Success Stories

Daily Capacity for Orders Increases 19% and Dock-to-Stock Time Improves 50% for Sure Foot Corporation

Sure Foot Corporation

Since the day they were founded, in 1984, Sure Foot® has become a leader in the shoe products industry, and for over twenty-five years they have continued to prove that great things come in small packages. Their products, inspired by necessity, simplicity and love for the outdoors, are all based on original concepts with a focus on value, superior design and function. Since their first product debuted in 1984, they've launched a stream of innovative products ranging from Specialty Adhesives to Winter Traction Aids. Whether it's for the casual athlete, the demanding outdoor enthusiast or the progressive manufacturer, Sure Foot’s products are designed to excel in a variety of elements for all-purpose and everyday use, and they take pride in their use of quality materials that deliver the best results.

Their customers range from “big box” stores, to retail, sporting goods, and farm stores among others. They use distributors to reach the end-users in industrial markets, especially transportation. Conversely, their competition is prolific, but generally is small companies like themselves. Sure Foot® has patent protection on their core products, but faces knock-offs from China; especially in Europe.

Their mission statement reads, “With respect for our past, a focus on our future, and a culture of entrepreneurial spirit, Sure Foot® continues to evolve as a leader in every market we serve in terms of innovation, quality and customer service – all while maximizing growth in value to all stakeholders.”

Sure Foot® is a family-owned company located in Grand Forks, ND. They employ 29 people.

Wanted Lean Training to Engage Employees

Having worked with Impact Dakota numerous times in the past; Sure Foot Corporation looked to them when they wanted to get the majority of their workforce exposed to Lean Principles. Their goal was for their employees to become more active contributors to Lean ideas as well as to look for ways to work in teams more effectively to look for opportunities for improvements.

Lean Culture, Value Stream Mapping, Lean Tools

Sure Foot Corporation, along with Impact Dakota, decided to conduct a Lean 101 training workshop to infuse the necessary understanding of demand flow techniques and objectives and to generate the cooperation necessary to initiate improved productivity via the Lean vision.

Through this training, the staff was exposed to the principles of Lean manufacturing, laying a foundation for the subsequent analysis and implementation activities, and all employees gained a greater sense of ownership for the changes that ensued.

A 2-day Value Stream Mapping (VSM) Training was also planned.  The VSM training involved the training of the team on tools to visually map a product’s production path, including both materials and information, from door-to-door.

The core training was to learn how to identify value streams in an operation, developing a future state value stream, and then how to apply the value stream mapping tools.  The purpose of these activities was to train individuals how to identify the areas where recommendations for improvements will be made, with a focus on the low or no cost improvements that can be made to make the business more efficient.

Impact Dakota also trained the cross-functional team on how to establish the corrective actions and metrics necessary to determine the degree of improvements and provide a means for on-going monitoring of those improvements – basically, how to set and measure improvements through future improvement events that will lead to more profit to the bottom line.

Daily Capacity for Orders Increases 19%, Dock-to-Stock Time Improves 50% for Sure Foot Corporation

The entire company received the Lean Training; which led to ownership and excitement to improve processes in every department. The VSM also created a great atmosphere for process improvements and team building. The guidance and tools they received will be used to improve every current process, and any future additions.

The receiving process review improved work flow and helped them to attain real time inventory by eliminating unnecessary steps and transactions across multiple departments. The individuals who receive the goods are now responsible to verify counts, inspect, and input information into the system database. This one process change has improved their dock-to-stock time by 50% while creating a smooth work flow without delays.

The order release process was also reviewed. Several non-value added activities were eliminated to decrease the bottlenecks which were causing shipping delays. All orders were placed on credit hold until each order was reviewed. This created a huge delay from the time Sales entered the order and Shipping received the order (up to 4 hours). The process was revamped and all orders are now released automatically, with the exception of accounts that are past due, or new accounts which need a credit application processed. The improvement in this process helped increase their daily capacity for orders, as a result small package shipments increased over 19% from last year.

“I would recommend Impact Dakota training to every type of business. People seem to think of manufacturing and production only when applying Lean principles and overlook other areas that may be contributing to bottlenecks and delays in their business processes.  We achieved so much success through our Lean and on-site VSM sessions that we have decided to continue our development by attending the Lean Enterprise Course & Certification Program!”

— Lisa Sparks, Production/Warehouse Manager

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