Oliver Gear Inc.

"Does Lean work for job shops?"

The Company

Oliver Gear, Inc., a high-precision, gear manufacturer located in Buffalo, NY.

The Challenge

Oliver Gear was experiencing a huge surge in demand for custom manufactured gears from a key customer, an air compressor manufacturer exporting a portion of these products to China. As they struggled to meet this challenge, their on-time delivery slipped to 67%, customer lead time rose to 12 weeks, work-in-process increased and overtime escalated. Oliver Gear’s management knew that the cost and inventory situation could not continue.

Our Solution

Insyte Consulting was engaged to resolve the issue and meet a dual goal of 98% on-time delivery while reducing overtime cost. The Insyte consultant trained a cross-functional team to value stream map and implement lean concepts including changeover reduction. The team instituted a kanban replenishment system for repeat orders and reduced overall work-in-process by controlling the quantity of jobs released to the production floor. By eliminating or combining administrative steps and expanding the use of electronic communications, additional process waste was taken out of the value stream. The team also established metrics to assure the improvements were sustained.

Our Results

Achieved consistent on-time delivery performance of 100% for the key customer.


Increased first pass yield to 99% .


Cut lead times in half to less than 6 weeks.


Reduced costs by over 5% meeting customer targets while improving profitability.

Insyte Consulting