Cane Creek Cycling Components Cranks with E3

At Cane Creek Cycling Components in Fletcher, North Carolina, the mission is clear: Support all aspects of cycling worldwide—from professional racing to hobbyists and charitable organizations. Because of its commitment to enacting positive change with a sustainable, widespread approach, it was only natural for the company to choose the E3: Economy, Energy and Environment initiative.

About E3

E3 is a collaborative effort among manufacturers, surrounding businesses and community leaders, and state and federal partners.

“Each E3 manufacturer goes on a journey,” says Anna Mangum, E3 lead at the North Carolina State University Industry Expansion Solutions (IES). “First, there’s an assessment of their current operations, then a transformation period where we work with them toward change. Finally, they focus on sustaining those changes.”

The ultimate goal of E3 is to not only improve business for manufacturers across top and bottom lines, but also to help strengthen their role as strong community members, by working closely with other businesses and community leaders while maintaining solid environmental and energy practices.

The powerful impact of E3’s goals meshed perfectly with Cane Creek’s business model, so in late 2012, the company applied for and was awarded a scholarship to begin training with IES.

Lean and Green

During the assessment phase, Cane Creek explored their current operational model in areas like business excellence, process
efficiency and energy. They moved quickly to make necessary improvements. One “lean and green” improvement was to streamline part of the assembly floor. By moving the shock production cell, the material flow path was cut by 50 percent.

Cane Creek has already seen tangible benefits from E3; the company realized nearly $142,000 in cost and workplace investment savings, and in increased productivity.

Hall predicts the trend will continue.

“Right now, the benefit is to our improved bottom line. We can build product more efficiently, and that is a solid improvement,” he says. “But that’s also given us the confidence to grow the top line. When we see changes being made and product rates improving, the pressure shifts from production to sales, so they can sell more and boost that top line, too.”

The long-term goal is to remain a healthy company and continue to grow stronger.

“It’s been a great experience for us, and it still is,” says Hall. “We’ve placed more focus and importance on changing our mindset to think about things daily in best practice terms. That’s a lesson that is ongoing, but it’s very easy when
you’re seeing things improving. By placing an emphasis on improvement, it becomes a part of the corporate culture.”

Hall has advice for any company considering E3.

“Even if you’ve been in manufacturing for twenty years, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve been doing it right for twenty years, or that there’s not a new way of doing it,” he says. “You can never go wrong learning new, better ways of doing things.”