GrovTec US, Inc. is a contract manufacturer of aerospace and defense parts that has a large footprint in retail firearms accessories. Based in Wood Village, Oregon, GrovTec continues to be an innovator with regards to shooting accessories, holding multiple patents on their swivels and hardware. With 27 years of experience in the shooting industry, GrovTec’s guiding principle is to focus on American-made quality while diversifying into contract machining work.
GrovTec reached out to OMEP, part of the MEP National Network™, for guidance and support improving throughput and increasing capacity as well as with embracing digital and advanced technology. When GrovTec reached out to OMEP, its quality control (QC) department was a constraint since multiple departments fed work to the QC team. An excessive amount of time was spent tracking orders, and prioritization of work was difficult. The existing layout did not accommodate the team’s needs and caused pace issues. Finally, the QC team performed many required repetitive manual tasks, which caused fatigue and burnout among employees.
Working with OMEP has been fun and successful. It is always good to get an outside perspective and we can trust in the team at OMEP to help with their expertise. Their help has pushed us to improve ourselves faster and more effectively as we are growing.
— Chris Grover, Director of Operations
OMEP analyzed the quality control area by creating a value stream map. Value stream mapping (VSM) is a diagnostic tool used to identify waste, improve flow, and ultimately improve efficiency. Insights from the VSM were pulled together to create an implementation plan detailing the improvement efforts necessary to achieve a future-state workflow with much less waste.
OMEP focused on improving the manual system and accountability structure to proactively communicate product status throughout the organization. Drawing on lean principles, the layout of not only the QC area, but also the packaging and shipping departments were evaluated and revised for better team dynamics and communication.
OMEP tested a Sawyer Cobot on-site. OMEP shared with the GrovTec team that cobots (or robots designed to work alongside human employees) do not replace operators. Instead, they work collaboratively with operators to perform dangerous or repetitive tasks, allowing operators to obtain more knowledge and develop other valuable skills.
Finally, OMEP partnered with GrovTec to evaluate their ERP system. OMEP worked with the process teams at GrovTec to map out how software is utilized in its current workflow. Using this map to identify key areas of rework, excess processing and information delays, OMEP was able to provide a critical path list of requirements to be used for software selection.
Could your company benefit from assistance with digital and advanced technologies? Connect with your local MEP Center for more information.
The Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) is the official representative of the MEP National Network in Oregon. The MEP National Network is a unique public-private partnership that helps small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy. The MEP National Network comprises the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), the 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.