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Value Stream Mapping and Analysis of Current Operations Leads to Positive Impacts


Wisconsin Bench Manufacturing (WB Mfg) is a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of furniture, primarily for the education market. Located in Thorp, Wisconsin, WB Mfg employs 250 people making standard cabinets and lockers, modular casework, mobile furniture and custom solutions. The company also builds furniture and design room layouts for educational, commercial, fitness and industrial businesses.

The Challenge

WB Mfg has grown rapidly over the last decade by allowing customers to customize their furniture beyond their standard catalog of products, accessories and colors. This process required numerous emails to manage the RFQ and order entry between dealers, customers and supplier. WB Mfg sought to improve internal processes in the office. To evaluate what needed to change the company began an ongoing collaboration with UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC), part of the Wisconsin MEP and the MEP National Network™.
We feel that MOC has the experience to help us with these projects and has a great reputation in the area. We hope to be using MOC for future projects and would also recommend them to another company. They have been a close resource for our company and have made it easy to work with one another to understand our issues and develop solutions.
— Mike Kobielak, Chief Financial Officer

MEP's Role

MOC introduced value stream mapping to the company and started the analysis of current operations. WB Mfg formed an internal team to collaborate and analyze regularly to compile a request for quote through order entry process, the upfront sales process before an order get to the shop floor. The company also wanted to improve the work environment. A voice of customer (VOC) internal team was created and later came to be referred to as the the, “what’s up committee.” This team created events to gather employees outside of the work setting to grow relationships and asked for feedback from employees on what could be improved.  

WB Mfg has implemented changes to their RFQ and order structures and are working on improving both. The company has also created a continuous improvement committee, who have implemented a system to gather feedback from employees to suggest improvements and meet regularly to address suggestions.

Created January 28, 2022