JUNE 2017 The FABRICATOR 77
as a flat sheet laser and a 6-axis 3-D laser, both from TRUMPF. In the coming
years it also will be looking to invest
in more cutting, bending, welding,
cleaning, and painting technologies.
But before purchasing new equipment, managers knew they needed
to perfect work flow. To that end, Morton upgraded its enterprise resource
planning (ERP) system, to Infor Syte-Line, so it could adapt to the company’s push toward having “a plan for
every part.” It’s a strategy that hasn’t
always been implemented in the right
way, especially considering the fabricator’s high product mix. The average
lot size is fewer than 30 pieces.
Baughman described the problem
as a race in which everyone needs to
cross the finish line at the same time.
Previously every runner (or part for an
assembly) took o; a;er the starting
gun (order release) at the same time.
Of course, some runners were faster
than others; that is, some parts of an
assembly took longer to produce. “If
I run a 10-minute mile and you run
a 4-minute mile, and someone else
runs a 20-minute mile, how can you
expect all of us to cross the finish line
at the same time?”
Today parts are released at di;er-
ent times based on capacity levels
and processing times of di;erent
equipment and processes. Lot sizes
are also carefully controlled for opti-
mal part flow.
As Baughman explained, “We’re
batching some parts, like sheet metal
flanges or brackets. Tubes may be
produced in smaller lots; and final
assembly is pulled through in just-in-time fashion, concurrent with
customer demand. We set a plan for
every part based on the customer’s
build strategy and on what the customer gives us for a demand signal.
Ultimately, we make sure our strategy
aligns with customer needs.”
Morton came back under local ownership last year—its 70th anniversary.
Baughman called 2016 “a year of sta-
bilization … We had customers who
were getting ready to exit. We visited
them, told them of our new owner-
ship, our plans for turning things around, and our commit-
ment to future opportunities. The reaction from our cus-
tomers has been tremendous.”
The new approach has paid o;. Morton expects to end
2017 with $45 million in revenue, but Baughman said even
that is a conservative estimate. Long term, Morton has
plans for strategic expansion in other areas of the country,
including the Southeast and Southwest.
Still, no matter its future, Baughman said that its customer focus will remain intact—with a plan for every part.
Senior Editor Tim Heston can be reached at
Photos courtesy of Morton Industries, 309-263-2590,