DWM Holdings (United Lighting)

Success with The Center

DWM HOLDINGS: Increasing Efficiency Through Lean Kaizens & Training

Working with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has improved our company’s functionality. The expertise they shared in lean thinking transformed how we approach our processes, facility maintenance, and culture.
-- Ryan MacVoy, Chief Executive Officer-DWM Holdings

DWM Holdings (dwmholdings.com) is based in Warren, Michigan, and acts as the umbrella company for a portfolio of steel and aluminum light pole manufacturing brand companies: United Lighting Standards (ULS); General Structures, Inc.; Lyte Poles; and UniPost Systems. In addition to being committed to adhering to standards set forth by AASHTO, ASTM International, and NEMA, DWM Holdings’ products are built using fabricating and welding procedures outlined in the American Welding Society manual. DWM Holdings is comprised of 89 dedicated team members.


After attending Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center’s (The Center) Explore: Lean Manufacturing event, DWM Holdings CEO Ryan MacVoy recognized the benefit of leveraging The Center’s experience and expertise to begin their Lean journey. The need to re-haul its manufacturing facility, issues with inventory control, and inefficient office processes that led to prolonged project lead times were the driving factors for the decision to begin this journey. DWM Holdings was interested in standardizing processes and create a safe, efficient, and organized environment for its team members and partners.


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In response to DWM Holdings’ desire to implement lean practices, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center conducted an opportunity assessment to evaluate the company’s current state. The findings from the assessment prompted The Center to conduct several process Kaizens to correct inventory-related issues and the flow of the facility. Checklists and audits were also developed to promote and sustain practices that follow the 5S approach. To ensure these changes would be fully ingrained in the business, DWM team members participated in Lean training.


  • 89 retained jobs
  • Created 4 new positions within the company: Preventive Maintenance, Continuous Improvement Lead, Welding Engineer, and Quality Assurance Manager
  • Improved internal processes by 36%, removing 40 process steps.
  • Created 5 standard work processes across the organization — from quotation request to invoicing, including a 56% of total cost savings in scrap and rework.
  • Begun the ISO Registration process, which has expedited the development of a quality manual, policy, and objectives
  • Improved the way jobs are scheduled, the accuracy of specifications drawings, and overall communication through functional alignment
  • Improved inventory controls
  • Started to transition toward a culture of Learn – Apply – Reflect
  • Established a strong foundation for the never-ending journey of increased efficiency and waste elimination