WPCC’s Customized Training Program Benefits Local Business


Craddock and WPCC LogosMorganton, N.C. – The Customized Training Program (CTP) at Western Piedmont Community College (WPCC) provides area industries with specialized training in topics from leadership development and new supervisor training to basic math skills. One local business has used WPCC’s CTP multiple times over the past few years and has seen incredible success.

Chaddock Furniture Co., located in Morganton, has relied on WPCC to help guide them recently through LEAN manufacturing principles in an effort to increase quality and productivity. Chaddock specializes in modern, made-to-order furniture pieces, and proudly touts that their pieces are American made – right here in Burke County.

In a time where the furniture industry is witnessing a rebound, Chaddock knew their processes needed improvement. Lead times were fairly lengthy and orders were not being filled on-time.

WPCC, in partnership with the Industrial Extension Service from NC State University, began working with Chaddock over a year and a half ago to implement training devoted to LEAN manufacturing principles.

“This isn’t your grandma’s furniture industry anymore and manufacturing processes need to reflect that,” said Rick Furse, director of industry services and customized training at WPCC. “Furniture was an industry given up for dead, but it’s certainly not.  Chaddock is a great example of how our industries are applying innovative thinking and process improvement to grow the business and increase customer satisfaction.  Our team at WPCC is here to support all Burke County companies as they implement these initiatives.”

WPCC and NCSU has worked with Chaddock to develop Kaizen events – short duration improvement projects specifically aimed at improving certain areas. Chaddock first implemented these events in their upholstery group and have since worked with a cross section of other employees to bring in other areas of the business.

“We have gone from lead times of over 16 weeks, with on-time delivery of 20%, to lead times of 3-7 weeks, and on- time delivery of 85-90%,” said James Kennedy, vice president of operations with Chaddock.

“With buy-in from our employees, we changed the physical layout of our shop floor. This reduces wasted motion from each employee, reorganizes our layout, and really digs down into the root causes of defects. Our quality has improved and our lead times have been drastically reduced. We now base our decisions on data, not opinion,” said Kennedy.

Chaddock is not the only industry within the area benefiting from the Customized Training Program WPCC has in place. Furse reported that more than 16 industries in Burke County are utilizing training programs currently, with several more slated to implement training projects within the coming year.

“We can facilitate many different types of training with our partners. Anything from pre-hire training and CPR certification to Industrial Maintenance and specialized equipment training – our programs can touch on almost any issue our industries have,” said Furse. “The best thing is we can offer training and services at no cost to qualifying companies. Most industries don’t realize what we offer, and the value we can provide for them.”

To learn more about Western Piedmont Community College’s Customized Training Program, please contact Rick Furse at 828.448.3121 or at tfurse@wpcc.edu.