Success Stories

New Communication Process Implementation Puts Harris Machine Company on the Right Track to Improvements and New Growth

Harris Machine Company

Harris Machine Company (HMC), a family-owned business, was established in 2000 by Nick and Jay Harris.  HMC provides contract manufacturing such as: fabricating, machining, welding, assembly, powder coat painting, plasma and oxyfuel cutting and remanufacturing. They service several industries allowing them the stability to remain strong and growing.

Over the years, they have experienced steady growth, expanding their capabilities and capacities to meet the increasing demands of their customers. With modern manufacturing facilities spanning over 250,000 square feet, they proudly offer a wide range of services to both existing and new customers.

HMC’s goal is to achieve customer satisfaction through continuous improvement. Their culture is to drive process improvements throughout their organization to help them become more capable for their customers.

Harris Machine Company has continued to grow in size and complexity over the years; diversifying in advanced technologies and building stronger relationships with preferred OEM and Tier 1 customers.  This has helped them retain and attract the most talented team in a large area.  With growth comes reaching higher levels of capabilities and capacities as well as some growing pains.

Their senior leadership team; Jay Harris, President, and Dana Grosgebauer, Business Manager, visited with Impact Dakota CEO, Jodie Mjoen, for options to improve throughput and mitigate disruptions.  After discussing options, they decided on doing a leadership team assessment. They were interested in their input on what is going very well and what they should focus on improving to best support their team. They want to help them continue to be a great place to work and be the preferred sourcing partner with their customers.

Harris Machine Company's leadership team completed the Impact Dakota Business Excellence Optimization Assessment.  Each leader spent 7-13 minutes answering the 53 assessment questions. The questions covered Harris Machine Company's Strategy in Action, Structure & Accountability, People, Methods & Tools, Communications, and Metrics/ Rewards. Impact Dakota facilitated a two-hour debrief communications session with all the leaders sharing the things that work well, their pain, what's causing pain, and what they should do to fix it. 

From that meeting, Impact Dakota provided a report summarizing the results, HMC team debrief comments/inputs, and an implementation plan.

Based on the findings from the report, Harris Machine Company implemented a new communications process. In addition, they requested support to help their leadership team with the implementation of the actions plan.  They identified that their greatest opportunity to help their team was to improve upstream and downstream communications throughout their organization by implementing a more comprehensive communications process.  They built a simple dashboard to review during meetings to include, track, and update key/critical information their team needed to optimize priorities, know their targets, changes coming, and any planned or unexpected disruptions.

This has been a very popular new process for their team that has helped them improve throughput and mitigate disruptions.  Everybody is on the same page now, most of the time.

The improved communications throughout their organization have been a real game-changer for all employees.  They have seen less down time, improved efficiencies, less cost of poor quality, improved customer quality & delivery, and a more engaged, high functioning team. Not to mention, a sense of pride from the employees understanding the bigger picture of priorities.

Initial Investment of No Cost Business Excellence Assessment with Report-out of recommendations of Pain Points discussed and QMS Assessment lead to the following:

  • Increased Net Profit by 2% over the last year. 
  • Increased speed in which identifying and solving problems by having the weekly meetings and assigning action items = Real time solutions!!
  • Increased Largest Customer's shipments and efficiencies by 20% in the last year.
  • Added 15 new employees.

With additional profits came the opportunity for expansion. Another facility was purchased to add additional capacity for future customer needs.

“Partnering with Impact Dakota has proven to be an effective way to identify and address the challenges we face within our organization. The vast manufacturing experience of their team, along with the additional resources they provided have made positive and lasting changes to the way we do business.”

— Dana Grosgebauer, Business Manager

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