Background

Francois Savigny, an industrial engineer and rock climber, founded Entre-Prises in France in 1983; the US division came to Bend, Oregon in 1988. With manufacturing in the US, France, the United Kingdom, and 28 worldwide distributors, Entre-Prises has completed over 4,000 climbing wall projects globally. Their new cost competitive product line is based on a thick plywood substructure called MosaiK. Committed to developing a continuous improvement culture, Entre-Prise partnered with OMEP to create sustainable system efficiencies.

26.9%
Reduction in labor cost per SQ foot
33%
Savings in finish costs
1,300
SQ Ft production increase

The Situation

Since the 2008 recession, Entre-Prises’ organization has changed. Operating with fewer resources, fewer inventories, and fewer employees, Entre-prises has experienced significant loss of company knowledge due to workforce reductions. This in turn impacts process reliability. Stepping forward with courage, Entre-Prises’ leaders addresses these issues through engaging in lean principle methodology.

The Solution

During weekly site visits, OMEP worked with supervisory and production staff on applying lean philosophies to the MozaiK production area. We also worked with management to monitor and engage productivity experiments while OMEP was not on site.

Utilizing the LEAN principle of reduction of batch size and pull/flow, OMEP rotated the production cycle to create consistent output on regular basis. Rather than processing all units at the same time, staff learned to stagger stages, resulting in the production of 5 panels per hour, rather than once a day product output.

As part of the improvement process, OMEP worked with Entre-Prise’s surface finish supplier to reduce costs by changing techniques. Standarding color palettes also reduced cost. Entre-Prise created a consistent visual measurement of output so supervisor and front line staff easily understand how they are meeting or exceeding goals.

The Results

Through trainings, Entre-Prise’s information flow from design engineers to production staff is now focused on information accuracy, resulting in a more creative and productive work environment.

  • Departments are working together to improve system efficiency, in a continuous improvement culture
  •  All employees received training and skills building in the application of lean
  • Utilizing the principle of reduction of batch size and pull/flow, the production cycle improved to create consistent product output on a regular basis.
  • Worked with finish supplier to reduce finish costs and switch to a standardized palette.
  • Created a consistent visual measurement system for product output.
  • Addressed information flow issues from design engineers to production staff, ensuring accuracy of information before a new project starts.

OMEP is a great example for all American manufacturing facilities to show they can be competitive with the rest of the world. They left our team inspired and motivated to create our own lean culture so that our plant and our crews have a more secure future. OMEP’s ability to properly communicate with our shop floor personnel and get them motivated to make change was exceptional to watch.

Allister Schwarzenberger
Director of Operations

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