Bay Motor Products

Success with The Center

BAY MOTOR PRODUCTS: Supporting Continuous Improvement With Lean

Without this lean training, we wouldn’t be where we are today. It’s a great program. I recommend it to anyone.
-- Andy Robitshek, President

Like many small manufacturers in northern Michigan, Bay Motor Products ( started in 1982 as a family business and remains one today. While their origin is in motors, the company has since expanded to the production of blowers and fans. Their shaded-pole AC motors are found in numerous applications, including forced airflow systems, appliances, ventilation fans and portable scientific equipment. Their fans and blowers can be found in electric heaters, fireplace inserts and many heating and cooling devices found in commercial kitchens. Bay Motor Products employs 40 at their Traverse City, Mich., facility.


Motivated by the desire to change the way of doing things at their facility, Bay Motor Products was drawn to lean. After completing a facility tour with a lean expert from Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) through the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center – Traverse City, the management team at Bay Motor Products realized how much opportunity existed with lean, ultimately deciding to introduce this methodology to the rest of their employees. Now, more than four years into their lean journey with several operational improvements completed and eight certified Lean Manufacturing Champions at their facility, Bay Motor Products sought to continue their lean initiatives.


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Bay Motor Products returned to NMC and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center for additional lean consulting, with workers from both the office and manufacturing sides of the business involved. In addition to Lean Manufacturing Practitioner mentoring, employees also attended Lean Champion training. There, workers were asked to complete a project at the company that applied lean thinking and measured impacts. Because of the training, all employees involved received their Lean Champion certifications, with each being framed and added to the existing certifications currently hanging in their company break room.


  • After converting one cell area to the one-piece flow process, the company realized savings of $30,000 in work-in-process inventory.
  • Customer audit improved by 41% as a result of improving operations, leading to continued business.
  • Before company-wide lean processes were in place, the average lead time was eight to 10 weeks. Now, the company quotes six weeks and reports 99% on-time delivery.