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Chicago Manufacturer Drives Lean, Workforce and Strategy Improvements to Build an Efficient Fulfillment Process


Located in Chicago, Illinois, with 42 employees, Mighty Hook designs and manufactures coating racks and hooks.

The Challenge

Interested in a strategic improvement to the order fulfillment process, Scott Rempala, owner of Mighty Hook, led his team on a journey to measure and improve their overall performance. The company then initiated data collection throughout their operation. Through an introduction to the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC), part of the MEP National Network™, and a relationship with the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development, Mighty Hook was able to access funding through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to help offset the costs of project improvements.

Our organization has substantially benefited both tangibly and intangibly from our relationship with IMEC. Much of the training we have provided would not have been contemplated nor realized without their help. We are grateful for the relationship and we look forward to continuing to work with IMEC to help our company become a World Class Manufacturer within the City of Chicago.
— Scott Rempala, President

MEP's Role

The first project drove improvements focused on the order fulfillment process and were followed up by IMEC leading the Mighty Hook team through training on the concepts of lean manufacturing, including lean basics and workplace organization (5S). The next significant improvement included the implementation of total productive maintenance focusing on two key areas of the facility, improving efficiencies tremendously. In the four-slide area specifically, which focused on older equipment, the improvement team designed a cover for machine guarding which was then replicated across all machines.

In addition to working on the process, Rempala’s passion was focused on improving the lives and skills of his people. To help create a clear strategy, IMEC initiated the Promoting Business Excellence (ProBE) benchmark assessment with the Mighty Hook team. “It was impressive how open the entire team was in delivering feedback,” said Amy Clary, IMEC Regional Manager and project lead. Action items from the ProBE assessment were created around communication of the mission, vision and strategy to the entire organization. Lean daily management is a current method being used to cascade the goals to the operations team.

IMEC also then facilitated an employee engagement survey that defined actions around the human resource function. Based on these findings the IMEC team delivered OSHA 40 hour training and Training Within Industry (TWI) to the supervisors. As a result of the TWI supervisory skills training, Mighty Hook now has plans to pursue operator training in blueprint reading and the basics for machine and process skills. Currently, the IMEC team is working with Mighty Hook to continue implementation of lean daily management and training for quick changeover (setup reduction) in some key areas.

Created June 2, 2020, Updated June 16, 2023