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Wikoff Color – A South Carolina Lean Success Story

May 21, 2015

Wikoff Color

In 1956, Fred C. Wikoff Jr. noticed two dire needs of the print industry: tailor-made inks to maximize pressroom efficiencies and highly technical, service-orientated approaches to ink-making. In order to meet these needs, Wikoff created the Wikoff Color Corp. 50 years later, the Wikoff’s observation transforms into a rapidly-growing company and already developed a great reputation for their quality products and exceptional customer service.

As the business grew, Wikoff found himself in need of an efficient, practical way to meet the demanding market, make more product and manage the inventory. Wikoff enlisted the help of SCMEP to run a Competitiveness Review Assessment in order to gauge where they were and in which direction they should take. Lean Manufacturing is a business model that emphasizes on driving rapid, continual service in cost, quality, service and delivery through eliminating waste and focusing on efficiency. After deciding that lean manufacturing was the route they wished to take, Wikoff constructed a team that become experts in the principles of lean manufacturing, value stream mapping and policy deployment in order to build basic tool knowledge, develop an overall improvement plan and create a management program to continue the improvement plan.

Wikoff and his team employed SCMEP to make this possible and, even today, continues to leverage the expertise at SCMEP to address new challenges that arise in their business. SCMEP provided training in Interpersonal Styles, Six Sigma and Problem Solving for the Wikoff Color Corp in addition to Lean Manufacturing. SCMEP also provided technical  assistance in the new layout of Wikoff’s three largest production facilities.

Thanks to their partnership with SCMEP, Wikoff has reported $800,000 in cost savings and has retained sales numbers that run in the millions. Geoff Peters, Wikoff’s current President & CEO says, “Wikoff Color has benefited immensely from our partnership with SCMEP, while we have developed an extremely capable and talented CCI (Center for Continual Improvement) team internally, it is very helpful to be able to draw upon the SCMEP for additional expertise and guidance to keep our improvement initiatives moving forward.”

Today, the Wikoff Color Group has approximately 500 employees, 140 of which are located in the Fort Mill, SC facility. They also have 27 manufacturing companies throughout the US, Canada and Europe. The relationship with SCMEP and Wikoff Group proves to be a mutually beneficial one. This lean manufacturing success story serves as a fitting role model for anyone taking on an endeavor such as this one or one similar to it.

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