line workers. It  applies to ALL processes., such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain.[3] By improving, standardized activities and processes, CBI constantly aims to eliminate waste.

CBI is a combination of operational research and practical development in design and processes CBI service is a project based-production process. CBI service is concerned with the alignment and holistic pursuit of concurrent and continuous improvements in all dimensions of the built and natural service environment: designed processes, construction of facility, activation of new ideas, maintenance, and recycling This approach constantly works to manage and improve service center processes with minimum cost and maximum value by considering customer needs as an overall focus.

The common spirit of CBI flows from shared principles:

Whole System Optimization through Collaboration and systematic learning.

Continual improvement/pursuit of perfection involving everyone in the system.

Focus on delivering the value desired by the owner/staff/cyclist.

Systematically eliminating obstacles to value creation and those parts of the process that create no value

If this seems like a lot of work, Well, it is if you are starting from a blank sheet of paper. The Bicycle Guild training starts you years ahead of a black page. Many national chains do this type of training with their new staff every day. They have a systematic approach, documentation and testing to see what sticks in the minds of new staff. It is easy to do when you have the training under your belt. Coaching or retraining or just-in-time learning is easier when you know what you need to train staff to know.

There is not a national chain that I know of that trusts that people will know how to perform their jobs without significant training. Training lift up the knowledge base of all people and is proven to grow businesses. Training is exciting to use and see it make your business successful in ways not dreamed of.

We all get to choose what is right for our business, not choosing to grow smartly, is a choice to reinventing the wheel.

Work smarter, not harder, write me and find out how to work smarter every day.

Christopher Wallace


Do you have any verifiable data on assembly or repair qualities?

Are you a modern shop using up-to-date tools, Consistent Improvement  Procedures (CIP), and behavior sales techniques? Or could a grumpy bicycle mechanic, with basic hand tools and two years of experience, take over for your current service personal?

I asked the owner of a small shop and the CEO of a big business the same question: Do you have any data on the quality of your assemblies or repairs? Can you tell me the tension of any bolt, spoke, or cable on any bike? Do you have any data? Peoples lives and the liability of your business are affected.

I was told ” it takes too much time.”

Takes too much time to do things right the first time is what they were really saying. The big and small businesses both spend more time having second mechanics inspecting an assembly or repair. Then they spend more resources to have a final tune before the bike goes out the door. A bike built correctly the first time does not need two additional mechanics working on it. It takes a third of the time correctly build a bike than it does to rebuild it.  Plus the customer gets to stand around and wait.

This is one example of Beliefs wasting resources, increasing liability, and not taking care of the customers experience.

In The Bicycle Guilds training, we use progressive problem solving methods in our staff engagements to ensure that the positive changes we model out, become a reality.

When change takes place, it is because the personnel take charge of growing the business. We supply the knowledge for change; staff embody the change for greater success.

The problems that exist on the service center need to be understood and solved at the shop floor. Seldom do service staff get to stand and look at the whole system they are part of. With careful guided observations staff can become mindful of where wasted energy is happening, and what value can be added to service.

That is another area to think about.

Christopher Wallace

Writing contracts, or Contract Service Writers

Almost all large business see why contracts are written by specific people. Both Lawyers and Subject Matter Experts in processes, products, or operations work together to create a finished contract. Contracts have to be well thought out documents or large problems will arise costing the company in many ways. Destroying profits, reputation, employee and customer engagement; increasing liability, disruptions, and costs

In many businesses big and small, Service Contracts may be written by any staff member. As a manager, or board member, or C-level employee; could you identify the tool or process to measure what is worn or damaged on a customers bicycle? Would your evaluation of the product leave a trail of wasted time and diminish the customers experience? What flaws are in this process created by management when they have footwear experts or any novice staff write a bicycle repair contract. What percentage of revenue potential is being lost, 100%, 200%, 300%, or more?

What is your belief when an entry level employee writing contracts that best takes care of the customer and the company at the same time? Do you think specific management, training, procedures, should be created, documented, and implemented. Or are you comfortable not knowing how much profit you are leaving on the table each day of the week?

This is a small piece of the puzzle. It is an example of a marker I can easily see when I walk into a store.  It tells me that eventually a seasoned mechanic is going to find a flaw on the bike that they need to stop working, call the customer, leave a message, wait for authorization, make a note on the paperwork. put the bike back in storage, get authorization phone call, tell them the estimate is double, get parts, get bike, and work on it. Thirty minutes of wasted time, angered customer, less profit and dissatisfied customer due to service writing beliefs of management. PLUS missed opportunity to sell the customer additional services, accessories, clothing, parts, that would improve their bicycling experience.

It is easy to see many boats of opportunity are left behind when service writers are not the highest trained service employees in your business.

Now the big question, How do you professionally train service writers? What do they need to learn to improve your business and customers experiences?

That is what the Bicycle Guild is designed to do for your business.

Write me

Christopher Wallace

Continuous Improvement – LEAN Six Sigma, 5S, Kaizen, etc. How do I use it to improve business?

Remember back to the first day you were handed a bike in a box and told to build it. The process most likely took you two hours to build a bike. You were probably told ” you are too slow, you need to cut your time in half” You worked hard to streamline the process and achieved that goal.

Now here is the funny thing, if you got all the mechanic around the country together and analyzed what they did to cut their time in half, you would find hundreds of solutions to the same procedures. Some organized paperwork flow, some how they sped up opening a box , removed packing materials, and sorting parts. Some identified how to adjust something faster. Some organized tools more effectively. Some found how to stop losing tools. Some found how to blend similar procedures togethers, Some figured out how to reduce mental and physical fatigue. Some invented a new tool, or brought in a new tool from a different industry. Few of them put all of these things and more ideas together to build a bike consistently, and effectively, and safely, without cutting corners, in 12 minutes.

Six Sigma is focused on improving things for the customer and works like this: Get a bunch of Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) Mechanics, managers, etc. together to brainstorm and find as many ideas without anyone else saying a word about the idea. No positive or negative words are said about improvement ideas. The ideas are later measured for effectiveness. The best ideas are test run, debugged, and then written down as they are implemented. Then find new ideas and repeat.

When you have a brain pool of 500 trainers across the country working on a process for 10 years, then you can see how a process can become faster, safer, less fatiguing, and consistent.  There is a lot more to this process, I just boiled it down to the basic ideas for you to get a grasp. In a nut shell, there is a lot more to learn out there  than we can ever create on our own.

After I worked in local shops for years, I became a worker and later a trainer for a national assembly corp. I took non bike folks and taught them how to consistently build a bike in 15 minutes, with practice they could build a great bike in 12 minutes. Just by looking at a bike I could tell if they had followed all the procedures or if they needed coaching, or if they needed to be let go.

When I started in the bike industry I NEVER IN MY WILDEST DREAMS did I ever think I could build a bike in 12 minutes! I knew how hard I had worked as an individual to cut my build time to one hour. 12 minutes was not even possible inside my head. I was very impressed with the organization of the process of assembly. Continuous Improvement, Lean Six Sigma processes are amazing, and fun to be part of the process.

It eventually came to me, Why stop making the process better? It is a great process how can it be used in a bike shop to do even better work. If you think about this, “Assembly: does One size fit all?”  Do some people want to pay for headsets and BB faced, or spokes correctly and evenly tensioned, or better quality greases, or frame alignment, Etc. ? Then you can also wondering how can I do all this extra work and still make money. First you learn how to do a perfect 12 minute build. Then you add Facing and advanced wheel work in the pre-assembly phase, (when you are stripping the bike of packing materials and organizing everything out on the bench) You learn methods to combine dish, round, correct tension, balanced tension and true, into one effective, efficient process. All of this additional work can add 20 minutes at first and 15 with practice.

Now you can build a higher quality bike than any competitor in a half hour and sell additional labor and parts, at the same time.  Lean Process and Six Sigma processes are important in every type of business. You do not need to reinvent the Lean Six Sigma bicycle assembly and repair processes, You just need to learn how to do it. When you master the process then you can add to it and make it even better. That is the last part of Six Sigma, Continuous improvement

Are you ready to exceed customers expectations? Send me a note

Christopher Wallace

What concrete ideas to give you a competitive advantage in your marketplace?

  • Are you customers excited to interact with your staff?
  • Are your labor costs half, or a third of other shops?
  • Is the quality of your service measurably better?
  • Do your Service Writers focus on both the improving the bicycle & cyclist ride experience?
  • Are you service personnel highly trained technicians?
  • Do you use your POS system to full potential in sales and service?
  • Do you offer service other shops do not offer?
  • Are your bathrooms clean?
  • Are you staff kind?

You may notice there is nothing on the list that talks about things. I can find things on line. I can not find great service on line. Your store is different from other stores and shopping experience by the range of customer services it offers. Are your stores services exceeding customers expectations? Most business I have visited fall short of me recommending them to anyone.

Customer Loyalty: What training, methods, processes, for your staff do you have that make customers want to come back for your products or amazing service?

How are you engaging new customers, and current customers to exceed expectations?

What do you give away for free (not products) that greatly improves customer rider experience? There are many great answers to this question. Send your actions or thoughts to me and I will post the full list of creative ideas.

Christopher Wallace

Welcome to the Bicycle Guild

What we do and how this all got started.

We saw a need in the industry for training that improved the quality of customer service.  Businesses asked for improved quality, productivity, sales, and communication. Utilizing Continuous Improvement processes we identified root causes of waste that surprised even the most seasoned professionals.

How many things under your nose right now, are reducing your profitability? Are your customers grateful they walked into your store today?

This project got started years ago when a customer asked me “how much does a quick release lever change the adjustment of a hub?” I did not have knowledge to answer a simple question. I did not have a test, or a procedure, or an efficient process, to communicate a verifiable answer. All I had was my BELIEFS! I needed to change that.

Beliefs are expensive and create waste in business. Beliefs are not verifiable knowledge that you can produce a productive business solution around. Beliefs or Hypothesis need to be tested and verified for effectiveness. PLUS they need to meet voice of customer.  Can they be improved, and implemented. This is the power of Knowledge over Belief.

We have used Continuous Improvement processes in small and large business and found most large issues are the same and smaller issues are specific to a site.

The voice of the customer is all of our focus. Without their input of dollars we do not exist. Customers want to be treated like they are important, their needs are exceeded. Store processes can get in the way or improve customer service.

Creativity is the root of all invention. You do not need to reinvent the wheel! You can apply our knowledge, add your own creative touch, and improve the amount of cash and gratitude customer give you every day.

I have reinvented the wheel (twice). I spend time seeking and learning from the best wheel builders, material and structural engineers about the wheel. Then I was trying to create tools to prove concepts of rim structure and spoke structure to my class I accidentally reinvented the wheel – twice. You can take what you learn from the Bicycle Guild and consistently improve the process every working day. This is not stagnant, this process hungers for your creativity every day.  Consistent improvement is worth investing your time and resources into, the results are amazing.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Christopher Wallace