Antrim Machine Products

Success with The Center

ANTRIM MACHINE PRODUCTS: Applying Lean Methods To Get Real Results

Since finishing the Lean Practitioner course, Antrim Machine has been very efficient in identifying and resolving bottlenecks through more involved and streamlined Kanban procedures. Since the slowdown caused by COVID-19, these applications also allowed Antrim Machine to quickly make effective changes to remain operational with minimum employee layoffs.
-- Jacob Kelly, Plant Manager

Antrim Machine Products ( is a machine part manufacturer specializing in short run to production manufacturing. Founded in Mancelona, Mich., in 1974, Antrim Machine offers CNC turning, milling, grinding, assembly, packaging and dry film lubricant using the latest in software technology and equipment. The company serves a diverse client base, including the aerospace, defense, medical and automotive industries. Led by President Gerald J. Witowski, whose father founded the company, Antrim Machine employs 21 people.


In recent years, Antrim Machine acquired a lot of new business while working through challenges, according to Jacob Kelly, Plant Manager. To learn more about the benefits and applications of Lean manufacturing, the company reached out to the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center – Northern Lower (The Center-NL) located in Traverse City.


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To continue to improve efficiencies, meet customer expectations, stay competitive and earn new business, Antrim Machine participated in a four-hour Lean overview course to understand how the core concepts could be applied to current processes.

Following this, management identified opportunities for improvement and decided to invest in The Center-NL’s Lean Manufacturing Practitioner training for both leadership and equipment operators. In this training, the team focused on equipment set-up times. They started by examining production processes and identifying common part families. By doing so, they reduced equipment set-up time by 55%. The team then applied 5S workplace organization efforts at tool assembly workstations and machining centers, resulting in further improvements to set-up times (approximately 15%) as well as reduced travel time within the shop. These improvements enabled Antrim Machine to perform more frequent changeovers, thereby reducing the product batches significantly.

Employees then implemented Kanban systems to manage in-process and finished goods inventory. The result was a drop in total inventory by 50 to 60%. The new Kanban system also was responsible for improvements to the company’s on-time delivery of products – from approximately 60% to 85% – and cut lead time for new orders in half.


  • On-time delivery of products improved approximately 25%
  • Lead times reduced by 50%
  • Total set-up time for a job reduced by up to 70% through process changes in equipment set-up and application of 5S practices