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Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Workforce Investment Council of Clackamas County

Lightspeed Aviation

Workforce Challenge

Lightspeed Aviation, a successful manufacturer of superior quality aviation headsets for recreational and professional pilots, turned to the Workforce Investment Council of Clackamas County (WICCO) for help in order to expand its Oregon based production. With the exception of packaging, all past production had taken place overseas. Lightspeed had committed to developing a new aviation headset to be assembled in the Lake Oswego facility that would comply with Trade Agreements Act requirements and the Buy American Act (51% US content). Just as the company was gaining a new foothold in the premium headset segment, the popularity of its Zulu headset eclipsed the company’s expectations - it was immediately clear that the company’s internal processes had to catch up.

Workforce Solution

WICCO provided matching funds to help the company engage the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership in a two phase Lean Manufacturing program. With this assistance, Lightspeed proceeded to rebuild its internal manufacturing and business practices—paving the way for future domestic production.

Outcomes & Benefits

“The Lean concepts our team applied to the business over the last few months have had a lasting impact on our systems, processes and culture. We are never going back to the old way,” commented Allan Schrader, President of Lightspeed Aviation. Kelly McGary, of Lightspeed Aviation stated, “Our warehouse operation has been effectively enhanced as workflows have been improved; inventories have been organized, simplified and made visual. Overall, I believe Lean manufacturing concepts have given us the tools – and the ‘Wow!’ factor – to sustain continued improvements into the future as we grow and mature as a company.”

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