Canadians learn lessons from toy manufacturer

Maple Landmark, a leading wooden toy manufacturer based in Middlebury, hosted a group of small manufacturers and crafters, from Newfoundland and Labrador, as they toured New England to learn about "best practices" in manufacturing.

The Canadian Ministry of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development sponsored the visit as part of ongoing projects to help support manufacturers north of the border.

"It doesn't make sense to reinvent the wheel," stated Karen Thistle of the ministry, "seeing best practices and processes in action gives our crafters an opportunity to think about how they can integrate the concepts to their own businesses."

One Canadian business owner commented, "how simple things like casters on work stations and tables allow the creation of a more fluid work space that can more easily accommodate a variety of tasks or a growing business."

Maple Landmark has worked to improve production efficiency by subscribing to the concept of lean manufacturing and most recently the 5-S program of organization.

"It has always been important for us to be efficient, the only way we can compete is to be efficient in our production and to give the consumer what they want," said owner, Mike Rainville.

Maple Landmark employed the help of VMEC, Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center, to help implement company goals.

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