“It is the ingenuity of the maker which makes his work stand out.” Ora X. McClellan, Founder of Jersey Shore Awning

Jersey Shore Awning Co. got its start in 1947 when Ora X. McClellan and his wife Elysabeth founded the company and set about bringing premium brands, quality products, and unrivaled customer service to the Jersey Shore Community.  For more than 73 years, Jersey Shore Awning Co. has been designing, fabricating, and installing awnings for homeowners and businesses throughout the Jersey Shore. The Jersey Shore Awning Co.’s multi-generational family business has been proudly serving the community with quality, hands-on service, and they’ve developed a reputation at the Jersey Shore that’s recognizable and iconic. Their process for adding an awning to any residential or commercial property is easy and their team carefully handles all stages of the process, starting with design, fabrication, and culminating in the installation of premium custom awnings.

Wade McClellan, third generation CEO of Jersey Shore Awning Co., and his two brothers have been involved in the business as far back as he can remember, with Wade finally taking over in 2015 after the business restructured due to a family health situation that caused his father to step down as CEO after over three decades. “The same thing happened to both [my grandfather and my father], so that’s why we started the LEAN Process—because you can’t just work yourself to death, there has to be a smarter and more efficient way to run and grow the business,” says Wade.


After Wade’s father had to step down as CEO due to his health—an event that mirrored when Wade’s father took over in the 1980s from his grandfather and founder, Ora X. McClellan—Wade was forced to reevaluate the operation and look for areas of improvement that could increase efficiency to lessen the demand of the team and himself, without jeopardizing productivity and profits. Jersey Shore Awning needed to continue keeping up with demand, but not at the cost of its team members and his family—and that’s where the conversation for Kaizen Training began.

Wade detailed how the business functioned prior to taking over as CEO, saying, “We were doing a lot of stuff right, but you miss certain things—like with your family and kids—when you work like that and take the initiative to handle a lot of the day-to-day yourself and wear every hat, which a lot of small business owners end up doing, and they don’t realize so much of their profits due to easily fixable mistakes and better processes.”

Under Wade’s leadership, Jersey Shore Awning took the first step toward exploring LEAN and he invested in new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software—which provides integrated, data-driven software that helps businesses manage, track, and store information related to current and potential customers—and for about 6 months leading up to working with NJMEP, Jersey Shore Awning started to get a handle on a rough blueprint of how to optimize their operation. They weren’t sure what next step to take and were encouraged by another ‘MADE in new Jersey’ manufacturer to connect with NJMEP. 


Kaizen means improvement. Moreover, it means continuing improvement in working life. When applied to the workplace Kaizen means continuing improvement involving everyone—starting with production workers and continuing up through the chain of command.

Prior to engaging with NJMEP, Wade had no idea MEP’s existed. He was looking at ways to maximize his ROI, rather than just hustling more and more at the expense of his health, time, and business.“I knew there were plenty of loose-ends here and there,” he says, “and the NJMEP Kaizen training program gave us a bird’s eye view [of our operation], rather than just hacking our way through the woods.”

Wade details what it was like working with NJMEP’s Kaizen training resource saying, “He came in, we did the LEAN/Kaizen training, with the production team—ended up working with the installer team later—and the buy-in from the team was really good from the get-go. NJMEP’s expert was able to breakthrough to the workers and make training accessible.”

The Kaizen Training Program included a total of 24 hours of LEAN training, broken up over the course of three days, totaling 8 hours of training per day. The first day began with assessing the current standing of the organization’s lean practices, and then provided a general overview of lean principles. Next, training was provided to staff on how to create a process map as well as delivering in-depth explanation of 5S and how to identify the correct metrics to monitor. Finally, visual management, flow, and Kanban training was delivered to the participating teams.

The following provides an overview of how the training was delivered:

Kaizen Training Program — 24 Hours Total

Phase I – Assessment and General Lean Overview (8 Hrs)

  • Team Overview of Lean Practices and Procedures
  • Process Mapping and Process flow

Phase II – Process Mapping Change Implementation and Metrics (8 Hrs)

  • Training on Process Mapping Changes
  • Overview of Lean 5S and Placing Metrics

Phase III – Implementation of Kaizen Training (8 Hrs)

  • Visual Management, Flow, and Kanban


The following results were cited as a direct result of engaging with NJMEP 12-18 months following the conclusion of the project outlined above:

  • New Sales: $171, 512
  • Cost Savings: $53,000
  • Savings on Investments: $50,000
  • New Products & Processes: $20,000

Wade and the Jersey Shore Awning Team set themselves apart by evolving their production methods to make their existing processes more streamlined, making better, more efficient use of their manpower—to do more with less.

“I would one hundred percent recommend working with NJMEP. What it really did in its most base form— it got me off the proverbial treadmill—so now I can actually sit in my office and do air-traffic control, and actually run the business. If we’re going to grow, being on the production line for me is a waste of the company’s resources. This project taught us how to keep more of the money coming in. I still work too much, I’m in here every day, but now I have time to sit and do what I need to from a managerial and lifestyle standpoint.””

Wade McClellan, third generation CEO of Jersey Shore Awning Co

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