For-profit Business (Corporate)
WALCO Tool & Engineering
WALCO Tool & Engineering Background, AI Case Study Notes
Karen Schultz, Facilitator
Defining and Improving Communication to support strategic growth goals at WALCO Tool & Engineering.
WALCO Tool & Engineering took an inventory of our work community skills about two years ago. This supported a new approach to our review program that became aligned with our strategic goals for diversification and growth. From this process, it was hoped that our President can prepare our workforce for the future of WALCO Tool & Engineering and empower them to make good choices for their future, create a career path and embrace continuous education to create a learning, self managed work community that can be flexible, handle change in an expedited fashion, be responsive to new opportunities and become leaders where their passions and levels of confidence are strongest.
This interview process served as a window that new management approaches would be different than their past experiences. They would be exposed to new forms of communication, empowerment, self managed career choices and opportunities as well as new levels of expectations from which they can choose to learn and define their future opportunities at WALCO Tool & Engineering. Leadership feels strongly that everyone has a strength that can be utilized and used as an opportunity to form a strong foundation from which we can holistically grow our future.
The next review session with each employee would be a discussion about our new leadership’s vision, explanation of the market and its opportunities, changes needed at WALCO, and discussion about how they felt now about their job, what they enjoyed, what they would like to do and how to get there, as well as an agreement about self investment, continued education and outlining their career steps and noting their education over the year at the next review. This was done to empower the employee over their future choices and achieving their next step toward building a learning culture.
WALCO Tool & Engineering is a progressive contract machine shop that specializes in high precision, high value added components. With a broad range of capabilities including machining centers up to 14 feet, turning centers, large surface grinding, welding and polishing, we control the process internally from start to finish. Our skilled employees have grown WALCO since 1968 to our current ISO Registered, 60,000 square foot capacity.
WALCO employs a staff of Project Engineers who act as the internal partners for our customers. These engineers are the prime contact from the quote stage, through the process development, management and shipment of new parts. They insure open communication both internally and externally with our customers. This team works hand in hand with the programming, manufacturing and quality departments to provide a positive customer experience which includes seeking feedback to continuously improve our service.
WALCO Tool & Engineering provides the solution for high value, high quality, machined components at competitive pricing. Our engaged and motivated workforce insures continuous improvement and responsiveness for our customers success. This teamwork stimulates profitable growth for WALCO and its’ customers. WALCO Tool and Engineering provides services to the nuclear research and defense, medical, pharmaceutical, food processing, transportation, packaging, automation, heavy equipment, telecommunications, and energy industries.
WALCO’s philosophy is to build quality into each step of the process. Our highly skilled machinists setup each job and insure the high quality our customers rely on.Our quality control lab provides an added step to assure these customers’ needs are
met, as well as providing any required documentation. WALCO offers three CMM’s to service the complex needs of parts, with verification of 3, 4 and 5 axis work. WALCO’s lean approach with responsibility at the machining level and with the verification as an integral part of the process insures very high, repeatable quality.
High accuracy and reliability are the standards in our production lathe department. Late model Okuma lathes capable of turning up to 21.65” diameter x 33” in length gives WALCO a competitive edge in today’s market place. Four-axis turning allows us to simultaneously cut with both the upper and lower turrets resulting in reduced cycle time and vastly improved productivity. In 2005 we added our ninth addition to include a Dorries Scharmann with travels 90” x 79” x 67”. Turning capability of 79”,combined turning with 5-sided machining, Renishaw probe, 3 pallet system and, Heidenhain glass scales sets us apart from many other contract machining services bringing more to the table for our customer. That building also houses our SNK is a bridge type high speed 5-axismachining center with a work envelope of 167” x-axis, 108” y-axis and 56: z/w-axis. The SNK is equipped for highly efficient precision machining operations ranging from 3-axis machining to 5-axis continuous machining of 3D contours also differentiates us from other similar contract manufacturers.
WALCO’s diversified capabilities include a long list of impressive equipment that continues to grow with our customers’ needs. Our value added departments bring surface and rotary grinding capabilities, MIG and TIG welding and machining of weldments, polishing and mechanical assembly of WALCO machined parts. We can also provide CMM quality reports and reengineering services. CAD / CAM software enables us to download 3-D solid models directly into our CAM software. These models are used to verify CAM data and to optimize machining techniques. The use of Vericut software enables our programmers to detect errors or inefficiencies before the part is actually loaded onto the machine, saving time and money.
Vantage by Epicor combines advanced technology with robust functionality to provide an end-to-end system including:. Comprehensive scheduling capabilities, fully integrated relationship management solutions, extensive business intelligence tools integrated and customizable solutions, advanced material management, inventory control capabilities. WALCO will be updating this software that will allow us to combine information more easily to more adequately serve our internal and external customers at a higher level.
WALCO works hard to operate with our customer’ success as our driver boasting of a high level of customer service, communication and a high level of work ethics to the continued support of our customer’s success. The Focus of WALCO’s Use of the Appreciative Inquiry Process at WALCO Tool & Engineering is the overall improvement of our communication process. Understanding the power of inclusion and holistic approaches to build trust, focus on the strengths and positive success stories will create the shared image that drives our work community forward.
AI organizational objectives will include an initial introduction to the first layer of communication in our organization. My hope is to create buy in and a sense of need to install this process and achieve our future growth strategies. From our initial group we motivated six volunteers most directly involved with our front lines and opportunity to improve morale, involvement, improve culture to include a continuous learning environment, motivate and drive a sense of urgency and need for further education I introduced AI to now President of 2 years to AI and organizational development group, CODIC at Benedictine University about four years ago. The President agreed to an interview (included) and introducing Appreciative Inquiry to volunteers of our first level of communication at WALCO. Two hours were given toward the introduction. Video clips included the use of Marcus Buckingham’s presentation video to introduce the idea of focusing on success and strengths of individuals. He spoke of an approach that focuses on successful