Thomas Precision lays out company-wide plan for efficiency

An MOC Success Story on Lean Transformation
June 30, 2015


In 2015 Thomas Precision Machining (TPM) secured an additional 30,000 square foot facility not far from the company's primary location in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. TPM recognized the acquisition as an ideal time to evaluate plant layout and determine the most efficient use of available space, particularly that used for its food processing equipment production line.


TPM consulted with University of Wisconsin-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC) regarding plant layout. The step proved to be the first in a Lean transformation for the company - broadening perspectives, encouraging discussions and generating ideas to create a company-wide culture of efficiency and performance.

MOC began introducing Lean concepts through "Lean 101," a one-day training for 21 TPM employees who learned the basics through simulation.

The next Lean concept, "Value Stream Mapping," was very specific to TPM. According to Jeffrey Carr, MOC Senior Management Engineer, TPM's Value Stream Map provided a clear look at the company's current state, tracked information flow and cycle times, and enabled staff to see the whole picture complete with problems and potential solutions. "Lean makes a lot of sense, and at TPM the idea had 100 percent buy-in all the way from the bottom up," said Carr. "They work as a team and are dedicated to doing plant layout right."

Three TPM employees have since completed Lean Certification through the MOC program and TPM has begun the process of reconfiguring its existing plant and additional facility with MOC guidance available as needed. MOC also recommended a new manufacturing "cell layout" which enables TPI greater flexibility while maintaining the functionality of an efficient assembly line.

Thomas Precision Grinding Plates
Thomas Precision's grinding plates are used in the food industry. Treated with food-safe, wear-resistant FortiPhy coating, they eliminate the need for in-plant sharpening.


Benefits from the application of Lean concepts are apparent at TPM:

  1. Reduced product lead time by 85 percent
  2. Eliminated late orders entirely
  3. Developed efficient facility layout requiring less space, fewer carts
  4. Improved flexibility and response
  5. Simplified scheduling






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