Manufacturing Today - May/June 2017 - 103
KWS Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
KWS' customers loyal, even when its prices are sometimes higher than its competitors.
"We're not known to be to be the low price guy in our
marketplace," he admits. "We're known to be the best
quality manufacturer in our market."
KWS continues to apply lean manufacturing practices to
its work. This includes the reduction of queue times in its
manufacturing and engineering processes, Mecke says.
"Typically, in a normal process, the job may be sitting
more than it gets worked on," he admits. "So you want
to eliminate those queue times and any unwanted or
unneeded step in the process."
KWS also has arranged its machines so that its products move from one machine to another. "It doesn't go
back and forth," Mecke says.
The company also has focused on the labor side by reducing the amount of handling on its floor. "If someone
has to pick an item out of a basket five times, you're wasting time by putting it in the basket five times," he says.
Lean also helps the company maintain low inventory.
"We're able to cut delivery times more than half so we
don't [have] a lot of finished goods on hand," Mecke says.
"We keep raw materials on hand, but not finished goods."
KWS also primarily builds products to order, he notes.
"In a sense, we have an infinite amount of inventory because we can continue to build it to sell it again in a short
period of time," Mecke says.
Riding the Upswing
KWS Manufacturing Co. serves the housing industry, which is again
starting to pick up, President and CEO Bill Mecke says. Thanks
to this increase, there is an increased need for raw materials for
cement, which is good news for KWS.
"Those are all conveyed with our equipment," Mecke says. "The
wood products also are conveyed with all our different types of conveyors, even the bulk materials that go into making roofing shingles."
that KWS wants to help its team succeed both in and outside of work. "We want them to live happy, fulfilled lives
and take care of their families."
KWS has "grand plans" to keep growing, Mecke says.
"There's still a fair amount of market share that we can
gain," he says.
"We're going to do it with the plan we have in place,
which is providing the highest quality product with the
best service and delivery," he says. "The pricing becomes
secondary if you take care of those three." mt
KWS has strong partnerships with its suppliers, Mecke
says. "We're not here to beat them up on price every day,"
he says, noting that they often respond quickly when the
These include Motion Industries Inc., a provider of industrial parts. "We've basically increased our purchases
from them by a factor of 10 over the last three years," he
says. "We've eliminated some of the other suppliers because Motion has done such a good job."
Mecke is proud of KWS' staff. "We have a good, related group of people, whether it's in sales, engineering or
manufacturing," he says, noting that some employees
have been with KWS for more than 40 years.
"I know everybody in the whole company so there's a
personal relationship with everybody," he says, noting
MAY/JUNE 2017 manufacturing-today.com