Success with The Center

PETTIBONE: Speeding Up Time to Market to Gain a Competitive Edge

Being in the U.P., there are minimal resources available to provide cost-effective training. The Center-Northern Initiatives has provided virtual training opportunities, all without the time and expense of traveling, in addition to bringing experts to our facility to deliver customized training. Working with The Center-Northern Initiatives allowed us to establish the right connections and partner with others in the industry to continually improve our employees' education. This has given us the opportunity to benchmark best practices among manufacturers in the U.P.
-- Kathy Pirkola, Manufacturing Engineering Manager

Pettibone ( is a heavy equipment manufacturer located in Baraga, Mich. A division of the Heico Companies headquartered in Chicago, they have been operating in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for more than 60 years. Pettibone is known to manufacture Cary-Lift, Extendo, Speed Swing and Ardco vehicles. These products are used in industries such as oil and gas, railway maintenance, construction, geophysical and utilities. Pettibone’s products are built using components from across the globe, with many suppliers located within Baraga's 40-mile radius. Pettibone is a certified woman-owned business through WBENC and employs 41 at their Baraga location.


Operating in the highly competitive manufacturing industry, Pettibone identified a need to get their products to market faster and more efficiently to remain competitive.


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For assistance with improving their time to implementation from concept to production, Pettibone enlisted the expertise of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center – Northern Initiatives (The Center-Northern Initiatives). Pettibone engaged in project management training focused on exploring concepts including setting clear goals, tracking status and risk management, along with tools for project maintenance such as resource management, status tracking and risk management.

During training, The Center-Northern Initiatives helped Pettibone define four areas for improvement – identifying bottlenecks, codependences, resources and utilizing timelines effectively – and implemented changes to realize increased productivity. As a result of investing in this project management training, Pettibone decreased their time to market by setting clear goals, creating visible timelines, getting the right information from the right people and mitigating risks of bottlenecks and codependence.


  • Cost Savings: $10,500 as a result of increased productivity and expediting time to market for new products
  • Improved Productivity: Reduced a project timeline by five to six weeks by incorporating knowledge from the training engagement
  • Sustainability: As a result of the training, Pettibone saved $29,000 on personnel and refocused those funds on other areas within Pettibone.