Silver Needle Looks Sterling with Lean
Location: Kellogg, Idaho Shoshone County
Project Area: Lean Manufacturing
In 1981, after nearly 100 years in the Silver Valley of Northern Idaho, the Bunker Hill Mining Company closed putting 2,700 people out of work. Brenda Stinson had spent 11 years at the Smelter making clothing to protect workers from heat. She started Silver Needle in 1979 as a home-based business sewing bags for the mine. When the mine shut down, Brenda and her husband Larry, another mine casualty, decided to make a go of it in the Valley by turning Silver Needle into a viable business. Today Silver Needle has 45 employees and is a respected producer of protective clothing sold nationwide. In October 2006, the company purchased a large building on three acres and created a factory designed to produce protective clothing of all kinds. As demand for product increased, lead times for certain items grew to unacceptable levels. Silver Needle asked TechHelp to assist with implementing Lean practices that could improve efficiency and lead times.