Steffes Corporation Develops its Workforce to Accommodate Growth through LECP
Steffes Corporation began in the 1940's as a small manufacturing operation. From 1965 to 1985, Steffes grew into a steel fabrication business, manufacturing replacement snowmobile skis, hopper-bottom storage bins, furniture frames, and a variety of custom designed equipment.
Steffes became known as a creative and innovative design company and as the "yes-people." In the mid 1980's, the electric industry asked Steffes Corporation to research and design the first American made electric thermal storage (ETS) heating unit. Steffes entered the market with the highest quality product and today sets the standard for quality, safety, reliability, and performance.
In 2007, Steffes Corporation became the leading manufacturer of 400 barrel oil tanks in the Bakken play in North Dakota. In addition to oil tanks, the company offers its oil industry customers additional metal products for each oil site such as: steel berms, heater treaters, engineered flares, combustors, walkways, stair cases, cattle guards, berm walkovers, and other accessories.
Today, they continue to provide quality products and services for a diversified customer base. They have established a strong relationship with their customers because of their “can do” attitude and their willingness to go beyond what is expected of a manufacturer.
Steffes employs 225 people and has locations in Dickinson and Grand Forks, ND. Their mission statement reads, “Steffes designs, manufactures and markets sustainable, high value-added, innovative manufactured solutions that meet or exceed customer expectations, while creating wealth for the stakeholders of the company. We are committed to providing quality products and services and continually improving the effectiveness of our Quality Management System.”
Wanted to Educate Employees on Lean Concepts
In 2007 Steffes Corporation was projecting significant sales growth and anticipated capacity concerns to meet the demand of the customers. Impact Dakota had developed the Lean Enterprise Certification Program (LECP) to facilitate the learning of lean concepts and enable employees to become Lean Bronze Certified. Joe Rothschiller, President, stated: “We saw this as an opportunity to educate employees in these concepts that would assist us with the growth we anticipated.”
Lean Enterprise Certification Program (LECP)
Since 2007, Steffes Corporation has had 43 employees participate in the LECP and ten of them are currently Lean Bronze Certified with several others actively working on their portfolio. The skills taught during the program have enabled us to have more employees educated on the benefit of Lean and allowed us to implement improvement throughout our entire organization. The kaizen events offered after the program, have significantly helped us address constraints and eliminate waste, according to Lisa Arndt, Steffes’ Continuous Improvement Manager.
Processes Improve to Facilitate Growth
As a result of continually improving our processes, we have grown from just over $18 million in sales in 2007 to over $67 million projected in 2012. Without having employees trained on the lean principles it would have been much harder for us to grow at this rate.
"Working with Impact Dakota and investing in Lean concepts is a manufacturing “Best Practice.” A growing company must invest in these best practices if they plan to survive in today’s competitive environment”.
— Joe Rothschiller, President & COO