Lawton locations grow together

By TJ Aaron | October 28, 2020
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The C.A. Lawton Co. is dedicated to integrating the newly acquired Minster, OH foundry.  Employees from both locations have been working meticulously to create a cohesive and seamless process from start to finish.


LEAN Consultant, Cathlin Stuntz, goes into depth about the new projects happening in Minster. “The focus was to integrate the Minster site, which is the newest addition in the iron group. Not very often, when you buy an acquisition, do you do the integration. We already started the teaming for the two groups,” Cathlin explained.

Lawton formed a kaizen group with employees from both De Pere, WI and Minster, OH sites. The group started benchmarking between the two facilities and brainstormed when issues came up. One concern encountered was the inconsistency of quote criteria. A quick solution was to create one email that receives all orders. From shared servers and document forms, we’re exploring all aspects of the company to make improvements.

Cathlin states her ideal outcome of this project, “What I love on my end is consistent rolling out of the LEAN. No matter if De Pere goes to Minster or Minster goes to De Pere, they’re all seeing the same LEAN activities. Eventually, you could work in either facility and not skip a beat.”

Process Consistency

T.J. Aaron, Machine Shop Coach, sees the main goal is for all locations to be on the same page and have the same business processes. The Minster site is learning about the De Pere operation and vice versa. Both are discovering new aspects of LEAN that the other has not explored.

T.J. comments on the importance of understanding why processes differ, “Before going there (Minster), I always thought a foundry was a foundry, and everything was the same. It’s not; it’s completely different. They cast different sizes and have different customers, so I think it’s going to be an excellent process to get each one of them integrated into other aspects.” T.J. continues, “We are learning about how our manufacturing processes are similar but completely different.”

Most importantly, the team swaps and shares best practices. While both facilities’ processes might be changing, our safety, quality, and delivery will not.

Smooth Communication

Jason Nussbaum, Pattern Engineer, has been part of the team updating the quoting and purchasing/receiving system. The common goal is to create an environment with more robust communication that allows both sites to sustain consistency. Jason and the team are looking forward to the future and the merging of these two sites.

Jason says, “What I like to see is communication growing between the two facilities. Talking about the same parts, talking about the same business processes instead of saying Minster does it one way and De Pere does it one way. Trying to bridge that gap, that’s what excites me most.”