Kay Manufacturing Co.

Issue Summer 13


Since its humble beginnings as a father-and-son machine shop in 1946, Kay Manufacturing has developed into a highly capable and lean precision machining operation. The Calumet City, Ill.-based company says its facility and people have the capabilities to produce more than 30,000 high-quality components per day for its customers in the automotive, agricultural or ordnance sectors.

The company says it has become a leader in the industry through the hard work and dedication of its employees as well as a strong emphasis on lean processes. “While constantly aware of global threats and opportunities, Kay Manufacturing Co. provides value-added precision machining services of forged material to domestic automotive subassemblies on a production basis,” the company says. “Additionally, Kay Manufacturing Co. continuously develops its people and lean processes to attain our common vision.”

With its focus on lean manufacturing and continuous improvement, Kay Manufacturing says it is more than up to the task of keeping up with the ever-changing manufacturing industry. “Kay Manufacturing Co. will become an organization of processes and people that is as dynamic as the industry in which it does business,” the company says. “Furthermore, Kay Manufacturing Co. will increase its marketshare by becoming the preferred vendor to domestic subassemblies.”

Under One Roof

Kay Manufacturing says its key advantages can all be found in the same place: at its 80,000-square-foot facility. That’s because the company has strong in-house capabilities that allow it to serve customers directly and without errors. “Kay will work with [customers’] engineers to custom-design parts, build prototypes and/or modify parts for the final production process,” the company says. “Our engineering/design professionals also initiate internal improvements affecting product flow, tool life, machine and process capabilities, cycle times and error-proofing.

“Additionally, most tool and gauge design, machine rebuild, and tool cutter grinding is performed in-house,” the company adds.

The skill and expertise of its employees is the reason Kay Manufacturing has the ability to keep so much of its work in-house, and the company says it does a good job of keeping its most experienced people with the organization. “Kay Manufacturing is a lean organization with over 100 highly skilled employees,” the company says. “Our operators are trained in [statistical process control] and the latest technologies, while our management team is cross-trained in every aspect of the production process from product development through machine operation.

“Kay’s management and supervisory turnover is minimal, contributing to years of strong, stable and reliable service,” the company continues.

Lean and Mean

The company’s dedication to lean principles has been one of its defining characteristics through the years, and Kay Manufacturing says it has combined multiple concepts to create a process flow that is as efficient and effective as it can be.

“Kay Manufacturing Co. has spent years practicing disciplines such as synchronous, lean manufacturing and kaizen into all of its processes,” the company explains. “We organize all of our processes into cellular layouts with a one-piece flow design. [This] effectively reduces waste [and] non-value-added activity, and eliminates any opportunity for nonconforming material to enter the system.

Quality Assurance

After the production cycle produces a finished component, Kay puts each part through its rigorous quality assurance process. The company says this process is a major part of the reason why it has been awarded the General Motors Supplier of the Year Award no less than six times. “[This] is proof that Kay Manufacturing has a quality assurance department that gets results by using the most advanced equipment and techniques to monitor each process.”


Kay Manufacturing Co.