Avalon & Tahoe

Success with The Center

AVALON & TAHOE: New Training and Upskilling Help Meet Demands

The Center has been, and continues to be, a pivotal resource for helping us achieve our goals in producing the world’s finest pontoon boats. Their help in Lean improvements, process improvements, leadership training and consulting services has been invaluable to our success as the world’s third largest pontoon manufacturer. Our employees have and continue to develop into first class team members who drive the success of Avalon & Tahoe due to their growth through the services and expertise of The Center.
-- Brian Sheets, Executive Manager of Employee Development, Quality Assurance, Customer Service and Community Relations

Avalon & Tahoe (www.avalonpontoons.com) is the third largest pontoon manufacturer in the world. They are a vertically integrated builder, meaning they build the pontoons, frame and furniture all in their 322,000 square foot facility in Alma, Mich. Founded in 1974, Avalon has grown to 460 employees and is Gratiot County’s largest manufacturing employer. Even at the size and rate of rapid growth, they have maintained their customer-focused, quality-centered model to building pontoon boats. Avalon has won the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s (NMMA) Customer Satisfaction Index Award for 12 consecutive years from 2008-2020 for outstanding customer service and has one of the lowest incidences of warranty claim in the industry. They also have been awarded some of the top honors in the boating and manufacturing industries, including 2019 Michigan Manufacturer of the Year, 2020 NMMA Innovation Award and 2020 Boating Industry’s Top Product.


2021 was a challenging year for all manufacturers in Michigan, which also can be said for Avalon. The challenges that Avalon was facing included a shortage in the labor force, a new product launch, strained supply chain and increased demand. Avalon’s leadership team recognized this and understood that all these factors would greatly impact their dealers and customers. They knew they needed to address the labor shortage to be able to meet their customers’ demands. To help streamline their processes and meet demands, they knew they needed to incorporate new hire training and upskill their retained workforce.


Image for Avalon & Tahoe

Avalon’s team worked with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center) to create a training plan that aligned with their strategic goals. The plan consisted of training management, new and tenured supervisors, and line leaders in Lean principles and Supervisor Skills level one and two training. Avalon also trained new Lean champions and helped with multiple Kaizens, team development and other Lean concepts. The Center conducted a function and value analysis which resulted in a re-engineered design to improve efficiency, decrease cycle time, reduce rework and improve quality. All these projects and trainings done by The Center, in partnership with Avalon’s leadership, helped to improve production flow, which resulted in a significant increase in throughput and new sales.


  • New Sales: $20 Million
  • Increased throughput by 600 Boats
  • Jobs Added: 60
  • Retained Jobs: 45