Success Story - LEFCO Worthington

Company Detail
Founded in 2003, LEFCO Worthington is a Cleveland manufacturer of customized wood crates, pallets, skids, and racks used to ship and transport products. Since it was founded, the company has seen continuous growth in revenue and jobs by employing up to 25 people in Northeast Ohio and expanding into a 30,000 square-foot facility in 2006.

Growth Challenge
While LEFCO embraced these new developments, the company found a new set of challenges accompanied their growth. Workers often struggled with operations and safety concerns on the shop floor, and a lack of continuous improvement in work culture left the business with low morale and high turnover. Prior to working with MAGNET, the company faced the challenge of losing one person per month on average, leading to negative impact in multiple areas.

“We faced a multitude of different challenges that most manufacturing companies face,” said LEFCO Worthington CEO Larry Fulton. “We had a number of operational and systemic problems within our manufacturing processes [and] had turnover issues with some of our employees.”

MAGNET’s Role
After being awarded a grant from the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), LEFCO connected with MAGNET Growth Advisor Thom Fuhr and received assistance with operational improvement and culture change.

“I initially thought a consultant would come in and use a lot of data to drive results, but Thom came in, sat with me and my team, and asked a series of simple, engaging questions to understand our business.” Fulton said. “[He] worked with me to figure out problems ranging from employee retention to financial impact to plant floor metrics. It’s really refreshing to work with someone like that.”

With MAGNET’s help, LEFCO was able to:

• Create and implement standardized bays
• Eliminate safety concerns by removing extraneous and potentially hazardous equipment from the shop floor
• Improve company culture through solicited input, positive communication, and increased accountability
• Streamline and prioritize top issues, allowing the CEO to spend more time on the business instead of in the business

Outcome and Impact
• The quality of products has increased exponentially due to streamlined operations
• 95 percent of goods are delivered on time
• 6 jobs retained
• $250,000 in additional revenue as of December 2015
• Stronger relationships between employees and higher management
• Significant reduction in turnover

“What we developed is a way we can match our business opportunities with individual talents and preferences, and that’s led to a significant reduction – really, the elimination – of our employees leaving our business. … If you’re looking for ways to grow your top-line, improve your operations, or grow your profitability, MAGNET is a company you can go to that’s going to provide you with the full cadre and range of support services that really help your business flourish.”