Congratulations to United Southern Industries Inc., a Forest City, N.C., injection molder that was named to Managing Automation magazine's Progressive Manufacturing 50 list this year. The list recognizes companies "for mastering business models and processes necessary to compete in today's global marketplace." The mid-sized company ($30.8 million in annual sales, according to our recent ranking) has bought into the lean manufacturing/continuous improvement mantra, and the commitment is paying off. A news release announcing the award notes:
"Few companies the size of United Southern are willing to commit the effort, training and personal engagement by senior leadership required to lead a thorough Lean enterprise transformation," said North Carolina State University's Sam McPherson, a senior Lean enterprise consultant with the university's industrial extension service. "Intentions are good and spirits are high in the beginning, but as time passes the motivation dwindles and things go back to the way they were."How did United Southern afford to take such a big step? The company had some help with grants from the Small Business & Technology Development Center of Western Carolina University and North Carolina State University's Industrial Extension Service.