G.S. PRECISION—CASE STUDY
G.S. Precision Inc. is a family owned business which was founded in Wilmington, VT in 1958 and moved to its current headquarters location in Brattleboro, VT in 1985.  G.S. Precision has grown to a total of three facilities in North America. With an eye toward becoming a leader in the precision machining field, the company has grown, expanding its capabilities for manufacturing parts for a wide range of industries requiring high precision machining.  

GSP is a leader in the manufacturing of high-precision machined components and sub-assemblies for the aircraft engine, aerospace, medical, fiber-optic, automotive, specialty bearing, and other commercial industries. With an experienced team of 375 employees, they are experts in machining a diversity of materials; from nickel based aircraft alloys and titanium to stainless steels and aluminum. Beyond their ISO 9001:2000 and AS 9100 certifications, they have a reputation for outstanding quality and value in their industry.

Several years ago, G.S. Precision ownership and leadership teams understood that the industry marketplace was growing at a rapid pace and they needed to take action and remain an active, strong player in their arena. GSP determined that their Technology / Continuous Improvement efforts were key to support rapid growth. In 2010, GSP hired a Lean Coordinator and at the same time started a long term joint relationship with VMEC.

G.S. Precision and VMEC consulted together on multiple occasions to layout a direction before beginning the actual on-site project work, the main goal being to create a strong base at GSP for long term growth. Training the workforce in Lean 101 and 5S began, followed by instruction in and execution of a major 5S project.  Other trainings undertaken and completed were two Value Stream Mapping sessions and a Set-Up Reduction project.

GSP has completed or are currently engaged in a total of twelve 5S trainings and projects. These efforts have reduced unnecessary items by over 60% for the events on the plant floor and only needed items have been set in place.  Forty two employees from managers to manufacturing employees support weekly 5S audit programs to sustain efforts implemented.  GSP has trained and engaged 65-70% of its workforce in 5S efforts at two Brattleboro locations alone. GSP has instituted an Employee Idea Program that encourages all employees to generate key small tasks that will improve productivity, safety, operator motion, cost and quality.

Key results from efforts include a Lean 5S / Flow improvement for needed Comparator and Tool scopes. The team determined wasted walk, motion and wait times per day. After the initial analysis, current state cost showed a high total labor cost per year.  The team researched and implemented new equipment for the area. Future state analysis cut the initial cost to more than half, as well as a 50% reduction in steps and over 50% reduction in labor cost.  

Similar 5S projects in other plants showed by reducing walk/ wait time, simply by moving gauging and tooling to point-of-use. The result was a cost savings of several thousand dollars per year. GSP formed another team to work jointly with manufacturing, safety and Simple Green products to create four centrally located cleaning stations in the facility.  This allowed employee’s one stop for mop water, spray bottle solution and the vacuum system to remove waste.  These efforts reduced walk/ wait time, operator motion, material and inventory cost in the plants, not to mention tens of thousands of dollars in total savings.  GSP estimates a six figure savings from basic Lean projects and 5S execution based on tool availability at point-of-use, as well as opening of aisle and work space.

The training and culture growth has been “Priceless” in the words of Shannon Covey, Lean Manufacturing Coordinator.  “Our relationship with VMEC has been critical to our growth. GSP has worked hard with support from VMEC to build our knowledge base and greatly improve our culture. Consultants from VMEC have gone out of their way to change direction as our company transformed. Our plant has become much more efficient, with waste reduction efforts and Lean thinking. Our plant is safer, more organized and more efficient through 5S/ Lean efforts.  GSP looks forward to a continued relationship with VMEC.”