Lynwood Engineering recently won a big order for the reconditioning of steering racks for the automotive industry.
But the Tipton-based firm had one problem - it didn't know if it had the capacity to organise the workload.
Yet, after taking on specialist consultants, Lynwood has boosted its output and is angling for more work.
Lynwood, which employs 48 people, remanufactures engines and steering racks for General Motors and Chevrolet.
The business has annual sales of around £2.5 million.
Managing director Keith Webb said: "We had trouble working out what our capacity was. We are not a big organisation, so we had to seek help to find this out."
Contacted by Stoke-onTrent-based research and testing house CERAM, Mr Webb had been waiting for the right opportunity to resolve his manufacturing concern.
A detailed work study funded by the Manufacturing Advisory Service West Midlands, was started immediately.
CERAM video recorded and measured typical product journey cycles over five key stages of activity.
Mr Webb said: "They came around for five days and discovered we were working only 60 per cent of our capacity.
"We are now getting 85 per cent. We had already invested a lot of money in machinery in the last 18 months and now we are getting more use out of it.
"Now we know how many people we need for each particular project. We were able to produce about 30 steering sets per day, but now we have increased our capacity and we can do 100. The project has added value to the business. I was amazed at how straightforward the process was.
"A simple application combined with the invaluable expertise resulted in a stress-free project and provided us with the all important detailed information that we require to effectively schedule production."
Not only has the project significantly improved manufacturing throughput by an estimated added value of £200,000 but the enhanced operation identified the need for eight new employees.
Roy Pulley, MAS-WM specialist manufacturing adviser, said: "Keith had already invested in world-class facilities. Lean manufacturing methodologies enabled Lyn-wood to capitalise on the increased capacity generated by the project." ..SUPL: