Founded in 1992, J&R Machine Inc. got its start by manufacturing simple items such as bushings and pins. Over time, the company has adopted lean manufacturing and continuous improvement principles and shifted to producing more complex parts and has become a provider of a variety of value-added services. J&R Machine operates a lone facility, which totals about 30,000 square feet after a recent expansion, in the city of Shawano in Shawano County, Wisconsin. The company has about 30 employees, many of whom are under the age of 30.
After experiencing steady growth for several years, J&R Machine began experiencing a dramatic drop in business, putting the company in a precarious position and fighting to survive. A thorough examination of the company’s business model revealed that it was producing commodity items that competing manufacturers in China and elsewhere could manufacture at a much cheaper cost. Realizing it needed to go in a different direction in order to survive, J&R turned to the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership in an effort to diversify its business and make it less susceptible to low-cost competition.
Whether your business is on the brink or you’re looking to improve margins or to improve employee performance, I highly recommend the WMEP.
The WMEP assisted J&R Machine in making productivity changes on its shop floor, including implementing a more consistent manufacturing process and making equipment utilization more effective. The implementation of lean manufacturing principles enabled J&R to consolidate equipment, making room for newer technology.