- California Assembly District CA12 – Nancy Pelosi
- California Senate District SD11 – Scott Wiener
- Service Provider: The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence (dba Manex), San Ramon, CA
Priority Architectural Graphics (PAG) is an Asian American woman-owned business. Founded in 1995 by owner Juliana Choy Sommer, PAG’s roots were in design and production of custom engraving for local businesses. PAG is now San Francisco’s leader in exterior and interior architectural signage and graphics.
With over 500 clients spanning across the public and private sector in housing, government, transportation, education, healthcare, and retail, PAG streamlines the design, production, and installation process for signage. The team at PAG leverages their deep experience and strong relationships with certification agencies and union installers to overdeliver for its clients and continues a strong tradition of innovation in both sign fabrication techniques and client-company real-time collaboration.
In 2018, the company was recognized by State Senator Scott Wiener as San Francisco’s awardee for California Small Business Day 2018. In 2020, PAG was also honored by the San Francisco Business Times on its Fast 100 List as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the Bay Area. In April 2021, PAG was awarded Minority Enterprise Business of the Year by ASIAN, Inc.
Challenge: Manage Business Acquisition and Integration
After the success of the previous year’s process improvements with Manex, PAG purchased VKK, a competitor’s shop, doubling their manufacturing capacity. PAG is strategically integrating the two entities into a single company and working closely with Manex on these integration activities, including building skills across the organization to enable capacity growth across sales, estimating, project management, operations, and installation.
Solution: Employ Risk Assessment, Acquisition Integration, and Operational Processes
Manex recommended a four-pronged approach to solve PAG’s integration challenges:
- A risk assessment of the existing manufacturing equipment and layout at the VKK facility as well as at the PAG facility to determine risks and solutions.
- Utilize Manex’s expertise in manufacturing scaling and acquisition integration activities to identify and resolve risks in a more timely fashion. This decreased costs in several ways:
- Faster ramp-up of operational capacity
- Faster knowledge transfer and integration
- Faster cause analysis for operational issues and subsequent remediation
- Avoidance of quality issues
- More on-time deliveries
- Kaizen methods training in Spanish for newly acquired staff.
- An assessment of Corebridge, to identify opportunities for improvement regarding the setup of product costing through proposal generation.
Impact: SBTAEP Funded-Training Helped Company Align Staff, Ramp Up Quickly After Acquisition
PAG is a small business, and the acquisition of another small business needed to pay off quickly. There is a short on-ramp to get the two businesses integrated and working as one. With help from Manex, PAG was able to keep this on-ramp period short, which allowed PAG to begin recouping costs quickly. The newly acquired staff did not have any previous Lean or Kaizen training and needed to be brought up to speed quickly. It would have taken many months to explain the Kaizen process to the new staff, for which PAG did not have time, and Manex was able to extend PAG’s culture of using Kaizen methods for team problem solving to the new team members.
As a result of the SBTAEP program and the strategies implemented by Manex, PAG continues to align their goals to improve, grow, and support customers and with the faster integration of the two companies, PAG expects an increase in sales of $3mm and retained sales of $5mm in the coming year.