New Ferndale manufacturing facility will focus on Lean principles

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 30, 2013 

Pioneer Post Frame carpenters Bryan Bos and Ron Schroeder work on the new FastCap building on Pacific Highway in Ferndale Wednesday, June 19, 2013. Pioneer is using innovative techniques on the building, while FastCap modeled its new manufacturing plant on Lean concepts.

MATT MCDONALD — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

FERNDALE - Two innovative Whatcom County companies are joining forces to build a new manufacturing facility.

Earlier this year, Ferndale's Pioneer Post Frame started construction on a 47,000-square-foot building on Pacific Highway, near Wilson's Furniture and Interstate 5. It's expected to be completed around October and will be the home of FastCap, a growing manufacturing company currently in Bellingham.

The structure uses a hybrid wood-framing system that combines steel, wood and poles, said Doug Scoggins, owner of the 22-employee Pioneer Post Frame. Having the wood framing inside the structure creates cavity areas for insulation to improve energy efficiency. It's also less expensive and faster to complete than some traditional methods, he said.

"It's a cost-effective way to construct a building," Scoggins said.

Once the building is completed, FastCap will go to work to make it a top-rated Lean manufacturing facility, said company owner Paul Akers. FastCap makes a variety of products, including construction tools and hardware, as well as performs services, including injection molding.

FastCap is an international product development company founded in 1997 with more than 2,700 distributors worldwide. FastCap launches about 20 new products a year.

Perhaps what the company is most known for is its Lean manufacturing techniques; Akers has written books and created videos on the topic. The Lean concept involves making continuous small improvements by identifying waste and getting rid of it.

To support the Lean principle, the facility will have an open-floor concept with few walls and standup desks for its 56 employees, Akers said. The building also will have a retail store; customers can see Lean manufacturing in action because there won't be a wall between the store and the factory.

"Altogether, (Lean) helps employees work as a team," Akers said.

Pioneer Post builds up to 100 buildings a year and was able to avoid layoffs throughout its 17-year history, Scoggins said. Along with commercial buildings, the company constructs agriculture and storage facilities.

Scoggins also owns the Just For Kicks gym in Ferndale and is about to get started on a 16,000-square-foot facility at 5519 Hovander Road. The building also will be home to Gym Star Sports Center. Scoggins said they plan to work together so parents can work out at Just For Kicks while children can attend Gym Star.

Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2269.

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