In 2020, Onslow Bay Boatworks consolidated four facilities in Pender and Hanover counties into one facility at Camp Davis Industrial Park. The custom designed facility could accommodate better process flow to increase productivity. With this new facility came a unique opportunity for improvements in all aspects of manufacturing and project management.

The company began using a new manufacturing process, Resin Infusion—replacing open molded lamination with the dry process, emitting far less odor, and making it safer for employees and the environment. This advanced manufacturing process also saves time. And we know that time=money.

Briana Knight recalls an unexpected visit from Steve Gill, Director of Business and Industry Training at Coastal Carolina Community College. “Steve Gill happened to walk in the front door one day and went over the program details and I told him to sign me up ASAP. I never could have imagined the benefit we would receive working with him.” Steve assessed the scope of client need and recommended North Carolina Industry Expansion Solutions’ assistance in designing efficient processes.

Eager to implement a lean process, she contacted Alex Easley, a Regional Manager with NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES). He and Bill Iacovelli, an IES Lean Improvement Specialist, met with the Onslow Bay Boatworks management team to outline the services IES could provide.

Bill Iacovelli, an IES Lean Improvement Specialist, assists organizations in developing systematic, long-term Lean implementation and leadership programs. He began by convening the OBB team, to assess the steps involved in building boats. The group identified “pain points” (AKA trouble spots) along the way. By using colored post-it notes, the process and challenges took a visual form and facilitated discussions from a variety of viewpoints.

Another pain point involved the wasted time and steps for employees to replenish their supplies. The simple solution was to provide each employee with a cart stocked with all their necessary supplies. Twice weekly “huddles” help team leaders maintain interdepartmental communication, which is especially important for multiple “builds.”

Constant interruptions from employees to notify Briana of supply shortages was another pain point. Upon further inspection, it appeared that while some supplies were dwindling, others were gathering dust on the shelf. Some of those were expensive components, and simply too expensive to sit gathering dust. Rather than hiring additional staff to manage the supplies, the solution came in the form of a better inventory control system. As Briana noted, it gave the company the opportunity to redirect the cost savings. She also commented that employees have become enthusiastic about a program that encourages their input and makes their jobs easier.

Briana Knight sums it up, “We have loved working with this entire group and look forward to our continued relationship. The support and assistance we have received has been incredibly hands-on and unlike any other program I have encountered. The level of knowledge and support is paramount. Everyone from NC State and Steve at Coastal Carolina Community College are solely focused on Onslow Bay’s growth and productivity- as well as what they will do for other local companies.”