Gaston Caperton bought a troubled furniture factory and transformed it into the successful Gat Creek Furniture. He did so using lean manufacturing techniques, focusing on efficiency. It worked. "Within a year, he saved his $1.5 million and used it to pay down his debt, almost exactly according to plan. The company was soon growing 10 percent a year and turning a profit. Gat Creek now employs 140 workers at $20 an hour, including health care, a 401(k) match, holidays and vacation. Gat Creek sells $18 million worth of tables, chairs and beds annually." Just imagine what lean manufacturing plus machine monitoring could do for you!
I am fascinated by people who buy troubled businesses, then fix them and make them profitable. Gaston “Gat” Caperton’s story is compelling because Caperton, the son of a former governor, fixed a sickly furniture company in little (population 610) Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, two decades ago and runs it to this day. He didn’t sell it to XYZ Corporation or a private-equity firm. He didn’t break it up and liquidate the parts. Caperton has owned Gat Creek furniture, which manufactures beds, chairs and tables from Appalachian cherry trees and sends them across the country, since 1996. Read More