One of the unique things about The C.A. Lawton Co. is that our foundry, pattern shop, and machine shop are all located on one integrated campus. This enables us to streamline our casting process from beginning to end, which ultimately benefits our customers.
Keith Heimann has been the machine shop supervisor at Lawton for a year and a half. With 20 years of experience as a machinist, 3 years of prior experience as a supervisor, and 6 years of experience as a manufacturing engineer, he can truly attest to what a difference it makes to have all parts of the process in one location.
According to Keith, the benefits begin during the quoting process. Having an integrated campus allows everyone involved to meet in one room to discuss the project. During this time, everyone has an opportunity to ask questions and make clarifications up front. This eliminates the need for excessive emails and phone calls later on. Last year, members from each team participated in kaizen to ensure that the quoting process is as efficient as possible. Participating in the kaizen, and carrying out the results were both made simpler because everyone involved worked at the same location.
As you can see, one of the greatest benefits of Lawton’s campus is ease of communication. The ability to meet all at once means everyone gets their information first hand instead of having information passed from one person to another. When information is passed along, time is wasted and clarity is lost. Now those are some TIMWOODS we want to avoid! By streamlining communication, Lawton is able to shorten order lead times, answer customer questions faster and maintain a more cohesive casting process.
Another benefit of the integrated campus is the ability to quickly address changes and assess progress. Keith can be there in person as designs for a part are being drawn up to further ensure things are running smoothly and that there are no problems. Also at this time, new questions can be addressed and answered to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Additionally, if a problem arises, a customer changes something, or there are other changes to the order, everyone is able to easily reconvene to discuss the updates and adjust the plan of action. This means that, even when things are changing, everyone remains on the same page. Also, collaborating allows more minds to come together in a smaller amount of time to find the best possible solution to any problem. This makes our customers feel assured that their needs will be met and understood by everyone.
Lastly, one of the greatest benefits of all is cost-effectiveness. Through interdepartmental communication, we are able to eliminate waste. For example, Keith Heimann will communicate with the pattern shop and foundry to ensure no unnecessary material is used. The goal of this is to save on material and reduce machining time as much as possible in order to reduce casting lead time.
Since we began our continuous improvement journey at Lawton, we have been focused on becoming a better manufacturer in every aspect of our operations. Having an integrated campus is one of The C.A. Lawton Co.’s greatest attributes as a manufacturer because it creates time, money, communication, and accountability benefits that we can pass along to our customers.