Since its inception in 1968, Valor has undergone numerous seismic shifts. When they first opened their doors, it was under the name of Capco and they specialized in capacitor manufacturing. In 2015, they were sold to a private equity group and later were acquired by Chumash Capital Investments (CCI) representing the Chumash Native American tribe located in California. Today, the re-named Valor is a primary US producer for various components used by military and law enforcement personnel. Because CCI’s investment portfolio was established to provide growth and development for future generations of tribal members, Valor also prides itself on contributing to the vitality of the Chumash Native American tribe.
Before coming to Valor, COO Jennifer Cleerdin spent 20 years working on contracts for the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security focused on compliance and operations, so she was surprised to discover the lack of basic infrastructure. A colleague at CCI had previously worked with the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, part of the MEP National Network™, and suggested that she find her local MEP to support her efforts to optimize operations. In early 2022, Jennifer reached out to Manufacturer’s Edge (ME), also part of the MEP National Network™, and connected with Beth Dickson, her full-time Western Slope-based representative. Together, they completed the Manufacturer’s Edge Business Health Assessment and identified their top three priorities for improvement.
You can have all of the strategy in the world, but if you don’t have the culture to support it then it’s kind of a wasted effort. And I think we really are shifting the culture through this partnership with Manufacturer’s Edge and the Virata Group.
The Virata Group was brought in to assist ME and Valor with industrial engineering as they sought to shore up production workflows and infrastructure. Initially, there was some hesitation from the Valor team as they took apart each individual product line, examined it from a lean perspective, and put it back together. Because they always started by collecting data to establish a baseline, the results were apparent almost immediately and, soon, the rest of the shop floor took notice. “I knew we had turned a corner,” stated Cleerdin, “when there were people on the floor saying ‘Hey, I want that for my line! When do we get that?’”
Valor’s work with ME and Virata is ongoing. Acquiring leadership buy-in for follow-on work has not been a challenge given the impressive results already achieved. The first engagement, for example, required less than $100,000 of investment but resulted in more than $1,000,000 in annual labor savings. Previously, this line's quality was inconsistent, they were struggling to deliver on time, and they were in danger of losing their primary client. They are now at 100% on-time delivery and the have gone from three shifts to one, half the workforce needed under the previous model. The client they were in danger of losing recently shared that Valor has become one of their top-tier, top-performing suppliers and they are looking to add additional work.