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Railcar Equipment



Railcar Equipment


Old-line manufacturer of railcar air brakes and air brake equipment needed help implementing Lean Manufacturing.


  • Re-layout second wave of peripherals and primary air brake product line.
  • Introduce sister company to KPS.
  • Create small customer marketing plan.


  • Completed all Driver Goals and the company enjoyed a banner year in sales. 
  • Achieved 92% on-time delivery despite tremendous growth in sales.
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Case Study

Implement Lean to Optimize Production & Material Flow


An old-line manufacturer of railcar air brakes and air brake equipment engaged The Highland Group to help implement Lean Manufacturing—technically, a client-customized version of the Toyota Production System, renamed the KPS.

Highland Approach

The Highland Group’s team of expert Lean practitioners worked with client leadership to identify high-level Driver Goals of the KPS (Lean) implementation and familiarized themselves with the particulars of the customized system. The team studied existing product and assembly lines and utilized a variety of Lean tools to redesign and implement KPS-optimized layouts and material flows and management systems to drive and sustain the initiative, first at the client’s facility and then at its sister company in Canada.

Actions Taken

  • Redesigned process and material flows (according to KPS) in several primary assembly areas and defined a new plant layout.
  • Planned and implemented material management tools, including pull systems to control internal material flow and storage as well as material flow from suppliers.
  • Implemented meaningful/actionable operations metrics (linked to high-level Driver Goals) at the work-cell level.
  • Defined and initiated implementation of KPS at Canadian location.
  • Defined and initiated a new, small customer marketing plan, based on an analysis of customer buying preferences.
  • Began implementing packing multiples for small, low-cost items (purchased and manufactured).

Achieved on-time delivery of


despite tremendous growth in sales

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