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Oregon Manufacturer Egg Press Streamlined Production Through Lean and Continuous Improvement


Tess Darrow started Egg Press in Portland, Oregon, as an outlet to combine her passion for graphic design with her degree in textile design from the University of Washington, where she began letterpress printing. In 1999, she left her product and brand design career at Nike to devote herself fully to building Egg Press. In addition to their consumer products business, Egg Press works on specialized communications projects and custom printing for individuals and businesses — from multi-national companies like Herman Miller, MoMA, Nike, Adidas, and Apple to local design-oriented companies like Ace Hotel and Schoolhouse Electric to boutique wedding designers.

The Challenge

Through generous funding from Greater Portland Inc, OMEP, part of the MEP National Network™, connected with Egg Press for lean manufacturing assistance. The team at Egg Press had made significant changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After furloughing staff, they began to bring them back. Recently, they had also shifted to a new building. wanted support to improve inventory management. As is common in many organizations, managers had multiple dashboards for managing operations. These caused frustration as they did not provide critical information in an easily digestible manner or communicate with one another.

Additionally, Egg Press sought support to establish minimum and maximum inventory levels to eliminate excess inventory and product reclaim. Additionally, the team hoped to have a more clearly defined product lifecycle and establish an inventory process that leverages minimum and maximum levels.

We are on the path to a successful lean culture!
— Libby Bagerski, GM

MEP's Role

OMEP began with lean fundamentals as a foundational continuous improvement exercise for all staff. Next, OMEP created a value stream map of all Egg Press processes. After establishing the current state, OMEP partnered with the team to create shipping training materials, including training videos for the team. They developed a product lifecycle model and established flexible minimum and maximum inventory levels, based on the position on the product lifecycle and market demand.

OMEP believes that safety is an important component of continuous improvement and healthy workplace cultures. They provided Egg Press with training materials to implement a basic safety program and, finally, set Egg Press up with Kaizen (continuous improvement) tools that will allow them to tackle mini projects quickly with all staff. Kaizen, or “continuous improvement,” serves as the backbone for lean manufacturing.

Egg Press' foundation in lean manufacturing sets them on the path to success for years to come. The 35% reduction in inventory saved over $32,000, allowing Egg Press to reallocate those funds for the purchase of raw material, optimizing their supply chain to account for delays. Egg Press has reduced production, packaging and processing time by 15%.

Created August 4, 2022