Lean strategy increases PMI’s throughput and capacity

An MOC Success Story on Process Improvement
PMI’s 130,000 sq. ft. processing facility features state-of-the-art automation and current technologies in laser and turret short-run fabrication, coil-fed press lines and robotic welding.
January 23, 2018


Processed Metals Innovators (PMI) is a fully integrated steel fabrication facility that provides high-quality, low-cost solutions for customers by combining steel processing, stamping, and fabrication/assembly under one roof. In the aftermath of aggressive growth, the company recognized the need for further structure, effective inventory management, and improved efficiency throughout its operations.


PMI contracted UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC) to help them develop a culture of Lean practices. MOC project managers Ted Theyerl and Brad Nasset identified a Dept. of Defense Direct Supplier Assistance Grant to help fund part of the project. MOC then worked with PMI staff at all levels to identify opportunities for continuous improvement, develop a plan to increase overall efficiency and improve customer service, and provide coaching and support to reach PMI’s goals.

With Lean insight from workshops by Nasset and Theyerl, PMI staff have engaged in the process and now consistently apply Lean strategies throughout the operation. Their sharpened awareness keeps the Lean momentum rolling at PMI as they continually find more opportunities to apply what they’ve learned. “Now we’re so much better,” observes PMI President Chris Conard, noting the impressive volume of work PMI handles efficiently. “The structure connects us and Lean certainly helps us get through it.”




In addition to significant improvements in employee communication, morale, and engagement, Processed Metals Innovators cites impacts including:

  • 20% increase in production capacity.
  • $80,000 annual cost savings on pilot welding project.
  • 20 hours monthly production time saved on pilot welding project.

Student-built Buzz Digital simulation has potential to help manufacturers nationwide

The Manufacturing Outreach Center at UW-Stout is focused on helping small manufacturers around the region improve their operations and become more successful.
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