Case Study: Daniel Defense – Campbell Corporation

Campbell Corporation

Case study:
Daniel Defense

Factory Planning and Plant Layout

Factory Planning and Plant Layout Improved Their Product Lead Times By 96 Percent

Daniel Defense is a company that engineers and manufactures top-quality modern sports rifle solutions to military and law enforcement, as well as civilian enthusiasts who seek premium rifles for home defense, hunting, and sport. Due to the high demand for its products, the company has been featured in Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing private companies in the United States twice in recent years.

The company came to Campbell Corporation in late 2015 for help perfecting its manufacturing processes and increasing capacity to meet the ever-increasing demand for its products. A key challenge was to decrease product lead time without sacrificing the important quality control that the company built its reputation on, and that is a matter of life and death to its customers. Campbell Corporation also had to ensure that the company’s manufacturing remained in full compliance with all government firearms regulations.

Daniel Defense is an arms manufacturer headquartered in Savannah, Georgia. The company was founded in 2002 by Marty Daniel. In 2009, Daniel Defense experienced major growth and moved into a new manufacturing facility in Black Creek, GA, where the company is now based. The second expansion included a new facility in Ridgeland, SC.

Building Efficiencies: From Two Days to Two Hours

Campbell Corporation began the project with a Value Stream Map workshop to determine the process and information flow. Together with the department leads, management, and the executive team, this workshop uncovered process improvement and best practices. By evaluating each of these Kaizen Bursts for business impact and resources needed to correct, the team could prioritize tasks and projects that would supply the greatest opportunity to positively affect the business. The end result? Daniel Defense was able to reduce their lead times down to as little as two hours from two days.

Process Improvements Double Production Capacity

The Lean manufacturing professionals at Campbell Corporation identified several opportunities for improvement that needed little or no capital investment by Daniel Defense. For example, the assembly is performed by two different cell types — one for the upper and one for the lower receiver. One armorer would completely assemble the upper receiver and another armorer would completely assemble the lower receiver. This allowed for variation in the assembly order, resulting in a large variance in assembly time.

The Campbell team also noted opportunities in material presentation and work order raw material fulfillment. In order to improve efficiency, Campbell Corporation recommended that Daniel Defense should convert the assembly process from cellular manufacturing to line manufacturing. By studying and documenting the best practices of assembly, the Lean professionals at Campbell Corporation were able to determine the optimum assembly order and sequentially layout each cell in the line to ensure each rifle flowed through the process in the most efficient order. Additionally, this new line layout better accommodated Daniel Defense’s proprietary process, resulting in a reduction of the overall assembly time by up to one third. These process improvements doubled when in a controlled, sustainable environment.

The recommendations Campbell made to ERP configurations and spatial inventory management optimized the order fulfillment process. By studying the turns of each component and reconfiguring the warehouse to centrally find the most often picked components, Daniel Defense could reduce the time needed to fulfill each work order by more than two-thirds!

Workstation Redesign Improves Efficiency & Accuracy

To improve the product assembly process, Campbell Corporation provided Daniel Defense with a complete redesign for its product assembly workstations, including workbenches, signs, floor markings, tool shadow boarding, and custom material trays. The new material trays can hold all parts to build one complete product and are universal to all models that Daniel Defense manufactures. They supply a visual cue when a part is missing, and they enhance material preservation by inhibiting metal on metal contact during order picking and transportation to the line and assembly.

Chance Lord

CI Manager

Daniel Defense

Campbell Corporation’s team-driven, hands-on approach proved effective at Daniel Defense in exceeding our process goals. Their methodical approach of complex Lean principles and tools identified the root causes of failures within our processes and systems. Their guidance and recommendations included immediate and sustainable solutions that we eagerly adapted throughout our organization.

Assembly Process Improvements Call For Business Process Improvements

While the focus of the project was to maximize the manufacturing processes, Campbell Corporation recommended business process improvements to support and fully use overall improvements to the manufacturing process.


Daniel Defense had encountered parts shortages which had been affecting their ability to meet production schedules. Campbell Corporation reviewed their processes and noted that existing policies and procedures allowed for work orders to be released to production without confirming adequate raw materials were on hand to fulfill the order. The warehouse policy was to pick all parts and materials necessary to complete a work order and, if shortages were encountered, set the parts aside to await the fulfillment of the missing parts. Sometimes, they had to set build orders aside for missing parts when the required parts were on a cart waiting for the fulfillment of a previous build order. This exacerbated their shortage of parts.. Campbell Corporation recommended changing the policies allowing this to occur and automating the procedure to alert the team when parts were missing for a build order.

Build Orders

Campbell Corporation recommended build orders be released in quantities of 10. This allowed the team to design dunnage, raw material carts, finished goods racks, etc., to efficiently handle a manageable quantity of product. The entire process included optimization of around 10 units including WIP storage, material handling, quality, passive Andon, etc.

Procurement / Receiving

The Campbell Corporation team’s process recommendations included procurement or repackaging of parts in standard parts quantities to support the assembly of units in increments of 10. Build quantities of 10 allowed warehouse personnel to pick up a bag of a SKU number, open it up, and distribute the contents to 10 Build Trays. Too few parts indicated too many parts were put in a build tray, and too many parts showed that a build tray did not receive a part.


Recommendations from the Campbell Corporation team resulted in many Poka-yoke systems which preserved quality and were able to recommend the elimination of several quality checks.

Warehouse Layout

The Campbell team reorganized the Daniel Defense warehouse to place the most often pulled parts central to the employees. They also made concentric rings with linear paths for all other parts based on their frequency of being pulled (concentric rings) and parts that were commonly pulled together (linear path, with some parts organized together regardless of frequency of being pulled). This change alone resulted in more than a 200% efficiency gain in pull time (from 1,000 feet to 325 feet), but it also needed reconfiguration of their material management in their MRP system.

Campbell Corporation Dramatically Reduces Lead Times From Two Days to Two Hours

Due to the efforts put forth by the Campbell Corporation team and their partnership with Daniel Defense, lead times were reduced by 91%. Fulfillment times were reduced by 66%, and efficiency in pull time was reduced by 200%. Daniel Defense was also able to reduce the warehouse space, resulting in 33% space saved.

Since the expansion, the company has been thriving, and the NRA even selected the Daniel Defense V7 as the gun of the year in 2017.

Reduced Lead Time

Reduced Fulfillment Time

Efficiency in Pull Time

Space Saved

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