The McTavish Company Inc. was established 1987 and was purchased by Denise and Bill Pratt in 1993. “[manufacturing] just fit with us, and we loved it,” said owner Denise. Baked daily in Portland, Oregon, McTavish shortbread is created using old world techniques and recipes handed down through generations. Products are sold wholesale to many top restaurants, hotels and gourmet stores nationwide. McTavish takes great pride in offering premium quality shortbread to their customer base, and experiments with new flavors regularly. “One of our most successful flavors is lemon lavender. The Oregon Lavender Association asked us if we’d put real lavender in a batch for them. So we did! It was so delicious we added it to our flavor lineup.”
OMEP’s work with McTavish began in 2005, and is still in progress today. In fact, when you walk into the offices of McTavish you can see several Value Stream Maps, beginning in 2005 and shifting over time as the operation expanded. When they first called OMEP, the owners thought they were growing out of their space. By working with a consultant, they re-worked the shop floor layout, and re-organized the staff to increase throughput. Denise believes that the work in 2005 enabled them to weather the financial repercussions of 2008. “We were able to manage that challenging time more successfully because of the improvements we made in 2005.”
After several years, the owners called OMEP again. “We were about to sign the lease on one of two buildings, and we sought OMEP’s help in selecting the best option.” Instead, OMEP was able to save the company a significant amount of money by making their existing space perform. They increased throughput in their existing space by purchasing a new oven, adding additional staff to the baking team, and re-working the shop floor flow. Improving the flow included increasing capacity for packing and shipping, and ensuring rigorous label and FSMA standards were met.
Through training and coaching, OMEP has worked to support the McTavish Company to meet its growth and operational goals. At OMEP we are partners with our clients, meeting challenges head on, together. Based on the initial assessment, OMEP laid the foundations for lean philosophy and operational excellence by re-working the shop floor layout. After the shifts in layout, OMEP began with with one on one coaching, instructing leadership and floor staff on lean fundamentals. Denise was a fast learner, and quickly adopted lean philosophies and terminology. “You can’t keep doing things the way you always have. We know that. That is why we brought in OMEP.”
McTavish continues to support the local economy by buying mostly local ingredients and utilizing local logistics companies to take care of transportation needs. Their packaging is more sustainable and environmentally friendly. One of the most exciting aspects of the work they’ve done has been providing jobs to immigrants. “As employers we find that we have more opportunities to influence our community, allowing people who might not be given a chance elsewhere to build valuable lifelong skills.” This philosophy has paid off, as staff clearly enjoy their work, and welcome the chance to learn. One staff member has requested additional coaching and training, and is stepping up as a leader.
The results of all of these commitments have enabled McTavish to maximize their existing investment through realizing capacity gains, increasing first time quality and minimizing working inventories with compressed order to cash cycles. Their people centered work approach and values continue to propel their organization forward.
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“You can’t keep doing things the way you always have. We know that. That is why we brought in OMEP.”