Case Study #3

How LEAN Manufacturing Can Transform Your Customer Service and Working Capital

Roll Rite


Aftermarket Auto/Truck Parts
Niche Manufacturing


Fund I




Gladwin, MI



Company Overview

Roll-Rite is an industry-leading provider of innovative aftermarket safety products that protect truck cargo, reduce risks to drivers and roadways, and improve fleet efficacies. Roll-Rite is the premier manufacturer of a complete line of patented, automated and semi-automated tarping systems, motors, controls, and tarps for open body dump trucks, open top trailers, and detachable containers used in the agriculture, construction, municipal, and waste and recycling markets.


Why Heartwood Partners?

Roll-Rite’s management team chose Heartwood Partners over other buyers because of our lower-debt, cash-yielding approach. They believed our structure would provide them a strong platform from which to grow the business and the opportunity to participate in future cash distributions and equity value creation.   As a result of the transaction, management became meaningful owners in the business through both cash investments and an option-like plan developed by Heartwood Partners. Many managers at Roll-Rite experienced substantial increases to their annual incomes as a result of the cash they earned from their equity units in addition to their normal base and bonus plans.


Heartwood Partners Added Value

During Heartwood Partners’ ownership, Roll-Rite invested significantly in facilities, product expansions, personnel, and two strategic add-on acquisitions. To further support management, Heartwood Partners added an experienced board member who was the former CEO of Dayton Parts (a successful Heartwood Partners investment sold in 2012). Heartwood Partners initiated the adoption of lean manufacturing which resulted in materially improving inventory turns, reducing manufacturing space needs, and meaningfully improving turnaround of customer orders. As a result of these and other initiatives, management was able to exceed Roll-Rite’s growth goals during Heartwood Partners’ ownership.