Furniture Company Goes Lean, Saves Jobs
Franklin Corporation is one of the largest privately-owned furniture manufacturers in the United States. It has over a million square feet of production floor space at its facilities in Houston, MS. Established in 1970, Franklin strives to strengthen relationships with customers by offering value pricing, exceptional service, and on-time delivery. Franklin's quality upholstered motion furniture is proudly "Made in America" and sold to licensed furniture dealers throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Like many companies, Franklin Corporation was working to execute a Lean transformation to improve its business systems. The company recognized the importance of leadership and project management in Lean deployment, but lacked the tools needed to create and sustain change. Company leaders decided to contact the InnovateMEP.ms Center (f/k/a Mississippi Technology Alliance) at Mississippi State University's Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems Extension, a NIST MEP affiliate, for assistance.
MEP Center's Role
InnovateMEP.ms delivered lean strategic planning training to a team of people from Franklin. The training prepared participants to use the company's business plan along with philosophies and methods to create a continuous improvement strategy. InnovateMEP.ms covered the standard management methods and practices for planning and managing continuous improvement deployment. Franklin's managers studied and deployed various lean strategic planning techniques. The strategic planning effort helped Franklin's management team target areas of needed improvements and to invest in new product designs, plant equipment, information system upgrades and employee skills training. At a time when the national economy was struggling, Franklin Corporation not only retained existing customer sales, but added additional sales to help save employee jobs.
• Saved 50 jobs
• $120,000 in new sales
• Retained customer sales of $500,000
• Invested $445,000 in new product designs, plant equipment, information system upgrades and employee skills training
“We could not be more pleased with the results and the partnership we have with InnovateMEP.ms Center. We often struggle as companies as to how to best channel our ideas and efforts towards product and customer satisfaction. InnovateMEP.ms Center at MSU-CAVS-E and John have helped us establish “True North” in this endeavor. We have a better grasp of the tools to use to make improvements each year. We are truly in a race without a finish line, but through partnerships like this, we will be able to run well.”Kevin Faulkner, Manager of Quality and Engineering