Simonds International is a manufacturer of hardened tools, steel knives, and saw blades for a wide variety of woodcutting and processing markets. Headquartered in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Simonds employs approximately 250 people at five North American manufacturing locations: Fitchburg, MA; Big Rapids, MI; Portland, OR; Camden, AL; and Quebec. The company employs 74 workers locally in Michigan. Simonds’ customers include original equipment manufacturers, equipment dealers, distributors, lumber mills and paper mills. 


The Simonds facility in Big Rapids, Michigan produces up to 2,000 cutting knives per day with approximately 40% made to order. David Campbell, Plant Manager, wanted to improve the plant’s overall production efficiency and reporting. Production reports were often inaccurate and the entire process required a herculean effort to ensure on-time delivery. Campbell discovered The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center and its services through Michigan Works! and the STTF training program. 


The solution to Simonds production reporting and on-time delivery started with a value stream map exercise to lay out current and future states. MMTC-West’s facilitator, Craig Steenbergh, was brought on to provide expert consulting and training throughout the project. 

Steenbergh worked with the company to create daily management boards for each department. These boards measured quality and schedule attainment among other things. The boards were also used during daily accountability meetings to focus on schedule attainment and quality. 

Production flow was also changed to begin releasing work based on Takt Time. This will ensure Simonds will deliver the right product, at the right time, and in the right quantity to the customer.


Since implementing improvements through MMTC training and coaching, Simonds has experienced significant increases in

both efficiency and on-time delivery.

  • On-Time Percentage (Improved Productivity): Simonds’ overall productivity increased 15% over seven months (March – October); In addition, their 1st quarterly delivery performance to major customers was the highest ever with a 99% on time delivery rate.
  • Past Due Jobs (Time): Simonds regularly tracks jobs that are past due. Past due jobs decreased 30% in just over two months.
  • Work-In-Process (Cost Savings): Simonds’ overall work-in-process (WIP) decreased 15% over eight months (March - November).

For more information on MMTC-West's services, click here or contact the MMTC-West team at or 616-301-6247.