Success Story: Johnson Electric Coil

Johnson Electric Coil Celebrates Record Year on Lean Journey


Location: Antigo, WI
Years in Business: Since 1934
No. of Employees: 80

Products: Design and manufacture of custom transformers

NWMOC Projects: Lean Implementation, Lean Certification of 16 Employees


After three years of an aggressive lean initiative, Johnson Electric Coil has concluded its most financially successful year since it began operations in 1934. The company has added 22 jobs since 2009 and has purchased over $400,000 worth of new equipment. "We've finally broken the syndrome of 'we're too busy' to do things the Lean way," said Bill Bockes, President of Johnson Electric Coil. "That's what Julie does," he said, "she asks 'Is it Lean? Does it meet our mission, our values, and our customers' needs?'" 

"Workers are comfortable suggesting changes now," Julie Berndt, Operations Coordinator, commented.


Three years ago, the company undertook Principles of Lean and some 5S events along with business coaching. With a desire to continue their Lean journey, they have implemented Lean company wide and have certified 16 employees in Lean. These 16 employees completed 8 projects that directly affected over 50 employees. One 5-member team eliminated the J13525 hand crimping changeover completely, replacing it with a crimping machine. This action provided more floor space and better ergonomics as well as annual savings of $4,140. Another area experienced process improvement steps that increased output from 16 units per day to 40 units per day. Cross-training of employees and adopting an attitude of "taking care of our customers" has eliminated barriers to employees working in other areas. "The NWMOC Project Managers always explained things in consistent terms and focused on the issues," added Bockes. "It's great to share our good fortune and to be able to substantially reward our people."


  • Increased payroll by $800,000 annually
  • Improved safety; saving $50,000/year on premiums
  • Increased annual wages 13% on average
  • Awarded 8% bonus in addition to wages
  • Increased profits by 160% over last year
  • Increased productivity by 15% over last year

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Reasons for Safety

Johnson Electric Coil

We had to push change early on, but giving people the freedom to fail leads to success!

~ Bill Bockes, President