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Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
The Oregon Consortium/Oregon Workforce Partnership

Michi Designs

Workforce Challenge

In Central Oregon, small manufacturers like Michi Designs are a foundation to the local economy. Michi manufactures lamps, sconces and accent furniture for hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and homes across the country. In the face of the national economic recession, Michi Designs realized that its bottom line was being compromised. In order to survive overseas competition and lower sales it would need to improve worker productivity and become more efficient in its manufacturing processes. As a proactive business, Michi turned to the Workforce Investment System.

Workforce Solution

Michi received financial support from the Oregon Workforce Alliance, Local Workforce Investment Board, with the support of the local partners and the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) to implement employee training in Lean practices. Over several months, Michi management and production staff learned “Value Stream Mapping”, developed organizational “Lean Champions”, and trained Michi’s workers.

Outcomes & Benefits

Within six months of starting their training project, Michi reduced its lead time - the time period from order to shipping- by 25%, improved the throughput in its factory by about 25%, and realized approximately $25,000 in cost savings resulting primarily from increased efficiencies generated by employing Lean strategies. As a result of this project, Michi plans to continually invest in training opportunities for its staff to develop a sustainable Lean culture that is anchored by a skilled, efficient workforce.

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