M.A. Moslow and Brothers, Inc.

Business Transformation


  • 3 week reduction in production lead time
  • 20%+ average increase in production
  • 25% increase in sales per employee
  • Quality issues have decreased


M.A. Moslow & Brothers, Inc. is a manufacturer of hand-crafted wood products for the trophy and award recognition industry. The company uses North American hardwoods as the primary raw material for producing plaques, trophy bases, clocks and other custom items which are sold nationally to retail outlets. Subsequently, these trophy shops add the brass plates and engraving to personalize the awards that are routinely presented at award ceremonies and banquets.

Domestically, award and recognition products represent a multimillion dollar market; the industry is comprised of component manufacturers, equipment suppliers and retail outlets. Working together, the consumer goods produced can be seen in the plaques that line the walls of the U.S. Capital Building, the trophy cases of the NCAA athletic centers and on bookshelves or fireplace mantles in many homes, institutions and commercial establishments.

Founded over 80 years ago, M.A. Moslow Brothers' manufacturing operations are conducted within an older, one-story facility on a single shift basis in Buffalo, NY. The family-owned business employs 16 people, including 12 unionized production personnel (members of International Associa-tion of Machinists and Aerospace Workers-local #330).


In recent years both sales and profit margins had declined steadily and significantly. Not only did the company confront substantial domestic competition, but increasing imports, particularly from China, further eroded market share and minimized future growth potential.

Of particular concern was the lack of modern manufacturing and business processes utilized and how to implement the necessary changes within the office, production and other support areas. While M.A. Moslow & Brothers had benefited from a very low employee turnover rate, this also contributed to the company's reduced competitiveness. The average length of service for all 16 employees was nearly 25 years. Furthermore, the required skills and educational background of most workers were somewhat limited and stagnant because of this situation. The company also had virtually no information technology within the administrative areas, which seriously limited its ability to effectively conduct business, both internally and externally.

Management recognized an urgency to assess the situation and to quickly identify actions that would reverse this serious decline. The in-house analysis clearly pointed to the need for modernization of the manufacturing methods and business practices that were being used, some of which dated back several decades. To accomplish this, the company would need to introduce elements of technology, process improvement and work force development. With limited internal resources, M.A. Moslow & Brothers engaged Insyte Consulting for the purpose of introducing, implementing and sustaining the desired changes throughout the organization.


The first step was to automate the information flow among various front office activities including order entry, billing, general ledger and customer/ relationship management. This included the installation of the appropriate internal network and infrastructure (e.g. file server, work stations, etc.) and the selected software to support this automation. Simultaneously, e-mail accounts and internet access were established for all administrative personnel. With the introduction of basic information technology into the business, an upgraded accounting package (Quick Books) was also implemented. The staff readily adapted to automation upon receiving adequate tutorial training from Insyte Consulting personnel.

Once improvements were realized within the administrative functions, attention was directed toward improving performance in the manufacturing area. It was believed that the company could differentiate itself from foreign competition by providing faster delivery times and customized service. Lean manufacturing was seen as a means of achieving this desired competitive advantage.

The first step was to introduce all employees to the principles of lean manufacturing through a full-day workshop which combined classroom lecture with a live simulation. Not only did this session provide basic knowledge in lean manufacturing methodology, but the participants were also able to relate to how these concepts could be applied in their specific work areas.

The next step was to complete a high-level value stream map of the entire organization. Subsequently, the value stream mapping exercise for both current and desired future states enabled the combined teams of M.A. Moslow Brothers and Insyte Consulting to formulate a comprehensive implementation plan utilizing the appropriate tools of lean manufacturing for each of the major product lines. Based on the results of the mapping process, cross-functional teams were established for work place organization (5S), setup reduction, cellular flow and pull systems (Kan Ban). After receiving basic training and orientation, the teams began introducing these concepts into key production areas.

The improvements realized through the lean manufacturing initiative enabled the company to reduce lead times, improve customer response and uncover substantial hidden capacity, which could be utilized through an intensified marketing campaign designed to reverse the sales decline and expand the business base. New business growth was generated both through existing channels of distribution as well as a new emphasis on e-commerce that utilized the new information technology capabilities.

Of particular significance was the company's ability to sustain and leverage the improvements made. Lean office techniques were subsequently introduced to the administrative areas. Not only did this improve overall efficiency, but also improved communication between production and the support functions. Likewise, further actions were taken to expand the lean implementation within the plant and additional marketing programs were implemented to further accelerate new business growth.

"Insyte Consulting has helped us understand current business processes and the benefit of implementing them at M.A. Moslow Brothers. As a result of these changes, I am able to spend more time on strategic issues and less time on routine operational issues." - Dave Moslow, President