Success Story

Portland Pet Food Company


Food & Beverage


Portland, Oregon

Date Founded


Number of Employees



In 2014, Rosie, Kate’s 14-year-old Poodle, lost her appetite and her health declined. Determined to find something healthy that Rosie would love, Kate began cooking meals for her at home. She used locally-sourced, natural ingredients, and Rosie loved it. She regained her appetite and stayed strong for two and a half more years, living to 16 ½ years old! Just like that, Portland Pet Food Company (PPFC) was born.

Over the last three years, Portland Pet Food Company has experienced substantial growth and is projected to grow to double its’ revenue in 2022. Today, they help dogs thrive with the same nutritious, human-grade, meals and treats that were formulated in Kate’s kitchen years ago, including her focus on fresh, local ingredients and sustainability. Cat meals are planned to launch in the Summer of 2022.



All Jobs

New Sales & Cost Savings

Due to Increased Capacity

Skilled-Up Staff

Lean Fundamentals Training

The Situation

Growth brings challenges. Portland Pet Food Company reached out to OMEP to improve processes to increase efficiency in their manufacturing of biscuit products. Additionally, the PPFC team needed to reduce overall costs in preparation to move to their new facility. They wanted OMEP’s support in facility layout, setup process flow to ensure maximum effectiveness and eliminate waste or bottlenecks. Ultimately, they wished to achieve manufacturing operational excellence. This is defined as, “a sequence of decisions that, over time, enables a business to achieve the desired manufacturing structure, infrastructure, and set of specific capabilities.”

The Solution

To help PPFC meet their challenges OMEP drew on a Lean Continuous Improvement (CI) transformational philosophy. They began with a current-state Value Stream Mapping (VSM) process. The VSM process is best for dialing in process and data flow to strip out as many non-value-added activities (NVA) as possible. As a result of the VSM, clarity was gained on areas where negative impacts from the eight forms of waste (as defined in lean manufacturing) were occurring.

In Lean manufacturing, wastes are known as Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over-production, Over-processing, Defects, and the Under-utilization of talent. Each of these negatively impacts manufacturing businesses. After identifying areas where waste was present, OMEP utilized the VSM to create an improvement plan with specific strategies and implementation structures necessary to achieve PPFC’s desired future state. The team was trained in lean fundamentals, empowering them to identify wastes in daily activities, problem solve and implement solutions.

One area of focus for improvement was also inventory control in the new space. The team developed standard work for fulfillment and packaging, establishing targets vs actuals, and daily standup meetings.  Visual scheduling helped to improve efficiency.


The Results

By improving flow & eliminating waste PPFC experienced significant cost savings due to improved productivity. New capacity has created space that is filling with new sales. The team retained all jobs. Most importantly, Portland Pet Food Company’s long-term manufacturing developments in their new facility are congruent with their overall business strategy and competitive priorities. The team is skilled in lean fundamentals and can put continuous improvement practices into action on a daily basis to make decisions that improve effectiveness, leading to greater capacity and profitability

The entire team benefited from working with OMEP. The implementation of daily “huddles” across several divisions has been instrumental in our efficiency and knowledge of production needs each day so we can meet our goals. The visual scheduling, standard operational procedures and implementation of LEAN practices has been instrumental in us managing rapid growth.

Kate McCarron

Top Dog