Continuous Improvement

Continuous Improvement Journey

G&G Machine started the Continuous Improvement journey in 2007 when we realized we were out of space. The obvious answer seemed to be to build a bigger shop. A friend from another machine shop recommended Wisconsin Manufacturer's Extension Partnership (WMEP), so we called them in to help us with our new plant layout.

WMEP explained how they could help us with the plant layout, and also about Lean Manufacturing and 5S Workplace Organization. After several months of thinking we were already pretty "lean" and organized, we decided to take WMEP up on increasing our capacity with 5S implementation. With WMEP's guidance, our guys dug in and really embraced 5S. There were a few guys who took a little longer to catch on to our new way of doing things, but eventually even the most diehard "packrats" were converted. At the end of the day, we threw out 150 tons of material we didn't need, found room to add a weld shop and install larger, more efficient machines in space we didn't know we had.

Once we were past the initial 5S push, we had a realization that if 5S had this big of an impact on G&G, how much more could we improve by implementing other Lean tools? How much better could we serve our customers with even shorter lead-times and greater flexibility? We wanted to see just how much we could wring out of our current shop before building a new one. So, we put the bigger plant on the back burner again and got serious about Lean.

The first thing we did was to look at all of the parts we make for the various customers and group them into product families. Then we conducted Value Stream Maps (VSM) on two of our product families. A list of improvement ideas came out of each VSM, resulting in about a 50% reduction in lead-time and similar reduction in Work in Process (WIP) inventory. One of the improvement ideas from the VSM was to implement a Pull / Kanban system to keep material flowing through the shop and minimize WIP.

Around the same time, we implemented Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) measures, and we realized how big of a gap we had between the amount of time our machines were available to run and the amount of time they were actually producing quality parts. If spindles aren't turning, we aren't making money. Another list of improvement opportunities presented itself to be worked on.

We've also implemented a number of Lean Office improvements, including improved tools for quoting, scheduling, and purchasing, and we're conducting process maps on all of our business processes, all in preparation for ISO 9001 certification. This all means better quality, shorter and more predictable lead-times, and fewer headaches for our customers.

"They're investing in equipment. They're investing in people. They're going to be around for a long time. They've got a very bright future."
~ Dick Welsch, WMEP Manufacturing Specialist
"It wasn't easy to start; nobody likes to change. Now, everybody has embraced change. We like to look at pictures of how things were; it's amazing how much has changed. People are very proud of the changes. The biggest success in Continuous Improvement has been bringing people together, to think alike, to embrace a common vision. We're not worrying about all the things going on around us, we're looking ahead."
~ Randy Griesbach, CEO
"In the beginning, it was hard to get started, like anything starting out. It was hard to see how we could spend hours cleaning and still make money. But it's paid off because we can get jobs done faster; we can find things quicker. The shop looks better too, and that helps everyone's attitude."
~ Jamie Griesbach, Quoting / Purchasing
"After Mark and Randy met with WMEP, they realized the potential they could squeeze out of this facility, and we really embraced 5S and the whole Lean Manufacturing program. People here embrace change. Change is never easy at first, but it's pretty amazing to see the results. Its affected people's jobs in a very positive way; 100% success."
~ Dan Schwalenberg, Scheduling / Purchasing
"Lean has helped us realize we needed more structure, so we've been putting together a support team, people to do quoting, scheduling, purchasing; some of the things I've been doing myself so I can be more effective. Now we've hired a Continuous Improvement Coordinator to take us even further."
~ Randy Griesbach, CEO

Our Location

G&G Machine, Inc.

1801 Progress Way,

Kaukauna, WI 54130

Phone. 920-766-9788

Fax. 920-766-7752


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