Success Stories

Using Lean principles to prevent layoffs

Spooner's Woodworks

Established in 1980 in a small garage woodshop, Spooner’s Woodworks has grown to be a premiere architectural woodwork firm serving all commercial markets, with a focus on tenant improvements, primary/secondary education, military, public works, medical and hospitality sectors.

It has grown so much that a year ago it moved to a 60,000 square-foot facility in Poway, 39,000 of which are for manufacturing. It employs 94 total staff and worked on 375 projects last year.

However, in order for Spooner’s Woodworks to stay competitive, it needed to streamline some processes.

That is where SDWP came in. We fund business process improvement projects as a part of our Employee Retention Program through California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC). CMTC assessed Spooner’s needs and conducted a four-month Lean* implementation and training program with leadership and staff who voted on four major projects to focus on during the training.

As a result, staff and leadership now have a better understanding of the opportunities to optimize the setup of the shop, and have each earned a White Belt Certificate in Lean Six Sigma. Since completing the project and training, Spooner’s is now projecting:

  • 20% drop in material handling time
  • 10 –12% savings in material
  • 15% increase in machine efficiency and run times

Spooner’s commitment to constant improvement — with help SDWP and CMTC — helps it stay competitive and cutting-edge, helping regional employees keep their jobs.

*According to CMTC, Lean manufacturing removes and/or minimizes work activity from the manufacturing process that does not provide value, streamlining all company processes from the front office, to production, to the way products are distributed. A key element of Lean is the concept of continuous improvement, which recognizes that deploying Lean is never complete. In the world of manufacturing, Lean addresses nine areas of waste: motion, inventory, waiting time, transportation, information, quality, overproduction, processing and creativity.

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