Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Amherst Machine-Creating Capacity for Growth
Amherst Machine is a family-owned custom machine shop specializing in the manufacture of metal cutting machine tools, dies, fixtures, and other specialty products. The company has 7 employees and is located in North Amherst, Massachusetts.
Amherst Machine Company partnered with MASS MEP Project Managers Richard Ayers and Steve Szydlowski to do supply chain continuous improvement work, funded by a Department of Defense grant. MASS MEP is a NIST MEP network affiliate. They began by helping Amherst’s employee team learn and apply Kaizen tools by having events in their office and lathe areas. According to the team the lathe area was cluttered and disorganized and lacked flow, this resulted in lengthy changeovers and late deliveries. Additionally the company needed to establish and standardized methods of visual management and production scheduling since the lack of these were also affecting production and delivery.
With the help of MASS MEP, many changes were implemented. A magnetic visual scheduling board, hung where everyone can see, now indicates important dates and information and where in process each job is. Amherst is using new routing sheets and has documented a standardized customer order procedure to ensure that proper documentation of mechanical and paperwork accompany each job. The team developed documentation for setup and changeover of machines. They cleaned, labeled and reorganized the lathe area to create better flow and an environment where the operators will be able to work effectively and efficiently by having improved access to tools, improved organization resulting in more efficient setup and changeovers. A system was developed after the Kaizen events to help Amherst track and sustain their improvements.
- Business has grown by 10%.
- On-time delivery improved from 75% to 98%.
- Amherst’s vendor performance rating with a DoD customer improved from 89% to 100%.
- One new job added.
- New investment of $10,000.
- Defects reduced by 12%.
“The benefits of the work that Dick (Ayers) and Steve (Szydlowski) helped us with became very evident when we looked back at the notes we took during our first meeting. We can see just how far we have come. It was really hard to begin the process. We businessmen think we know everything there is to know about our business and we certainly don’t want to spend money learning things we think we already know, but to be honest ours is a very worthwhile success story.”
James Bernotas, Owner