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MRC Enables Highwood USA to Achieve Savings and Product Consistency through Standardization


Highwood USA of Hometown, Pennsylvania, provides customers with “carefree backyard living." The company’s broad range of premium seating, table, home & garden, and similar products are 100% made in the USA from recycled plastics. Highwood’s offerings deliver maintenance-free ownership; they are weatherproof, will not crack, peel, or rot, and feature designs that range from the traditional to bold contemporary looks.

The Challenge

Highwood faces many of the same challenges as other small-midsized manufacturing enterprises. They turned to MRC, part of the Pennsylvania MEP and the MEP National Network™, for support through MRC’s Manufacturing Leadership Institute (MLI) and a recent advanced manufacturing quest to optimize process automation.
MRC has some of the highest quality training of any organization I’ve ever dealt with. They have by far the best resources and value.
— John Quarmley, President

MEP's Role

Each year, Highwood selects an employee with leadership/management potential for participation in the Manufacturing Leadership Institute (MLI) program. According to President John Quarmley, himself a graduate of the inaugural class, “MLI really helps new managers understand business fundamentals. Whether it’s emotional intelligence, the ability to read financials, or supply chain complexities, graduates have a real grasp of the finer points of business management.”

Highwood has also sent several employees through the MRC Lean Master Certification program over the past few years. “The nice thing about Lean Master is that participants complete a project with tangible results,” Quarmley says.

Starting in late 2020, Highwood also engaged MRC as part of a Department of Energy-funded, advanced manufacturing program. Working with the Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI) and Philadelphia-based CESMII - The Smart Manufacturing Institute, Highwood sought to improve the communication of key manufacturing metrics to enable immediate recognition of emerging quality issues.

Created January 24, 2023