Happy Howie's

Success with The Center

HAPPY HOWIE’S: Lean Mentoring Leads to More Efficient Processes (2021)

We want to ensure that our customers, and their furry friends, receive the best quality product and experience possible. This occurs from the inside out. Within the past year, The Center’s Lean experts have been an integral part in helping us reduce waste, save time, and increase efficiency. When we undergo our next project, we will be contacting them for assistance.
-- David Collado, President

Happy Howie’s (www.happyhowies.com) is a manufacturer of 100% all natural pet treats. Made fresh with real, slow-cooked meats including turkey, beef and lamb, their products include jerky, sausage links, burgers, Woof Stix® and gourmet meat rolls. Located in Detroit, Happy Howie’s employs 14 dedicated team members and was founded in 2006.


Like many other manufacturers today, Happy Howie’s was extremely busy and was operating understaffed in both their production and packaging areas. As a result, overtime was becoming the norm and on-time delivery was becoming strained. Happy Howie’s also wanted to improve the flow of their plant and processes to avoid wasting time and resources on non-value-added work.


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Happy Howie’s knows that focusing on Lean and continuous improvement is critical to the continued success of their business. When faced with the tasks of reducing overtime and identifying waste, Happy Howie’s reached out to the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center). The Center had worked with Happy Howie’s on several other projects throughout the past couple of years. The Center’s Lean experts met with the Happy Howie’s team to formulate a plan to tackle their largest woes.

Over the course of one shift, a time study and spaghetti diagram were executed on the movement of both dry ingredients and cooked product through the kitchen. Large amounts of travel time and distance were observed in each process, which are both forms of waste. It was determined that the employee who moves the dry ingredients spends 312 hours and travels more than 416 miles unnecessarily per year. The employees that move cooked product from the ovens to the staging area also travel unnecessarily.

The Center proposed a new layout for the kitchen by placing the origin and destination of dry ingredients next to each other. An opening in the wall between the kitchen and staging areas also was implemented to reduce time and travel for the cooked product.

Following a cost analysis, and based on the compensation of the ingredient transporter, it was determined that $5,625 was being spent on unnecessary travel. The biggest savings, however, were found in new time available for everyone transporting product. Following the Lean implementations, one ingredient mover now has more than 295 hours - and the cooked product transporters 140 hours – of freed-up time available per year to assist in other areas of the plant, particularly in the packaging department.


  • 94% reduction in time spent moving dry ingredients
  • Reduced time and travel for cooked product by 33%
  • Cost Savings: $5,625