When the management at Viking Plastics was looking to revolutionize its company culture, it came across two-second lean — business owner and author Paul Akers' principles for eliminating waste in small increments to improve productivity.
Viking Plastics leaders met Akers a few times at Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors conferences, and Shawn Gross, the company's engineering manager, attended a lean summit and a lean mission trip to Japan.
Starting in 2011, the Corry, Pa., company implemented the lean philosophy in its warehouse, material handling and assembly group areas.
Gross started to see a difference in those areas, so in 2012 he approached Viking CEO and President Kelly Goodsel about starting a full, intensive class to expand the opportunities for improvement and empowerment across the entire company, called Viking Academy.
"Every company seems to want people to think like they're an owner that works in the company, but then we don't really educate people about what that means," said Gross, who is an Academy instructor. "So, we want you to think like an owner, but we don't really want to tell you what the financials are, right? … The mission is to demystify that for all employees that are interested in learning that information so that they can actually make better decisions and feel like they're a part of it."