February 18, 2014
Contact: Lynda Vaughn (310) 639-6000
Rancho Dominguez, CA – Constantly improving the way things are being done is critical to all businesses, but especially important for manufacturers today. Most struggle to stay on top, not only of new and emerging technologies, but a plethora of issues like supplier development, sustainability, process improvement and a changing workforce, to name a few.
Megan Duckett, founder of Sew What? Inc., a textile manufacturer of theater curtains and stage drapes based in Rancho Dominguez, California, is happy knowing that for California manufacturers like her, help is readily available. She turned to CMTC, a private non-profit corporation, affiliated with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program that offers consulting services to small and medium-sized manufacturers in Southern California.
CMTC was established in 1992 and offers industry experts who work closely with manufacturers to help them compete at a higher level in the changing global marketplace. Solutions are proposed for a company after talking with all levels from top management, all the way down to the shop floor. Why would one look for advice from an outside consultant? Duckett says, “Often when you are in the thick of it and have done things a certain way the emotional side of “old behaviors” can get in the way of finding new ways to do things…Because you’re also so busy just trying to run the business, bringing in outside assistance gave us a fresh new perspective. CMTC provided us access to affordable top-notch experts in areas of business where we are not ourselves experts.“
Duckett outlined the process. “Randy McKinley, a CMTC consultant, met with us at our facility last fall. Once we identified the goal, and the critical issues, we committed to solve these issues over a 12 month time-frame. We turned to Randy for inspiration, ideas, motivation and advice at each step of the way through the entire process”, says Duckett.
Sew What?’s first goal was to improve internal processes. They felt this would allow them to maintain competitive pricing against other off-shore textile and drapery manufacturers, which in turn would help to grow business.
They discovered that buyer behaviors had changed in the previous eighteen months. There was a need to provide product in ever-shorter time-frames, and to accept there would likely be further reductions in profit margins. Given all that, they saw it was time to look again at controllable costs and processes, namely those under their own roof.
Looking at their existing operations they found a ready-made solution. Says Duckett, “We outlined our challenge: to blend both rental and sales offerings within our facility to eliminate duplicity in shipping, receiving, and quality control. We believed that doing so would not only cut costs, but would ultimately provide clients with a better and simpler process as the end user.”