E3 Displays designs and manufactures custom integrated LCD display solutions for commercial, military, industrial, medical, and avionics applications. When the company began in 2007, manufacturers in Asia produced most of the standard displays but lacked the customization capabilities needed in the market. E3’s founder and CEO, Chuck Rahrig, recognized the opportunity to provide design and manufacturing services to fill this growing need. Today, the company works with clients globally to ensure its custom display solutions exceed optical and all other performance requirements. In 2020, the company experienced 20-fold growth in displays made for ventilators.
E3 has steadily grown over the past decade to 50 employees worldwide. To facilitate future growth and maintain a high-quality service, Rahrig recognized the need to evaluate E3’s organizational structure, manufacturing processes, and personnel. He contacted Arizona Commerce Authority's Arizona Manufacturing Extension (Arizona MEP) to discuss a few of the constraints he suspected might hold the company back from its growth goal. AZ MEP senior client advisor, Greg Bischak, worked with Rahrig to develop and implement a one-year plan that included an organizational assessment as well as actions focused on increasing production output and developing an organization with people who have the skills needed to support the company’s growth initiatives.
AZ MEP Helps Increase Production Output and Hire Vice President of Operations
As part of the plan to increase production output, AZ MEP manufacturing operation experts worked with E3 to map and implement new lean manufacturing processes and complete value stream mapping. While these projects were happening, E3 began the search for a vice president of global operations who could carry these improvements forward. AZ MEP developed the job description while the CEO focused on the day-to-day operations. Using AZ MEP’s connection with a local staffing service, E3 successfully recruited a top-quality candidate. Over a six-month period, the new VP, combined with the implementation of lean manufacturing, has been responsible for doubling production output, and the company has recently added a second shift.
Developing an Organization Ready to Grow
AZ MEP conducted an organizational assessment to evaluate the structure, personnel, and current job functions and descriptions in the finance, engineering, and sales departments. The assessment also focused on how each of these departments could streamline business processes to make the company more efficient. AZ MEP’s human resources expert also conducted DISC assessments for each of the operations candidates. DISC profiles gave the company another valuable tool it could use to help evaluate the candidate for fit with the company’s culture and team.
Positioned for Revenue Ramp-Up and Long-Term Planning
The foundational work that E3 and AZ MEP have completed this year enables the company to confidently grow knowing its manufacturing and business processes can support additional sales and clients. AZ MEP and E3 have started to develop a framework for a 3 to 5 year strategic plan that identifies additional opportunities for growth and the resources and capabilities that will be required.
“AZ MEP is a tremendous resource on so many fronts, way beyond what I first imagined,” said Rahrig. “They have experts in about every area that can help a manufacturing company, from simple things such as a RACI chart, developing job descriptions and roles to its senior consultants, who are experienced in sales, marketing, and engineering, along with what I’ll call ‘down and dirty’ experts who have spent time in a factory and can help solve production flow problems and implement lean manufacturing.”