Manufacturing Today - May/June 2017 - 102
KWS Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
ing that this has enabled KWS to gain
market share. "We could deliver and
our competitors couldn't deliver."
kws is the only conveyor
manufacturer of its kind to
have iso 9001:2015 certification.
"That drove the industrial economy
down in the United States," he recalls,
adding that the company's management structure allowed it to cope.
"That's one of the beauties of being
a privately held company," Mecke says.
"We can make decisions that would go
against what others normally would be
doing. We don't have a board of directors telling us, 'You have to cut 25 percent of our workforce.'"
But as many competitors trimmed
their workforces, KWS hired more
people. "We also wanted to shorten
our delivery times," he recalls, ex102
manufacturing-today.com MAY/JUNE 2017
plaining that the company invested in
continuous improvement initiatives
and new equipment.
This included implementing lean
manufacturing techniques that took
out as much labor as possible and
shortened lead times. "We thrived in
the recession," he says, noting that
KWS took the same approach as the
industrial economy underwent a
downturn in the last two years.
"We spent quite a bit on improvements and new machines because we
know the industrial economy is going to come back," Mecke says, not-
When KWS adds new equipment to
its operation, it determines where it
has the greatest needs and documents
them in its ISO program.
"That's what a quality program
does," Mecke says. "It helps you identify your weak links."
One recent example, he notes, was
when KWS found areas of the plant
that were the cause of late deliveries.
"It was affecting shipments to our
customers," he recalls, adding that
KWS started a continuous improvement project to evaluate the situation.
Once the company discovered it
was a production-related issue, it
established the goal of doubling its
production with new equipment that
it built on its own. "A lot of times, we
build our own machines to make our
own products," Mecke says.
KWS sought to boost its production and efficiency by adding two
high-definition plasma-burn tables
for cutting parts. With the equipment,
"You can take a plate and burn out different designs," he says, noting that
the upgrade should carry KWS for the
next six years.
KWS' focus on quality has earned it
ISO 9001:2015 certification. "We're
the only conveyor manufacturer of
our type that's certified to that standard," Mecke says. "It's a very rigid
The company maintains high quality by following the ISO processes and
completing thorough in-process inspections and final inspections at the
time of shipment or completion of the
product. This level of focus helps keep