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Union County’s 2 Hounds Design, an IES client, recently received recognition as BusinessNC’s 2016 SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR RUNNER-UP. Company founder and President Alisha Navarro was profiled on BusinessNC’s website. Navarrro started 2 Hounds Design in 2003 with $500 and a sewing machine, and grew to employs 36 people at the Monroe plant making dog collars and harnesses. The story also highlighted how IES Regional Manager Gene Beneduce helped 2 Hounds Design with Lean implementation:

Like many small businesses, managing growth hasn’t always been easy. Late last year, 2 Hounds was struggling to fill orders on time, sometimes taking more than four weeks to ship. Consulting with Gene Beneduce, a regional manager for N.C. State University’s Industry Expansion Solutions, which helps manufacturers and other businesses improve efficiency and grow sales, Navarro toured other factories using lean techniques.

“It’s very rare I see a small company as motivated and self-directed toward getting a best practices program implemented in such a short time,” says Beneduce, who has worked at IES for 10 years. In May, 2 Hounds switched to making products in small batches: Where before, workers made as many as 800 of a single product at one time, now, they never make more than 30 of a particular size or color so inventory is always well stocked. Results were immediate: By July, 2 Hounds was shipping products on time again, within three to five days.

You can read the full feature at BusinessNC’s website here.