What does New England Gear bring to the table that makes it unique among other gear industry companies?
New England Gear is approaching its 25th anniversary. Since the beginning, we have focused solely on Fellows gear shapers so we have a tremendous amount of knowledge and inventory to draw from. We believe that we have the largest inventory of Fellows late-model shapers in the world.
We always offer the best advice we can to customers and potential customers. We are a source for real answers. We’re a very stable company with a large backlog of orders. Our customers can count on us for honest, informed answers. It’s always been something our customers appreciate, that they can get right to the source. Our remanufactured Fellows shapers are equipped with custom menu-driven gear software which is extremely user-friendly and allows customers to do the complete set-up without being a CNC operator or gear expert. It’s that easy.
What’s a typical day like for you at New England Gear?
We typically start the day by checking emails and fielding phone calls from customers or potential customers. We have clients who have purchased machines elsewhere and then rely on us for technical support, parts, and service. It’s critical that the workflow in the shop continues moving forward. On Mondays, we meet and go over plans for the week — what projects are under way, key deadlines, and what takes priority. This establishes our workload for the week.
How does New England Gear approach potential customers when they are in search of a shaper?
Before we quote a machine to our customer, either myself or Jeff Barnes (president and founder) talks with them to get a firm feel for what they’re trying to do, so that we can offer that customer the machine with the options they need without selling them the options they don’t. We’re not interested in throwing accessories on to drive the price up when the customer doesn’t require them. The machines are built to whatever the customer requires. This guarantees the customer will receive the machine they require.
What challenge is New England Gear facing as the gear industry changes, and how is it being addressed?
Our biggest challenge always is to be able to produce machines more quickly without sacrificing quality. We have updated our machines with the latest versions of Fanuc controls. These controls will be available on our product starting January 1, 2019. Due to our focus, we are able to offer unique options for this product. All components are made in-house, where we strive to be a one-stop shop allowing our customers to purchase cutter adapters and swing-away center supports, just to mention a few of our many available options. We’re proud to say we stock all components necessary for a Fellows 10-4. We are manufacturing the parts new in-house. The remanufactured Fellows 10-4 is essentially our product, as we have 7 to 10 machines in process at all times. We have Fellows machine bases in stock for any late-model Fellows shaper that any customer may want to purchase.
New England Gear does not have a large employee turnover, which allows us to take advantage of an experienced staff.
Where do you see the gear industry in the next 10-20 years
and New England Gear’s place in it?
Our current focus in the market is the job-shop customer. A large part of our business, about 30 percent, is with companies that make a product and send the gearwork out to a gear shop. These companies are now interested in doing the gearwork in-house as they are concerned with tariffs on parts they are importing from other countries. If they have machines in-house to make the parts, they can save up to 25 percent by not paying tariffs. We definitely see the companies that are making a product in-house becoming a significant part of our growth in the future.
The gear industry is always changing; the competition is always getting stronger. We pay close attention to detail at New England Gear and will continue to work toward better products as the industry evolves.
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