Gear Production

SEP 2015

Gear Production

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September 2015—5 disturbing trend. Faced with changing emissions standards, engine builders had started over- ordering parts during the last six months of a fscal year before new standards went into effect, stockpiling engines they would then draw from for months at a time. This left companies like Global Gear far too busy at the end of the year, and with too little work at the beginning of the next year, when its customer stopped placing orders while using up its supply of surplus engines. This "feast or famine" approach isn't an effective business plan, so it was time for a change. But the company's strategic direction frst had to be identifed. For the parts it was making, Global Gear relied completely on hobbing and shaving, primarily using Mitsubishi machines. It had a full complement of turning machines from Okuma, Mazak and Hyundai alongside machining centers from Mori Seiki and Brother. Any gear grinding work was subcontracted out. Bringing this process in house was a natural starting point to The frst step is to evaluate your strengths in terms of capabilities. What is the full range of gears you can produce with your current equipment lineup, and is there new business you can pursue based on those capabilities? When considering the products you're manufacturing for a single customer, are there related markets you can enter with minimal capital investment? If you were to invest in new equipment, how many markets would it launch you into, and what would such an outlay cost? Are there any processes being outsourced that you could bring in-house to build your core competencies? Be sure you understand the latest machining processes and technologies, how they've evolved over time, and which would enable you to reach your goal. By taking these steps, a machine shop can limit worries over market fuctuations, since a diversifed customer base provides protection against market volatility. Here's a look at how Global Gear & Machining achieved just such a transformation, adding 11 new customers to its base by taking a close look at its in-house capabilities and offering a range of machining resources to new markets. Core Competencies Based in Downers Grove, Illinois, Global Gear was established in 1991 as a captive supplier to Navistar. When the manufacturer of engine timing gears joined the IMS Companies in 2002, the decision was made to look into what it would take to expand the company's capabilities in order to enter new markets. Having spent nearly two decades as operations manager for a successful and highly diversifed contract supplier to the automotive industry, making everything from fuel injection components for gas and diesel engines to rocker arms and lifters, Cory Ooyen was brought onboard in 2006 to assemble a team to oversee Global Gear's transformation. What he found was a company with a solid foundation and a reputation for quality that could be used as leverage in attracting new business. Market diversifcation was one of his primary concerns in the new position. Looking closely at the company's order history, he noticed a Whether they be spur or helical, batch sample gears are gaged for accuracy and checked for overall quality before shipping out to customers.

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