Johnson Carbide Products

Success with The Center

JOHNSON CARBIDE PRODUCTS: Visual Management Reduces Waste in Value Stream

The Center has been instrumental in helping us implement visual management tools that have boosted our productivity immensely.
-- John Jacob, Director of Operations

Johnson Carbide Products (JCP) LLC ( got their start in 1953 when Frederick E. Johnson started making special carbide tools in his garage. Now under the direction of an energetic and talented fourth generation ownership group, JCP designs and manufactures custom carbide cutting tools. JCP is focused on providing application-specific solutions for hole making and other material removal challenges. JCP's cutting tools have a reputation of handling tight tolerance or trickier special designs that most other special houses turn away from. JCP employs 40 at their Saginaw, Mich., facility.


Following increased sales demand, JCP increased production activity. However, the systems for managing workloads in the past were no longer sufficient. The production process did not clearly define the production priorities and, as a result, orders were rushed to meet looming deadlines. This rushing resulted in schedule bumping and risked making other orders late.


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With the help of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center) – Northeast, JCP was able to gather important information for their production staff, which enabled them to clearly see which orders needed to be processed first in order to remain on time. Value Stream Maps were employed to visualize the process and identify areas of improvement. The Center and JCP then worked together to reduce waste from their value stream, resulting in great improvements in on-time delivery, quality and efficiency.


  • New Sales: $450,000
  • New Investment: $37,500
  • Jobs Created: 4