The TOCCA Solution
Phillip Zylstra, Managing Director of Skye, comments, “We
had attempted to cut costs and improve efficiency the only
way we knew how. It seemed logical that as our largest single
cost was labour, we should focus on that and do more, with
The company underwent a cost-cutting exercise, but to little
effect. The due date performance did not improve significantly
and there was little reduction in inventory.
“We were at a loss as to what to do because we believed
that we had the skills and the ability within the management
team to bring about the desired change. One name kept coming
up, that of TOCCA, but I was personally very mistrustful
Skye brought TOCCA in to conduct a workshop, which was
attended by executives at all levels, across all of the
brands and the divisions. Although Zylstra was very sceptical
at the start of the process, he soon became convinced of
the value of the exercise.
“I was extremely impressed: the TOCCA consultant
was an excellent facilitator, the best I have ever seen.
I thought that people would simply bottle up their concerns
but the TOCCA methodology really helped people to open up
and provided us with a surprisingly clear view of our business.”
While the workshop gave the administration and finance functions
a clean bill of health, it highlighted the need to focus
on the neckwear manufacturing process first. If production
could be accurately mapped and managed, it would help to
solve the issue of excess inventory being held to fulfill
A necktie passes through eight distinct processes during
its production. When examining the manufacturing process,
it was difficult to identify one discrete bottleneck or
constraint in the process.
The workshop highlighted several elements of production
where the constraint could exist. The Liba machine, the
unit that puts the main seam in a necktie, was then nominated
as the constraint. Provided the Liba was never idle, the
production line would flow efficiently.
TOCCA implemented a very simple “buffer board”
solution. Boards with red, amber and green lights were erected
in front of the Liba machine, and at different points of
the production line: