Principal investigator: Emory Zimmers

University: Lehigh University

Industry partner: E.B. Endres Inc.

Based in an 18,000 sq. ft. facility in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, E. B. Endres, Inc. provides custom commercial cabinets throughout the eastern United States. The company recently lost a 14-year contract to supply cabinetry for all Sheetz, Inc. retail stores – representing 85% of sales – after building an 11,000 sq. ft. building ideal for an automated production line. Endres has developed an innovative, patent-pending, non-ligature wardrobe cabinet that is currently being sold to a mental health facility. This facility has validated the product’s benefits and value, prompting Endres to grow the mental health and justice-involved markets to save the company. This strategy presents the first significant automation opportunity since the company’s founding in 1928.

Endres’ production operation is organized as a highly skilled job shop. With limited marketing experience, the company is unable to hire and retain highly skilled labor that their current production system requires. Endres seeks assistance from Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center (ESC) in two key areas: marketing and operations. First, the ESC will help develop and execute a focused marketing plan for the new wardrobe product. Second, the ESC will help reorganize and enhance the company’s production operations with automation and non-value-added time elimination. We anticipate these changes will increase production efficiencies of both custom and standardized lines of business with less skilled labor.