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How Crary Shoes Maximized Their New Facility


After honing his skills at his father’s company, Danner Boots, Bill Crary founded Crary Shoes in 1978 to provide high-quality orthopedic custom shoes. Crary Shoes is one of the last remaining custom orthopedic shoemakers who still manufacture in the United States. Every pair of custom shoes is made in Portland, Oregon. Crary Shoes is proud to combine old world quality craftsmanship with new world technology & efficiency. Although shoes are the company's product, Crary's value proposition is to problem solve and improve the quality of life for those with challenged feet.

The Challenge

As is the case with many manufacturers who reach out to OMEP, part of the MEP National Network™, Crary Shoes was in the process of considering a move to a new facility, as the company had begun to outgrow their existing location. In the process of setting up the new facility, Crary Shoes wanted an advisor to help set the new factory up as a lean manufacturing facility, maximizing workflow and ensuring Crary would grow in the best way possible. Crary Shoes turned to OMEP, part of the MEP National Network™.
Having an outsider's perspective was extremely helpful in seeing our processes in a new light.
— William Crary, President

MEP's Role

The OMEP team began by introducing the team at Crary Shoes to the principles of lean manufacturing. This custom training involved not only educating employees about how to use lean as a business operating philosophy, but staff also actively completed projects on their facility that had an immediate real-world impact to solidify their learnings.

The team created a current state value stream map and shop floor layout to get a sense of how information, products and processes flowed in the existing facility. Value stream mapping (VSM) is a diagnostic tool used to identify waste and improve material and information flow throughout the organization. The current state map informed the design of the future state state layout of the new facility, and 5S disciplines, a workplace organization process, were introduced to help the Crary team identify which items were essential to their business as well as to help optimize their locations for a potential move.

OMEP’s team-based support included assisting Crary Shoes with final preparations for the move, as well as support after the move into the new space. Once they moved into the new space, the new layout was optimized, utilizing the value stream map and shop floor layout OMEP had already prepared.

Created August 4, 2022