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AMIGO MOBILITY: A Focus on Lean and Culture Proves Successful


Amigo Mobility in Bridgeport, Michigan, is a family-owned and -operated business with a staff of 140. When a family member began to lose their mobility due to multiple sclerosis in 1968, there were limited personal mobility devices available. At the time, founder Al Thieme was working as a plumbing and heating contractor. Al knew there must be a better way. After countless evenings spent working in his garage, he constructed the Amigo. It was named for being the best friend of the person who used it. Thus, a new industry in mobility was born. An industry that would enable individuals to maintain their independence. Amigo Mobility’s variety of solutions service the commercial, grocery and retail, industrial, aviation and medical markets.

The Challenge

As with most manufacturers, Amigo Mobility has struggled with supply chain and talent acquisition and retention over the past few years. At the same time, sales greatly increased. To address their issues, Amigo Mobility recognized they would need to focus on implementing a lean culture.
Working with The Center has been an integral part of Amigo’s growth over the last few years. Now that we are looking at significant expansion in the next few years, The Center was one of my first calls for help in planning. Their team has the expertise needed to grow effectively and get the most out of our investments. Without their help and guidance, I do not think Amigo would be growing as rapidly as we are.
— Jordan Thieme, Director of Operations

MEP's Role

Amigo Mobility engaged with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center), part of the Michigan MEP and the MEP National Network™, to implement lean strategies throughout their facility. The Center’s expert met with Amigo Mobility management to develop a lean implementation plan.

Since strengthening workplace culture was a priority, Amigo Mobility managers and supervisors attended The Center’s supervisor skills course. To better support their lean initiatives, members of Amigo Mobility’s production team attended lean principles and techniques training.

Over the past three years, The Center has taught supervisor skills, lean principles and techniques, manufacturing skills development and several other courses to their staff. These foundational trainings allowed Amigo Mobility to successfully explore Industry 4.0 technologies when they added another building, reconfigured their production line and added a second production line.

Amigo Mobility anticipates a 50% increase in production and additional Industry 4.0 investments in 2023. These future investments include $4 million to their facility, an estimated $500,000 in equipment, and at least seven new jobs.

Created February 4, 2023