Mid Star Lab - Continuous Improvement

Mid Star Lab Manufacturing

A Leading Producer Of Custom Foot Orthotics Increases Efficiency 


Mid Star Lab is committed to enhancing the lives of others, one step at a time. 

Mid Star Lab creates custom arch supports primarily for diabetics, children, athletes, elderly, the walking professional, and veterans.  Their team includes board certified pedorthists, orthotic fitters, shoe fitters, and technicians. All arch supports and orthotics are custom made and their experience ensures their customers will receive an excellent product to satisfy their needs.

Mid Star Lab Results

In 1998 Ron and Kari Wagner recognized a need for manufacturing custom orthotics. For years, the Wagner’s sold wholesale to podiatrists and other foot care providers throughout the Midwest. In the fall of 2011, Mid Star Lab began expanding their services to not only manufacturing the devices, but also expanded their business to include shoes. The expansion did not stop there. Mid Star Lab then began servicing their patients directly by adding certified clinicians to their staff.

The company operates five clinics in the Midwest but produces all products at their Tonganoxie, KS location.


Sadly, Ron Wagner passed away unexpectedly in 2017.  He was the Operations/Production leader.  This left Kari in a very challenging position and the business ultimately began suffering with the pandemic, a bad management hire, and no one to oversee production and processes.  Mid Star Lab was experiencing significant inefficiencies in its operation and production area.  There was wasted transportation and excess motion in the production processes, a lack of Standard Work Instructions, and inventory management challenges caused by the growth of the company. The company leaders desired to reduce waste, increase productivity, improve communication, and standardize processes through the implementation of a Continuous Improvement system.  They lacked the internal expertise to start this transformation on their own.


KMS worked with Mid Star Lab management to deliver Lean training with hands-on simulations, develop standard operating procedures, and develop an IT project plan for their custom orthotic system enhancement that will allow them to track individual orthotics through the manufacturing process.


As a result of their Lean implementation, Mid Star Lab was able to reduce employee count from 40 employees to 23 by not backfilling vacant positions and removing people who were not the right fit, yet they still increased productivity by 300%.  Better evaluation of employees and their skills, coupled with refined processes, created a culture of empowered employees.  The right people, in the right positions, doing the right things.  Shipping of product went from 6 weeks to 2-3 days. The project has dramatically impacted their bottom-line.   


"We have been able to increase productivity with less employees.  We now have the right people doing the right things.  Things are going so well, we need to continue to generate more business because we can handle our existing business so efficiently and effectively."

  Kari Wagner, CEO 

Contact KMS to talk about how Continuous Improvement can solve some of your most pressing problems, freeing you to make more.  (products and profits)