Create a culture of continuous improvement


Kim Nichols, chief executive officer of Racine Metal-Fab in Sturtevant, says the path to success is putting the right people in the right place – and letting their talents take over.

“The company I returned to in 2000 looked nothing like it does today. Gone are the batch manufacturing processes that saw excess product sit on the shelf, an autocratic top-down line of communication…and even the building itself. What’s replaced them is a new philosophy that has transformed Racine Metal-Fab into a culture of Lean practices and employee empowerment.

“Changing the culture has been a group effort at Racine Metal-Fab. The key was bringing in a strong, professional team. I set the direction for the company and then got out of the way to let them work their magic. The team is very proactive, and we constantly look for ways to simplify and improve. People who believe in continuous improvement are very comfortable in our environment and have flourished. We want people who are passionate about making things better for each other and our customers.

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“Racine Metal-Fab is a custom metal fabricator with deep roots in many industries, most notably commercial lighting. Our employees are constantly involved in the decision-making process, from prototyping, to scheduling, to production, and all other facets of daily operations. This involvement allows us to respond quickly and is critical to our success.
“Improvement efforts continue to pay dividends for our customers, as order lead times shrink and on-time deliveries exceed 97 percent. Building a strong, creative team has been and will continue to be the key to our success.”

Kim Nichols
Chief executive officer, Racine Metal-Fab
Industry: Metal fabrication
Employees: 75

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