Townsend Machine, a precision machine shop supplying aerospace, waste water treatment, plumbing fixture and other industrial manufacturing customers, was founded in 1962 as a technical manufacturing company. Located in Chesterfield, New Jersey, Townsend is owned and operated by Bart Townsend Jr., whose father started the company and is still active in the business.
Two customers accounted for over half of Townsend’s annual sales volume. Sales had remained relatively level although two shifts became one. Job runs had gradually become shorter, and set up represented a larger proportion of total job time than in the past. Quoting responsibility was moved to the shop foreman, with management signing off to avoid production issues. Townsend utilizes a manufacturing software program for most of their functional requirements, including quoting, production reporting and costing. Some jobs still did not maintain projected margins, even the repeat jobs. Although variations in job outcomes were investigated, Townsend did not document the reasons. As an indirect supplier to Tier 1 aerospace manufacturers, Townsend’s clients were looking for vendors with AS9100 registration.
Mr. Townsend was faced with multiple challenges so when he received a call from NJMEP, he scheduled a meeting to discuss how the MEP could help him. Townsend had previously received a Lean Assessment in 2003 and an Executive Summary in 2009 from NJMEP so was very happy to get the call.
Working closely together, a plan was enacted that would address the challenges:
Increasing sales so that most of all the eggs are not in two baskets, reducing set-up times to improve profit margins, implementing means to avoid replicating production problems and becoming AS9100 registered.
The process required to become AS9100 registered would address many of the challenges Townsend faced as well being a useful marketing tool for expanding the customer base.
Training of the workforce was essential. NJMEP pointed out that Townsend was a great candidate for securing a New Jersey Department of Labor Customized Training Grant. The grant would provide financial assistance to deliver the training that would position Townsend as a top-tier supplier.
Between November 2009 and January 2011 Townsend’s workforce received training in ISO Quality Systems, Lean methodologies: value stream mapping, 5S Systems and Implementing Quick Change Over and Marketing Operations i.e., developing a sales and marketing plan. The training prepared them for AS 9100 registration. Townsend’s internal auditors received ASQ certificates as certified AS-9100 Internal Auditors.
As a result of implementing Lean methodologies, Townsend Machine is now a registered AS9100 machine shop and is ISO 9001:2008 certified, which helped the company retain 1M in sales that would have been lost. It also helped them achieve a cost savings of $50,000. According to Dwayne Patterson, Vice President, Townsend Machine, “Thanks to the NJMEP, we were able to improve our on-time performance and fully integrate our quality program throughout the shop.”
The implementation of the Quality standards and new sales and marketing strategies contributed to an increase in sales of $100,000 and required Townsend to hire five new employees.
Townsend Machine continued to work with NJMEP through a second NJDOL grant that funded a program to further develop lean manufacturing methodologies and organizational techniques.
“Manufacturing is changing at a rapid pace. What worked last year may not work next year so it¹s critical that manufacturers stay current. Our work with NJMEP has enabled us to remain competitive domestically and though our AS 9100 Registration & ISO 9001 certification sell to global markets. Townsend will continue to adapt to the changes that occur and look to NJMEP for assistance to remain competitive,” Bart Townsend, VP.
Townsend Machine is a participant in NJMEP’s Made in New Jersey program. Click here to view their profile!