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WIP Reduction Yields Big Gains

With the help of: Enterprise Minnesota


Minnesota Twist Drill (MDT) is a locally owned and operated drill bit manufacturer located on the Iron Range in Chisholm, Minnesota. Since being founded in 1952, MTD has grown from a small building and six employees to a team of 115 today. 

MDT is one of four US-based major drill bit manufacturers. They make drill bits for industrial, commercial and home applications and sell their products nationally. MDT has made a name for itself by producing high quality drill bits for a variety of applications and emphasizing product quality, workmanship and customer service.

The Challenge

MDT saw a need and opportunity for significant reductions in total inventory and work in progress (WIP) moving through the operation. It was identified that even a one day reduction in WIP would yield major cost savings and output increases. 

MDT has an internal continuous improvement (CI) team, and had been making incremental improvements over the last several years, but owner Scott Allison understood the need to bring in an outside resource to be able to take an objective look at the operation and move their CI efforts forward in a big way.

Great program. Topics were tailored to our needs and were very relevant to our business. The inventory reduction training and the workflow training were the most well received areas of training and had the greatest impact to our company. Personally I very much enjoyed being involved in the peer councils.
— Scott Allison, Owner

MEP's Role

As Enterprise Minnesota, part of the MEP National Network™, came into the project with Minnesota Twist Drill, it was quickly identified that the work in progress backlog would be the best place to focus on for quick wins with significant value. Consultant Steve Haarstad took the time to understand the MDT process and customize the training provided to the MDT continuous improvement team based on their unique operation. 
Created May 6, 2021, Updated July 12, 2021