Atlantic Constructors, Inc. (ACI) Case Study


Based in Richmond, Virginia, Atlantic Constructors, Incorporated (ACI) is the region’s leading mechanical and industrial contractor. In February 2003, two of Richmond’s finest industrial/commercial contractors (Atlantic Industrial Constructors, Inc. and Hungerford Mechanical Corporation) combined to form ACI. The company now has over seven hundred employees in Richmond, as well as satellite offices in Newport News, Roanoke, and Chesapeake, Virginia. ACI provides a variety of high-quality design, fabrication, installation, and maintenance solutions to serve the industrial, healthcare, laboratory, government/public, educational, and office markets.

The Challenge

ACI’s director of training understood that a greater awareness and application of Lean concepts and tools would improve productivity and build capacity in the plant. A year before retiring, the director contacted GENEDGE, part of the MEP National Network, with a request for Lean awareness training for ACI management and operations personnel. ACI hired an engineering graduate from Virginia Tech to become a Lean Champion for the company following the training director’s retirement, and asked GENEDGE to provide Lean mentoring for the new hire.

MEP’s Role

GENEDGE delivered a series of workshops and projects to ACI over a two-year period, including three Job Shop Lean workshops, a 5S Workplace Organization workshop (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain), a Pre-Kaizen and Kaizen event focused on the Pipe Shop, Lean awareness training for the Pipe Shop employees, a Kaizen event focused on a future plant addition, and Lean mentoring for the newly hired Lean Champion. The improvements had a significant financial impact, helping ACI to retain and add jobs in the plant.

Prior to the engagement with GENEDGE, ACI’s Pipe Shop was struggling to keep up with ever-increasing output demands from the company’s field sites. A GENEDGE Project Manager worked with the Lean Champion to conduct several events to find opportunities for improvement, including Value Stream Mapping and multiple Kaizens, along with the basics of Lean training. During this time, ACI realized a need for additional work space, even with positive results from the Lean activities. The company needed to expand the in-plant Plumbing Shop and Paint Shop to allow for better storage to keep up with demand. The GENEDGE project manager became an active team member in planning the site expansion, making sure to include the Lean concepts of waste reduction, flexibility, standard workplace design, and optimal flow.


Realized close to $1M in total dollar impact ($700,000 Kaizen pre-event; $295,000 Lean mentoring)
Created or retained 10 jobs
Increased capacity and efficiency of the Pipe Shop
Expanded plant to create additional storage space