Since 1999, Egg Press has been creating original, inspiring, handcrafted letterpress greeting cards and lifestyle products that connect and enrich people’s lives. As one of the few pioneers driving the resurgence of letterpress printing as an art form, they have established our leadership position within the industry as well as within the handcraft movement.
Tess Darrow started Egg Press in Portland, Oregon as an outlet to combine her passion for graphic design with her degree in textile design from the University of Washington, where she began letterpress printing. In 1999, she left her product and brand design career at Nike to devote herself fully to building Egg Press. In addition to their consumer products business, Egg Press works on specialized communications projects and custom printing for individuals and businesses — from multi-national companies like Herman Miller, MoMA, Nike, Adidas, and Apple to local design-oriented companies like Ace Hotel and Schoolhouse Electric to boutique wedding designers. Egg Press’ team is adept at maintaining our creative entrepreneurial spirit while understanding the product creation timelines of companies of all shapes and sizes.
Through generous funding from Greater Portland Inc, OMEP connected with Egg Press for lean manufacturing assistance. The team at Egg Press had made significant changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After furloughing staff, they began to bring them back. Recently, they had also shifted to a new building. wanted support to improve inventory management. As is common in many organizations, managers had multiple dashboards for managing operations. These caused frustration as they did not provide critical information in an easily digestible manner or communicate with one another. Additionally, Egg Press sought support to establish minimum and maximum inventory levels to eliminate excess inventory and product reclaim.
OMEP began with Lean Fundamentals as a foundational continuous improvement exercise for all staff. This helps to build a culture of problem solvers throughout the organization, and primes the organization to get into the continuous improvement mindset by implementing learnings immediately, directly on the shop floor. Next, OMEP created a value stream map of all Egg Press processes. Value Stream Mapping establishes the critical understanding of current-state, so the company can make adjustments in the future. Without first understanding a starting point, improvements are not possible.
OMEP believes that safety is an important component of continuous improvement and healthy workplace cultures. They provided Egg Press with training materials to implement a basic safety program, including Forklift Safety and Awareness, Ladder Safety, Hazard Communication, and LockOut / TagOut. Finally, our team set Egg Press up with Kaizen (continuous improvement) tools that will allow them to tackle mini projects quickly with all staff. Kaizen, or “continuous improvement,” serves as the backbone for lean manufacturing. Kaizen uses the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) problem-solving cycle to encourage manufacturers to use small ideas to solve big problems, such as costly, time-intensive changeovers.
Egg Press has a foundation in lean manufacturing that has set them on the path to success for years to come. They are currently focusing on two areas within their PDDCA Cycle. First, they are running an experiment on two specific product lines, including establishing min/max levels for these product categories. Secondly, they are defining and formalizing their Product Life Cycle (from product pilot release to product sunset) establishing action triggers to adjustment to inventory levels. As a result of this work, Egg Press has retained existing sales and all 9 jobs. Most importantly, they are on the path to a successful lean culture that will drive continuous improvement.
We are on the path to a successful lean culture!