Success Stories

Order Processing Improves 71% for Trail King through Kaizen Leadership Training, Value Stream Mapping and LECP

Trail King Industries

Trail King Industries, Inc., was founded in Mitchell, S.D., in 1974, by Gordon and Shirley Thomsen when they founded Western Ag Sales, purchased another Mitchell-based manufacturing company, Plains Industries, and moved into their manufacturing facility. In June of 1995, they were acquired by Carlisle Companies, Incorporated, Charlotte, N.C. Subsequent acquisitions include Ti-Brook Industries, Brookville, Pa., and Red River Manufacturing, West Fargo N.D., in August 2000.

Trail King is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Carlisle Companies, Inc., (NYSE:CSL), a diversified global company. Today, the total square footage of Trail King’s facilities in Mitchell, S.D., stands at 295,000 square feet, providing state-of-the-art production capabilities for a workforce of over 450 employees. Carlisle Companies’ annual sales are $2.5B with divisions in Construction Materials, Transportation Products, Applied Technologies and Specialty Products.

With trailers ranging in load capacities from 6,000 pounds to 1,000,000 pounds, Trail King has trailers to serve a wide variety of applications for markets as diverse as construction, agriculture, transportation, waste and recycling, and specialized hauling. They compete in national and global trailer markets.

The mission of Trail King is to meet and exceed their customer’s expectations in the transportation markets they choose to serve, and to attack those markets with the passion and commitment to become the market leader in those segments.

Disorganized Order Processes After Acquisition

Through the Lean Enterprise Certification Program (LECP) they realized the value of the Lean process and continuous improvement. Impact Dakota was engaged to help Trail King began their Lean journey by leading them in a business process kaizen on their trailer order process.

Trail King and acquired the Brookville, Pa., and West Fargo, N.D., trailer companies in prior years, but had not consolidated the trailer order process. Each site processed customer order information in a different and unique manner. This information was shared across the different facilities for engineering, purchasing, and production of these units. These different order processes created a lot of questions and loop backs, causing delays in lead time and some incorrect interpretations of order specifications. 

 Kaizen Leadership, Value Stream Mapping and Lean Enterprise Certification Program (LECP)

A cross-functional team with representation from each site was created. The process of educating the team on the fundamentals of Lean and Value Stream Mapping began. A current value stream map for each site was created. This exercise enabled everyone to see the differences and bottlenecks in each site’s process. Once the issues in each process were identified, the team brainstormed and created one future state order process for all sites.

During this process, 12 kaizen opportunities within the order process were identified.

Order Process Decreases from 41 Days to 12 Days - a 71% Improvement

With the assistance of Impact Dakota, Trail King conducted one of the kaizens identified in the value stream map on the Order Build information. This kaizen consolidated the different trailer order information into one standard “Order Build Sheet” for all locations. It provided them with the tools to standardize this process and the ability to apply measurements to the process. The number of days for a trailer order to be processed through the system decreased from 41 days to 12 days — a 71% improvement. This kaizen provided the foundation to apply continuous improvement efforts to the complete order process.

Trail King has since completed four additional kaizens on the order process value stream.

“The education and Kaizen leadership that Impact Dakota provided to Trail King has been a great tool we have leveraged in our Lean journey.”

—Mike Voigt, Vice President of Carlisle Operating Systems

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