Clinkenbeard For their dedication to quality, speed and continuous improvement, Clinkenbeard was named 2015 Plant of the Year. A short drive from Chicago, past farms and outlet malls, in an unassuming stretch past Route 20, Boeing Drive and Research Parkway, will take you to Clinkenbeard, in Rockford, IL. The 38,000 square foot location produces high-technology parts for the aero-space industry, as well as for the trucking, auto racing, recreational, agriculture, and industrial markets. The company was founded in 1966 and originally made aerospace patterns. From there, they later expanded into aerospace parts and heavy duty trucks. Along the way, the company acquired new management and new customers. Today, the company tracks how each order was completed and how much money is made-and shares this information with the staff. Managers track the profit margins and status of each job and post the information for employees to see. This offers a sense of confidence in their work, and in the health of the business, allowing them to judge how the organization is doing. (Employees at another facility once told me that they only knew if the company was doing well if the boss bought a new car.) In addition to this revitalization process, the company also added an additional one-third of the staff in the past two years. Quality Manager Karen Spencer was one of these new hires. The company used to have one part-time quality staff member- now they have three full time. Kevin Knight, the manufacturing engineering manager, has witnessed many changes at the company in his 16 years here. "If I had to pick one thing that has improved quality, I would say the daily meetings," Knight says. These short, sometimes five-minute meetings, bring everyone up to date on what's happening. If something does go wrong, Spencer said the goal is to "Fix the problem, not the blame." This way, if operators see an issue they won't be tempted to hide the problems. For companies looking to improve quality, Knight said it was important to pace yourself and not try to do everything overnight. Spencer said that planning for a year, and doing several improvement events a month was a good strategy. With the changes at the company, on-time delivery dramatically improved- from around 10-15% to more like 90%, and would be higher if the company didn't do so many rush orders for customers. General Manager Steve Helfer also attributed success to the staff: "It's the people, not the machinery." TQS Plant of the Year At a Glance Clinkenbeard Rockford, IL 30 employees 38,000 square footage Established in 1966 AS9100 Revision C and ISO 9001:2008 certified. Part of the M2M Group of companies including: • Mica Tool & Manufacturing • Tri Aerospace • M2M Machining • Atlantic Precision Inc. MANAGEMENT TEAM Chuck Madore, CEO M2M Group Steve Helfer, General Manager Reg Gustafson, VP Business Development Jim Clark, Senior Program Manager Matt Gustafson, Technical Program Mgr. Karen Spencer, Quality Manager Kevin Knight, Manufacturing Eng. Manager Trent Janssen, Tooling Design Manager
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