Business challenge

With multiple business acquisitions looming, Myers Container, LLC needed assistance growing the company, improving facilities and processes, developing leadership, and educating employees.

Transformation

Teaming with Simpler Consulting, an IBM Company, Myers Container implemented a custom Lean transformation plan, rapidly improving its business operating model and allowing for additional business acquisitions.  

Results

Successfully acquires multiple businesses

to more than double the company’s size

Develops a stronger management system

allowing the company to scale using a common operating system

Rapidly improves problem-solving and safety

with continuous custom training for employees and leadership

Business challenge story

Pressure to outpace competitors

With the rise in building and construction activities, an increase in food and beverage demand, and expansion across several other global industries, the need for steel drums is rapidly growing. Industrial goods can be heavy, bulky, sensitive to the external atmosphere and hazardous to the environment, and companies must find safe and sustainable ways of storing and transporting material.

In 2007, the Stavig family took their shared vision of operating an innovative and sustainable company and acquired Myers Container. The Portland, Oregon-based business family became a leading manufacturer and reconditioner of industrial containers in the US. Wanting to sprint ahead of its competition, Myers Container leadership began assessing the company’s strengths and weaknesses before expanding the business further.

“As we were becoming larger, we were becoming more hesitant about our ability to manage future growth,” explains Cody Stavig, Vice President (VP) of Operations. “When competing for acquisitions, our reluctance to make more competitive bids stemmed directly from our inability to reliably improve operations.”

The company was having difficulty managing multiple facilities around the country, fixing its development program for management, improving plant safety and scaling the business. Without an efficient system to properly train staff, Myers Container couldn’t establish a consistent way to operate different factories in various jurisdictions with multiple managers. Pressure began to mount, with Myers Container leadership fearing its competitors were deeper into successfully navigating Continuous Improvement (CI) transformations. 

“We were waking up every morning trying to figure out how to be better and how to outpace our competitors,” adds Myers Container Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kyle Stavig. “We only have so much pricing and supply chain power, but if our operations are running efficiently, we’re going to make a sizable dent in our company’s profitability.”

It was time for the Stavig family to seek outside help. Myers Container had previously enlisted a smaller local consulting company to help expand, but it needed a new firm with an extensive network range that would bring a higher level of professionalism and depth of talent and knowledge to the table.

We wanted to expand and acquire more companies, but we didn’t have the deep bench strength to be able to deploy a business system across a larger entity.

Kyle Stavig, Chief Executive Officer, Myers Container, LLC – A Stavig Group Company

Transformation story

An effective continuous improvement plan

Myers Container enlisted Simpler Consulting to assist executives in their journey toward achieving and sustaining substantial company growth. Simpler’s approach is designed to rapidly identify and then implement the strategic improvement opportunities that exist within any organization. Myers Container was confident in its future, knowing Simpler had a track record of strategically transforming industrial companies by applying Lean methodologies to achieve breakthrough performance. Sitting down with the strategy development team, the two companies mapped out a new system that aligned with Myers Container’s business goals.

Applying Simpler’s Transformation Plan of Care and rigorous Value Stream Analysis processes, the company began with an annual strategy deployment and then developed a strategically-aligned “future state” vision for each facility. These steps chartered Myers Container’s Rapid Improvement Events for the year.

“The combination of the value stream analysis, the rapid improvement event schedule, and the 9-step problem solving process was the structure we needed to maintain a cadence for continuous improvement,” Cody says, of incorporating Lean methods. “Thanks to Simpler, we could prioritize and problem-solve better.”

With the initial stages of Myers Container’s Lean transformation plan complete, Simpler added another layer to the company’s transformation process. To further grow the company and manage additional facilities across the country, Myers Container needed more employees to incorporate Lean methods in their workflows. “Using Simpler’s facilitator model, we selected a few employees that we felt had the aptitude to take on more responsibility and would thrive in doing so. Then Simpler spent a great deal of time helping us develop those people,” adds Kyle.

Using a 90-day methodology, a key discipline of Simpler’s Business System for improvement, was a new concept for us — but it was driving a different behavior, allowing us to sustain events better than we had in the past.

Kyle Stavig, Chief Executive Officer, Myers Container, LLC – A Stavig Group Company

Results story

Sustaining a rhythm of productive habits

Myers Container experienced substantial improvement in performance and safety by implementing Lean methodologies. By developing its internal team’s leadership skills and expanding employee responsibilities, the company was able to acquire more businesses and implement Simpler’s process improvement system. “We recently made a huge acquisition that almost doubled the size of the company with the help of Simpler,” explains Kyle. “Now, we’ve got a really good rhythm of what works, and we’ve begun initiating our continuous improvement system there.”

Myers Container has seen drastic changes in staff development after successfully implementing the facilitator model. “Now we’ve got people developed on our bench that are capable of walking into any operation to facilitate the 9-step process and lead us through, and that is all thanks to Simpler and Cody,” Kyle adds.

The Stavigs’ hard work was recognized within their industry as EY announced that Kyle received the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 Award in the Family Business category for the Pacific Northwest region. “The biggest gratification for my brothers and myself is knowing we are developing people, growing the business, sustaining profits and protecting the planet,” says Kyle.

Kyle and Cody don’t see the family business slowing down and will continue to grow and use the services of Simpler. With even more acquisitions in the works, they’re extremely confident in the company’s future.

Simpler has become our trusted partner. They’ve given us the confidence and tools to take on more acquisitions and expand the company. The value they bring is immeasurable.

Kyle Stavig, Chief Executive Officer, Myers Container, LLC – A Stavig Group Company

business logo

About Myers Container, LLC – A Stavig Group Company

In 2007, the Stavig brothers and their sister, Katrina Roth, acquired Myers Container and Container Management Services and placed the headquarters in Portland, Oregon. By 2011, the family added General Steel Drum in North Carolina and in 2018, North Coast Container LLC was added to the platform. In 2019, The Stavig Group was created as an umbrella organization to house the four companies. With facilities in Oregon and California, the company’s services include manufacturing, reconditioning, recycling and reclaiming hundreds of thousands of steel drums, intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and millions of pounds of plastic annually.

About Simpler Consulting, an IBM Company

For nearly 30 years, the Simpler team has worked with clients to collaborate, coach and enable them to achieve rapid improvement across financial and nonfinancial performance indicators. Simpler’s value lies in its ability to work with clients to develop a business system and implement systematic improvements that facilitate long-term performance and sustainable growth.

Take the next step

To learn more about the IBM solution featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: