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Western Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (WTAAC)

Success Stories

Retail Store Fixture Manufacturer

This company designs and manufactures custom retail store fixtures. Primary customers are large chains and store locations throughout the United States.

During 2000 the company suffered from both the economic recession and continued shrinking market share due to increasing foreign competition. A significant slowdown of new retail store rollouts was the first negative impacts of the economic recession at that time. This was compounded with aggressive low price competition from high quality Canadian manufacturers. As a result, 2001 annual sales decreased 54% and employment decreased 22%.

The company, with assistance from the University of Southern California’s Western Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (Western TAAC), became certified as trade impacted by the US Dept. of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) in January of 2002.

 Western TAAC and the company’s management developed a strategy to re-establish its cost competitiveness position and expand its customer base. This would enable the company to again be able to capitalize on its established customer base and strengths in value engineering, high quality products, and on-time delivery.

The company has finished its 5th year in the implementation phase of the TAA Program, and has successfully implemented its information technology project and two of its production engineering projects. These projects focused on significantly improving manufacturing efficiency, reducing production cost and shortening cycle times. Since beginning its public/private sector partnership with the TAA for Firms Program, sales increased 91% to $3.2M, productivity improved 99% to $133,333 sales per employee, and the company regained profitable operating income for the first time in six years.



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