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Construction Products Manufacturer Enhances Performance by Applying Lean Thinking and Continuous Improvement Practices

With the help of: Impact Washington


Founded in 1978, Sound Building Supply is a leading manufacturer and distributor of metal flashing, roofing, and construction products used in various residential and commercial projects. They service the Pacific Northwest, including both Alaska and Hawaii. In March of 2018, Richard Thome bought the family-run Renton, Washington-based business. Today, with over 250 years of experience in their sales and operational teams, they continue working to better assist customers in exceeding expectations with quality products and customer service.

The Challenge

Richard sought outside guidance in helping him gauge the productivity of Sound Building Supply for more modern manufacturing practices, better operational decision-making, and future investment decisions to move the business forward and be sustainable for years to come.

Great people to work with as we transform to a lean culture.
— Richard Thome, President and CEO

MEP's Role

Impact Washington, part of the MEP National Network™, worked with Sound Building Supply on a series of projects to help the company to improve processes and reduce production costs. Impact Washington first used Core Value software to assess the overall business. Following the Core Value assessment, Impact Washington worked with the company on a value stream mapping project to identify waste and opportunities within their processes. This process highlighted that the old manufacturing practices dragged the company—it lacked efficiency on the shop floor, was held back by an old inventory system and had no continuous improvement programs.

Impact Washington further assisted by conducting two Principals of Lean with live simulation sessions. In addition to implementing traditional lean-related improvements, Impact Washington helped the team hold Kaizen events orientated at increasing efficiency on the shop floor. Impact Washington recommended implementing a Training Within Industry (TWI) program. The company reduced the time to proficiency on the shop floor by implementing this structure. 

Impact Washington aligned Sound Building Supply with a local IT solutions provider that installed a real-time monitoring system to track and optimize inventory levels with minimal staff effort. The Core Values Assessment provided Sound Building Supply an unbiased view of all the areas impacting their bottom line and influencing company efficiency and productivity, not just those they were focused on immediately. Furthermore, the assessment provided a much-needed roadmap for Sound Building Supply to begin its lean journey.

Created May 7, 2022