Essential Wholesale & Labs, located in NW Portland, is a leader in the manufacturing and sale of natural and organic personal care products. The company provides custom formulating and contract packaging for businesses of all sizes and offers a wide range of services from concept to shelf-ready finished products. Its’ customers range from sole proprietors buying their readymade bases and finished goods to fill and label themselves, to custom formulating services, contract filling services, testing services through third-party labs, and business development consulting. Essential Wholesale & Labs has grown rapidly to its’ current size, and continues to experience rapid growth both domestically and abroad.
Product manufacturing, conducted in a vintage building, faces significant operational and layout challenges. Further manufacturing challenges erode efficiencies; at any time a wide array of products are in production at virtually any run size. Company leadership is seeking guidance on plant layout, process engineering, inventory management, operations management and general business practices in a fast growth environment.
OMEP provided a combination of training, coaching and consulting to help Essential Wholesale & Labs meet its rapid growth challenges and support customer service needs. With an emphasis on lean philosophy and fundamentals, OMEP supported Essential Wholesale & Labs to realize capacity gains, increased first-time quality, reduced working inventories and timely order to cash cycles. More specifically, Value Stream Mapping was conducted on all product families.
Projects resulting from the initial mapping effort stabilized the manufacturing platform and generated additional capacity with greater scheduling flexibility. Follow-on mapping of the order entry and shipping processes revealed disconnects between Essential’s financial and ERP software, resulting in improved inventory tracking. Essential’s filling and distribution processes were also optimized. Recent projects focused on reworking the customer intake and management process to improve the consistency and throughput of the sales/prototype/manufacturing/delivery process. Current efforts have focused on the entire redesign of the manufacturing facility and the selection of new processing equipment.
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OMEP is an invaluable partner, bringing needed focus and expertise into our manufacturing processes. The impact has been far reaching; everything from lower inventory to more consistent quality and much greater response time. OMEP’s approach transfers knowledge and expertise to our internal team, so we just keep getting better.