Harper International Corporation

Project Management


  • One month early delivery
  • 35% Decrease from budgeted manufacturing hours
  • $98,000 cost savings in material


  • On time delivery, a three week delivery improvement over previous similar projects
  • 100 hours less than budgeted manufacturing hours


  • On time delivery, a two week improvement in schedule
  • Manufacturing area proactive in the setting of sequences and priorities for timely completion of the jobs.
  • Establishment of Point of Use storage for materials, tools and information
  • Establishment of new communication mechanisms between the shop floor and management
  • Focus on necessary actions to meet the next milestones
  • Utilization of standardized design and methods whenever possible
  • Implementation of detailed Gantt charts and the discipline to abide by them


Harper International Corporation is an OEM supplier of high temperature thermal systems and associated spare parts for sale throughout the world. It was founded in 1924, and currently occupies three buildings in an industrial area of Lancaster, NY. Current employment is approximately 105 people. Harper is best characterized as a custom designer, manufacturer and international marketer of engineered equipment.


Due to increasing worldwide marketplace pressures, Harper International recognized the need to improve its competitiveness, both in terms of cost and delivery. Recent experience gained in outsourcing work over-flow to other third party shops, supported the feeling that shop floor productivity of Harper International Corporation's in-house manufacturing operations needed to be improved.


Harper International contacted Insyte Consulting to improve their shop floor productivity. In the course of the assessment phase of the project, Insyte Consulting and Harper team recognized the need for the manufacturing area to become more proactive in the successful completion of Harper's projects. This success is measured in on-time delivery to the customer and against internal budget constraints. In order to be successful in this endeavor, the manufacturing area recognized the need to take on a greater responsibility in developing project build schedules (timeline and sequence of events) and managing their resources to effectively meet these timeframes and budgets. In order to accomplish this, the decision was made to develop the project management skills of both the shop floor supervisors and shop employees.

In the project implementation phase, the team of Insyte Consulting professionals and Harper executives took advantage of the opportunity to select a series of ongoing and upcoming projects in order to develop, improve and implement project management skills. In order to get the shop floor personnel more involved in the establishment and creation of the manufacturing schedule, some changes to Harper's current structure evolved with the facilitation of Insyte Consulting. These changes included establishing manufacturing in a leadership role of the project teams. Gantt charts were created which included engineering, purchasing and manufacturing milestones. Insyte Consulting facilitated a process for publishing meeting minutes and documenting upcoming agendas. In addition, creative ideas were generated focusing on exceeding the upcoming deadlines and budgetary constraints. Communication was increased among all Harper departments by involving affected personnel, using feedback boards and holding meetings directly on the shop floor.

Successful results were obtained at Harper by: 1) focusing attention on exceeding the customer's expectations; 2) questioning all aspects of the manufacturing process; 3) utilizing this project management approach.

"Insyte Consulting was the catalyst we needed at Harper to take our project management efforts to a higher and much more effective level." - James Gouck, Vice President