Hometown, Pennsylvania-based Highwood USA provides “Carefree Backyard Living”. The company’s broad range of premium seating, table, home & garden, and similar products are 100% made in the USA from recycled plastics. Highwood’s offerings deliver maintenance-free ownership; they are weatherproof, will not crack, peel, or rot, and feature designs that range from the traditional to bold contemporary looks.
“MRC has some of the highest quality training of any organization I’ve ever dealt with. They have by far the best resources and value.”
– John Quarmley, President
Highwood USA is a Schuylkill-County-based manufacturer and faces many of the same challenges as other small-midsized manufacturing enterprises. Highwood turned to MRC for support through MRC’s Manufacturing Leadership Institute (MLI) and a recent advanced manufacturing quest to optimize process automation.
MLI: Each year, Highwood selects an employee with leadership/management potential for participation in the MLI program. According to President John Quarmley, (himself a graduate of the inaugural class), “MLI really helps new managers understand business fundamentals. Whether it’s emotional intelligence, the ability to read financials, or supply chain complexities, graduates have a real grasp of the finer points of business management.”
Lean Master Certification: Highwood has also sent several employees through the MRC Lean Master Certification program over the past few years. “The nice thing about Lean Master is that participants complete a project with tangible results,” Quarmley says.
Advanced Manufacturing: Starting in late 2020, Highwood also engaged MRC as part of a Department of Energy-funded, advanced manufacturing program. Working with the Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI) and Philadelphia-based CESMII, The Smart Manufacturing Institute, Highwood sought to improve the communication of key manufacturing metrics to enable immediate recognition of emerging quality issues.
- MLI: Savings of countless dollars – Having multiple graduates of the MLI program creates a common language with which to communicate. Highwood estimates that this standardized operational understanding has saved the company countless dollars in employee satisfaction, retention, and team performance.
- Lean Master Certification: At least a 10% increase in market share – An early Highwood attendee undertook a Lean Master Certification project to improve color variation in the company’s products. Her studies determined that variables in compound age (the time compound sits before it is extruded) caused inconsistencies in color. Creating compound age limits prior to extrusion has resulted in vastly superior color control compared to Highwood’s competitors and at least a 10% increase in market share.
- Advanced Manufacturing: $100,000 savings in production cost – Making key manufacturing metrics available to production and planning staff enabled real-time tracking of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) data on a critical CNC cell. Moreover, Highwood reached a better understanding of—and resolved—anomalies on a line that had been a perennial problem. This resulted in savings of more than $100,000 in production cost.
For more information about Highwood USA, please visit their website: www.highwood-usa.com