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Celebrate Manufacturing for a Better Britain Having emerged from the recession stronger, leaner and with many new initiatives in place, UK Manufacturing is ideally placed to make a better Britain! August 2010 Vol 13 Issue 08

EntEr nOW August 2010 Vol 13 Issue 08

Slipstream to mainstream Motorsport takes pole position in the transfer of technology

Established over 10 years ago, The Manufacturer of the Year Awards competition is specifically designed to celebrate the strength and diversity of UK Manufacturing. So enter today and showcase your achievements. For further details visit

Corporate Sponsor:

The categories this year are: Leadership and strategy Innovation and design World class manufacturing People and skills IT in manufacturing Supply chain and logistics Operations and maintenance Sustainable manufacturing SME manufacturer of the Year Financial services Advanced manufacturing And the winner of winners category: The Manufacturer of the Year

For further details contact Laura Williams on 01603 671323 or email The winners will be announced at a black tie gala dinner and Awards ceremony at Chesford Grange, Kenilworth on Thursday 18th November 2010. If you are interested in sponsoring an Award, please contact David Alstin on 01603 671307 or email

Interview Bob Bell

Richard Lockwood of Bridgestone Motorsport UK


Motorsport leads design-to-manufacture


Employee of the month

M ot

Is motorsport an efficiency trailblazer?


Sustainable manufacturing

ec rspo ia rt in l i du ss stry ue

Managing director of Renault F1

Celebrate Manufacturing for a Better Britain Having emerged from the recession stronger, leaner and with many new initiatives in place, UK Manufacturing is ideally placed to make a better Britain! August 2010 Vol 13 Issue 08

EntEr nOW August 2010 Vol 13 Issue 08

Slipstream to mainstream Motorsport takes pole position in the transfer of technology

Established over 10 years ago, The Manufacturer of the Year Awards competition is specifically designed to celebrate the strength and diversity of UK Manufacturing. So enter today and showcase your achievements. For further details visit

Corporate Sponsor:

The categories this year are: Leadership and strategy Innovation and design World class manufacturing People and skills IT in manufacturing Supply chain and logistics Operations and maintenance Sustainable manufacturing SME manufacturer of the Year Financial services Advanced manufacturing And the winner of winners category: The Manufacturer of the Year

For further details contact Laura Williams on 01603 671323 or email The winners will be announced at a black tie gala dinner and Awards ceremony at Chesford Grange, Kenilworth on Thursday 18th November 2010. If you are interested in sponsoring an Award, please contact David Alstin on 01603 671307 or email

Interview Bob Bell

Richard Lockwood of Bridgestone Motorsport UK


Motorsport leads design-to-manufacture


Employee of the month

M ot

Is motorsport an efficiency trailblazer?


Sustainable manufacturing

ec rspo ia rt in l i du ss stry ue

Managing director of Renault F1

Editor’s comment

Manufacturing shrugs off double-dip fears It’s survey season. A wealth of manufacturing data says that manufacturing is back, with reports from EEF, the CBI, KPMG/Markit and PricewaterhouseCoopers showing that growth in the first half of 2010 has beaten forecasts. Latest official statistics for the first half say that manufacturing is on track to post the strongest growth in a six-month period since 1994, cited in EEF/BDO’s Economic Outlook August report. KPMG found that 64% of polled companies in the manufacturing sector expect a rise in business activity during the next 12 months, although slightly fewer manufacturers now expect growth indicators including revenue, new orders and profits. Encouragingly, this survey found a five point rise in the net balance of manufacturers expecting to increase employment. Recruitment agency Reed said manufacturing bucked the job market trend, with demand for manufacturing staff up 16% from the Reed Job Index base line at the end of last year. Reed says this survey only captures permanent vacancies. The robust growth is surprising, given that so many companies were successful in retaining headcount in this recession, through implementing short-time working and pay cuts. So these figures apparently show real growth in new jobs. On the wider economy, EEF says the risk of double-dip recession in the UK is still only moderate. Encouragingly, while across the whole economy net trade has yet to make a positive contribution to growth, manufactured exports have risen quickly, exceeding January forecasts. But don’t reach for the cigars yet. There were several caveats to the positive outlook and EEF warned of risks to a more stable recovery, including UK political instability, the importance of the MPC’s correct decisions in setting the base interest rate and risks of the US and Europe slipping into a double-dip recession. The Economic Outlook report is available on

Cover image: CFD graphic depicting airflow over a Formula 1 car

This August issue is a motorsport industry special. Motorsport serves as an exemplar of British engineering excellence as well as modern integrated manufacturing. ‘Motorsport’ is really a term used by the public to help define it succinctly; the industry meanwhile sees itself as a combination of two sectors — high performance engineering sector and a service sector — both of which serve to support an entertainment business. The service element incorporates logistical elements of automotive racing including insurance, transport, event management, finance, sponsorship, marketing, and media exploitation. The high performance engineering encompasses just about every production pinnacle our industry strives to achieve. Will Stirling, The Manufacturer

In order to receive your monthly copy of TheManufacturer kindly email, telephone 01603 671300 or write to the address below. Neither The Manufacturer or SayOne Media can accept responsibilty for omissions or errors. Terms and Conditions Please note that points of view expressed in articles by contributing writers and in advertisements included in this journal do not necessarily represent those of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the journal, no legal responsibility will be accepted by the publishers for loss arising from use of information published. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent of the publishers.



Editor – Will Stirling

Art Director – Martin Mitchell Designer – Alex Cole

Associate Editors Tim Brown


Edward Machin

Sales Director – Henry Anson

Mark Young

Project Director – Matt Chilton

Reporter Lorenzo Spoerry


Britannia House 45-53 Prince of Wales Road Norwich, NR1 1BL T +44 (0)1603 671300 F + 44 (0)1603 618758 ISSN 1477-3201 BPA audit applied for June 2009. Copyright © SayOne Media 2010.

Matt Chilton


Claire Woollard


News and features 04 News

Manufacturing news

11 Manufacturing appointments On the move

Find out who’s heading where in manufacturing

12 The big picture

Local engagement for the global manufacturer


David Marlow, IfM, says global businesses must ensure good local connections

13 Economics

Time and energy EEF’s Steve Radley discusses the need for government to focus on securing the UK’s energy supply

14 The legal low down The Bribery Act

Thomas Eggar LLP discuss the changes to the law

15 Business as unusual Back from the brink

Anand Sharma says you should get out of the survival mindset

16 Lead story


Ready, Set, GO! Tim Brown discovers that the specialist knowledge of the motorsport industry is increasingly being exploited by mainstream engineering

21 Interview

Bell’s Formula for success Bob Bell, managing director of Renault F1, tells Edward Machin how the industry’s demands have produced masters of design and manufacture

24 Sustainable manufacturing

Reckless petrolheads or efficiency trailblazers? Motorsport has collated a wealth of knowledge in carbon reduction which is only now just starting to be exploited

26 Leadership and lean Much ado about MBAs

Is an MBA a top priority or non-essential CV accessory? Jane Gray talks to manufacturers and academia about the value of MBAs

30 innovation, design and the product lifecycle Weight + timescale + cost

Motorsport engineering businesses and IT support companies tell how they best leverage their design knowledge and technologies

34 Finance and Professional Services

30 2

Finance for growth: can we bank on it?

42 Special feature QAD On Demand

Edward Machin meets QAD’s Pam Lopker and Gordon Fleming to talk Perfect Lean Markets, On Demand applications and Tube travel.

Contents Training diary 46

Delivering measurable results

In the final part of his diary for The Manufacturer, HepcoMotion manufacturing director, Barry Engstrom, talks about the projects that have been completed

Employee of the month 47

Richard Lockwood of Bridgestone Motorsport UK

Supply chain and logistics 48

Is warehouse management tagging along?

Despite the promise of more efficient warehouse management, radio frequency identification (RFID) is often considered too costly for those wishing to optimise supply chain operations

IT in manufacturing

Getting control of the shop floor operations 52

Simon Holloway asks: What lean manufacturing done to the Manufacturing Execution Systems that run our plants?


IT news wrap 57

Keeping you up to date with what’s new in IT

Special feature Microsoft dinner 64 The IT crowd

In July, TM met with a group of East Midlands manufacturers to discuss ERP

Special feature Siemens talks green 66 Is green manufacturing possible?

Roberto Priolo visits Answers for the Environment, a Siemens event organised to address environmental issues


Manufacturinginaction Sponsored by TBM Consulting Group


Factory of the month

BEL Valves Piping up

Lorenzo Spoerry talks to the manufacturer of valves, actuators and controls for the oil and gas industry.


KK Fine Foods Cooking up success


Sonae Industria Wood work


Vitacress Cultivating green shoots


Moog Controls Moog targets complete control

102 E.M.R Electronics Simply electrifying


Newsinbrief EMPLOYMENT

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development says Britain is facing “at least half a decade of serious jobs deficit.” Official UK employment figures released this week show unemployment is in fact down, but long term unemployment is up; people appear to be taking part-time and temporary positions while other prospects remain slim. For the three months to May – the figures released today – unemployment was at 2.47m people and 7.8%, slightly down on the 7.9% recorded the previous month.


Former workers of the closed Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight have started a new turbine blade business, Sureblade. Set up by former Vestas employee, Sean McDonagh, the company intends to start manufacturing in September with the first order going to a wind energy firm in Ireland. The new factory is on the same industrial estate as the former Vestas site and McDonagh hopes to employ almost 50 staff within two years.

The European Wind Energy Association announced in July that European offshore wind capacity in 2010 has grown faster than in the same period in 2009. RenewableUK, the trade association for wind and marine energy, says that 50% of new European offshore wind farms installed are in British waters. The total European capacity for offshore wind electricity generation now approaches 2.5 gigawatts, a threefold increase since 2006.

Analysts predict that France will experience a power shortfall by as soon as 2013 that will put greater pressure on the UK’s domestic energy supply. France is facing growing dependency on electricity imports as demand outpaces supply, particularly at peak times. David Hunter, an energy analyst from M&C Energy Group, believes that energy will become a scarce commodity resulting in increased prices and real risks of blackouts.



Manufacturing sets the pace Leading trade bodies remain cautious but reported last month that manufacturing has experienced a strong recovery in the first half of 2010 and Britain is now likely to avoid a double-dip recession. In the Confederation of British Industry’s Quarterly Industrial Trends Survey, 38% of its members said output rose during the last quarter, while 15% said it fell. This is the best balance recorded by the CBI index, which surveys 439 manufacturing companies, since April 1995. These figures were supported by the Bibby Financial Services Business Factors Index which showed that manufacturing is now the UK’s leading sector as output levels stabilised over the last three months. Supporting this analysis EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said in its Economic Prospects 2010, co-authored by BDO LLP and released in early August, that manufacturing “exceeded expectations” in the first half of 2010. Taking into account figures from the Office of National Statistics, the Budget statement, public spending cuts and forecasts for growth in world trade, EEF said manufacturing will grow by 3.8% this year and 3.4% next year. This outstrips the economy overall which is forecast to expand by 1.1% in 2010 and 2.1% in 2011. However, the CBI warned that the pace of manufacturing growth is expected to be slower in the coming quarter. Respondents expect output to grow by a balance of +6%. And EEF said lingering uncertainty over the economy means manufacturing will struggle to maintain the rate of recovery it has set so far in 2010. According to the CBI’s survey, exports continue to lead the recovery in Q2 with a +18% order balance. However, domestic orders, previously flat in most indicator surveys, now appear to be picking up too with a balance of +10%.

Costs increased heavily in the quarter; +25% is the biggest rise since October 2008. However, despite recent claims by the Institute of Directors and the Forum of Private Businesses to the contrary, CBI members report that credit constraints have fallen to pre-recession levels. Employment was more or less stable in Q2 and this is expected to be repeated in Q3. Ian McCafferty, the CBI’s chief economic adviser, said: “With demand for UK-made goods at home and abroad having strengthened, manufacturing production really stepped up a gear during the past three months. Output was also boosted by firms taking action to rebuild stocks. “Looking ahead, production is expected to rise further, but at a more moderate rate. In our view the risk of a double-dip recession remains low and the fortunes of the manufacturing sector are continuing to slowly and steadily improve.” Lee Hopley, EEF chief economist, warned that different sectors of manufacturing could face significantly different fortunes over the coming year and warned some will experiences further struggles while others improve. The EEF report says that low levels of investment in the industry “remains an Achilles’ heel” of economic growth.

CBI’s McCafferty expects continued improvement

ManufacturingNews MOTORSPORT

The winning formula The Technical University in Munich has won the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Formula Student 2010 competition following four days of intensive performance testing at the Silverstone racetrack from 15-18 July. The aim of the competition is to said. “The commitment from the promote careers and excellence students has been incredible. It in engineering by challenging can be difficult for universities to university students to design, support hands-on experience of build, develop, market and race manufacturing and get students a small, single-seater racing car. to put their engineering theory into The top placed British team, from practice, because that’s when Hertfordshire University, ranked things start to get expensive. fifth in the Class 1 overall results, That’s why it is so great to see but won the Low Carbon and events like Formula Student giving Fuel Cell Technology Award for students the chance to produce its completely electric vehicle. and operate their own racing cars.” Bob Bell, managing director of Renault The winningentrant from The Technical University, Munich Formula 1 (see interview on page 21), spoke before the results were announced. “I have been extremely impressed by this event,” he


X Prize nears line The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, a $10 million competition to inspire a new generation of super fuel efficient vehicles, announced the finalist teams at Michigan International Speedway on July 27. What began as a field of 136 vehicles from 111 teams, from 17 countries, has now been narrowed to an elite group of nine vehicles from just seven teams. “These cars redefine what is possible and set a new standard of efficiency that promises to revolutionize the industry,” said Eric Cahill, Senior Director of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. Finalists include: Edison2 (USA); X-Tracer (USA); Aptera (USA); Li-ion Motors (USA); RaceAbout Association (FIN);

TW4XP (GER); and ZAP (USA). Tata Motors (Coventry, UK) was unable to present their Indica Vista EVX vehicle for the Range Test due to a technical issue. Although it did not advance, Tata demonstrated a vehicle at the Combined Performance and Efficiency Event. Validation is the final technical event in the X PRIZE. Finalists in both the Mainstream and Alternative classes will undergo dynamometer testing under controlled laboratory conditions at Argonne National Lab facilities.

Newsinbrief AUTOMOTIVE

The Government has guaranteed a £450m loan from the European Investment Bank to Ford for the development of new ecoengines. The money will form part of the company’s total investment of £1.5bn into low carbon technologies. “Ford has an impressive track record in research and development,” said business minister, Mark Prisk. “This government backing will help to ensure the long term success of manufacturing in the UK and make sure we are at the forefront of new technologies.”

After 18 years, three models and more than 2.3 million vehicles, July 16 marked the end of production for the Micra at Nissan’s Sunderland plant. Production of the Nissan Micra began in 1992, with the first model, the K11, built until 2002 when it was replaced by the K12. In its first year of sales, the K12 sold over 180,000 units and later spawned the coupé convertible model, the C+C. The Sunderland plant will assume responsibility for the manufacture of the new Nissan Juke crossover vehicle. MOTORSPORT

Over 30 British companies gathered in Coventry last month to promote their bid for a £200m Ministry of Defence contract for a light armoured vehicle to replace the Snatch Land Rover. The 7.5 tonne SPV400 has been specifically designed to counter the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices in the war in Afghanistan. Devon-based Supacat designs the vehicle, while the first batch of 200 Supacat SPV400s would be assembled by NP Aerospace at its Coventry facility. It is the first time this many companies in the motorsport industry have been involved in a defence contract tender.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed in July kicked off in style as international car manufacturers’ celebrated automotive beauty, design and, of course, speed. This year’s addition of an extra day provide time for the launch of the Moving Motor Show, which allowed prospective buyers and guests to test drive the latest models from the production lines on Goodwood’s prestigious hill track.


News Newsinbrief TRANSPORT

In its first year the Transport iNet has invested over £1m from East Midlands Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund to directly support East Midlands businesses and accelerate innovation projects across all five transport sectors: aerospace, motorsport, marine, automotive and rail. Transport iNet has assisted more than 150 small and medium-sized businesses, such as Castle Donnington based Rail Vision, through a combination of free advice and consultancy from innovation advisors, specialist brokerage schemes and funding.

Former Manufacturer of the Year Willerby Holiday Homes has agreed a £40m refinancing package from Royal Bank of Scotland’s asset and invoice finance divisions. The Hull-based caravan manufacturer took the top honours at The Manufacturer of the Year Awards – the annual industry celebration event hosted by The Manufacturer – in 2008. The refinancing package comprises £20m from RBS’s invoice finance department and a further £20m of asset-backed lending from the bank’s Lombard division.


Skills minister John Hayes has announced a consultation project to empower Further Education colleges to put lifelong learning at the heart of government policy for allow for sustainable growth. Mr Hayes promised to deliver on the lip service that has been paid to employer-led skills development in the past. He vowed to “pick up the tattered flag” for further education in the knowledge that “on the education of the people, the future of this country depends.”

On Thursday July 15 the National Apprenticeships Awards 2010 were held at the Westminster Plaza in central London. Organised by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) the awards acknowledged employers and apprentices who have excelled in their learning and application of talent. Nuclear industry leader, Sellafield, topped the employers’ awards category receiving the prize for Best Macro Employer 2010.


A erospace

Farnborough flies high Orders from the Farnborough International Airshow, which ran from July 19 to 25, reached a total of $47bn but were still down almost 50% on the record sales of $87.7bn achieved two years ago. Floor space at the show was sold out, with a greater number of exhibiting companies (1,450) than the 1,393 that exhibited at the 2008 show. This year’s event saw good engagement from policy-makers with 11 UK Government ministers, as well as overseas ministers plus 70 delegations from 44 countries in attendance. Over 120,000 visitors attended on trade days and a total of 108,000 on the public weekend which put the 2010 total attendance at 228,000 Farnborough news round-up Boeing The fuel efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner, 25% of which is UKbuilt when fitted with Rolls-Royce engines, was unveiled on the opening day. The UK aerospace industry is playing a key role in the globally collaborative programme to deliver the aircraft. There will be a multi-billion pound benefit to the UK from the 787 programme, more so than any Boeing programme to date. While Boeing’s direct sales at the event reached 249 aircraft ($11bn), just three 787s were sold, all to Royal Jordanian Airlines at a total cost of $500m. AIDN ADS, the aerospace and defence industry trade organisation, signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Australian Industry and Defence Network (AIDN) at Farnborough show. The objective of the MoU is to boost trade and supply chain efficiency in the Defence and Industry sectors. Sally Capp, Agent-General for the Government of Victoria, Australia said: “The State Government of Victoria is buoyed by the Memorandum

of Understanding signed between ADS and the AIDN and foresees this as the start of a mutually beneficial partnership.” GKN Aerospace In the first half of 2010 several big long term contract wins have brought $1.5bn worth of new business to GKN Aerospace. New agreements include two 10-year long term agreements (LTA), one with Rolls-Royce and a second with Pratt and Whitney, a five-year LTA with GE Aviation and a life of programme contract with Airbus extending the GKN’s contribution to the A350 XWB to supply parts including the wing rear spar, trailing edge assemblies, and inboard and outboard landing flaps. In the first quarter, GKN also announced contracts to design and manufacture the winglet for the Bombardier C-Series and complex titanium structures for the airframe and engine of the F35 Lightning II aircraft. Bahrain His Highness Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Supreme Organising Committee for Bahrain International Airshow and Farnborough International Ltd (FIL), signed an agreement to formalise their partnership to jointly organise the Bahrain International Airshow 2012 (BIAS) which will run from January 19 to 21, 2012. Attendance totalled 228,000


Green light for low carbon car grants The ‘Plug-In Car Grant’ designed to stimulate demand for low carbon vehicles will go ahead from January 2011, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has announced. rather than the £230m quoted by Labour when the previous government first proposed the scheme. The subsidy qualifies provided that the vehicle meets safety, reliability, performance and warranty requirements. Minister for Business Mark Prisk said that the consumer incentive would help Britain become one of the leading centres for the design, development and manufacture of ultra-low carbon vehicles. SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: “This is great news for industry and a significant commitment by the new government to create UK jobs in Former F1 driver Eddie Irvine promoting eco-friendly cars at the Bridgestone Eco Rally last month the emerging market for ultra-low carbon vehicles.“ Speaking at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) headquarters, Mr Hammond confirmed that motorists will receive a grant of up to 25% of the up-front value of the vehicle, capped at £5,000, when buying an electric, plug-in or hydrogen fuel car. But there will now only be £43m available for the scheme,


Crown paints bright future Crown Paints Group, the largest independent decorative coatings manufacturer in the UK and Ireland, has achieved a successful turnaround of the previously loss-making business. The change in fortunes follows its 2008 management buyout by private equity firm Endless from Dutch coatings manufacturer Akzo Nobel. Immediately after the buyout, Crown underwent a structural reorganisation, reducing its headcount by 9% in order to boost efficiency. The group also undertook a comprehensive review of its global stock inventories and management policies, working more closely with retailers to drive fixture productivity and profitability,

and with suppliers to drive value through the supply chain. Recently filed financial accounts for the Darwen, Lancashire-based company reveal operating profit of £2.8m on sales of £179.2m in the year to December 31, 2009, despite a continued decline in the global coatings market during the recession. The figures make a stark contrast to the £11.4m loss incurred during the three months’ trading to December 31, 2008 against turnover of £37.8m, following completion of the MBO on September 30, 2008.

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0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 N O V E M B E0 R 0 0 0 0 0 0 The most important date in the manufacturing 0calendar for02010. Ensure you’re with us. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 t H E M A N U FA C T U R E R dIRECTORS’




The conference programme and workshop details will be previewed in the next issue of The Manufacturer. Make sure you can join us, put this important event in your diary now. For further information please visit: Corporate Sponsor:

Researched and developed by:



Datesfor yourdiary August


Seminars and workshops that form part of National Motorsport Week is being held at various venues across the country. For further information visit:


A one-to-one surgery is being held where companies or members of the public can discuss ideas for research and development with the Centre for Defence Enterprise at Harwell Science & Innovation Campus. For further information email: or call: 01235 438445

September Throughout September EEF is holding seminars focusing on the Equality Act 2010 across the UK. For further information visit:


Changework Communications is holding a workshop on increasing mental toughness within the workplace in St Albans. For further information contact Sue Tupling on: 07703 023026 or:

9 14-15

MAS North West is holding a workshop at SCA Hygiene UK in Skelmersdale. Call 0800 458 9585.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders will be in attendance at Electrochem 2010, to be held at the University of Wolverhampton’s Telford campus. For further information call 020 7598 1561


Manufacturing Advisory Service South East is holding a Lean Facilitator training course within the Oxford and Buckinghamshire area. For details contact Christine Wheeler on 01256 741034


Sunseeker sells majority stake A consortium of UK and Irish investors has bought a majority stake in yacht manufacturer Sunseeker International for £25m. The team, led by Dublin-based FL Partners, owners of The Racing Post newspaper, also includes Stagecoach boss Brian Souter and chief executive of bed retailer Dreams, Mike Clare. “There’s 2,300 people who work there, it’s got an order book that is full for the next two years, it’s got sales of £300m and it is actually a profitable company,” says Souter. The 40-year-old company, which is based in Poole, Dorset, and employs more than 2,300 people, is the biggest motor yacht builder in the UK and has made yachts that were featured in recent James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Co-founder Robert Braithwaite, who remains a majority shareholder in the company, said: “The combination of significant new equity capital together with our existing marketleading position is a compelling one. Sunseeker will continue to capture the imagination of its customers in all segments of the market and will have a very exciting future.” Mr Braithwaite will become president and non-executive chairman of Sunseeker International. Stewart McIntyre, currently chief operating officer, has been appointed managing director. Sunseeker said FL Partners had refinanced Sunseeker’s debt with a £40 million package of long-term loans from Macquarie Bank of Australia and Haymarket Financial.


The Confederation of British Industry is holding the CBI Energy conference at the Royal Society in London. For further details or to book visit


The Institute of Manufacturing is holding a Tribology course, using seminars, open forums and workshop sessions to explain more about tribology. For more information visit:


The Manufacturing Institute, in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover, is holding a Lean Academy course to be based at the JLR site. Contact Emma Holt at:


The Food & Drink Federation will be present at the National Food & Drink Manufacturing conference, to be held at the Oxford Belfry hotel. For further information contact or 0116 257 3378


The Manhattan 52 by Sunseeker

ManufacturingNews MEDICAL

A spoonful of sugar The Technology Strategy Board is investing over £5m in the support of British companies’ research and development of new regenerative medicine products, tools and technologies. TSB is investing a total of £3.6m across 16 therapeutics R&D projects and a further £1.6m in 12 feasibility studies in related tools and technologies. The funding for therapeutics research will enable the companies involved to accelerate product development to take advantage of future market opportunities. Meanwhile, the funding for the feasibility studies will enable companies to explore opportunities to develop platform tools and technologies to overcome key product development challenges including safety/efficacy testing and manufacturing. Iain Gray, TSB chief executive, said: “Regenerative medicine

has already provided significant medical advances, in areas such as skin regeneration for burns patients, and it has the potential to offer cures and treatments with long- term benefits. The UK is a world leader in this area, with a strong science base. For us to fulfil our potential in this field, a number of development challenges need to be overcome, so that British businesses – and the wider economy – can benefit from the successful commercial exploitation of promising discoveries.” These projects are part of a wider £21.5m programme of investment in the area of regenerative medicine.


Britain is open for business David Cameron has pointed to foreign investment as a key focus for the United Kingdom’s economic recovery, after UK Trade & Investment revealed big increases during 2009/10. The Prime Minister, speaking yesterday at the UK Trade & Investment Business Summit, said: “We want Britain to be a place where companies can grow and succeed, where the world’s best companies thrive, where great ideas and innovations are turned into great products and where we have a world-class workforce. “We are determined to deliver the pro-business environment investors need; getting the deficit down to create certainty and stability, cutting business taxes, delivering flexible employment and cutting red tape and regulation. Whether your company is established here,

expanding here or relocating here, Britain is back open for business and it’s going to be better than before – and better than the competition.” His audience included representatives over 100 of the UK’s leading investors, including Hutchison Whampoa, Motorola, Tata Group, Toyota, Siemens, Emirates, Fujitsu and Pfizer. Cameron’s comments came after UKTI released national investment figures showing a record 54 countries invested in the UK in 2009/10. Inward investment generated 94,000 jobs over the past year – a 20% rise on the previous year – across 1,619 projects.


Anglo-Dutch consumer goods maker Reckitt Benckiser (RB) has agreed a £2.5bn deal to buy SSL International – the British maker of Durex condoms and Scholl foot care products. “The acquisition will add two new Powerbrands, with good further growth potential, to Reckitt Benckiser’s current arsenal, making 19 Powerbrands in total,” says RB chief executive Bart Becht. “Durex, in the sexual wellbeing category, is the global number one condom brand and Scholl is the market leader in the foot care category in many of the markets where it is present.”

Product recalls in the UK were down 10% last year, led by a drop in food products, although recalls of Chinese made goods are increasing. According to research by City law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, the number of consumer goods products recalled, excluding food and drink and pharmaceuticals, was up 10% from 120 to 132.


David Cameron and Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable have welcomed an agreement between BAE Systems, RollsRoyce and Indian aerospace company, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, to supply 57 Hawk trainer aircraft to India. Announced at the HAL complex in Bangalore, the deal is worth about £700m, of which over £500m is for BAE Systems and up to £200m for Rolls-Royce and will support over 200 jobs in the UK. Today’s agreement to supply Hawk trainer aircraft follows on from a previous agreement in 2004 to supply 66 Hawk aircraft to India.

The European countries behind European aerospace company EADS will continue to subsidise Airbus’s A350, despite recent WTO rulings questioning the legality of similar subsidies. Governments of the four countries – Britain, France, Germany and Spain – will provide reimbursable subsidies to help Airbus continue to develop its wide bodied A350 project, senior ministers from the UK and France confirmed at the Farnborough International Airshow.


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ManufacturingAppointments UK Appointments Bob Bigley R&R Ice Cream

R&R Ice Cream, the UK’s largest ice cream manufacturer in terms of volume, has appointed Bob Bigley as it first director of corporate development. During a distinguished

business career spanning nearly 30 years, Bigley has held director level posts in the property, banking and accountancy sectors, including stints at Touche Ross and KPMG.

Clare Davies Norbert Dentressangle

Norbert Dentressangle has appointed Clare Davies as head of sales, completing the restructuring of its sales team. Davies joins Norbert Dentressangle from Wincanton where she has worked in a variety of

contract management and development roles with clients including Nestlé, Danone and Woolworths. Davies has also held director level positions at Marks & Spencer, Somerfield and Best Buy.

Paul Lester Marine Current Turbines

Paul Lester, previously the chief executive of VT Group, has been appointed chairman of UK tidal energy company, Marine Current Turbines, succeeding Tony Davies. Lester is joining MCT as the company moves forward with many development

projects, including securing a 99MW development site in waters off the Orkney Islands as part of The Crown Estate Pentland Firth process, and is working with RWE npower renewables on a tidal farm off Anglesey.

Gorm Jensen MÖBIUS Business Redesign

MÖBIUS Business Redesign, management consultancy, has announced the appointment of Gorm Jensen as the CEO for the UK business. Jensen has over 20 years executive

experience in the chemical industry, with previous roles including president at Valspar Europe, and various vice president roles at Huntsman.

Alan Wiseman, the chairman of Scottish dairy company Robert Wiseman, has announced he is stepping down from the board and that he is to be replaced by his brother, Robert. Wiseman, who has been with the company founded by his late father for 43 years, will resign his directorship at the annual meeting on July 8 and Robert will move up from chief executive to executive chairman. Boss Design has announced two new internal promotions within the business. Andy Watson, formally sales director, has been appointed into the new role of international sales director whilst Marc Le Peltier, formally head of new business development, is now UK sales director. Watson, who has twenty-five years industry experience and has been with Boss Design for fifteen years, plans to build on the company’s global presence in the US and Middle East, whilst Le Peltier will be focusing on expanding the UK sales operations. Marshall Tufflex Energy Management has announced a new appointment to its management team. Technical specialist Jon Davey has joined the Hastings manufacturer as its business development manager, a new position created to manage and maintain the high level of interest being shown in MTEM’s portfolio of cutting-edge energy management solutions.

Lotus Cars has announced that Wolf Zimmermann will join as chief technical officer. Zimmermann joins from Mercedes-AMG GmbH where he was managing director engineering & production and chief engineer technical strategy at Mercedes-AMG GmbH. He will officially join the Lotus management team on September 1.

International Appointments THINK – the Norwegian electric vehicle technology pioneer – has announced two senior appointments to its management team, further strengthening its executive echelons in a time of rapid growth for the company. Houtan Houshangi has joined THINK as director of business development from McKinsey & Co, where he has spent much of the last decade working as practice and engagement manager, focused primarily on operations management and lean manufacturing in automotive, assembly, transport, logistics, fast-moving consumer goods, banking and insurance. Eivind Garshol is appointed director of human resources, and joins THINK from REC Wafer (a division of Renewable Energy Corporation ASA), where he was vice president of human resources.

To notify The Manufacturer of your company’s appointments, please contact Daniel George at and 01603 671300


The big picture Local engagement  for the global manufacturer

David Marlow Institute for Manufacturing

Successful modern manufacturing is essentially global in character – in terms of where we source our expertise, ideas, R&D and where we find our markets and customers. However, says David Marlow of the IfM, as government recognises, there will be increasing challenges over the coming period to ensure that as a global business we get our local connections and relationships right.


the major political parties went into the general election professing a support for manufacturing as a key plank of national economic policy. This was both in order to redress previous reliance on financial services as an engine of growth, and also to assist in stimulating economies in the north and midlands as a counterbalance to growth driven out of London and the ‘Greater South East’. The new coalition’s approach is still evolving but the early signs are mixed. Certainly the government has reaffirmed the importance of manufacturing as a sector, and “rebalancing” as a major consideration of economic geography. They have augmented this approach with a further “rebalancing” – of public and private sector jobs growth – seeing the private sector as the major source of employment growth over the coming period. However the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) took some of the highest levels of cuts in the coalition’s early announcements and has been offered no protection from reductions in spend (of an average 25%) in the impending Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). Regionally, Government has announced the abolition of RDAs, which are to be replaced by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) established by local authorities with local business participation. The precise form, roles and functions of LEPs is to be developed with a White Paper over the summer. Many of the innovation and enterprise functions of RDAs are to be re-assumed nationally – presumably within the smaller resource envelopes coming out of the CSR. The prospects for resourcing of LEPs are similarly rather discouraging – given inevitable major reductions in local authority finance. Local leadership teams of many areas recognise that successful places in the UK need to stimulate and support a “new economy” post-recession in which modern industries, emerging technologies and innovation will be major areas for development – but also that they need to learn a lot more about their manufacturing sector, its priorities for retention and


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growth, and the measures they can take to support these priorities and develop the supply chain. This recognition is even prevalent in areas one would not normally consider manufacturing “hotspots”. For instance, Cornwall sees major potential for growth in renewable energy technologies given its marine and geothermal assets, whilst Peterborough seeks the growth of an environmental cluster with engineering at its heart. Local and sub-regional public bodies provide hugely important underpinnings for industrial success: skills employment and labour force productivity measures; infrastructure; social; transport; planning and regulatory environment; markets through public procurement; and business support. However, in the current public finance climate, public bodies will be highly selective in the policies and interventions they support – hence the need for public/private dialogue and deliberation in which the manufacturing voice is prominent. Manufacturing companies and their representatives should consider how to ensure ‘industry’ remains at the forefront of government thinking as departments – including BIS – author the White Paper on sub-national development. More locally, companies should work proactively with local and sub-regional leaders (and other business representatives) to shape Local Enterprise Partnerships that will support manufacturing ambitions. With the demise of RDAs, the Institute for Manufacturing is considering the establishment of an “Industrial Innovation Network/Special Interest Group (SIG) for local and sub-regional economies” to help shape a public policy dialogue sub-nationally that can support industrial growth. We are looking to stimulate exchange between the SIG and manufacturing companies to increase understanding and mutual awareness of each others’ needs and priorities. Certainly we will be interested to hear from companies who wish to engage in this exercise, and to offer advice and support to companies who wish to work with their local and sub-regional public bodies in the establishment of LEPs and on the formulation of local and sub-regional industrial strategies.

Economics Time and energy Steve Radley, Director of Policy, EEF


is now widely acknowledged that the UK faces major energy challenges. These include the decline in natural gas production, the ageing of the current fleet of nuclear power plants and the restrictions placed by EU law and government policy on coal-fired plants. At the same time, our obligations under the EU Renewables Target mean that 15% of our energy must come from renewable sources by 2020.This led Ofgem to warn in February that, without reform, energy security could be undermined within five years and that customers risked paying significantly more than was needed to meet environmental objectives. The events of the last winter, when some companies, admittedly on interruptible contracts, were temporarily cut off despite the fact that the recession had significantly depressed demand for energy illustrate the scale of the problem. The Government has a limited window to put a plan in place and start implementing it. Lead times for investment are often long, with major challenges associated with planning, licensing, raising finance and skills. At the same time, with manufacturing starting to pick up, companies are looking at where to place their next major investment and will be looking for reassurance that the UK does not face an energy crunch further down this decade. EEF has therefore set out an Energy Action Plan for the next three years — listing the actions that the Government needs to take over the next three years. So far, it has made a good start by its commitment to deliver market reform to enhance energy security and facilitate investment. But it will need to stick to this plan and be relentless in its drive to overcome the obstacles that we face if it is to keep energy policy on track. We look at each of the key issues in turn: market reform, renewable energy, nuclear power. On the first point, the government has already committed to make the two key reforms needed: regulating to safeguard energy security and introducing a floor price for carbon to encourage investment in low carbon technologies. Given that the UK has just 16 days of gas storage capacity compared with 99 in Germany and 122 in France, the Government needs to start the detailed consultation that will put in place

Following June’s Emergency Budget, EEF’s Steve Radley highlights another area where  the government must  show a similar degree  of leadership:  our energy supply. by 2012 an obligation on gas suppliers that will more encourage investment. Over a timescale, it should reform the climate change levy into a carbon tax in a way that treats fuels, such as nuclear power, consistently and creates the certainty needed to raise investment in low carbon energy.

A new clear strategy? At a time of economic austerity and greater problems in raising finance from the private sector, it must also take a more cost effective approach to expanding our use of renewable energy. In part it can do this by addressing the complexity and uncertainty associated with the Renewables Obligation by introducing a system of feed in tariffs for investment in large scale renewable projects. But it also needs to take a hard look at the cost effectiveness and practicality of our EU Renewables Target. It has a requirement to report progress on this every two years to the EU, with the next report due at the end of next year. It must make full use of that report to assess the cost effectiveness of meeting this target. At the very least, it must refrain for extending the target until it has the full facts and discussion of doing so in the Coalition Agreement is therefore worrying. And if the evidence suggests that we face problems with meeting the target, it needs to show leadership in Europe in questioning whether a change of tack is needed. Progress on nuclear power is encouraging, and it is important that the detailed work on planning consents and end of life liabilities is completed by the end of the year and assessment of the proposed reactor designs is done by the end of next year. In contrast, the Government needs to speed up progress on carbon capture and storage. Despite launching a demonstration competition in 2007, not a single funding commitment has yet been made. In Canada, a similar competition had funding for four demonstration projects in place within 17 months. So, a great deal for the Government to do in a fairly limited period. But it’s important not to be alarmist about this, as there’s still time to get things right. However, it is vital that the government shows the leadership needed to make sure this happens.

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The legal low down The Bribery Act 2010… more questions than answers In what is an increasingly competitive global market, manufacturers are often faced with differing anti-competitive practices on both a local and non-local basis.


criticism from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), triggered mainly by the judicial handling of the investigation into the recent bribery allegations against BAE Systems, the Bribery Act 2010 is expected to be brought into force later this year. The Act has now received royal assent and will represent a significant overhaul by codifying and extending pre-existing anti-corruption rules. However, does the Act provide manufacturers with adequate protection, allowing genuine competitive practices to go forward in a clear and free manner? The answer is probably not. The Act contains two general offences, that of being bribed and that of bribing another where an ‘advantage’ is offered to induce ‘improper performance’. The act also notably introduces the corporate offence which carries strict criminal liability for a business whose ‘associated persons’ i.e. employees, subsidiaries, agents or consultants, pay bribes in relation to its business in either the public or private sector anywhere in the world. Whilst similar in content to existing law, the actual definition of bribery appears somewhat hazy; the Act’s provisions, including the new corporate offence, are not limited to pure financial payments and will prevent those better known ‘facilitation payments’ which may include certain types of corporate hospitality if intended to subvert duties of good faith or impartiality that the recipient owes to his or her employer. Such provisions, which apply to both UK and non-UK business operating in the UK (no matter where the act of bribery takes place) are much broader than previous rules and are far wider in scope than comparable US provisions which do not prohibit facilitation payments or restrict dealings between private individuals. Under the new legislation, failure to comply can result in an unlimited fine for a breaching party, as well as up to 10 years imprisonment for consenting individuals.


There is a single statutory defence for businesses able to show they have, on the balance of probabilities, ‘adequate anti-corruption systems and controls’ in place which will require evidence of extensive policy documents, training and compliance material. Whilst likely to suit larger multi-billion pound manufacturers, a more light touch approach is expected for smaller or medium sized ventures although the extent of such action necessary to avoid prosecution is still unclear. In a similar vein, the Act introduces a further new discrete offence of offering of an ‘advantage’ to a public official to induce ‘improper performance’ in circumstances where such action is not permitted or required by written local law. The requirement for express support under written law in the Section 5 defence is crucial and, whilst clearly intended to prevent argument over varying local customs, may well incur substantial difficulties. For example, where in many countries, such as South Africa, businesses simply cannot compete without paying what the other international authorities might call “bribes”, a lack of written law permitting such payments may well force businesses to either withdraw from these markets or face prosecution. Further guidance is anticipated, but it is expected that prosecutors will take account of local advice when sought and followed. In the face of such provisions businesses may well decide to take heed from the US and be tempted to turn themselves in and “do a deal” with the prosecuting authorities. However, in the wake of recent judicial activism, seen in the court’s decision to dramatically increase the penalty paid by US chemicals manufacturer, Innospec Inc, such action should be viewed with extreme care. What is clear is that the Act requires strict deference to laws and social customs in the UK and overseas; unfortunately the only real certainty appears to be that in ensuring this, the Act unfortunately requires business to spend increased sums on legal costs for advice both at home and abroad.

For more details contact: Andrew Jackson, Partner, Thomas Eggar LLP

businessasunusual Back from the brink Anand Sharma, Chairman and CEO, TBM Consulting Group


take the long view. Not too long, but more than a century. Say 125 years. Back when Western economies were being transformed from mostly agrarian to industrial. When craft skills were giving way to central management control and labour standardisation. Back when Frederick Taylor was first experimenting and formalising his thoughts on “scientific management.” Back before Henry Ford popularised the assembly line and standard parts. Suffice it to say that much has happened to manufacturing technology, methods and practices since that time. One of the factories that we work with has survived it all. The iconic, red brick buildings with clerestory windows look like what people expect a factory to look like. But it’s not an historic showplace where actors re-enact days gone by. It’s a place where generations have worked and continue to work. It has survived based on a special expertise with a particular material and economic equations that have never quite fallen completely out of favour. The ongoing viability of the facility is really quite amazing. Think of the companies and factories that you know of that didn’t survive the most recent recession years. This one has survived more than a century of economic recessions. Think of the companies that have survived but the factories that have been shut down for one reason or another: market changes, tax rate changes, labour cost changes and so on. This site has survived a variety of corporate owners and corporate names, and an untold number of management transitions and reorganisations. Products and product lines that once provided the bulk of sales have gradually become commoditised. Total employment has gone from thousands at its peak to hundreds today. And it came very, very close to shutting down not too many years ago. Then, leveraging corporate R&D, they launched a new product line, in brand-new markets, with much higher margins. And the situation turned around, dramatically. But the rest is not history. They still have a lot of work to do. Today, it’s a completely different business that’s dealing with the type of challenges that manufacturing executives like to have. Global sales growth has pushed the factory close to its capacity.

A survival mindset might be pivotal during the  cold hard depths of recession but Anand Sharma says you should get out of it as soon as you are able to. The future’s all about growth.

There are few, if any, low skill jobs anymore; even the security guard can speak knowledgeably about 5S visual management practices. While mindful of the past, plant managers are squarely focused on the future. They are leveraging process improvement tools and methodologies that are too often consigned to cost cutting roles. In fact, such initiatives go hand in hand with product innovation and sales growth. In many cases, by releasing capacity and capital, they create the space for innovation and growth to happen. As a result of its capacity challenges, this factory is releasing ideas that have been percolating for years. For example, on one line a process improvement team worked with a customer to modify their product configuration in such a way that daily output could be doubled. Others are applying classic setup reduction tools to reduce changeover times and run smaller batches and thereby fulfil customer orders quicker,

There are few, if any, low skill jobs anymore; even the security guard can speak knowledgeably about 5S visual management practices turning downtime into additional capacity. Subsequent inventory reductions have released millions of dollars of working capital that could be invested back in the business. Another team analysed and figured out how to cut five days out of the normal two-week summer shutdown period, which is required for equipment overhauls. That’s five additional days of revenue that they’ve been able to capture. Perhaps the biggest challenge of all, they are changing a hand-to-mouth mindset at all levels – born of decades of cost cutting – into a culture that listens to customers, makes the necessary investments and embraces growth, rather than regard it with suspicion and doubt. Yes, the survival mindset carried them through some difficult years, but it won’t carry them forward for the next 125 years. Don’t let it hold you back.

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Ready, Set,

GO! Motorsport disseminates its elite talents through industry

While its raison d’etre is to propel vehicles at breakneck speeds around a race track,  Tim Brown discovers that the specialist knowledge of the motorsport industry is increasingly being exploited by mainstream engineering and manufacturing applications.



British have always been obsessed with making things go as fast as possible using the least amount of energy, dating back to the early days of steam power and the Industrial Revolution. Despite being the original home of neither the automobile (Germany) nor motor racing (France), the UK has long been established as the international hub of the motor racing industry. About 4,500 companies are involved in the Motorsport and Performance Engineering Industry in the UK, which generates revenues of about £6bn annually, of which £3.6bn is exported. There are successful firms nationwide but the largest concentration of motorsport engineering firms are found within ‘Motorsport Valley’, a business cluster which extends from Gloucestershire to Norfolk in

Leadstory Ready, set, go!

Automotive The links between the mainstream

Gordon Murray – Petrolhead to urban green champion

automotive sector and the motorsport industry are obvious and the two have enjoyed a long and prosperous relationship. Henry Ford founded his company with the $1000 he won in a motor race and the Ford Motor Company has been one of the most consistent partners of motor racing ever since.

According to Chris Aylett, chief executive of the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA), the automotive sector has drawn more and more on motorsport’s knowledge of efficiency, especially in the last five years. He highlights the development of F1’s kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) as an In July 2007, the Gordon Murray Design consultancy was established. Its first big example of this knowledge project was the T.25 prototype city car which was designed for optimal strength, performance, weight, cost, safety, usability, tooling, quality, energy efficiency, crossover. Kers is a form of recyclability and ease of assembly. On November 17, 2008 Gordon Murray won regenerative braking which the ‘Idea of the Year’ at Autocar magazine’s annual awards for the manufacturing acts as an energy recovery process proposed for the T.25. In November 2009 Gordon Murray Design and mechanism that reduces Zytek Automotive announced plans to develop an electric-powered version, the vehicle speed by converting T.27. The first prototype is due to hit the road early in 2011. some of its kinetic energy into a useful form of energy instead of dissipating it as heat as in a conventional brake. “We estimate that over well £20m went into the research and development of KERS almost overnight,” says Aylett. “That is the power and value that motorsport can bring. If an advantage can be found within the rules, then the sponsors or partners will find that money to exploit that advantage.” Two energy transfer systems were developed following the KERS ruling: Flybrid a rough crescent shape between Birmingham and and Williams Hybrid. Both systems have London, with its heartland near Silverstone now been adopted by a range of non-car in Northamptonshire. applications including trains, boats, coaches The size of the UK motorsport industry, combined and aircraft. F1 no longer actually uses either with its faculty for invention and rapid product system. In February this year, carmaker Porsche development, has made it a valuable resource for announced that its 911 GT3 R Hybrid would larger engineering companies. Formula 1 teams, for incorporate the Williams model and the vehicle example, have commercial partners from a diverse made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. range of industries including automotive, aerospace, Three years from the start of the F1 KERS communications, defence, electronics, energy, oil and project, Porsche has bought the Williams tyre manufacture. Strong relationships with companies solution and is one of first mass production such as Phillips, AT&T, Bridgestone, Boeing, Airbus, vehicle makers to implement the system BAE Systems and Shell are for more than marketing into a standard model. “Not even Porsche reasons, as a network of knowledge transfer between could develop such technology as fast as the these companies provides direct commercial benefits through direct input into their processes and products.

Professor Gordon Murray, born 1946 in Durban, South Africa, is a renowned designer of Formula 1 race cars and the McLaren F1 road car. He worked as a design engineer for the Brabham F1 race team for 17 years, where his designs helped secure 22 Grand Prix wins, achieve second in the constructors’ world championships in 1975 and 1981 and helped Nelson Piquet to the drivers’ championships in 1981 and 1983. After leaving Brabham, Murray joined McLaren as technical director. His 1988 Honda-powered McLaren MP4/4 won 15 of the 16 Grand Prix, and gave Ayrton Senna his first drivers’ championship..


motorsport industry,” says Aylett. “Motorsport really becomes a kind of skunk works for mainstream engineering firms. That has become motorsport’s role with these bigger industries – defence, aerospace, marine and automotive – because motorsport is in the R&D prototyping business under the cover of entertainment. Failure and success is actually what people are paying to watch, and if you’re trying something new you don’t even destroy your reputation by being last. People forgive failures in motorsport but when you go to the showroom they don’t.” Menard Composite Technologies is another company with a strong motorsport background that is finding business outside its core market. The Oxfordshire-based company run by MD Kevin Lee, who worked for Tom Walkinshaw in F1 and the Toyota F1 team in Germany, has the contract to manufacture 1,000 engines for the Norton Commando 961 motorcycle and is also working for more than one aerospace company.

Today F1 materials, design principles and operational processes routinely transfer from the track to British industry. Below are some examples.

K-2 all-terrain manual wheelchair, 2008 An extremely strong but lightweight chair with a Formula 1-inspired seat sculpted to fit the driver’s body comfortably.

Airflo Ridge Line fly fishing line and rod, 2006 In the same way that a grooved F1 tyre has a smaller contact area with the racetrack, the grooves in the fishing line mean there is less contact with the rod, so reducing friction and allowing anglers to cast further and with greater accuracy than ever before.

Anti-slip Guardian wellington boot, 2008

The new Axis Drive by Caudwell Marine

Marine Parallels between the motorsport and

marine industries are also numerous, not least because both sectors are involved in sports which serve as a proving ground for technologies which are hoped will filter down into the mass market. “Marine is facing a real struggle with its energy efficiency program,” says Aylett. “They [recreational boat builders] are in an environment where pollution is very evident, so they have to take a journey into energy efficiency pretty rapidly and they very quickly realised that design, engine usage, diesel knowledge and light weight materials all exist in motorsport. Marine is a slower moving sector but it is coming to similar solutions by its links with motorsport. It is not under a high degree of pressure to solve this overnight.” Offshore powerboating is one of the most obvious examples where motorsport technologies are being used in watercraft. Ilmor Marine Engines LLC is one of the leading engine manufacturers in offshore powerboating – powering the 99 Fountain Worldwide team to back-to-back Powerboat P1


F1 inspired products

Worked with an F1 tyre engineer to develop slipresistant footwear. Using a special rubber material and tread pattern, they have designed soles with antislip protection for people working in areas with wet and greasy floors.

Evolution class World Championship victories in 2007 and 2008. Considering that Ilmor Engineering has has triumphed in the Indianapolis 500 14 times, here is a great example of where on-track experience has translated into success on the water. Motorsport developments have also found their way into more mainstream marine developments. For example, MIA Members Xtrac, Cosworth and Ilmor Engineering have recently worked together to design the revolutionary Axis Drive marine propulsion system for South African company Caudwell Marine, the boat builder started by mobile phone entrepeneur John Caudwell. This radical new design boasts zero power loss from engine to propeller and serves as a prime example of how the motorsport industry’s competitive and innovative engineers can achieve desirable results when plying their skills in other industry sectors.

Lead story Ready, set, go!

KERS flywheel

Defence In January 2007, the challenge of

linking motorsport to defence was issued by Lord Drayson (then Minister for Procurement at the Ministry of Defence) and Lord Astor of Hever, Shadow Defence Minister. Aware of the advanced engineering skills involved in designing racing cars which attain high levels of performance and reliability over variable terrain while enduring extremes of temperature, load and adverse climatic conditions, both parliamentarians were convinced of the synergies which exist between the motorsport and defence industries.

On the battlefield, where people need fast solutions delivered on time, the motorsport industry is able to deliver Chris Aylett, MIA Greater interaction between the two industries has been mutually beneficial since then, and it has enabled the defence sector to utilise a separate set of brainpower to find novel solutions to its engineering problems. In addition, due to motorsports’ capability for fast lead times, the defence sector has benefited from fast delivery of its most critical programmes which are called

‘urgent operational requirements’ or UORs. Companies with a strong motorsport bias such as NAR Group, Delta Composites, Xtrac and Alcon have had opportunities to grow their businesses with less seasonally-variable revenue streams. Features of the motorsport industry make a very good fit with the defence industry, says Chris Aylett, due to the similarities between the motorsport arena and the theatre of war. “The UK defence industry was finding it hard to produce long production lines years ahead, and also fight guerrilla warfare, because the enemy is continually trying to find weaknesses in the equipment. Motorsport operates exactly in that environment, that is exactly what motorsport teams do every weekend. The military are up against people who are innovative, inventive, competitive and fast moving. There is an old adage that motorsport is actually war without bullets. No motor race is ever held up due to the failure of the supply of a part. On the battlefield, where people need fast solutions delivered on time, the motorsport industry is able to deliver.” About one third of the companies tendering for a contract to build components for a new MoD-procured Light Protected Patrol Vehicle – which is intended to replace the Snatch Land Rover in Afghanistan – are members of the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA). The consortium delivered their formal contract tender at a press conference in Coventry in July.

Examples of motorsport companies that have contributed to defence programmes.

Cosworth Multidiscipline engineering firm Cosworth has been awarded two Ministry of Defence contracts. The British firm, which supplies engines and electronics to Formula 1 and operates across sectors, will build components that capture data about the severity of accidents and which monitor the less conspicuous damage to military vehicles. Chief executive of Cosworth Group, Tim Routsis, said: “We are delighted to be using our electronics expertise to assist in the military’s attempts to improve the safety of our troops in Afghanistan. It is encouraging to see how the MoD is recognising the potential of the technology available in businesses like Cosworth.”

Williams F1 Hybrid Power Williams F1 Hybrid Power is building an electromechanical flywheel to increase the efficiency of diesel generators used in the Afghanistan conflict.

The NAR Group The NAR Group, which has supplied equipment for the Paris-Dakar Rally, has designed a dust-proof cooling system for the Ridgeback, Panther and Mastiff armoured vehicles.


Lead story Ready, set, go!

Getting involved The Motorsport Industry Association runs two initiatives to assist motorsport companies diversify into other markets. The Motorsport to Defence and Motorsport to Marine initiatives have helped to develop motorsport-derived radiators, design techniques, computational fluid dynamics, charge coolers, gearboxes, brakes, suspension components and seals which provide performance and economical benefits to defence and marine vehicles. Visit or for more details of how the MIA can assist the development of relationships with defence and marine contractors. The Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) is the first point of contact for anyone with a disruptive technology, new process or innovation that has a potential defence application. CDE is a gateway between private enterprise and the Ministry of Defence, bringing together innovation and

open idea

cde proposal process

I have an idea with a difence application

Attend one of the regular ‘how to submit an idea’ workshops

specific call MOD has a need to solve a particular challenge

Attend the relevant seminar for this challenge (register on website)

Or go direct to uk/enterprise

Or go direct to uk/enterprise

Develop your idea as a proposal Idea not mature? Need additional info or an early opinion?

investment for the defence market. See Figure 1 for a demonstration of how to successfully engage with the CDE.

This has become motorsport’s role with these bigger industries – defence, aerospace, marine and automotive – because motorsport is in the R&D prototyping business under the cover of entertainment Chris Aylett, Motorsport Industry Association

The Jackal production line designed and developed by Supacat Ltd in Honiton, Devon and built under license by Lockheed Martin

Idea well developed?

Submit your proposal

Assessment by MOD Experts Approve/Contract


Reject, including reasons

Crown Copywright © Ministry of Defence 2009


2010 Turkish Grand Prix Nico Hülkenberg, Williams

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Interview Bob Bell


Formula for success For Bob Bell, Renault Formula 1’s managing director, the motorsport industry is virtually unrecognisable from that he experienced in the early 1980s as a rookie aerodynamicist at McLaren International. He tells  Edward Machin how the industry’s demands have  produced masters  of design and manufacture.

“Formula 1

is one of the very few businesses where the team design, manufacture and operate their own products. Most companies design things; some design and produce them, but very few do all three,” says Bob Bell, managing director at Renault Formula 1’s Enstone, Oxfordshire base. It should come as no surprise that those in the sport work to rather extreme time scales — ones that would turn many manufacturers a whiter shade of pale. “Formula One racing, which I believe to be the peak of competitive sport, requires us to develop improved performance on a fortnightly scale,” he says. “This forces teams to work very rapidly in implementing the required developments. Seeing as you don’t accrue points for failing to finish, this performance has to be done very reliably.” Bell is quick to attribute some of his success to his team. “Perhaps most importantly, and speaking for the industry in general, we have an incredible bunch of guys doing the job. They’re diligent, passionate, exceptionally hard-working and have a constantly inspiring professional pride in ensuring that they

deliver to the utmost quality. Do you pay a premium in terms of employees’ terms and conditions? “Absolutely. That we push them that much harder and demand more is only to be expected. Somewhat a cliché, but it very much comes down to the people.”

Start your engines Taking a PhD in aeronautical engineering at Queen’s University, Belfast in 1982, Bell, 52, found himself at a career crossroads. “My first leaning was to go into the aerospace industry, which was very buoyant at the time,” he says. “The technology was light years beyond the majority of other industries, but the number of people it took to get things completed and its extended lead times somewhat scared me off.” “I looked around for something that was hi-tech — maybe not quite as high, but hi-tech nonetheless. I wanted something that had a really competitive element and, most importantly, an industry that involved real concept teamwork. Formula One seemed to tick all the boxes, and having pestered just about everyone in the business, one of them finally relented and gave me a job.”


He was McLaren International’s then technical director, John Barnard, who employed Bell as the company’s sole aerodynamicist. “I think he felt sorry for me more than anything,” he says with characteristic humility. “John’s wife, a lovely woman who is also from Northern Ireland, put in a good word for a struggling graduate, and I was off.” And off he was, rising to head of research and development at McLaren six years later, and overseeing one of the most fondly-remembered periods in the history of motorsport: the often acidic rivalry between drivers Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. Culminating with Formula 1’s 1988 season, in which Renault-Honda won 15 out of 16 races, McLaren began a process of diversification on the back of this success — the F1 Road Car programme, an electronics company and, most famously, its MAVerick Land Speed Record Vehicle, among others.

After a stint as technical director with the MAVerick vehicle, and then with Benetton as a senior aerodynamicist, Bell joined Jordan, “As all selfrespecting Irishmen eventually do,” he laughs. Moving to Renault as deputy technical director in 2001, and assuming the department’s top seat two years later, things progressed rather smoothly for Bell and the team — winning the constructers’ championship in 2005 and 2006. Until last year, that is, when flamboyant team principal Flavio Briattore resigned in the wake of a race-fixing scandal. “I was asked to man the rudder until we got settled again, which I was enormously proud to do,” he says. “With things somewhat more stable, I assumed the role of managing director in 2010, which is how we find things now. And that’s my career in a nutshell. Probably more lowlights than anything, I’m sure!”

Rapidly prototyping Bob Bell, as Chassis Technical Director on the grid at the USA Grand Prix, Indianapolis, 2007

Biography Bob Bell



Company aerodynamicist, McLaren International


Head of research and development, McLaren International


Project technical director for MAVerick Land Speed Record Vehicle, McLaren


Future projects manager, McLaren International


Senior aerodynamicist, Benetton Formula


Head of vehicle technology, Jordan Grand Prix


Deputy technical director, Renault F1 Team


Technical director, Renault F1 Team


Team principal and chief technical officer, Renault F1 Team


Managing director, Renault F1 Team

If one looks any single facet of what Formula 1 does in terms of manufacturing, the individual process is not necessarily unique to the industry. When stitched together, however, things tend to become infinitely more complex and impressive. “Take, for example, that we might want to produce a new carbon fibre wing for a vehicle,” says Bell. “While this might ordinarily take up to a year, if it was important enough we might create a male pattern, lay out a female mould from that and manufacture the finished component. When working to even tighter time scales, we would simply machine the mould directly from the solid. It would have a very limited shelf-life, but because we are making small quantities of our components it allows us to take short cuts to ensure high-performance parts get to the tracks where and when needed.” Similarly, rapid prototyping (RP) techniques — falling under the banner of advanced digital manufacturing — are omnipresent within the F1 industry. “It’s quick, can be produced to highly complex shapes and fits ideally for the low accuracy tooling needs we have. You don’t always get many components out of it, nor is it the most stable of materials. For the time periods over which we operate, however, we can just about get away with things like that.” “The next step-change Renault is looking at concerns direct metal manufacture using RP techniques,” he continues. “When we acquire ownership of these practices it will mean that the team can simply cut out the pattern stage and go from CAD model to finished metallic component. It offers unique opportunities, given that with RP one can produce components that wouldn’t otherwise be realised.”

Manufacturing to meet designers’ ambition Married to this, Bell highlights the fact that Formula 1 teams are continuously pushing their mechanical designers to remove weight from components — while making them even more geometrically complex at the same time. “Given that they are

Interview Bob Bell

Renault F1 Team Principal and Chief Technical Officer, Bob Bell, on the grid at the Japanese Grand Prix

being squeezed from both sides, we are becoming increasingly dependent on intricate 3D machined metal components that require high-speed milling to produce them from the solid,” he says. “An example of this is a hydraulic manifold, whereby all of our flow control valves and temperature sensors are co-located to serve as the car’s hydraulic system. Designing them with 3D modelling techniques is actually rather straightforward. The manufacturing tools and high speed cutting machines are working ever harder to keep up with the designers’ increasingly intricate componentry, however — that’s where the challenge exists.” “We are not there yet. While the industry is getting closer to ownership of the techniques required to make components, the material properties are still some way off in terms of consistency and ultimate specifications.” Things, he says, “Are very much moving forward, though, and it’s a hugely interesting challenge for the future of our sport.”

Renault toughs it out Technical advances or not, even casual followers of the sport cannot have escaped the sense that Formula 1’s landscape is being irrevocably redrawn by the recession — with Toyota, Honda and BMW withdrawing due to financial pressures and “current developments in motorsport,” respectively. “It has been a hugely turbulent period for everyone,” Bell says. “Until last year the majority of teams were owned by major car manufacturers who, the banks aside, were the worst hit sector. In looking to consolidate, they considered all offshoot activities, Formula 1 included. We have been incredibly fortunate with Renault, who has continued its support of us and Formula 1 in general. They could have walked away towards the end of last year, given that the company was harder hit than many manufacturers, but they didn’t.” Can he suggest why? Motor racing, after all, is seen by many non-supporters as little more than a vanity project — rich toys for richer boys; hardly the

embodiment of fiscal austerity. “Two reasons,” says Bell. “Renault has a proud and virtually unmatched history of success in the sport. It is my feeling that the company was simply too hard-pressed to turn its back on this sense of loyalty to Formula 1. Similarly, and unlike some in the industry who saw things in terms of a zero sum ‘should we be in the sport or not?’ Renault said ‘there is probably a third way here: we can stay in Formula 1, but not have to pay so much money for the privilege.’”

When we acquire ownership of these practices it will mean that the team can simply cut out the pattern stage and go from CAD model to finished metallic component Bob Bell, Renault Formula 1 Taking a 75% shareholding in late 2009, Genii Capital, a Luxembourg-based private investment firm, represents the company’s third way. While Renault retains both sole ownership of its engine operations in France and the principal branding on the vehicles, “We only pay a fraction of the cost,” says Bell. “Things have worked out wonderfully for all concerned. As befitting our team’s history, it comes down to Renault’s playing clever and not seeing things simply in black and white terms.” “That said, I firmly believe that Formula 1 will survive as long as human nature maintains its interest in cars and racing. The Romans had chariot racing, and in a sense we’re a direct derivative of that. Things will change shape and colour with time, of course, but the sport will always be here in one form or another. Whether it’s as big or expensive as it is now is anyone’s guess; I suspect not. We’ll just have to keep watching, won’t we?”

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Motorsport teams are developing more energy efficient technology and trying to find buyers for this knowledge

Reckless petrolheads or

efficiency trailblazers?

When Toyota withdrew from  Formula 1 in November 2009, it was not the first manufacturer to sever its previously strong ties with motor racing. Since 2008, some of the biggest automotive names have dropped out of motorsport in a difficult economy and with rising concerns about the environmentallyunfriendly image of the sport.  Tim Brown reports.



agonised expression on the face of Toyota’s racing chief, Tadashi Yamashina, as he announced Toyota’s withdrawal from Formula 1 seemed to sum up the state of the motorsport industry in December 2008. Honda had already abandoned F1; Mitsubishi, Subaru and Suzuki had exited from the World Rally Championship in quick succession; European car powerhouses Audi and Porsche had quit the American Le Mans formula; and Kawasaki dropped out of Moto GP. While not a single member of the motor racing fraternity failed to sit up and take notice, these seismic events were far from sounding the death knell of motorsport. Rather, they reflected that the dual capacity of racing teams to perform both marketing, and research and development roles was not enough to justify mainstream motorsport’s ballooning costs. Toyota’s racing budget for the 2008 season was about $150m at a time when the company had posted losses of $2.9bn. Under the circumstances, it was an extravagance that couldn’t be justified. In the last 12 months that idea has changed. Motorsport has pioneered the rapid development of energy efficient and clean-burn engines, and both alternative fuels and power sources. Despite such environmentally geared advances, the 2010 UK parliamentary report, ‘Full speed ahead: maintaining UK excellence in motorsport and aerospace’, said

Sustainable manufacturing

that aside from economic issues, the environmentally unfriendly image of motorsport had also caused car manufacturers to pull out from the sport and to turn their attention away from high performance vehicles. The report concluded that such an image owes much to the “Top Gear effect”, with people associating motorsport with an image of “reckless petrolheads”, personified by Jeremy Clarkson, wasting gallons of fuel with no thought or concern about the impact it has on the planet.

The truth Over the past five years F1 has been subject to several big emission reducing operational changes, including a near 95% reduction in pre-race testing from 95,000km to 5,000km and the virtual elimination of energy hungry wind tunnels through the use of computer simulation. In addition, Patrick Head, director of engineering at AT&T Williams F1, says logistical reductions have been made to team sizes and freight to provide dual economical and environmental benefits. “We are now only allowed race teams of 45 technical workers including the mechanics, technicians and engineers,” says Head. “Go back one or two years and some teams were taking up to 100 technical people to the track. The FIA is working on new rules for 2013 which is likely to involve a different type of engine, which will be much more efficient and will probably be only four cylinders rather than the eight we have now.” Head says that motorsport races are intrinsically environmentally damaging. He admits that the spectacle of motorsport contributes to carbon emissions but argues that the bulk of emissions come from elements such as transportation for the supporters and teams, which also applies to other forms of mass entertainment such as concerts, sporting competitions and festivals. According to rough estimates, the 12 Formula 1 teams, which each have two cars using 150kg of fuel per race for 19 rounds, consume a total of 68 tonnes of fuel per race. A Boeing 747-400 aircraft uses about 90 tonnes of fuel for a one-way transatlantic flight. Chris Aylett, CEO of the Motorsport Industry Association, agrees with such sentiments. “The difficulty the world is going to have with green is that all of us want to go somewhere for entertainment whether it is a cinema, theatre, a football game or race. Travelling to and from these is not going to be solved by the event, it will be solved by changing the way we all travel. Transportation cannot just be levelled at any one particular entertainment event.” Motorsport’s environmentally unfriendly image is not the result of its direct consumption of fossil fuels, but more to its branding and the perception of the excess of its auxiliary elements. Not only is it a sport with multi-million pound budgets complete with lavish hospitality and flamboyant personalities but, due to its close ties with the car-making and oil industries, motorsport is seen to represent the

overindulgence of these industries. It thus carries its own hefty environmental responsibility.

Experts in efficiency It is not just the motorsport or entertainment industry that must bear the burden of environmental responsibility. The main solution to the world’s carbon emissions crisis is to focus on improving the efficiency with which we use energy. But where football, for example, is very unlikely to engineer improvements in the sport’s total energy consumption, over the past 100 years, motorsport has collated a wealth of knowledge in carbon reduction which is now just starting to be exploited. “The first motor race was won by the person who used the energy he had most efficiently,” says the MIA’s Aylett. “Motorsport has always been about efficiency. It has always been about a block of energy and how far you can go, in how fast a time, most efficiently. “Bizarrely, for 100 years motorsport has been the home to people who are unwitting experts in the efficient use of energy but no-one has ever asked them for their outcomes. We’ve discovered in the last decade that people will knock on the door and buy this knowledge and experience. We have a huge community of knowledge, especially in ‘motorsport valley’,” he says in reference to the UK’s hotspot for motorsport near Silverstone. In the last five years the campaign has become more proactive, with motorsport teams developing more energy efficient technology and trying to find buyers for this knowledge. Some of the progress has included: Audi’s successful introduction of diesel engines at Le Mans, which required the rules to be changed to acknowledge engine efficiency The Indy 500 changing to run on ethanol fuel The introduction of hybrid technology, known as kinetic energy recovery systems (or KERS), into F1, involves regenerative braking which acts as an energy recovery mechanism that reduces vehicle speed by converting some of its kenetic energy into a useful form of energy There are green challenges and incentives within motorsport globally that reward efficient use of energy. The US Le Mans series has the Michelin Green Challenge, and Le Mans has a separate trophy for the greenest winner. There is also a fully electric motorcycle world championship, TTX GP. Automotive companies have said that such changes in motorsport have already helped to convince car consumers that green automotive solutions can be “cool”, says Aylett. This feat is important in the push to ensure the high uptake of low carbon transportation. Combined with motorsport’s continued development of efficiency-focused technologies and more races with a green theme, motorsport is steering towards a different image where its contributions to environmental issues are as widely recognised as its detractions.

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Much ado about MBAs Do MBAs cut it for nurturing manufacturing management?

Cranfield MBA students celebrate graduation

Is an MBA a top priority or non-essential CV accessory? Jane Gray talks to manufacturers and academia about the value of MBAs and alternative methods for developing management talent.


skills development and a demand for role model leadership in manufacturing companies gaining ever more coverage in industry conferences and the press, there is increasing pressure on manufacturing organisations to invest in the professional development of promising managers. However, how to do this to best effect is not straightforward. There is a longstanding debate over the extent to which traditional MBA-style qualifications represent the best investment in time and money for organisations attempting to foster earmarked talent. The decision to fund an MBA is not one to be taken lightly. Considering an MBA from a leading


business school like Cranfield now demands a hefty fee of about ÂŁ31,000 from an individual or sponsor, it is clear that there are high expectations about the level of skills attained and the value that the qualified individual will bring back to the company. Is everyone convinced of this value? No. While there is still a dedicated group who say that a properly accredited degree from a prestigious business school is the only acceptable show of management knowledge to have, there is also a strong element of dissent in the manufacturing community. For them, inhouse management education or training developed with the expertise of independent providers can deliver far more direct value.

Leadership and Lean

Business schools are best There are currently 230 students on the Cranfield MBA course, 25% of whom have manufacturing backgrounds. Unsurprisingly, Cranfield’s director of the full-time MBA programme, Séan Rickard, believes that MBAs will always represent a deeper understanding and more rigorous test of ability than proprietary courses. “I don’t think there can be any comparison between a good MBA and an in-house management programme. They are in completely different leagues. “An MBA programme is holistic. It contains a lot of knowledge about different business functions (accounting, marketing, operations) but perhaps more importantly makes students aware of their strengths and weaknesses in dealing with people. The learning environment on an MBA allows this knowledge to be acquired in a way which is simply not possible from fragmented courses delivered in-house. “The examination process for an MBA is also a lot more rigorous and there is a coherency and a standard delivered which will never be matched in-house. Dare I say it, a lot of in-house training delivers little more than a certificate and is seen as a bit of a jolly.” In response to the suggestion that MBAs were more valuable in terms of fulfilling individual aspirations and career development than for the delivery of skills growth specific to companies, Rickard said: “It depends on the philosophy of your management school. Here we believe we are developing the senior managers of tomorrow. We aim to give our graduates the ability to speak knowledgably to experts and to think strategically. Effective senior managers in organisations must be able to bring experts together in a coherent team and strategically direct them towards applying their expertise to the company goals.” The suggestion that it was easier for managers to apply in-house learning directly to their work, providing immediate return on investment to their organisations, elicited a definite negative. “A large part of the value to be gained from an MBA is drawn from fellow students. There is a danger of perpetuating in-house mindsets with in-house training. Without doubt an MBA will develop better agility and flexibility in problem-solving for a far broader range of problems, because students expose each other to different cultural approaches, scenarios and opinions to get results.” Gaining this breadth of knowledge and influence was certainly a key motivator for Stephen Egli, currently the logistics manager for supply chain services company CHEP, when he took his MBA at Cranfield in 2008. “Before taking my MBA I felt I was specialising far too narrowly in my work on process improvement knowledge and techniques. I wanted to generalise my capabilities so that I could gain broader credibility in speaking on a professional basis to several different sector and business functions. The knowledge I gained during the

Training needs change mid-stream If organisations decide to try to fill skills gaps and develop capability in-house there are several key considerations. Andie Hallihan, managing director of business education consultants Applied Angle, explains: “The worst position for a company to take when they come to us [or another provider] is to be inflexible. We spend a lot of time with companies coming to understand the needs of the business – both at an individual and an organisational level. We then look at the best ways to translate knowledge into experience in order to deliver those needs. “It is not easy to see these things from within an organisation. We always find that as we collaborate on developing the right education programme, its characteristics alter from those originally planned by the company. We also often find that although companies can identify certain technical requirements they have not always thought through how they will put this in place with the people in their organisation.”

course has allowed this and I now have a far better understanding of the different interests that exist across a business and how these interact. “In-house training can deliver elements of the value gained through an MBA, but it can never provide the same intensity or the breadth of context that you gain from the other students. If you have a specific problem or skills gap to bridge in your organisation an MBA is not the right course. If you are looking to develop people, give them knowledge so that they can act with an understanding of the broader implications of their actions then an MBA cannot be rivalled.”

Ivory towers out of touch Some in industry and education do not subscribe to this view, however. Owen Berkeley-Hill, now a consultant but formerly of carmaker Ford, asks: “Do MBAs not simply create ‘administrators’ who favour command and control management? Also do they represent a safe investment for companies who fund their employees through the course? Time and again when I was at Ford I saw that the people being funded to do MBAs were doing it to further themselves and rarely because it would enable them to be a better Ford leader. The majority were frustrated if they did not receive immediate promotion and then they would leave. This became a double cost to Ford who lost the value of the degree and had to pay for someone to replace that employee.” The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) at Cambridge University has taken the choice to diverge from the chalk and talk approach of MBA-style education partly to mitigate this problem. Jasper Robertson, a senior research fellow at IfM is closely involved with the organisation’s initiatives to develop in-house


MSc Global Product Development and Management Enhancing careers for professionals globally This innovative course will develop your leadership skills enabling you to respond to the challenges and demands of modern globalised markets. You will develop an understanding of advanced techniques for integrating all global stakeholders from engineers to management. Benefit from: • Studying in a top three UK university for the impact of our mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing research* • Lecturers from other prestigious international universities: Stanford (US), KAIST (South Korea), TU Berlin (Germany), NUS (Singapore) • Presentations from global business leaders, including Nissan, Thales, Jaguar and Rolls-Royce For further details, and an application form, please contact:

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A high quality programme offered by one of the country’s leading Business Schools in conjunction with the University of Leeds’ Faculty of Engineering. Designed to meet the needs of manufacturing professionals who face the challenges created by the fast pace of technological progress, the globalisation of markets and the pressures for sustainable development.

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The Manufacturer.indd 1


19/05/2010 13:43:19

Leadership and lean

WCM Students learn and apply

management education which answers the specific needs and challenges of manufacturing organisations. “The education we deliver in partnership with companies is at least as valuable as any MBA and since it is developed in response to industry-focused research into areas like technology management and policy, it often answers the needs of managers in manufacturing far more accurately,” he says. “We primarily work with companies to develop capability for companies and the industry, not to develop transferability for individuals. Our training does not culminate in an official qualification partly for this reason. Does a formal qualification enable you to do your job better?” Stephen Smith, operations director at British Gypsum, part of the Saint-Gobain group of companies, says not in his experience. “As an employer it makes no difference to me whether a candidate for a job has an MBA or not. Here at British Gypsum we recruit on behaviours not qualifications. Our strategy is to grow our own talent and our succession planning is strong.” Indeed Saint-Gobain believe so fervently in developing resilient internal skills that are tailored to the company’s specific environment and operational requirements that it has developed an intensive in-house development programme which Smith believes easily rivals any MBA. “Our WCM [World Class Manufacturing] programme is a game of two halves. Firstly, it teaches managers how to apply TPM to their factory and make it work. Secondly it is about change management; about how to affect change, manage people and walk the talk. While MBAs are about theory, this is about what you need to do to drive improvement in Saint-Gobain, about the underlying principles that drive the process improvement programme in all our factories. “The WCM Instructor qualification is mandatory for all our factory managers and it is an extremely tough course. There is an exam and a 100-day

Good intention, bad parenting One industry representative who asked not to be attributed says: “Companies who offer their employees MBA courses as reward and incentive are like parents who just throw money at their children, buy them the latest game station and don’t spend any time with them. “Many big companies throw employees funding for MBAs on the basis that it keeps them busy for a year or two and ticks a box for them in ‘fulfilling professional development’. It requires no investment from the employer in terms of time or in developing that person in their business.”

review and the pass rate is between 30 and 60 per cent. It is difficult to pass because you have to prove that you have learnt the tools, techniques and management approaches and that you can make them work. The WCM course is not just something you go on and receive a certificate at the end of – you must be able to show the examiners that you can make improvements. The examiners are people like me, who know what success looks like. Not people who are cut-off from the reality of the business.” On being challenged that the in-house WCM qualification creates a very in-house approach to problem-solving, Smith readily agrees. “We have our way, or the highway. We have optimised TPM for our industry. Our improvement approach might not be good for automotive or aerospace but it is right for process equipment. Our improvement processes are entirely designed for us and our management development is designed to get the most out of people for the company.”

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A sectioned model using Siemens’ NX7.5 Insignia

Weight+timescale+cost Design constraints sharpen leadership Motorsport design has been pushed to excel by the intense delivery constraints of the sport and the physical stress to which the components are subjected. Clever design engineers, digital product development that avoids prototypes and powerful PLM software are keeping motorsport the leading industry for design-to-manufacture.



design engineers are often among the best in their profession for two reasons: 1) skills are honed by the intense, time-urgent delivery constraints their industry works to, and 2) the components they design for manufacture must perform at ultra-high loads and temperatures, and often need to be machined and assembled far more quickly than in other industries. But how are motorsport design engineers using technology and their own skills to fulfil these demanding design-to-manufacture briefs? How do their design techniques reduce time-to-market (or time-to-race) as well as reducing costs and carbon emissions? Some motorsport engineering businesses and IT support companies tell TM how they best leverage their design knowledge and technologies to ‘beat the deadline’.

Innovation design and the product lifecycle

The race dates don’t change The approach to design - Xtrac

Xtrac designs and manufactures gearboxes, differentials and other high performance components for clients across all motorsports, including Formula One, World Rally and the Indy Racing League. Adrian Moore, technical director at the Thatcham, Berks-based company, says there is a different ethos about designto-manufacture within the motorsport fraternity, and at Xtrac especially. “There’s a fundamental difference in philosophy compared to more general engineering companies where people tend to work more in silos – design office people design, R&D does R&D and the manufacturing people make stuff. Our project teams are much more integrated. There is a commercial person, an engineer and manufacturing person working in sync, and every project is led that way.” Moore used to work for Rolls-Royce. In aerospace, he says, the process is geared more around top level sign-off for projects. “You present your work to a large committee who then either agree to it – where it may be deferred to another committee – or not. This achieves the safety you need in aerospace but you don’t get anything done very quickly.” In motorsport the responsibility all rests on the project team, who are more autonomous than departmental heads at big companies. The design process in aerospace is more protracted for a good reason – the end product must be ultra-safe. This takes time and is expensive to get product to market. “If you follow that model for a Formula One car, you’d have a perfect car that was three years late,” Moore says. “The risk of failure in motorsport is extremely high but there’s a higher acceptance of risk in motorsport than a taking an Easyjet flight.” In motorsport, he says, “the end customers are the people who run the car in competition. The delivery dates don’t change because the race dates don’t change.”

From alpha male-led design to team ethos John Barnard, Tom Walkinshaw, Gordon Murray – some of the names who have defined motor racing design since the 1960s. Traditionally in motor racing, especially Formula One, one very dominant personality was in charge of design. “These men had an absolutely clear vision of the car, and were very autocratic in what they wanted,” says Adrian Moore at Xtrac (picture inset). “I worked for John Barnard – you had to deliver what he wanted, without much freedom. As cars got more complex it’s impossible for one person to have overall authority for the whole car.” The McLaren F1 team, for example, has adopted a matrix structure for design-to-manufacture which is delegated among a large group of people. “As the industry matured, that one person in charge who makes the majority of decisions has had to stop – it’s physically impossible to do it all,” he adds.

Xtrac uses Unigraphics NX, part of Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter platform, for CAD design and product lifecycle management (PLM) analysis, and is about to upgrade to NX6. “We always stay a bit behind the curve on the releases, because of reliability and consistency,” says Moore. “We absolutely want a stable CAD platform.” The company uses the “master model concept” of PLM, with all component designs in 3D CAD models that are used throughout the whole enterprise. “We use it for design, analysis, machine programming, for inspection and validation. That is how the visionaries of CAD wanted these things to happen. Many companies don’t use it this way,” Moore says. An enterprise resource planning platform integrates with Teamcenter PLM, connecting departments like finance and sales and order processing to the product management. Xtrac is a big user of Ansys for mechanical analysis, virtually testing parts at different loads, loads at temperature, deflections etc, for casings and general engineering. And the company has a whole suite of gear analysis tools, some of which are written in-house. “Our advanced engineering group develops its own software tools for, for example, analysis of specific gear-related issues.” Casings, says Moore, are simple to visualise but extremely complicated to design, under the constraints of weight, strength and time-to-market. Xtrac has worked with CAD Potential, a third party training firm, which has helped it get the best results from its software.“Some of the casings we’ve done have pushed the Unigraphics system to the limit – the number of features on a model tree is very high.” Xtrac is part of a consortium bid for the Ministry of Defence’s new Light Protected Patrol Vehicle, an armoured vehicle intended for use in Afghanistan (see lead story page 16). Adrian Moore says some military contracts are remarkably similar to motorsport work. “Volumes are similar, in terms of vehicle numbers and prototypes, there’s a very fixed target date, very strong safety ethos in both sectors. If you have transmission failures on military vehicles people get killed. You can’t have vehicle failure in the Le Mans 24 hour race because it’s cost you £20m or however much to go there. We’re translating that absolute desire to succeed into a military application which demands zero failure.”

Xtrac gearbox designed for the Light Protected Patrol Vehicle


and simulation hypotheses, delivering ever more accurate and useful results with every iteration.” Cost reduction is the driver behind a digital F1 package. Kirkham says the fully digital approach will allow the team to match if not increase the throughput of the established F1 teams, but without the significant cost of running with a wind tunnel. The digital approach does not give Formula 1 a comparative advantage in reducing time-to-market alone, rather one of remaining competitive in terms of time-to-market while running with a fraction of the budget and resource of the other teams. “Next year significant resource restrictions come into force in the sport,” Kirkham says. “With a year’s worth of learning behind them, Virgin should be in a position to leverage the new approach to deliver faster timeLucas Di Grassi and engineers in front to-market for improvements and updates to the car of the Virgin Racing than its competitors.” nerve centre In terms of both carbon and cost reductions, the Virgin/Wirth approach abandons the production of physical prototypes and test parts in favour of fully virtual test and analysis as part The technology partner of a full computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and Tongues wagged in Formula 1 in this year when simulation programme. But the greatest saving, debutant Virgin Racing joined the F1 big boys. Kirkham says, is that energy hungry wind tunnels With the help of design partner Wirth Research, the have been eliminated from the design and Virgin team produced the world’s first fully digitally development process. Several F1 teams have both engineered Formula 1 car using a radically different half and full-scale tunnels, costing tens of millions process from traditional of dollars to build and race team engineering. just as much to run. Nick The approach has been Wirth, technical director tried and tested in several at Virgin Racing, believes motorsport formulae, that this modelling including the Indy Racing and testing process League and the American is inefficient and less Le Mans Series (ALMS) effective than what can be with Honda Performance achieved digitally. Development, before being The main difference introduced to F1. In the with going digital is ALMS, the two cars took the unique design championship wins in both development process categories in 2009 after (see box). “This currently only three years. enables more with less, in US company CSC terms of design iterations is a partner to Virgin for a given resource pool, Racing and has provided but will enable faster timetechnology solutions to to-market when resources clients including NASA are reduced for all teams Nigel Kirkham of CSC illustrates the and BAE Systems. Vice next year,” adds Kirkham. contrasting manufacturing processes of president of CSC Nigel Virgin Racing’s fully digital conventional and digital motorsport. Kirkham is responsible model is unproven in F1, for the partnership with with its best position to Conventional approach to manufacture Virgin. “CSC provides the date 14th in the Malaysian Design > CFD analysis > scale prototype IT systems and support Grand Prix, but the whole manufacture > wind tunnel test > for Virgin Racing’s motorsport industry will iterate scale prototype manufacture and headquarters, factory and be glued to its progress. wind tunnel test (£multiple millions) in race track environments. The team’s success a serial manner one item at a time > These are essential both in could herald a new manufacture > race getting the car to the track, wave of completely Virgin Racing/Wirth Research approach and in providing the data digitally produced to manufacture that validates the analysis F1 contenders.

Formula 1 goes digital


– motorsport on a budget


Design > intensive, parallel CFD analysis > simulation > manufacture > race

Innovation design and the product lifecycle

PLM helps fuel cell firm look outside the box

Aero Tec Laboratories (ATL) designs and makes fabric-based collapsible and flexible fuel cells and fuel systems for all the F1 teams as well as for other motorsport teams including many of the Le Mans entrants. From its UK facility in Milton Keynes and in the US the company also supplies to aerospace, NASA (water and waste cells used in space) the marine sector and the rapidly growing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market. Aero Tec uses CATIA, Dassault Système’s multiplatform CAD/CAM/CAE software suite for product design and PLM, implemented by reseller Desktop Engineering. Fuel cells must often be inserted into a metal or carbon fibre fabrication through the fuel filter aperture, but with legacy software the curves had to be made from straight lines. “We dealt with the designs as a two-dimensional problem, and from CAD data constructed a mock-up from card, using that to check the template as a pattern to cut the actual cell fabric,” says Craig Dawson, the previous chief engineer at ATL. “This worked, but only as a physical process, it did not translate well into digital design until we used the new software. We needed a single integrated PLM system to accommodate the entirety of our design-tomanufacture processes including design, structural analysis and data management.” The Desktop Engineering-tailored package incorporates Catia, Simulia and Enovia to improve PLM visibility, a system Dawson describes as “future-proof”. “With DTE we have developed methods that allow us to change digital models from 3D to 2D,” says Dawson. “This allows us to design the fuel cell and add all the components such as fillers, valves and plates as well as internal details, then unfold the design to represent the flat pieces of material that we use for construction.” ATL can now digitally build a complete fuel cell, with additional components more accurately

CATIA image showing optimised space frame layer

Innovation and Design Award

Sponsored by Technology and Strategy Board

Calling for entries: Is you company meeting the challenge of turning an idea into a high growth product? This award will go to the manufacturing company or plant that, in the opinion of the judges, best demonstrates how it has met the challenge of turning an idea into a best-selling product by taking it from blueprint or the laboratory, via CAD models and physical prototypes into production to successfully meet customer needs. Some may have had to repeat this process multiple times to maintain a competitive edge or in order to apply advancing technologies. This award will recognise those who can show how they have become and remained competitive by increasing their rate of innovation, anticipation of and responsiveness to changing market conditions influenced by shifting design tastes, fashion, technology, legislation and economics.

enter at

Powerful software solves design puzzles

represented, and place it within the design envelope of the recipient vehicle – with no cardboard mockup – so it can better optimise fuel cell manufacture. “The ability to make a flat plan from a 3D model and accurately fit ancillary components, optimise the design and use clash detection to fit it to its reverse engineered host, is all new and gives us a massive advantage. We are saving money, time, resources and materials while making better products that help teams win more races.”

Have your say at


Finance for can we bank on it? Industry and government have accused banks of starving small businesses of funding and making a private-led recovery from recession impossible. The banks say the money  is there to borrow but there is little demand and even less viability.  Mark Young weighs up the arguments.


British Bankers Association says loans to small businesses are flat and, as a monthly average, are flailing behind last year’s levels. The Forum of Private Businesses says the value of its members’ loan and overdraft facilities is continuing to decrease. An Institute of Directors report found that one in three businesses are still being turned away by the banks when asking for finance of any sort, although the organisation did point out that this was significantly lower than last year when 57% said they tried in vain. But the banks claim they are open for business. Peter Ibbertson, NatWest’s chairman of small businesses, says the bank’s parent company, RBS, has £50bn worth of liquidity which it wants to


Finance and professional services

disseminate to growth-hungry businesses. Those businesses just have to prove they are good for paying it back, he says. (Declaration of interest: RBS is sponsor of The Manufacturer of the Year Awards and Directors’ Conference.) Ibbertson was speaking at a NatWest Business Knowledge webinar in July, featuring a live panel discussion between himself, EEF chairman Martin Temple and outspoken former trade minister Sir Richard Needham, informally regarded as James Dyson’s right-hand man. His main message was that RBS wants to lend money to small businesses. It’s in the bank’s remit after all, as a majority state owned firm, following its infamous taxpayer-funded bailout in 2008. Antecedent Chancellor Alistair Darling announced in April’s Budget that it and fellow bailed bank Lloyds TSB would have to lend £94bn to businesses this financial year, £45bn of which was to be reserved for SMEs.

Balancing act By the same token though, the bank has to be more careful than ever. It does not want to be seen to be gambling with public money; ‘irresponsible lending’ was a charge thrown indiscriminately and damningly at all banks as one of the major causes of the world’s plunge into economic despair in the first place. Ibbertson said the bank needs just one in a hundred loans to go awry before the company begins to make a loss. “The banks are there ready to support businesses that do want to grow, when they’re ready to grow,” he said. “The key thing is if you’re a manufacturer looking to do something three or four months down the line, come and talk to us now. Involve us in those debates and talk to us about your cash flow. It’s a much better way than turning up at the last minute. It may be that traditional loans and overdrafts aren’t necessarily the best way to fund.” He says companies often turn up asking for loans immediately when they have run into trouble and often lack the necessary paperwork and proof they can pay it back. RBS initiated a £1bn fund for manufacturers with much fanfare earlier this year but things have gone a bit quiet on that front since. When questioned on how much had been lent out of the scheme, Peter Ibbertson hesitated in putting down a figure, though he intonated that the scheme had not exactly been overwhelmed. He said that a slow take up could be down to the money being offered under fixed rate terms and this is a condition manufacturers may have found unfavourable while the economy remains unstable. Needham, rarely a man to mince his words, interjected when Ibbertson declared that the banks — or his, at any rate — are “open for business.” The man tasked with turning James Dyson’s creativity into cold hard profits said three businesses he works with were

“desperate for cash” but were turned away by high street banks. The BBA’s figures make for grim testimony towards Needham’s case. In May there was £523m worth of new lending to SMEs. This is very consistent with the rest of the year: only March saw significantly more at £678m. The average monthly lending last year was £633m; in 2008 it was £991m. BBA statistics director David Dooks gave little hope that the situation would be appeased quickly. “Until an improvement in economic trading conditions looks more certain, small businesses’ borrowing will remain subdued.”

Possible intervention The situation has fermented with increasing vigour in the media in recent weeks, culminating in Business Secretary Vince Cable declaring in late July that the banks are “not acting in the national interest” by choking supply lines. His input came as he launched a consultation green paper, jointly with

Until an improvement in economic trading conditions looks more certain, small businesses’ borrowing will  remain subdued David Dooks, British Bankers Association statistics director

the Treasury, looking at the different ways banks might be encouraged to lend as well as the ways the city is regulated. “Left unchallenged, a lack of accessible finance for businesses could prevent the recovery accelerating,” he said. The paper discusses the need to convince venture capitalists and business angels to invest more in the private sector, the possibility of more government backed loan schemes, increasing competition between banks to drive down rates and the implementation of regional stock exchanges in the UK’s largest cities. Speaking of “combinations of carrots and sticks that can be employed”, Cable intonated that executive bonuses could be vetoed if lending levels are not met. The likes of Barclays and HSBC could argue, of course, that, in a free market economy, ‘the national interest’ is not their primary concern. They required no propping up from public coffers. However, Cable has warned that he may lean on such banks to adhere to similar targets to those that have been set for the part nationalised banks. A Barclays spokesperson was staunchly defensive of the bank’s lending record to small businesses. “In 2009, Barclays advanced more than £14bn in new term loans to businesses ranging


Finance and professional services

from SMEs to corporates,” he said. “We have a strong appetite to lend and are working proactively and inventively to ensure as many businesses as possible are appropriately funded as they prepare for growth, while retaining a sensible approach to risk.” He said the bank has been “pioneering” by converting £450m European Investment Bank (EIB) support into loans for businesses with 2.5% cash-back. Cable’s report, Financing a Private Sector Economy, suggests firms may have to consider using more equity to free up cash, seemingly reiterating Ibbertson’s point that firms might have to look ‘outside of the box’ slightly. He offered invoice financing as one such move. “People tend to think of this as a last resort but the fact is we can now pay up to 80 per cent of invoice value. You might get a lot less than that if you chase your own.”

Two sides to every tale The BBA’s chief executive, Angela Knight, recently warned that one reason why bank lending to SMEs is flat is that demand simply isn’t there. Cable’s report acknowledges this point. “…demand for loans naturally declines during a recession, as businesses cut back on inventories and capital investment, and build up cash reserves,” it states. However, the Forum of Private Businesses has hotly contested this premise. In a survey covering to the end of June, only 1% of its members say access to finance has improved, while 15% say it has worsened. Some of its members reported reductions of more than 50% and even complete cancellations to their overdraft facilities. “Contrary to what some of the banks are saying, some firms are still not able to access the finance they need and both business growth and economic recovery is under threat as a result,” said FPB head of policy, Matt Goodman. “According to our members, demand is certainly there but lenders are not providing the funding or the levels of service that they should be. They are telling us that creeping costs and charges are making finance that is available less accessible.”

Enterprise finance guarantee In a recent survey by The Manufacturer, many respondents said they had been put off finance deals by the amount of security banks were requesting. This was also a finding of the IoD report. To this regard, the IoD has questioned the role of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme: a programme introduced by Labour in late 2008 which sees government as would-be guarantor for three quarters of the money put up on a business loan. It is available for businesses with turnovers up to £25m and can be used on loans from £1,000 to £1m. Government put a pot of £1.3bn aside for it, to run until April this year, but has now extended the scheme for another year with a further £500m.

Miles Templeman, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said: “The survey indicates that some access problems relate to lending criteria becoming more restrictive with regard to the amount of security requested by banks. This raises a question about the functioning of the Government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme (EFG). “The IoD would like the Government to clarify the relationship between the state-backed guarantee scheme and bank requirements for personal security. We continue to hear from IoD members who’ve had 75 per cent of a loan underwritten through the EFG but who are still required by their bank to put up personal securities equivalent to over half of the loan value. Of course businesses should have some ‘skin in the game’, but this seems excessive.” Angela Knight accused the IoD of misleading the public with “dodgy statistics”. Ibbertson says RBS has lent out “around half” of the enterprise finance guarantee scheme so far

According to our members, demand is certainly there but lenders are not providing the funding or the levels of service that they should be. They are telling us that creeping costs and charges are making finance that is available  less accessible Matt Goodman, FPB head of policy

— a figure that equates to around £400m. It is one of 27 lenders involved in the scheme. Barclays is responsible for £165m through the scheme. It appears that two factions are looking to each other to lead us all back to the promised land of profitability and growth. The banks say the economy — and confidence in it — must improve before lending begins to flow once more. Government and the media say it is the duty of the banks to kick start the economy. The banks have promised to investigate why exactly lending has fallen flat but that may not be enough. Vince Cable’s consultations will be looking to draw its own conclusions and some forceful hands could potentially be played if it is deemed the banks need a little inspiration. Throughout the recession the Conservative party has taken the view that, left to their own devices and with minimal state intervention, markets will right themselves in the long run. Now it is in power and is implementing this strategy, it may have to make some very contradictory moves in order for its overall ideology to have a chance.

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The Case for Technology Leasing Grows “Leasing has evolved into a tactical tool that can deliver financial and operational efficiencies” Ian McVicar, Lombard Technology Services Ian McVicar, Managing Director of Lombard Technology Services, a member of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, believes that technology leasing can offer greater operational, strategic and financial benefits than alternative finance options.


provides the ability to rent equipment purely for its useful life rather than purchase at full cost. It reflects the future remarketing value in lower rentals supports regular upgrade cycles which in turn can reduce maintenance costs, and includes WEEE compliant disposal by the Lessor.” McVicar explains. Managing technology assets effectively has been a focus for many a savvy IT and Financial Director recently. But what are the main advantages to the current leasing offering? The benefits of leasing technology equipment are many and include: Conservation of capital: cash can be retained for use elsewhere in the business Budgeting: costs are known at the start of the agreement and fixed for the term Cost Savings: items are only leased for the required period and the future re-sale value can be reflected in reduced rentals Lower cost of “ownership”: leasing encourages an optimum three year replacement cycle and therefore avoids the rise in maintenance, support and software expenditure according to market experts Tax efficiencies: VAT is reclaimable on the rentals, while payments can normally be offset against taxable profit Disposal: the Lessor is responsible for disposing of returned equipment in accordance with the WEEE directive.

With such considerable advantages on offer, it is understandable that technology leasing continues to grow in today’s challenging economic market. Choosing the right Lessor is crucial. The type of leasing provider you turn to will depend on your individual situation. It may, for instance, be important to choose an experienced provider that can also provide a complete partner relationship to manage your assets effectively from supply and finance, in life support, through to compliant disposal. A manufacturer independent provider such as Lombard Technology Services, a member of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, provides both tailored finance and complete life cycle support services. As part of Lombard’s full service offering customers are able to benefit from Lombard’s own IT reseller team and potentially reduce the rentals further or to choose to use their own preferred supplier. Other services include configuration and installation, a pre-lease management facility, an online complete asset and lease management tool, hardware maintenance and green disposal. Another consideration is the Lessor’s end of lease terms and conditions. As a prerequisite to entering into a relationship it would be important to consider whether the Lessor provides a robust end of term notification system with a lease management tool, fair market

value missing or damage charges and offers the ability to return, renew or renegotiate the extension of items on an individual basis. Lombard Technology Services provide all these features in its normal course of business. Lombard offer flexible leases that can be extended, assets replaced or items returned. They assist their customers further by providing end of primary term alerts and customer portals where individual comprehensive asset information is displayed. Customers can choose the relevant end of term option for each asset in an efficient and easy format. As the Lessor owns the equipment they are also responsible for the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) compliant disposal which includes the re-sale, recycling or disposal of waste material with scrap certification. Returned computer and IT related equipment are recycled by Lombard’s specialist recycling facility in accordance with the WEEE directive. Less than 5% of equipment is sent to landfill currently, giving customers complete assurance that their redundant assets are managed in a secure and environmentally friendly way. As one of the leading technology asset management organisations in the UK, Lombard provide comprehensive value-add services that make their business stand out. Lombard Technology Services is one of the largest independent technology finance and asset management service providers in the UK. Their business aims to provide customers with optimum financial and operational efficiencies. Security may be required.

To receive further information please contact Lombard Technology Services: Call 020 8236 2600 or email Security may be required


Copyright © Lombard Technology Services Limited 2010. All rights reserved. Registered in England: No 2039637. Registered Office: 3 Princess Way, Redhill, Surrey.

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Morgan Cole benefits from effective technology managements We chose Lombard Technology Services as they offered a creative and complete finance and asset management solution. We benefited from their experience and expertise in their field.” Catherine Baker, Service Delivery Manager Morgan Cole. Cole is a UK law firm providing legal services and commercially focused advice from offices in Wales and Southern England. Areas of business include banking and finance, commercial law, commercial property, competition, construction, corporate law, dispute management, education, employment law, energy, health and social care, insurance, information technology law, intellectual property, pensions, private client and regulatory. Morgan Cole provide their clients with valuable advice and information with a high degree of partner involvement. They listen to their clients, are focused on building relationships and aim to gain a real understanding of their customer’s organisations. Customers benefit from having access to a wide variety of resources and skills from a highly qualified team.

Technology Management Requirement Catherine Baker (Service Delivery Manager – Morgan Cole) manages a large workforce requirement including a regular multi-location upgrade of around 550 desktops, laptops and docking stations over 6 sites. Morgan Cole wished to review how their technology assets were managed and financed so looked for specialist assistance: For their latest refreshment programme the focus was clear. They needed to ensure the minimum of impact to staff and complete the roll out in a good time frame. Morgan Cole reviewed the options and chose to develop a support partnership with Lombard Technology Services, a member of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, who provide complete and tailored solutions that match Morgan Cole’s requirements. Their own resources were limited, therefore utilising Lombard’s expertise allowed them to focus on other parts of the business, including the project planning. Catherine Baker stated “We needed someone to take the pain away in implementing the project. Disposal is especially important but time consuming for us to handle. We needed outside help.”

The Effective Solution Lombard provide expertise in the field of technology asset management from supply to disposal and Catherine was delighted with the offering. Their Lombard Technology Services Relationship Manager Richard Henderson confirmed the comprehensive solution taken. “Lombard Technology Services aim to provide financial and operational benefits to their customers by assisting in the effective management of fast evolving technology assets. With this in mind a fixed rate operating lease was created ensuring the equipment is only rented for the actual useful life rather than paying for the full purchase price. Regular refresh cycles also remove any increased support costs that appear in the fourth or fifth year.

“One of the most attractive reasons for choosing our leasing products is that, as the owners of the equipment, we are responsible for the disposal at the end of its useful life. Our customers are relieved of the complicated burden of technology disposal under the stringent regulations of the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive. We currently successfully remarket or recycle over 95% of our redundant computer assets with less than 5% being disposed of.” End to end support services can be key to keeping down additional implementation and ongoing costs. Lombard provided full life cycle assistance to Morgan Cole by managing the supply, configuration, delivery and installation of the technology equipment as well as disposal. In addition, staff training and remarketing of the customers old assets was also offered by Lombard. Dedicated project management was provided from the outset which included scoping the project, weekly meetings and on site attendance. The comprehensive offering ensures that Morgan Cole receive a “trusted business partnership” support package.



Reduced Total Cost of Ownership Duane confirms the economic advantages to the offering: “Refreshing technology rather than managing increased support costs of older assets helps drive costs down. Choosing a fixed term lease rather than purchasing outright, h the future asset value reflected in lower rentals and opting out of equipment disposal requirements all help to further reduce costs for our customers.” Lombard’s response exceeded expectations, according to Catherine. “They offered suggestions we had not thought of. They have obviously done this a lot before. We benefited from their experience and expertise in their field. Nothing we asked fazed them, which was very positive. We chose Lombard as they offered a creative and complete solution. They had taken on board everything we needed.” Smooth transition was key so installations were carried out over weekends during a 10 week period. The trainers were on site each Monday morning to assist the users, however they were able to start working first thing without any issues. “Staff came in and started work as they had left on the Friday. It was seamless.” says David Elms (Helpdesk Supervisor – Morgan Cole). “We were very impressed with the level of customer focus from Lombard, especially their project manager who met with us even prior to the bid. They delivered on everything - not just empty promises.” Catherine is keen to continue this established relationship and concludes. “We found Lombard Technology Services very flexible and responsive to our needs. Nothing was too much trouble. The whole project went along very nicely without staff impact. It just happened”. Security may be required.

Lombard Technology Services can be contacted on 020 8236 2600 or please email


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Finance and professional services

Financenews... Businesses paying faster

Willerby loosens the iron fist

Businesses are paying their bills significantly faster this year than they were last year, according to the Experian Late Payment Index.

The analysis shows that during Q2 2010 UK businesses paid their bills an average of 20.99 days late compared to 23.61 days late in Q2 2009. Businesses in the South East registered the biggest improvement in payment performance in this period, settling accounts on average 16.32 days after the payment is due, down from an average of 20.08 days over the same period last year. Only businesses in the South West paid faster. They were 15.83 days late. Experian said that the UK’s largest businesses remain among the slowest payers.

Fewer firms in administration The number of UK manufacturing companies falling into administration has fallen dramatically in the first six months of 2010, according to figures from accountants Deloitte. There were 167 manufacturing administrations from January to June this year. This is down from 311 in the same period last year and constitutes a 46% fall. This was the second best level of improvement, beaten only by the retail sector. Figures accounting for all businesses roughly followed suit, down 43% from 1856 to 1065.

Former Manufacturer of the Year Willerby Holiday Homes has agreed a £40m refinancing package from Royal Bank of Scotland’s asset and invoice finance divisions. The Hull based caravan manufacturer took the top honours at The Manufacturer of the Year Awards – the annual industry celebration event hosted by The Manufacturer – in 2008. Now it has announced a refinancing package from RBS which comprises £20m from the Invoice Finance department and a further £20m of asset based lending from the bank’s Lombard division. The money is going to be used for growth within the business and the implementation of a credit facility for dealers to use in acquiring demonstration stock from Willerby. Andy Pickford, corporate development director of RBS Invoice Finance, worked with Willerby to secure the deal. “Willerby Holiday Homes has a great track record, has significantly outperformed the rest of the market through the downturn and is well placed to capitalise on its strengths and grow its market share,” he said. “We are thrilled to have structured a flexible working capital package to help this UK manufacturer develop the business further.”

Sweet deal Tate & Lyle is selling its sugar business, including UK refineries and its London Golden Syrup factory, to American Sugar Refining in a £211m deal.

The company is famous for its sugar in the UK but also makes industrial food ingredients for processed food and says it will now focus on this side of its business. “Sugar refining has enjoyed a long and proud history within Tate & Lyle, but we believe the interests of this business and its employees are now best served by being part of a company for whom sugar refining is core,” said Tate & Lyle chief executive Javed Ahmed. “I sincerely thank our employees for their hard work and commitment over the years, and wish them every success in the future.” The proceeds from this deal will go towards reducing the company’s £814m debt.

Exceptional refinance UK electronics contract manufacturer Exception has secured a refinancing package that puts the Wiltshire-based company back on track for growth. The finance package secures the expansion of new facilities and reduces the debt on the company’s balance sheet by £12.7m. The deal financed by Lloyds Banking Group. Exception is aiming to increase annual turnover from a low point last year of £45m to £70m over the next two to three years. This, it says, will back its abilities to provide high quality electronics manufacturing solutions to specialist industrial markets including medical devices, energy, aerospace, process control, transportation and communications.


On demand

Edward Machin meets QAD’s Pam Lopker and Gordon Fleming to talk Perfect Lean Markets, On Demand applications and Tube travel. Tickets please…


by over 5,555 manufacturers in 90 countries, the Santa Barbaraheadquartered QAD offers solutions across the gamut of enterprise software: ERP; MRP; CRM; Lean manufacturing; and supply chain, to name but five.

We believe that [the] principles of removing and streamlining communication across the entire supply chain are where the next quantum shift in manufacturing efficiency will occur Pam Lopker, QAD “Our goal is to facilitate the largest adoption of the company’s products by ensuring that we provide a range of innovative solutions which give our customers a competitive advantage,” says Pam Lopker, QAD’s founder and President. “Instead of a narrow-minded focus on growing revenue exclusively, therefore, we also have spent considerable time and money in making certain that our solutions are as easy to deploy as practically possible.” Launched this year, the company’s Easy On-Boarding methodology seeks to make complex implementations a thing of the past — with users up and running in days and weeks as opposed to months. Lopker provides a disarmingly simple example of how this is effected in practice. “QAD has


Specialfeature QAD

approximately 8,000 sites globally, and we have seen every unit of measure possible,” she says. “Amazingly, however, having tested the measures used by over 2,300 companies, only 17 were unique. Why does a product that is delivered to manufacturers not simply come set up with those unique measures instead of saying ‘lets talk about which unit measure you’re using and see which ones we should put in the product’?” Taking the average implementation time of a new site from two months to less than four weeks, “Deployment portability is something that we’ve focused heavily on, and feel is a differentiator for the company,” says QAD’s chief marketing officer, Gordon Fleming. “Of course it’s great that you can deploy a full-strength application On Demand, and while I may have my corporate headquarters on premise, it shouldn’t preclude me from being able to consolidate and share data. Our Software-as-aService offering and Demand architecture enable this, and from our point of view QAD is the only organisation which provides this capability.”

Leaving the architecture, software and aside, the thing that has kept us at the front of the market is our focus on manufacturing Gordon Fleming, QAD

Perfect Lean Market

organisations are changing for different reasons than they would in a high growth market, and we are here to facilitate those opportunities.”

Going Underground Given that the recession has meant a change in working practices for manufacturers of all shapes and sizes, QAD has seen a particular thirst for training of late. “Our clients often tell us that the person who ordinarily would have shown them how to do x, y or z isn’t here for one reason or another,” says Fleming, “leading to an increased need for usability across the ERP product offering.” Confirms Lopker, “I have long held the philosophy that if you need extended training on a system then we are doing something wrong. Now, this doesn’t mean you don’t need some degree of education; more that with the idea of concept training once the framework is understood you shouldn’t be training people on how to push

Much has been made of the company’s ‘Perfect Lean Market,’ but what’s it all about, really? Very simply, explains Lopker, “This is the vision behind QAD; it drives all that we do. So, it is one thing to make operations within your four walls more efficient, but we believe that those same principles of removing and streamlining communication across the entire supply chain are where the next quantum shift in manufacturing efficiency will occur.” As such, the company’s Supply Chain Portal service takes the principles used in QAD Manufacturing — increased quality, speed of production and cost reduction — and extends them to customers’ supply networks. “Approximately 7,000 companies log on daily to communicate their materials transfer,” says Fleming. “The flexibility of On Demand delivery to enable the agility to adapt to changes in one’s business that remains key. After all, in the current climate





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Special feature QAD

button or to enter an order. The software interface must be intuitive to each and every user, in other words.” A native of California, she likens the ideal ERP system to navigating London’s potentially labyrinth-esque Tube system. “In travelling on the underground I should be able to look at the map and figure out quickly where I have to go, and how best to get there. The same applies to our software.” Having significantly invested into creating what Lopker calls, “The most user-friendly architecture and interfaces on the market,” and with 15% of total company R&D spend on increased usability, QAD’s customers enjoy a user experience specifically tailored to fit their remit — whatever the frequency of travel may be.

“Of course, there is always more to be done,” says Lopker. “However, when we began this drive towards usability six years ago we made a list of all the products on the market and graded ourselves against it. While we weren’t at the bottom by any means, there was much that needed to be improved. As I talk to you today we are confident that QAD is the undisputed leader in terms of ease of use.”

Heads in the Cloud? Cloud computing: IT’s latest emperor’s new clothes or a paradigm-shifting evolution in the way which twenty-first century organisations, manufacturers included, do business? While QAD clearly see it as the latter — having embraced the On Demand

Functional functionality For the ERP ‘tourist,’ a Google-inspired search capability enables users to explore data even though they may not know exactly how to reach their destination. Indeed, says Fleming, “Customers continually tell us that they need a product which their CEO, often as infrequent a traveller as one could wish to meet, can sit down with and find what he or she needs without training. An ability to dip in and out of the software therefore remains vital.” Those with more advanced requirements – the ERP commuter and pilot, respectively – enjoy QAD’s comprehensive workbenches, with both touch-screen and drag/drop facilities. While a transaction screen with purchase orders, demand requirements and inventory

The flexibility of On Demand delivery to enable the agility to adapt to changes. In the current climate organisations are changing for different reasons than they would in a high growth market, and we are here to facilitate those opportunities Gordon Fleming, QAD may seem impenetrable to the casual user, “The frequent traveller knows that they can simply create shortcuts for each of these functions,” says Lopker. “Absolutely,” confirms Fleming. “Perhaps the biggest cliché for using ERP is to carry out a function, menu, carry out another function. As well as creating shortcuts, then, I can do everything from within my glass cockpit — configuring my portal to the product as roles change. Users can simply slide their work to the side when required to use an uncharted line and drill down to wherever they need to go next.”

I have long held the philosophy that if you need extended training on a system then we are doing something wrong Pam Lopker, QAD

environment since 2004, with its Supply Chain Portal service with boasting over 6,000 customers to date — even Lopker didn’t see things taking off the way they have. “While I felt that cloud-based solutions would be used largely as an ancillary tool, an increasing number of customers require their entire operations On Demand,” she says. Remarkably, QAD’s grew 300% in 2009 — with Lopker predicting that as well as continuing to triple digit performance for the foreseeable future, within five years On Demand revenues will equal those of the company’s On Premise offerings. With Europe somewhat laggered in its uptake of Cloud services, however, where do Lopker and Fleming see the future for QAD — both in the EU and further afield? “We started our business with a focus on manufacturing and, which I firmly believe differentiates us from others in our space, a strong long-range vision for the sector,” she says. “Having gone through countless evolutions in the last three decades, however, whether you are deploying a solution in the cloud or On-Premise the common denominator is having the capabilities to support both complex manufacturing processes and global businesses.” “Leaving the architecture and software aside, the thing that has kept us at the front of the market is our focus on manufacturing that Pam highlights,” says Fleming. “That we bring to the table each of the aforementioned capabilities, together with three decades of experience, is why QAD remains at the leading edge of ERP deployment. We don’t expect this to change, either!”

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Peopleandskills Training


Devon-based HepcoMotion is hoping to save more than ÂŁ60,000 every year thanks to a number of projects managed by staff as they work towards a qualification developed by the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing - part of Semta, the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies. In the final part of his diary for The Manufacturer, HepcoMotion manufacturing director Barry Engstrom talks about the projects that have been completed, the benefits they have brought to the company and the sense of achievement felt by staff who have taken part in the Business- Improvement Techniques (B-IT) NVQ programme.

Improvement projects are now delivering measurable results Over

the past few months I have been updating readers on the progress of our journey towards greater efficiency through B-IT, and I’m pleased to report that the four projects undertaken by staff are now complete and already making a significant contribution to our performance. The first project was aimed at improving efficiency in the Hardening Process department at our Tiverton facility, which produces linear motion products. It targeted better organisation around the use of our 3m and 5m machines and, as a result of the efforts of staff assigned to the project, set-up time has been reduced by 45%. A 70% reduction in set-up times of the 3m and 5m machines in the profile grinding section has been achieved as the result of a second project, which has also addressed a number of health and safety issues. The team behind this project have also identified ways to reduce set-up times further; it is often the case that improvements continue to be made long after staff have completed the B-IT qualification.


Meanwhile a third project concentrated on improvements in our Vertical Milling Centres which have seen an improvement in quality of product produced as well as a 40% reduction in process times and 75% improvement in set-up times. To achieve this the team responsible developed a Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) document that ensures every part is made to specification. A similar project was undertaken in the Cutting Cell department, where the new SOPs have achieved equally impressive results in terms of both set-up and process times. All four projects have embraced 5S principles, which focus on visual order, organisation, cleanliness and standardisation to deliver improved profitability, efficiency, service and safety. The principles of 5S form the foundation of Lean manufacturing, which companies such as ours need to adopt if they are to remain competitive. Whilst HepcoMotion and its customers are now seeing the benefit of this approach to continuous improvement, the staff

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who have taken part in the Skills Academy’s B-IT programme and other training initiatives are also enjoying the rewards. They have a newfound confidence to speak up if they can see where improvements can be made on the shopfloor, and feel part of a larger team that is driving the business forward. Alongside B-IT, with the help of the Skills Academy, we have also established literacy and numeracy programmes and more than 100 staff have now been introduced to the principles of Lean. Many of them are using what they have learned at home as well as in the workplace! The training developed by the Skills Academy has really helped to change the culture here and we would recommend any company to get in touch with them to see how effective training can deliver immediate benefits as well as helping to develop the skills they need in the longer term. We will certainly be continuing our learning journey with more than 20 members of staff beginning work on B-IT NVQs in the coming months.

Richard Lockwood Bridgestone Motorsport UK Richard Lockwood (right) with the Bridgestone Motorsport Knowledge System’


Bridgestone Corporation is now the sole official supplier of tyres to Formula 1 teams and each team is assigned a Bridgestone engineer. As assistant chief engineer, it’s Richard Lockwood’s job to oversee those engineers and provide technical liaison and support.

Lockwood sought out a career as track side motorsport engineer “partly because I was attracted by the glamour, partly because I wanted to work with the most advanced and cutting edge technology in the world.” Having first been seconded as a Bridgestone tyre engineer for McLaren when the team won the championship with Lewis Hamilton, he now oversees those individual engineers, compiling data and helping teams to make decisions over tyre strategies while feeding back to head office with his findings. Before a race, Bridgestone makes an evaluation of which two out of four dry tyre compounds are best suited to the racing conditions. In F1 very small discrepancies can be critical, considering hundredths of a second can make the difference between the winner and the chasing pack, and this means at which time a team decides to use a particular tyre can be crucial. Richard says he thrives on this pressure as well as the excitement and variation his job provides, and the fact that it puts him at the forefront of groundbreaking technology. “Every time you go to a different event there’s a different challenge, be it the circuit, the weather or what the team is looking to achieve. You are working with the pinnacle of motorsport – the best engineers and the most complex manufacturing,” he says. “As motorsport has such minimal margin for error with very limited time and non negotiable deadlines, the sector has much to teach the wider manufacturing industry, including helping to push forward new technologies in raw materials and procedures, scheduling, reducing lead times to a minimum and testing procedures.” In such a dynamic and fast moving environment he says a good base understanding of engineering and manufacturing is essential so that he’s able to react quickly to any situation and have confidence in the split second decisions that he makes and the messages he conveys. Richard has also taken a lead role in the development of the Bridgestone Motorsport

Knowledge System. CV in brief – The system generates Craig Brewster data to monitor tyre performance over the Age: 29 race weekend and each engineer now Title: has a wireless PC Assistant Chief Engineer, Bridgestone tablet through which Corporation Motorsport UK they record numerical Education: and visual information. BEng (Hons) Automotive This is sent to central Engineering, Oxford Brooks servers, meaning all University the data is available Career Summary: at any time, live. Bridgestone is also Five years working in engineering in the domestic/classic motorsport able to transmit to industry FOM (Formula One Jan 2007: Joined Bridgestone Management) which Motorsport as Engineer, seconded tyre specifications to McLaren for Lewis Hamilton’s are being used and title winning season they pass this to End of 2008 – Present: the teams, meaning Assistant Chief Engineer teams can quickly and Hobbies: easily view others’ strategies, whereas Building kit cars before they’d have to seek the information themselves and scribble it down on paper. Furthermore, engineers would have to search laboriously around the garage for all of their own data and record it ad hoc. “We’ve reduced an engineer’s workload by around two hours per day,” says Richard, “giving him more time to do analysis and formulate ideas.” Tetsuro Kobayashi, technical manager of Bridgestone Motorsport UK, says: “Since joining Bridgestone Motorsport in 2007 Richard has proven himself to be an outstanding and committed employee. He has built up a thorough knowledge of the complexities of Formula 1 race tyres and has developed strong relations with the teams. Richard’s work over the past two seasons with our new data collection ‘Bridgestone Motorsport Knowledge System’ has seen him excel.”

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Is warehouse management Despite the promise of more efficient warehouse management, radio frequency identification (RFID) is often considered too costly for those wishing to optimise supply chain operations. But with big retailers starting to demand RFID compliance, it may be something you can’t afford to overlook. Brian Davies explores.


RFID has already made significant inroads at the retail end of the supply chain, most manufacturers still prefer to stick with traditional manual scanning of bar codes for goods in and out. However, big retailers like Wal-Mart and Tesco are now beginning to demand RFID compliance from main


suppliers. The US Department of Defense has mandated RFID compliance from multinational suppliers for several years, including Airbus’ A380/350 and the Boeing Dreamliner project, Honda and Toyota, among many others. Radio tag technology has been around since World War II. The main issue is not technology, and

Supplychain and logistics

while cost proved problematic in the early noughties, ensuring the right business processes are in place is the current concern. Return on investment is also difficult to calculate outside closed-loop applications. But there are benefits in terms of more accurate tracking of stock movements, warehouse staff reduction, and better grasp of on-shelf availability. This reduces mistakes, the need for rescanning and improves logistic costs. The recession has been a good excuse to avoid RFID investment. Neil Bennett, managing director of Optima Warehouse Solutions maintains: “We’ve looked at RFID since the late 1990s and can integrate RFID within Optimiser WMS but simply haven’t come across a project that justifies the cost.” “There was a huge amount of hype about RFID and much of it has been unfulfilled,” says Alan Braithwaite, chairman of LCP Consulting and a visiting professor of supply chain logistics at Cranfield University. “Even big retailers like Morrisons and AS Watson are limiting use of RFID to tracking pallets and unit loads rather than individual items. However, there’s a real opportunity to use tags to track high-end fashion goods and high-tech products.” System integrator Red Ledge is deploying a bespoke WMS system incorporating RFID for an upmarket cloth manufacturer in Yorkshire. Each roll is to be tagged with a UHF EPC2 paper tag equipped with a UHF antenna embedded in the label. When an order is received, cloth is removed from stock, inspected, 20 or so metres cut, packaged and placed on a pallet. Then, another RFID tag attached and the original cloth is returned to stock. The loading bay is equipped with an RFID portal with Invengo readers, which checks the tag automatically to match the cloth to the order via a mobile pc. The tags are 15p per label but the real cost comes in the infrastructure. The bespoke WMS software costs £15000, and the RFID reader and four antennae were £2,500 per portal, with readers located at the door from the warehouse to the cutting area, in the designated loading bay and the unloading bay, for use with three mobile computers with built-in RFID readers. The LXE wrist terminal has an integrated scanner which allows the operator to keep hands-free. “The system offers better integrity with the company’s AS400 ERP system, security cost savings and guarantees that that shipments are correct,” says Andy O’Donnell, director of Red Ledge. Red Ledge also supplied an RFID-based WMS system to a Mediterranean distributor of frozen foods, because barcoded labels on pallets stored at -35oC couldn’t be scanned as the labels iced up and the operators wear thick thermal gloves, so they couldn’t press any buttons. “Our challenge was to develop a WMS system which would operate automatically in real-time. The forklift trucks were equipped with in-line RFID readers from Intermec and antennae. Paper-

based RFID labels were attached to each pallet to keep costs down. Pallets are read by the forklift reader, and the appropriate location on the racks identified. Information on each pallet is relayed automatically to the WMS system then integrated with the ERP system. O’Donnell comments: “People think RFID is wonderful but baulk at the price compared to conventional barcoding. I wouldn’t recommend it in a normal warehouse environment where it is easy to see and track labels, but RFID is a good option for tracking expensive items. However, you have to be careful where the antenna is placed as metal or people can distort the signal.” Many automotive companies have implemented RFID for parts tracking, capital asset management or vehicle related applications. IBM and German business partner IBS AG designed and implemented an open, secure parts tracking solution under the LAENDmarKS project to help make automobile supply chains smarter and more proactive. IBM deployed a service-oriented architecture so supply chain data can be tapped for secure but global traceability, based on the IBM InfoSphere Traceability Server. RFID was used to track reuseable containers moving through the supply chain. “Given the size of the container pool it is vital to find

Traceability is vital for streamlining manufacturing operations involving sub-assemblies, so you know exactly where parts are located and can identify where problems arise Giles Norman, IBM Sensor Solutions

where shrinkage occurs,” explains Giles Norman, leader for North Europe, IBM sensor solutions. Under the now renamed RAN, RFID Automotive Network project, containers can be tracked throughout the automotive supply chain. A leading German automotive manufacturer was losing 10% of its container pool annually, and is projected to save 30-40% on a $400m container pool through more sensible container management. IBM also designed a re-useable asset management system for a European flower and plant distributor, Container Centralen, using passive RFID tags to track and authenticate containers. The CC system uses Nordic-ID hand-held readers, with Intermec RFID portals and Confidex passive tags to identify and authenticate containers at various stages. RFID has also been deployed to track returnable containers in the A380 Airbus hub-and-spoke supply


Lean Directors’ Seminar 2010 Tuesday 21st September. Spinningfields, City Centre, Manchester

Leading transformation in complex environments Essential insights & best practice for lean leaders, in an informal peer-to-peer environment

With only 5% of lean business transformations actually achieving sustainable success, those who take on the mantle of leading change programmes must be either hugely confident, naively optimistic or simply crazy. Who should attend?

Delegates are expected to be leaders of improvement or transformation initiatives in multi-site or enterprise-wide programmes. This event programme is designed to help leaders working within complex organisational structures and value delivery systems. Public and private sector organisational leaders Global or multi-site operations and production directors Process/Operational excellence directors and managers Lean Managers and directors

Following the success of the first LMJ Operational Excellence conference in May 2010, LMJ and its partners identified a real need for enterprise leaders and senior champions of business transformation to think beyond the archetypes of their roles and demonstrate a better understanding of their work. The Lean Directors’ Seminar knowledge-share event in an informal environment for senior improvement leaders to share ideas, strategy and best practice. Inspirational speakers will stimulate debate by bringing to life real-world examples of success of leadership in lean transformation programmes.

Key concepts and discussion points will include: Understanding leadership styles and behaviours for lean transformation How to restart lean following past failures and identifying the key moments for intervention Lean transformation - 5 golden rules Distinguishing quick wins from long term business gains and reacting appropriately Bucking the trend. How to ensure your transformation doesn’t decline but accelerates through the s curve

Change management managers and directors

Lean Directors’ Seminar 2010 Tuesday 21st September. Spinningfields, City Centre, Manchester

To register a place please contact Benn Walsh at: Tel: 0207 401 6033 or 0207 202 7485 Email: Delegate fees: £345.00 + VAT per delegate

Speakers include: Chair & keynote Speaker Dr David Bamford BSc (Hons) MPhil PhD Senior Lecturer in Operations Management Manchester Business School Dale Easdon Chief Operating Officer UK LSG Sky Chefs Martyn Craske Lean Programme Manager Department for Work and Pensions Philip Holt Simply Philips Operating System – EMEA Regional Leader, Philips Consumer Lifestyle Andie Hallihan Managing Consultant Applied Angle Paul Monaghan Senior WEHS Leader Wirral University Teaching Hospital For full speaker profiles please visit

Supply chain and logistics Traceability is vital for streamlining manufacturing operations involving sub-assemblies

chain, improving efficiency and avoiding the need to build two new fabrication plants. A combination of passive tags and doorway readers help track containers. The system triggers a traffic light arrangement and highlights exceptions automatically. “Traceability is vital for streamlining manufacturing operations involving sub-assemblies, so you know exactly where parts are located and can identify where problems arise,” says Norman. “But if you are tracking problem batches it doesn’t matter what technology is used, whether barcoding or RFID so long as the part is clearly serialised.” Pascal Durdu, director responsible of innovation at system integrator Zetes also recognises that the benefits of RFID must be carefully balanced against traditional bar coding or vision technology. “We also see the main use of RFID implementations as for tagging returnable assets.” Zetes designed a system for tracking re-useable crates for retailer Delhaizt in Belgium, putting RFID tags inside containers for fresh goods and sticking barcodes outside pallets for growers who don’t use RFID and voice technology. A proof of concept RFID project was also carried out with Carrefour in France, comparing RFID with barcodes and vision technology. Durdu insists that a combination is required, “as RFID readings can be adversely affected if products contain too much water or metal. Positioning the RFID is also important.”

Alexandra Brintrup, senior research fellow at the SAID Business School, Oxford, participated in an EU-funded Bridge Project with Nestle UK to track manufacture of Quality Street sweets. Containers were tagged bringing sweets from one manufacturing line to another. Previously, operators manually scanned a barcode on the container and on the truck to identify products and location. But errors occurred particularly at high season like Easter. Passive UHF Gen2 tags were used to automate the container tracking process. “This proved helpful, as losing track of a container could mean dumping perishable goods,” said Brintrup. A variety of tags were tested, because the sweets are wrapped in aluminium foil which affects the electromagnetic signal. Readers were installed on forklift trucks and at certain locations on the production line, and tags attached to containers. The RFID system reduced scrappage, reduced the need for rescanning and labour time, and improved stock control accuracy and tracking at each stage of production. Though RFID promises to streamline business processes, it carries a big cost in terms of infrastructure and performance challenges which will probably continue to deter widespread deployment for warehousing operations, compared to traditional barcode scanners. In a tight economic environment, however, there is also a premium for reducing shrinkage of valuable re-useable assets.

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Getting control of the

shop floor operations

If lean manufacturing and quality management have made serious impacts on  what is expected from ERP solutions, Simon Holloway asks: What have they done to the Manufacturing Execution Systems that run our plants?


concept of MES was originally established by AMR in 1992 as “the execution layer of manufacturing applications, which exists between the enterprise and control system to provide visibility and control functionality.” The body formed to promote MES, MESA International, refined this definition in 1997 as: “Manufacturing execution systems deliver information that enables the optimisation of production activities from order launch to finished goods.” This still doesn’t help. The clear thing is that MES is about the shop floor and the operations that take place on it. It is also about software that enables a manufacturer to have some sort of automatic control over those operations; be they logistic ones, quality related, manual or automated tasks. Tom Comstock, executive vice president of worldwide marketing, product management and strategy at Apriso, defined MES as: “The system that manages all the elements of manufacturing from equipment to supplier at the plant level.” He says his customers refer to his company’s product as “the portal for blue collar workers”. In that definition, it provides to this part of the workforce information about what to do next, how to do it, what setting to use and what to do if

something goes wrong. This “system” can include the following support: Presentation of schedules – these are often derived from ERP or Advanced Planning & Scheduling systems to work centres Collection of production information such as time, quantity and quality Analysis of production information Control of planned and unplanned maintenance Quality control Shipping / dispatch Product labelling Product traceability

MES and ERP So what does an MES do compared to ERP and other systems in my business? ERP can cover a multitude of functions; so can MES and some of them overlap! And to make matters worse some ERP vendors offer MES as well. Simon Pollard, VP, SAP EMEA, says: “About 4-5 years ago we (SAP) found a transition in the manufacturing market where more emphasis was being put into improvements in the shop floor than into ERP. This was because the need has shifted to getting performance at this level due to the need for greater

Figure 1: MES Positioning (Source: Bloor Research)

Enterprise Resource Planning Systems Finance


Production Planning


Materials Mgt

Manufacturing Execution Systems Measurement


System Mgt

Interface SCADA

Historian Reporting



Data Collection Devices SFDC



Bar Code


IT in


flexibility and agility.” So there is also market pressure to gain better control of the shop floor. So, let us look at this from a more basic level so that we can get a better idea of what is what. At the bottom of the pyramid are the automatic data collection devices. Machine monitoring sensors and shop floor data collection (SFDC) terminals transmit production data from the factory floor through Program Logic Controllers (PLC) to the MES software. Other devices that can be used to pass data are bar code readers and RFID readers. An interface layer in the MES software based either on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) or straight XML is used to collect the information. ERP sits at the top and acts as the white collar worker’s control of the business. This leaves the shop floor and it is here that MES sits. As Comstock said, it is their portal on to their world. It takes information from the machine device level and information from the ERP and displays them back in ways that are meaningful to shop floor workers. The main difference between MES and ERP is the focus. The focus of the ERP System is the Sale and/or Purchase Order, while the focus of the MES is the actual manufacturing operations. According to the ISA 95 model, both systems are located in different layers. MES is within Level 3 for Manufacturing Operations and Control. ERP is located in Level 4 for Business Planning and Logistics. MES, as defined by the standard, includes four major categories of manufacturing activities – production operation management, maintenance operations management, quality operations management and inventory operations management. The standard defines other activities that are used to support all of the major activities categories, such as management of security configuration, information, documentation and regulatory compliance. Pollard summed up the situation at most manufacturers. “What we have seen at our customers is great standardisation around the ERP layer or level 4 and also around at he machine level – level 1. It is Levels 2 and 3 – the MES levels – where customers have many different systems in place. However about four to five years ago we found a transition in the manufacturing market where more emphasis was being put into improvements in the shop floor than into ERP.” Comstock felt that ISA95 has been a real help in making MES solutions become more standardised, but he felt that there had been more success in process rather than discrete manufacturing.

The Market place There are currently more than 40 global manufacturing companies spanning many industries that are using the ISA-95 standard to define and implement their MES solutions. Forrester stated: “MES vendors are repositioning their offerings along one of two viable strategies: flexible, horizontally robust solutions or vertically tailored solutions.”

ISA-95 is the international standard for the integration of enterprise and control systems. ISA-95 consists of models and terminology. These can be used to determine which information, has to be exchanged between systems for sales, finance and logistics and systems for production, maintenance and quality. This information is structured in UML models, which are the basis for the development of standard interfaces between ERP and MES systems. The ISA-95 standard can be used for several purposes, for example as a guide for the definition of user requirements, for the selection of MES suppliers and as a basis for the development of MES systems and databases.

SAP and MES SAP’s strategy for the factory of the future is outlined in a strategy entitled “The Perfect Plant”. This describes how SAP’s ERP solution will work with all the other layers described in the ISA-95 standard. To fulfil this strategy, SAP acquired an MES pure player, Visiprise in 2008. This was a well-proven product aimed at the discrete manufacturing market. In addition, SAP also acquired Lighthammer which has now been renamed Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence or MII for short. This acts as the glue between SAP’s ERP solutions, MES and any other ISA-95 layer tool. Pollard stated that this has meant they are able to offer at the MES level management and control costing information held in the ERP.

Comstock described the market as being divided into three sets of players: Vendors who supply machinery with PLCs and SCADA, such as Siemens, Invensys Wonderware, Rockwell and Honeywell ERP vendors who have entered the market mainly through purchasing a pure play MES vendor, such as SAP and Infor; The Pure Plays – vendors who have specialised in the MES market such as Apriso and Camstar. Comstock went on to explain that all of these solutions were now 2nd or 3rd generation; in other words MES has been around for some time!

Automotive Sector and MES Since the turn of the century there has been a steady move by automotive OEM’s to provide one-onone marketing to its customers. What this means is a car is built to a customer’s choice of options and they can change their mind right up to the last moment. Both customer relationship management (CRM) and advanced planning and scheduling (APS) make one-on-one responsiveness possible. They


Seeing old IT challenges in a new business light. Disruption or deliverance? Seek out the business opportunity within the challenge. Business change is inevitable – but how you adapt to it dictates how competitive your manufacturing operation can be. That’s why the most progressive CIOs partner Avanade: delivering new levels of innovation and agility to help them reduce costs and deliver global supply chain advantage. With our joint Accenture and Microsoft heritage, Avanade is uniquely placed to help you keep your eyes on the horizon, and your feet on the ground. Using the Microsoft platform as a springboard for delivering business results, we’ll help you adopt a pragmatic approach that makes change less daunting, combined with a visionary attitude that puts real triumph within reach. For more information visit

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From Accenture and Microsoft © Copyright Avanade. All rights reserved.

Conclusions So what are the vendors working on next to support you? Comstock saw that there were three keys areas of working on MES. The first he saw as extending the current platform to cover events such as maintenance of equipment. The second area was to provide support for co-ordination across plants and companies and lastly he saw the need to provide greater flexibility for making changes over time. This would cover, for instance, the ability to make changes dynamically every 2 hours as an Automotive OEM makes changes to their schedules, which impacts Automotive Tier 1 and Tier 2 production schedules. Pollard saw the need for operational best practices to be incorporated into frameworks that could be delivered through MES packages. These would expound the process excellence capabilities for the shop floor. So the vendors appear to be lining up innovations that are based on their and their customer’s views of the market. Although they appear to be different when taken at face value, they actually are the same in that they have agreed on the need to expand the current MES platform functionality to cover best practices across the whole of today’s shop floor world, in which plants may specialise in certain stages of manufacture

IT in Manufacturing Award

Calling for entries: Have you shown ROI from a well designed, planned and implemented IT strategy or project? This award will go to the manufacturing company or plant that, in the opinion of the judges, best demonstrates that it has made significant progress in designing, implementing and successfully operating an information technology infrastructure spanning all its business processes, which is able to show returns on the investment it has made in doing so.

enter at

help companies move from a forecast-driven world to a more pull-based one. MES needs to have bidirectional, real-time linkages to the enterprise system to be able to support this at the plant operations level. “MES describes an area of work,” says John Woods, director of Manufacturing Floor Systems for General Motors (Detroit, MI). “A space generally critical to the operation of the plant.” That space, consisting of an integrated collection of applications, is between controls and enterprise systems. Swanton defines MES simply as the system that knows what the order is, knows something about that order, and can electronically communicate that information to people and machines. What OEMs and suppliers are looking for is the current state of a customer order in the build process, right down to the current status of a given device in manufacturing. Ideally, MES would communicate state information about individual production equipment and the results of that equipment’s execution cycle – against a multitude of subassemblies that constitute a customer order. Why a MES? In the automotive sector, the planned execution of build orders is a balance among consuming assembly plants and suppliers. Because planned execution spans assembly plant and suppliers, setting the sequence and communicating that sequence to the world is high-level function typically relegated to enterprise resource planning systems. However, within this execution process is the need to manage that sequence and recover that sequence as needed. That’s where MES comes in; MES controls the operations that support the sequence.

Table 1: Automotive MES case studies Automotive Company

MES vendor used

Nissan (Qashqai)


GKN Chassis


Magna Powertrain




Sage Automotive Interiors


Mercedes-Benz U.S



Invensys Wonderware

Magna Automotive

Invensys Wonderware

Honeywell Bremsbelag GmbH (JURID)


AGC Automotive Selects


General Motors




Comau Pico


Ford Motor Company, Ohio Assembly Plant


General Motors






or are part of a much larger picture such as a car or an aircraft. They also agree that there is a need to improve performance and standardise processes on the shop floor to make islands of data a thing of the past. Long live MES!

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World of Knowledge for Manufacturers and Distributers “The level of work that we do now is in the order of three times more product going through the factory, which has been absorbed by a similar number of people.” Balfour Beatty Railtrack Systems Ltd.

A world of knowledge for Manufacturers and Distributors




To find out more on how a Columbus IT solution could help improve your business call us on 0800 0433 054 or email: © Copyright Columbus IT. All rights reserved.

IT in


ITnews.. SAP

SAP’s software revenues show signs of growth Software company SAP today announced its preliminary financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2010, reporting a 16% increase in software and software-related service revenues. The company saw continued double-digit growth in key emerging markets in Latin America and Asia. “Reaching more than 100,000 customers is a testament to the inroads we have made in expanding our volume business and our success in the small and midsized enterprise (SME) segment. Our success in the SME segment creates a strong foundation for the new version of our on-demand platform SAP Business ByDesign” said the co-CEO of SAP, Jim Hagemann Snabe.



Preactor to use riteTIME SFDC system

Solarsoft launches flagship ERP software in the cloud

Preactor International, the specialist planning and scheduling software company, today announced the successful integration of the riteTIME Touchscreen Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC) system with its own Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) solutions.

Solarsoft Business Systems have announced the availability of a cloud-based version of its flagship ERP platform for discrete manufacturers. The iVP ERP solution is already being used by 350 manufacturing companies across 2,500 plants, in order to eliminate shipping errors, tighten inventory accuracy and strengthen enterprise-wide control and supplier management.

The riteTIME system is a self-contained production data tracking system and can run independently of other systems or in conjunction with ERP, MRP, Time & Attendance or other systems. Developers from both companies worked closely to integrate the two solutions Mike Novels, CEO of Preactor International, said: “Not only is riteTIME a well executed product in its own right, riteSOFT genuinely understands how valuable the data it allows businesses to collect can be to maximising their planning and scheduling capabilities. riteTIME closes the loop between the shopfloor and the production plan and when combined with Preactor, manufacturers can expect impressive benefits.”

In the current economic climate, it hasn’t been easy for discrete manufacturers to get their hands on the latest ERP functionality whilst budgets have been under pressure. However, this has led to a growing interest in alternative approaches to software acquisition, including allinclusive, remotely hosted cloud solutions, where software applications and the computer rooms that run them are moved off site. “Our new Cloud-based ERP solution for discrete manufacturers relieves them of the burden of owning, updating and maintaining their own systems, with all the skill, labour and expense involved. This means they are free to concentrate on what they are good at – making things” said Steven Hargreaves, product director at Solarsoft.


We HAD A loT of VAluAble inforMATion - We JusT neeDeD A WAy To finD iT

“We needed to bring our different companies together under one system to ensure we remained competitive, maximising the opportunity of being a multinational company,” explains Jim Butz, AMCOL’s global IT Director. AMCOL replaced their many and disparate systems and processes with one Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application Microsoft Dynamics NAV, which was implemented in 22 locations accommodating nine different languages and the needs of their sales, finance and manufacturing staff - by one company - Tectura. To see how a Tectura solution could help improve your business call us on 0845 084 0152 or visit our website builT onon MicrosofT DynAMics nAV nAV A TecTurA TecTurAsoluTion soluTion builT MicrosofT DynAMics

IT in


ITnews.. PLM

Chrysler chooses Siemens’ NX Software Chrysler Group LLC has selected Siemens PLM Software’s technology for product design and development. Chrysler, which produces Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram Truck and Mopar vehicles and products, began using Teamcenter software, Siemens PLM Software’s digital lifecycle management solution, as its corporate-wide PDM system in 2008. Chrysler Group has now added NX software, Siemens PLM Software’s comprehensive digital product development solution, to provide efficiency gains in engineering and design and to help create a common product development platform. “Chrysler’s decision to replace existing solutions with NX and Teamcenter as its corporate-wide standard is a testament to our commitment to provide a robust, open PLM platform for the automotive industry,” said Tony Affuso, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens PLM Software.


Bayer to implement global IT strategy with SAP German pharmaceutical firm Bayer has finalised a global enterprise agreement with SAP to provide support for its global IT strategy. The five year agreement entails the comprehensive, long-term deployment of standardised SAP solutions across Bayer’s worldwide operations. SAP provides business software such as enterprise resource planning, business intelligence, and related applications. The company has 102,500 customers in over 120 countries.


Jobshop to showcase products in Birmingham Jobshop, the supplier of advanced production planning and control software to aero engineering manufacturers, will be showing how it helps companies meet the industry’s exacting standards at the Aero Engineering 2010 expo and congress. With many years experience of working with aerospace and defense companies, Jobshop is a flexible, scalable and intelligent system offering advanced functionality and value in the key areas of manufacturing and assembly. It allows SME organisations to successfully compete in difficult economic and market conditions, through direct productivity improvements and lower IT infrastructure costs. “Using the array of specialist features simplifies procedures such as operations, scheduling and costing – but in particular it enables manufacturers to meet traceability standards in being able to provide full evidence right the way through the production process” said Jobshop General Manager Paul Holmes. The Aero Engineering 2010 Exhibition will be held at the NEC, Birmingham, on September 29 and 30.


Jegs: Software at your service Mark Young speaks to the new MD of electrical and DIY goods firm Jegs to find out how its new ERP solution has put the company at the top of its game.


Gibbons established electrical goods distribution firm Jegs in 1970 with a budget of £460 – enough for a few items of stock and a van. Forty years on, Martin is this month moving into the role of chairman while his daughter Eloise is the new Managing Director. Martin is handing over the day-today control of a company that now runs 12,000 different lines, has a £10m turnover and is the leading national distributor for electrical, DIY, home and garden equipment to independent retailers across the UK and the Channel Islands. That turnover is increasing at a record rate this year, as are the thousands of deliveries the firm makes each month. This year, Jegs has been named British Hardware Federation (BHF) direct diamond supplier of the year for the third time. It has been shortlisted every year since the awards’ inception a decade ago. Eloise Gibbons joined her father’s firm two years ago and although the company was already successful, after a complete audit it was a clear that there was much scope for improving productivity and efficienciy with better use of technology. The company had been running a bespoke software package from an independent service vendor but, because of various failings in the system, Jegs


was forced to adopt labour intensive processes in order to effectively manage the business – automation was not possible. The old system retained very little information which meant Jegs couldn’t segment its customers or profile them, there was no Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functionality, the accounting side would take several days, and there was no way of doing automated replenishment. “The system was essentially just a reference tool,” says Eloise. “Our stock availability was at ninety-seven per cent which was very good, considering our product range. But this was down to the over exertions of long serving members of staff – if any of these were to leave for any reason, the business would have been faced with a serious problem. “It really is testament to the quality and commitment of the staff that we have here that they had managed to do so well with such limited IT support in place.” Eloise determined that the company needed an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution with a CRM module programme attached in order to help the company stay ahead of the competition. First, she undertook a full audit review of all of Jegs’ end-to-end

processes to determine how the business could become faster, more competitive and improve its overall customer service. Says Eloise: “We had to make sure we knew what our business needs were – understanding what we do, why we do things a certain way and identifying the weaknesses. That helped us identify the kind of solution we needed.” The biggest limitation she found was “the very static” website. The lack of basic tools like the ability to save baskets coupled with poor search functionality meant customers were not experiencing the service they should have been when placing orders online. Meanwhile, the company was finding more and more of its customers were looking to use the medium. “Most businesses these days are moving to just-in-time buying – they don’t want to invest in and hold high inventories – so they can’t rely solely on monthly visits from our sales advisers,” says Eloise. “We have a sales office with telephone ordering but customers are looking to the web more and more and we have to be able to serve them in the way that suits them best.” In addition, the 14 strong field sales team which covers every inch of the country couldn’t get accurate and up-to-date stock figures

Our stock availability was at 97 per cent which was very good, considering our product range. But this was down to the over exertions of long serving members of staff – if any of these were to leave for any reason, the business would have been faced with a serious problem Eloise Gibbons, JEGS


while they were visiting clients and neither could they place an order on the system themselves as they received it. They operated a paper based system with catalogues and stock level reports and telephoned through the orders to the sales office where an operative would log it. This is expensive in terms of man hours and creates various opportunities for errors. Jegs approached ERP solution resellers and asked them for their suggestions based on their preestablished needs. Then, having decided that an out-of-the-box rather than a bespoke package would be best, the company settled on Microsoft Dynamics AX. Then it was a case of choosing the vendor. “We partnered with IBM because they took the time and effort to understand our business culture ethos, objectives and needs in every department. They wanted to work with us over a long term – it wasn’t simply a case of implementing the system and walking away,” says Eloise. “As our business grows they are willing to work with us to continue to identify and provide the technology we’ll need to support that growth. When you’re in the SME space it’s really important to have a name which you can trust. The other thing was cost – we had to find the best value for money and IBM provided that.” She also says communication with the firm for troubleshooting

is fantastic. “It’s about setting expectations and delivering upon them and this is an element of the service we have been very pleased with,” she says. The deal was signed on April 3 last year – Eloise’s’ due date for giving birth to her daughter – and phase one of the implementation, including accounting, stock control and delivery scheduling, went live a year later. Jegs has its automatic replenishment system now; the system flags when stocks are running low and prompts action. Baskets can be saved online and the search functionality is slicker and more user-friendly. The website automatically shows add-on products, for instance which toaster goes with which particular kettle; a feature retailers have expressed their thanks for. Accounting functions are quicker and IT management is simpler. “Updates for things like the upcoming VAT rise will now take minutes to change,” says Eloise. “We used to have to wait for three weeks for instructions from our IT supplier, spend days making the changes and there would not be any guarantee it would work. Last time it screwed up all of our credits.” Phase two is now beginning and will allow field processes to become automated. The sales team will now have netbooks through which they can check stock levels in real time

and place orders straight away. This phase will also involve implementing barcode scanning to allow rolling stock takes. “We currently spend two days per year stocktaking during which time our customers can place orders but we won’t ship anything out – this will remove that obstacle and help us in our commitment to next day delivery,” says Eloise. “We’ll also get better stock accuracy.” Overall, Eloise feels the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics has been pivotal in giving the firm an edge over its competitors in its customer service and has set the firm up for future growth. As she takes up the mantle from her father, Eloise will look to expand operations into overseas markets and increase the company’s own brand lines. “With the old system we had to run our business around the capabilities and inhibitors of the software system,” she says. “This is ridiculous of course; it should be the other way around. The new software underpins everything we’re trying to do.”

For more information please visit:


IT in


ITnews... OTHER


Hanover Displays to adopt Microsoft Dynamics AX Electronic sign manufacturer Hanover Displays has announced it is use Microsoft Dynamics AX from Columbus IT as its new Enterprise Resource Planning system. The company makes passenger information systems for the transport industry, including LED signs. Established in 1985, it has sold products in over 50 countries around the world. Ben Richardson, IT manager for Hanover Displays, said: “We have simply outgrown our current systems. Re-keying of data, a

reliance on spreadsheets and the inability to gain real insight into our business was beginning to cause inefficiencies within the business. The fact that it came from Microsoft gave us the confidence that they would be around for a long time.” Microsoft Dynamics AX will replace the three disparate systems Hanover Displays uses for finance, manufacturing and repairs. Mary Hunter, Columbus IT’s managing director, said she was delighted to be working with Hanover Displays. “Hanover went through a very thorough selection process and we were thrilled that we were the chosen partner to implement Microsoft Dynamics,” she said. Columbus IT specialises in Microsoft Dynamics ERP for the manufacturing and distribution sector. The company is a Microsoft Gold Partner with 30 offices worldwide and has won the most partner awards from Microsoft globally.

eBECS wins 2010 Microsoft Dynamics Reseller of the Year award eBECS has been named as the 2010 Microsoft Dynamics Reseller of the Year for the United Kingdom. The award was presented at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010, the company’s annual premier partner event. Around 9,500 partners from around the world attended the event, which took place this year in Washington D.C, USA. Stephen Wilson, Marketing Director at eBECS, said: “As a specialist in the design and delivery of Dynamics solutions for manufacturing, distribution and the extended supply chain, eBECS is thrilled to be presented with such a prestigious award. eBECS is fully committed to reselling Microsoft Dynamics and this award reflects the business benefits we are so passionate about delivering to our clients.” Several key criteria were considered in selecting Microsoft Dynamics Certified Partners for the special recognition, including outstanding sales performance, thorough technological expertise on Microsoft Dynamics products and services, and feedback from Microsoft team members and customers.

ITNIBS G3 Global Takes Control with SAP SAP today announced that G3 Global is now live with SAP Business All-in-One. The implementation began on Christmas Eve 2009 and was completed in a timescale of six weeks. “The implementation of SAP is vital for our strategic growth plans. We now have a real time integrated view across our entire business that has improved the reliability of our reporting, and increased the speed of decision making” said Chris Gunter CEO of G3 Global.

Infor Delivers Cash Management System for System i

New generation Syspro 6.1 ERP system drives sustainable manufacturing

Infor, a provider of business software for mid-market companies, have announced they would be supplying Electronic Banking for System I, powered by Cashbook. The solution enables companies to streamline and automate critical time-consuming processes and reduce risk of error. The solution, which sits atop the ERP system, includes modules for electronic payments, bank reconciliation, bank lockbox/ automation, direct debits, and bank statement uploads.

A new release of Syspro ERP from Manchester-based K3 Business Technology Group is to provide ‘green’ and cost saving benefits for mid-market manufacturers and distributors. This new version of Syspro incorporates over a thousand new features and advanced tools to assist sustainable operations. The advanced ERP system has green architecture and modules, feature sets, workflow and customisation capabilities –designed to make it easy for users to access the data they need in any application without the need for software development skills.

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IT The crowd dish up their experiences

Gareth Edwards and Steve Musgrave of window, door and conservatory systems manufacturer Synseal

Early last month, a group of East Midlands manufacturers assembled in Nottingham to sample the culinary delights of local fine dining favourite, Harts. The group discussed their experiences with IT and specifically ERP and, as Tim Brown writes, while no two experiences were the same, the consensus among those present was that paper based systems are unequivocally a thing of the past.


anecdotes expressed over the course of the evening demonstrated an impressive understanding of the opportunities available to their businesses through IT. While the experience of each company was different, all agreed that manufacturing IT process management systems such as ERP represent a indispensible route to establishing competitive advantage. The Manufacturer would like to extend its thanks to the sponsors of the evening, Microsoft and ERP experts Columbus IT, for enabling this Directors’ Forum Dinner and the important discussion that it prompted.

Steering the downturn While the impact of recession differed from one company to another, all agreed that the removal of stock from their customers’ inventories had


Specialfeature Manufacturer directors dinner

become common practice. Steve Hately of silicon hose manufacturer, James Dawson, spoke of the resultant need for increased flexibility in production rates and lead times with ERP as an excellent assistant to that requirement. Furthermore, he said, “carrying more ‘work-in-progress’ goods rather than completed products has also become more widespread” which has increased the intricacies of inventory management. As has been well documented, the impact of the recession has spurred a new imperative to ensure all operations are as lean as possible. While unsurprisingly IT and ERP was cited as a big part of the lean efficiency drive, a quick show of hands revealed most companies believed they would not have coped without the assistance of ERP and various IT improvements implemented pre-recession. Administration was cited as a common area that would benefit from further lean attention.

spoke of the success of their bespoke option, of which a large part was developed in-house, others commented that from past experience, changes made to bespoke systems were often over complicated and made software difficult to update in the future. This does not necessarily

Well done Team Columbus IT!

Words to the wise Admittedly each of the manufacturers attending spoke of the importance of preparation and research in choosing the correct ERP product. Steve Musgrave of window, door and conservatory systems, Synseal warned against allowing a system to run the business and making too many changes to the day-to-day operation of the business so as to adapt to an ERP system. However, it was agreed that some compromise was important as change was inevitable as benefits present themselves during the demonstration, consultation and implementation period. Nick Linney of printing company, Linney Group, agreed but re-iterated it was not necessary for companies to accept any “negative compromise” which could adversely affect the smooth running of the business. Simon Charlton of Columbus IT said that in general, a new ERP system will open a company’s eyes to new and better options and that by reducing old degenerative systems “staff are better mobilised to drive the business forward”. Gareth Edwards, commercial director at Synseal, recommended the involvement of all departments during the implementation of an ERP system. This, he says, will avoid a lack of balance in functionality of the system across all functions. Linney said that in his experience, “if there is any element of the business for which an ERP system doesn’t work then there has been a mistake” in either the implementation or the choice of system.

Functionality as standard The vast improvements, in recent years, in out-of-the-box functionality of ERP systems was commended, with most agreeing that such an implementation maximised the chance of successful installation and operation. While IT manager at James Dawson, Mark Williams,

Congratulations to Columbus IT’s UK team for its recent charity work for the Midlands Air Ambulance. Every year Columbus IT selects a charity to support and this year’s Jungle Assault Course event enjoyed a resounding success raising an impressive £4150 for a very worthy cause.

mean system upgrades are not possible but that bespoke changes may not flow through following an upgrade installation.

Consensus of necessity It was agreed that the initial integration of improved IT systems, such as the implementation of an ERP system, inevitably increased costs. However, the benefits of a successful implementation were said to be numerous with IT playing an important role in allowing a business to grow and develop. Such noted improvements included all employees having improved visibility of the entire operation. In addition ERP enables a longer strategic view which many agreed incurred big and important culture changes within their businesses and was a vital step in continuous improvement and competitive advantage.

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Special feature Siemens


talks green Is green manufacturing possible? It is, according to Siemens. Roberto Priolo visits Answers for the Environment in Coventry, a two-day event the company has organised to address environmental issues.


accounts for about a third of the greenhouse gases emitted in the UK. For a sector with such an impact it is paramount to find solutions that minimise the negative effects on the environment, while maximising productivity. On June 29-30, at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, Siemens showed it believes in green manufacturing and, more in general, in an eco-friendly approach to the industrial sector by organising Answers for the Environment, a showcase of some of the solutions the company has come up with in a bid to improve processes and cut down their carbon emissions. Justin Kelly, head of strategy and communications at Siemens Industry, thinks the technology to do it is already there. When asked whether companies that are hesitating to invest due to the current instability of the economy can afford to put money into new technology, he answered: “The investment doesn’t need to cost you. If you are financing properly, it’s paid for by itself.”

Presenting solutions The two exhibitions organised in the Jaguar Exhibition Hall of the Ricoh Arena, Answers for Industry and Sustainable Cities, seemingly confirm Kelly’s point. In Answers for Industry, several Siemens experts met with companies and professionals from the industrial sector, showing them a number of solutions which, they believe, can both raise productivity and cut CO2 emissions: from efficient electric motors (some of the main responsibles for emissions) to a smart material handling system that recognises when movement is needed and therefore saves energy (its most common application being baggage handling in airports), from water management solutions (like electronic metres that report failures immediately, which can save companies millions of cubic metres of water – and money) to water treatment systems. On the other side of the hall, Siemens decided to showcase some of its best solutions applied to urban contexts, with cities being some of the main contributors to global warming. The exhibition follows


people’s lives from when they are home (with projects for zero-carbon apartments) to when they are at work or traveling. Siemens promises that delivering efficiency, maximising productivity and protecting the environment are all achievable goals with the technology already available, which has a quick pay-back time. What does manufacturing need to do today to become greener, then? For the company, the solution lies in the full integration of different systems, in the ability to coordinate all the operations from a common platform and to modernise.

An opportunity to seize During Implications of low carbon strategies for UK manufacturing, one of the several seminars organised over the two-day event, Finbarr Dowling, managing director for Siemens Standard Drives, agreed. “Lean and removing waste are not new concepts to us. We don’t need to change our culture. What is new is the technology, and we need to be aware of that,” he said. Juergen Maier, managing director of Siemens Industry Sector, sees an opportunity in sustainability too. He said: “Siemens takes this topic very seriously. We set ourselves the target to reduce our carbon footprint by five per cent every year. We got to 10 per cent quite easily. The key is target-setting.” The most common obstacles to sustainable manufacturing were identified in the seminar as being engagement of the workforce, doubts on the return of investment (ROI) and a shortage of engineers. Mark White, technical director at Jaguar, added: “We’ve neglected the sector for 30 years. We need to engage more young people now.” Despite the advantages, many companies are not turning to green operations yet. Maier thinks this is partly because of a complex legislation. “It’s going to cost a lot to those companies that are not understanding the legislation. And the cost of energy won’t stop increasing either,” he added. The industry needs to work more as a whole, and legislation must be made accessible to all. Otherwise it will be impossible to reach the emissioncutting targets set for 2050.

Manufacturinginaction Sponsored by TBM Consulting Group

Putting UK manufacturers under the spotlight Factory of the month

BEL Valves 68 Piping up

Lorenzo Spoerry talks to the manufacturer of valves, actuators and controls for the oil and gas industry.

F ood and drink


KK Fine Foods 81

Moog Controls 99

Mark Young hears about the business principles that have taken KK Fine Foods from MD Leyla Edwards’ kitchen to an 80,000 square foot factory

The manufacturer behind the equipment on a pilot’s flight deck that keeps your aircraft on course is a US-owned company manufacturing in Gloucestershire

E lectronics

C onstruction and furniture

E.M.R Electronics 102

Sonae Industria 87 Lorenzo Spoerry finds out from Sonae Industria (UK) how investments in green manufacture are paying off big dividends for the board manufacturer

E.M.R Electronics specialises in the manufacture and supply of wound components for the electronics industry as well as the winding or rewinding of electric motors. Over its 40 year history the company has experienced substantial growth and now utilises a truly international supply chain.

F ood and drink

Vitacress 93 From singlehandedly developing the UK watercress industry, Vitacress has established itself as a leading European grower and packer of salad and vegetable products.

All companies featured will be entered into the MIA Award 2010


Pipetawse Limited Pipetawse Limited are a high quality (ISO 9001:2000) pipework company who aim to provide customers with a high quality engineering package, safely, without impact upon the environment, and at a reasonable price.


e are committed to becoming the UK market leaders in our field, and to continue to improve our services to our customers, ensuring that the highest possible standards of engineering, fabrication, installation, and project management, are delivered safely and without impact upon the environment. Our in-house safety advisor is qualified to NEBOSH Certificate Level, trained to the British Safety Councils Diploma in safety management (DipSim), and is a Member of


the International Institute of Risk & Safety Management We specialise in: Shop Fabrication Project Management Pipework & Steelwork Fabrication, Erection, Testing & Removal Storage Tank Repair Skid Mounted Units Jacketed Pipework Systems Vessel Manufacture, Testing & Installation Pipework Inspection

Published in association with: Pipetawse Limited Please contact the joint MD’s Bill Armstrong or Ray Murray

Email: Tel: 0191 2379801 Email: Tel: 0191 2379802

Factory of the month BEL Valves

A subsea gate valve is used to control the rate of flow in a line, or to serve as a safety device



Lorenzo Spoerry hears how a reputation for manufacturing excellence borne of 50 years’ experience is enabling BEL Valves to rise above the fray.

The core product Next time you’re lamenting the pressures of your job, spare a thought for the people working at BEL Valves. Everything they do involves extreme pressure – up to 16’500 psi to be exact. They manufacture bespoke valves for an extensive portfolio of installations to meet the most stringent fugitive emissions criteria as well as operating at depths of up to 3000m. Founded in the 1950s, the company soon diversified. After acquiring the licence from its partner ICI, the British


For over 100 years, Metalcam has specialised in high quality forgings


hanks to an integrated end to end production cycle in a single site, Metalcam is structured to meet specific requests of special forgings fully satisfying the needs of each client. Metalcam has a global presence in over 40 countries and across a variety of industrial sectors including Oil & Gas, Mechanical, Energy, Shipbuilding and Extrusion among others. Metalcam is today a leading manufacturer of open-die, forged steel components with over 100 key clients worldwide thanks to best in class performance for product quality and customer care / after-sale services. This is due to its organization that combines: ingot production of shape, weight,


size and chemical composition able to assure the best quality of any particular product; forging methods to achieve a high degree of deformation at the heart of forgings; heat treatment cycles dedicated to all types of steel with the aim of obtaining the most suitable mechanical properties for end use of the product; machining processes to meet customer specific demands. The main strengths of Metalcam are: experience in steel production developed in over one hundred years of activity possibility of producing all types of steel in accordance with specific

standards and / or generated on the basis of ad hoc analysis technical-metallurgical support provided to customers high quality and precision of machining process customer benefits through an integrated production cycle wide range of custom made forgings of weights from 100 kg to 35 tons Published in association with: Metalcam S.p.A. Tel: +39 0364 238 1 Fax: +39 0364 320 768 Email: Web:

Factory of the month BEL Valves

BEL Valves manufactures valves in bore sizes from 0.5 to 42 inches

chemical company, BEL began producing valves with working pressures of up to 4500 Bar for companies all over the world. Perfectly positioned to take advantage of the North Sea oil boom in the 1970s, the company used its expertise in petrochemicals to sell gate, globe and check valves to customers in the oil and gas sectors such as BP, Shell, ExxonMobil and Total. In the 1990s BEL sought to expand the business overseas and established significant growth in the subsea sector, rolling out a range of subsea gate valves and actuators. During this time the company also invested in computer assisted design techniques (CAD) and finite element analysis (FEA) software. This software supports a proficient design process that produces surface actuator control systems, gate valves in bore sizes up to 40 inches and a

Our lead times and technical ability would be where we are very competitive, and that has been built up over a number of years. Unlike many of our competitors, we have a good reputation for being flexible and accommodating our customers when they want to make changes. People do enjoy dealing with us Mark Roddy, Operations Director for BEL Valves high-integrity high-pressure system (HIPPS). Over the next ten years BEL Valves expanded its range further and began supplying the Deepwater Subsea sector. With continued investment in equipment, technology, and best practice BEL Valves implemented a fully integrated business system 7 years ago. This allowed better control


Global Actuation Solutions Rotork is a world-leading designer and manufacturer of valve actuation and control systems with proven expertise in applying innovation and new technologies for the automation of valves.


ith over fifty years experience of the international oil, gas, energy and environmental markets, Rotork is a single source for electric and fluid power actuators, digital control systems, smart valve monitoring systems, valve gearboxes and valve accessories. Fifteen worldwide manufacturing plants give Rotork an unequalled capacity for the production of actuation and control solutions for applications in every environment, including critical sub-sea isolation valves, oil and gas production rigs, pipelines, tank farms, refineries, power plants, water supply and effluent treatment works.


All Rotork products and services are supported by an unrivalled international network of Rotork subsidiary companies and agents, providing a localised customer service for every market on every continent. Rotork Site Services extends the company’s new product activities to encompass preventative maintenance, overhaul, health checks and repair on a life-of-plant basis, including the retrofitting of new equipment for the upgrade or automation of existing plant and extended scope projects. Like BEL Valves, Rotork is a British company that can trace its history back

to the 1950s. The two have worked together on many oil and gas projects in the North Sea and throughout the world, delivering high integrity actuated valve solutions to meet the demands of critical applications and hostile environments.

For more information visit:

Factory of the month BEL Valves

BEL Valves makes use of CAD and finite element analysis software

of an expanding portfolio of valves now encompassing subsea ball valves, subsea small bore gate valves and patented rotary disk valves. Today, BEL Valves manufactures topside and deepwater subsea valves to customers such as BP, Agip, Conoco and Petrobras, a responsibility Mark Roddy, operations director for BEL Valves, takes extremely seriously: “If valves fail, it is currently very evident of the consequences. Our specifications limit that risk.” With a specific focus on high pressure and high integrity applications, the company manufactures bespoke valves in bore sizes from 1/2” to 42” to API 6A, 6D, 17D, ASME 16.34, ASME VIII and Norsok standards as required.

Roddy is in no doubt as to where his company’s strengths lie: “Our reputation for quality product, service and responsiveness is what really differentiates us.” BEL Valves has sought to position itself as the most reliable supplier of topside and subsea valves in the market and is keen to emphasize the pedigree of the company: “A lot of customers want that proven track record, they want the history and the life cycle, which is why there is a very high entry to market in this business. Our subsea valves are guaranteed for over 25 years” says Roddy. BEL Valves pitches itself very much in the high-pressure, high-temperature, high-integrity range of market, with a particular focus on critical valve applications such as emergency shut-down valves and high integrity pressure protection systems. “Our lead times and technical ability would be where we are very competitive, and that has been built up over a number of years. In that aspect we are on par and probably a little bit ahead of our competitors. Unlike many of our competitors, we have a good reputation for being flexible



ODS has worked in this field since 1981 and we have been involved primarily in the Oil & Gas industry, providing weld clad products and services for many major offshore projects. Our existing customer base can testify to our ability to deliver solutions which work in this demanding environment and which are delivered to corresponding demanding specifications. We have to spread the word about weld clad technology, demonstrate its ability as the corrosion resistance solution, and promote IODS and the Glenalmond Group as the partner of choice in delivering a cost effective solution to meet your requirements. IODS Oil Tool have worked very closely with Bel Valves over the lasts 14


years developing cladding on various parts even before they had their own cladding facility and are still the major sub contractor for all internal and external parts that require Weld overlay. During this time we have been heavily involved in major contracts such as Vetco (Kizomba), Acergy (Block 31), BP (Schiehallion), Agip (Kashagstan), Siapem (West Delta Deep) and are currently overlaying parts for Devenick (JP Kenny) and Goliat (Aker Solutions) with new weld procedures being qualified for G.E. (Gorgon) which should be commencing during the third quarter of 2010.

to ensure that these standards are never compromised.

IODS are fully committed to supplying quality parts on time at the best competitive price and will always work very closely with Bel Valves

Tel: 01355 249224 Fax: 01355 248836 Email:

To find out more, why not visit us at and take a virtual tour of our facility and also find out how much more we have to offer.

Published in association with: International oilfield drilling supplies

Factory of the month BEL Valves

and accommodating our customers when they want to make changes. People do enjoy dealing with us.” To this end, BEL Valves ensures that their customers are closely involved with every stage of the manufacturing process. “The biggest influence in the last three to four years has been on specification within the supply chain. We now see that on a majority of major projects. BP, Shell and all these companies want to witness every stage of the material procurementforging, heat treatment, processing and mechanical testing. This has become very common of late. Our ethos is to have all the necessary skills and equipment to perform all the necessary processes of manufacturing.” BEL Valves currently offers a full range of design, manufacturing, testing and after-market services, including deepwater testing and training. Their products can be found in the North Sea, West Africa, the Gulf of Mexico, Canada, the Far East, the Middle East, Russia, Kazakstan, Azerbaijan with operators like BP, Agip, Shell, Total, Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

Market share BEL Valves is expecting a turnover of around £50m in 2010, up from around £35m five years ago. The company managed to weather the recession, but was forced to cut 10% of its workforce. There are long lead times involved in the projects BEL Valves support, with some of the industry’s

It is about excellence in engineering. We continue not only to invest in plant and processes but in product development. We are currently developing an electric actuator  which would render expensive hydraulic equipment on the sea bed redundant. This is the next generation Mark Roddy, Operations Director for BEL Valves

larger projects having a five-year life cycle, allowing the company to ride out the worst of it: “There was enough inertia in those projects where the funding was in place that they continued to go ahead. The 12-month projects is where we really felt the recession hit home” says Roddy; “August to October of last year was a

A ball valve during the manufacturing process


St. Andrews Metals With more than 30 years in the forging business we have the knowledge and experience to be your partner for rings and shaped forgings from a few kilos up to approx 40 tonnes unit weight.


hile supplying pieces to a wide variety of applications, we specialise in materials for the Oil & Gas industry, particularly for subsea projects. From our established network of forges in Italy, Germany and Poland we offer Duplex & Super Duplex to NORSOK, AISI 4130 & F22 quenched and tempered to high yield strength as well as F60 & F65 type materials with low CE values. CASE 1. Large section Super Duplex to Norsok Our customer required a large section


super duplex valve block and other smaller forgings to fulfil a repeat order on a very short delivery. The supplier on the previous order had had difficulty in obtaining the properties with such a large section. We delivered the pieces from Italy with very good mechanical properties in 6 weeks. CASE 2. Hotshot delivery Another customer was bidding for a large project. They were offering a design that while proven, had not been used for this application before.

We were able to deliver 10 rings of almost 2000 kg in F22 with 80ksi min yield in 4 weeks. This enabled our customer to build prototypes, fully test and convince his customer that the design worked – and so win the order.

Published in association with: St Andrews Metals Tel: +44 (0)1764 684400 Fax: +44 (0)114 324 0190 Email:

Factory of the month BEL Valves

A quarter of the current workforce have completed the BEL Valves apprenticeship scheme

tough time for us.” Roddy also points to increased market pressure to drop prices shortly before the recession as another significant challenge the company had to overcome. The company is banking that their experience in manufacturing for the deep-water, high pressure sector will allow them to succeed in the long term: “Ultimately, it is our reliability, our years of experience and the number of projects we have in service that will give us an advantage over the general valve manufacturers that are trying to compete in this market. I expect that we will benefit in the next three to five years, depending on how the industry reacts. BEL Valves are privately owned and privately funded. The company’s funding and its good credit rating means that it has been able to make a very considerable investment in heavy machinery over the last 18 months.

Continuous improvement The bespoke valve manufacturer takes a similarly bespoke approach to continuous improvement: “We’ve used a whole toolbox of techniques that are available and applied those to our company where we thought it was appropriate to a manufacturing company that doesn’t have a standard product.” To support their investment in continuous improvement the company has moved a quality manager out of the traditional quality side of the business and into a continuous improvement role and has additionally brought in three CI quality engineers. To this end the company has sought to hire staff with a variety of skills from the automotive, aerospace and power generation sectors over the last five years. “We’ve got a very diverse set of skills in what has traditionally been a fairly traditional area of the oil and gas industry” says Roddy. As a consequence the company has been moved to roll in a number of continuous improvement processes such as six sigma and kaizen that have traditionally been in use in those industries. “We’ve adopted and modified them and use a Plan-Do-Check-Act process.” The company has adopted an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary approach to rolling out its continuous


BEL Valves at a glance Location

Newcastle upon Tyne


Manufacturer – High integrity valves, actuators and controls for the oil and gas industry



Annual turnover


Key products

Actuators, Controls and Valves including Surface and Subsea, Through Conduit Slab and Expanding Gate Valves, High-Integrity Ball, Globe and Check Valves and an Eccentric Ball Valve.

Points of Interest


Founded in the 1950s Subsidiary of British Engines Ltd. Focus on reliability and customer satisfaction Strong commitment to Health, Safety, Quality and Continuous Improvement

improvement initiatives, believing it to be the best way to ensure the support of the workforce. “It’s been a very challenging process inasmuch as we’re trying to change culture here. We’ve been doing it by involving everyone and by investing a lot in the people and the processes.” The company


is taking a “it’s not another initiative” approach to continuous improvement. “We want to have leaders that are responsible for their colleagues in that specific area of expertise. We’re using them to cascade the message and give them appropriate measures and coaching so that they can make development changes in their area,” says Roddy. “We also have a very successful apprenticeship programme.

Factory of the month BEL Valves

Around 25 per cent of the current workforce went through the apprenticeship scheme and if you include those still studying this numbers around 80 people.” Around 10 people are hired direct from school every year and are normally offered jobs with the company after they complete a three to four year training programme. Apprentices are offered structured training which includes support for further studies up to degree level. The key to ensuring broad support among the workforce for CI programmes, Roddy says, is to ensure that everyone in the company knows that continuous improvement is here to stay. “It really has taken 18 months to realise that continuous improvement is part of our DNA. The message is still getting through to some people but great examples are evident in the work area and people can see that it’s much more enjoyable to be involved and realise the benefits of the processes like having a safe and clean working environment.” BEL Valves utilise basic tool to measure its performance in continuous improvement. The company aggregate the results back up the business measures and look at the aggregate contribution. It hasn’t always been easy. Realising it wasn’t capturing the data accurately enough, the company then improved its recording of where people’s time was spent only to find that the data became significantly less impressive than originally thought: “The results became worse but a lot more accurate and realistic. We’re now able to identify which areas we

need to work upon, whether that’s a specific product range or whether it’s a specific process that isn’t delivering.” The company is now in a much better position to analyse its processes and reap the rewards.

Planning for the future The tendency in the industry is for valves to get larger and larger. To that end BEL valves are investing in new machinery: “We have the capability to do up to 40inch valves, but for these larger ones, some of the work has to subcontracted. What we’re looking to do is increase our floor space and continue the investment in large machinery to support a focused drive in bidding and securing this sector of work. The subsea pipelines are now up to 42-inches wide and getting bigger and our intention is to do as much as possible on our own.” Thanks to its long-term projects, BEL Valves has bounced back quicker than many companies from the downturn. Its order book is now larger than it’s ever been, and the company is looking ahead with new technologies. “It is about excellence in engineering. We continue not only to invest in plant and processes but in product development. We are currently developing an electric actuator to replace expensive hydraulic equipment. Only a few electric actuators have ever been trialled and the technology is still in its infancy, but this is a massive development. This is the next generation.”


gap personnel Leading UK industrial recruitment specialist gap personnel not only provides KK Fine Foods with all its temporary operatives; it now also trains the awardwinning food manufacturer’s permanent personnel. gap personnel’s training division was recently introduced to meet the growing demands of its clients for quality training for operations personnel. gap also offers stand-alone training packages to manufacturers that are not clients of its recruitment business. Its training professionals include assessors qualified to deliver NVQ courses as well as qualifications from bodies such as the Royal Society for Public Health and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. gap personnel regional manager, James Sale, said: “We’re pleased that gap


is able to provide a one-stop shop for two of KK’s core needs: reliable and motivated temporary workers; as well as training to keep temporary and permanent team members alike up to date in the latest qualifications.” One of the UK’s top ten biggest providers of temporary industrial workers, gap provides production workers, such as packers, and administrative staff to KK Fine Foods. It is now also training 70 of KK’s 178 employees to achieve qualifications in food hygiene. gap personnel trainer, Matt Shaw,

runs the courses on-site, equipping employees with the knowledge and skills in food hygiene needed to reach level 2 for operatives and level 3 for supervisors. The gap personnel training division also offers the industrial sector a range of other courses including manual handling and health and safety at work.

For more information call gap personnel lead trainer Ian Shone on:

01352 762213 or visit

Food and drink KK Fine Foods

Cooki n g up success

With an unwavering commitment to quality, KK’s food tastes as fine as it looks

Mark Young hears about the business principles in place now and from the start that have taken KK Fine Foods from MD Leyla Edwards’s kitchen to an 80,000 square foot factory supplying the biggest brewery chains in the UK.


the late 1980s, Leyla Edwards started her business as a mother of three from her own kitchen. Cooking vegetarian dishes which she supplied to local delicatessens, restaurants and hotels, she set out with two guiding principles for her food: innovative flavours and uncompromised quality. “We went around pubs, working men’s clubs, delis and hotels – anyone


who would listen to us – and most people hadn’t even heard of aubergine at that time! Vegetarian food was certainly looked upon with some scepticism. But in the end taste is the only real test. Once you got them to try the product they recognised the quality.” Soon the demand for the products grew and it was not long before Leyla had outgrown the capacity of her kitchen. A friend joined Leyla in her venture, and the two sought to raise the finance for their business. After some persuasion, given the pair were new to business, a bank loan was secured for a 1,500 square foot premises. This allowed them to take the business to the next level. With a small, all-female manufacturing workforce, they increased production as their sales grew and new clients came in. They still had to contend with views that vegetarian products were still just a fad, but quickly built a reputation for quality and exciting foods.


Our customers initially eat with their eyes and then look towards the quality and price, so appearances are massively important and form a big part of our ongoing strategy “We worked extremely hard and long hours were the norm as I tried to cope with both a demanding home and business life,” says Leyla. “Looking back now, I wonder how I managed! But I felt a tremendous passion for the company and the industry, and this passion is still with me today.” The business continued to grow, and in 2001 Leyla bought out her partner. In 2002, an operations director and a financial director formed the first structure of senior management, and in 2003 Leyla built her first factory – a 30,000 square foot facility on a five acre site in Deeside, North East Wales. Two years later, a further 30,000 square feet were added and the company invested in state-of-theart equipment. Today, the company has 166 employees and turnover of over £13m. It produces 100 tons per week across more than 300 products. The range varies from soups, pates, pastry products, sous vide, and other ready meals. The cuisines

Food and drink KK Fine Foods

Leyla Edwards began KK Fine Foods by cooking in her kitchen at home

originate from a number of different regions including Italy, UK, India, Thailand, Middle East and even Eastern Europe. In 2004, KK expanded the product range to include protein, fish and poultry, applying the same principal of producing innovative, quality products at the right price on time.

Integrity, innovation and investment KK has rigorous and robust release practices in place which entails products being tested daily for quality, flavour and appearance. Micro testing is done to ensure all the food safety requirements are met, and this is re-enforced by continuous auditing and the use of outside laboratories for technical testing.

The company continually invests in new processes; only this month a new process was installed which will give the company a further edge towards the image that it strives for. Its new baking machinery will enhance the quality of their products and give them a special homemade appearance which deliberately contrasts against the mass-produced, machined feel which ready-meals are often blighted by. “Our customers initially eat with their eyes, and then look towards the quality and price,” says Layla, “so appearances are massively important and form a big part of our ongoing strategy.” The company also knows that the quality of its products is dependent on using the best quality ingredients at the right price. In 2007, its Academy Kitchen was opened with five full time development chefs, where customers come and work along side KK development chefs to work on new ideas and concepts. With most customers now opting for just-in-time service and minimum stock holding, KK realised the


The company has invested in state-ofthe-art sous-vide slow cooking equipment

need to improve the supply chain department by strengthening it with new personnel and training in order to develop more efficient methods of working with the customers. Next year, the latest CDC Factory Systems is due to be installed — which will allow every single factory floor user complete interface in terms of real time inputs, feedback, alerts and decisions surrounding their position. This gives every employee instant data to make valid judgments, allowing the company ultimate pro-activity in responding to its customers’ and manufacturing needs.

With a little help from my friends With the world recession looming, Leyla and her senior management team were determined not to make any of her work force redundant. This meant they had to find other ways of cost saving in order to preserve the margins which customers continually attempted to squeeze. The company decided the best way would be training


Food and drink KK Fine Foods

and development of its people, empowering them to be responsible and pro-active in their own areas of operation. KK approached its neighbours, Toyota, for help. Toyota’s training team visited the KK factory and trained its staff on the principals around the Toyota Production Systems of Kaizan, Quality Circles and Gemba. Glyndwr University Business School then added some management science training to the middle and senior management teams. Leyla says these training initiatives bred a new culture within the business and staff have become more aware of what waste means to the business. “We now operate in a way in which all employees own their own processes and make huge efforts to improve our bottom line by eliminating waste and drive productivity without compromising on our quality and service,” she says. An example of efficiency improvements to come out of the work with Toyota is changeover times. Due to the large number of products manufactured weekly, the changeover and wash down times had been a big cost to the company. Before the lean program it was taking the production team 30 minutes in between a changeover; within weeks that time was down to nine minutes. “People are what make this company,” says Leyla. “A happy workforce is essential to productivity.” And she’s prepared to put her money where her mouth is. KK recently initiated an equal profit share scheme for the workers, and the company also offers share option

scheme for all employees who have been with the company for five years and over. “This is the best way to reward and motivate everyone, ensuring everyone pulls together,” says Leyla. Good communication, conveying progress and company direction clearly and regularly is also high on the agenda. “We are all in it together; it’s a very democratic company. We work very hard and we enjoy our achievements.” These initiatives have helped towards a very low turnover of staff – typically 2% a year.

We are innovative, flexible, and proactive; we understand our market and our customers’ needs. We are a caring company that looks after and supports the work force and whenever possible the community Leyla says challenging her earliest customers’ perceptions became a staple of the company’s missionstatement, and is a key reason for its sustained growth over the years. “KK has always been able to think outside the box,” she says. “We are innovative, flexible, and proactive; we understand our market and our customers’ needs. We are a caring company that looks after and supports the work force and whenever possible the community.” What gives the company an edge over its competitors? “We are always evolving and we are developing along with the markets; we adapt to change. I have a strong belief that we have so much to offer. We don’t compromise as far as quality and safety are concerned, and we don’t do half measures. We have a hunger and desire to improve and we’re passionate about what we do. We want to be the best in class and we work very hard to learn from our mistakes and put them right.” KK Fine Foods is a fantastic manufacturing story —a company that is undoubtedly set up on a bedrock of principles through which it cannot fail to flourish.


Knowsley Timber Store The Complete Wood Manufacturer and one stop shop for joinery and bespoke timber manufactured requirements. Contract Machinist of joinery products for the building trade Bespoke moulding and in house manufacturing facility with specification up to a maximum of 150mm x 300mm. Comprehensive stocks of joinery products Board cutting specialist any board to a max of 2440 x 4800mm Complete stocks of plywood and other board material Ample stocks of hardware and other joinery furniture products including screws, nails, glues and an assortment of tools Operational & Product Excellence Knowsley Timber Store is a specialist


joinery manufacturer and board cutting service, producing bespoke joinery items and board cut products for the building trade. We have an intimate belief in product excellence, dedicated to supplying our customers with products known for their superior quality and reliability. We have a highly skilled workforce which is at the centre of everything we do. We have extensive experience in board cutting and can cut any specification from 25mm width to boards of 4800mm length. We presently cut boards to order for Sonae and our relationship has been built over several years and

is strengthened by the fact that are secure in the knowledge that we have an excellent paymaster, whilst Sonae knows that in dealing with us, we have the ability and flexibility to produce any size required, even at short notice. As well as board and joinery products, we also specialize in manufacturing trailer flooring kits in keruing fror the UK trailer industry, which are made to order in our factory. We also stock laminated trailer boards which come in lengths of 20’ to 45’ depending on customer requirements. Our mission remains true now as when we started the business, which is to become a one stop shop for all our customers timber, joinery and hardware requirements.

Construction & furniture Sonae Industria (UK) Ltd



Lorenzo Spoerry finds out from Sonae Industria (UK) how investments in green manufacture are paying off big – and leaving the competition playing catch-up.


a number of years as an importer of boards into the UK, Sonae took a decision to invest in an ÂŁ85m manufacturing facility in 1998. Today, the Knowsley plant is one of 28 group plants throughout the world. The UK plant construction was completed in late 1999 and the first board rolled off the press the following year. The plant uses modern technology to process recycled fibre as the primary wood source and not the saw mill residues traditionally used by the industry.


During the last ten years the plant has been optimised to handle recycled wood fibre as a part of an ongoing strategic move to ensure the future of the plant. In 2005, the company

It will be a brave company that in 20 years’ time is still trying to use virgin fibre John Huckstepp, Human Resources Manager, Sonae Industria (UK) invested a further £6.5m in state-ofthe-art cleaning facilities that enabled its Knowsley plant to go from using 50% to using 98% recycled material in board production. “The idea behind the £6.5m investment was to combat the everincreasing contamination of the raw materials we were bringing in. The way we see it, we’re preventing the felling of 400,000 trees a year, we are using a raw material that previously went


to landfill. We’ve got a carbon footprint of 32,600 tons of CO2 a year, which actually beats the UK panel industry average by 50 per cent” says Dave Chapman, UK sales and marketing director. The raw material for the particleboard comes from wood processors who receive wood fibre from the construction and demolition sector, the supply chain industry, and local authority waste sites. The material is cleaned and sized by suppliers before it is forwarded to the Knowsley site for further processing. The final cleaning of the material takes place entirely at the company’s plant in Knowsley, which is the UK’s largest wood re-processor, using around 1,200 tonnes of recycled wood fibre every day. “We have very much gone down the green road deliberately. We recognised very early on in the plant’s development that if we didn’t start tapping recycled fibre then there was always going to be a finite supply” said John Huckstepp, human resources manager. Many of the company’s competitors have been forced to gradually increase the levels of recycling they do in plants that were originally designed to process virgin fibre. “It’s a huge advantage for us that a lot of the cleaning technologies were actually built into the front of the plant from the start. It will be a brave company that in 20 years’ time is still trying to use virgin fibre,” says Huckstepp. The Sonae Industria (UK) management is working hard to address the challenges presented by competition

Construction & furniture Sonae Industria (UK) Ltd

for raw materials from a subsidised biomass sector. “The availability of the material that we use as our feed stock is being threatened by the increase in biomass generators that are springing up around the country” explains Dave Chapman. Competition for wood fibre is increasing and is driving up the price of this valuable resource. Sonae Industria (UK) is a member of Make Wood Work, a campaign started by the Wood Panel Industries Federation to lobby against what they see as unfair government subsidies for the UK biomass sector. Studies funded by the Wood Panel Industries Federation claim that the Renewables Obligation subsidies regime has severely distorted the market for wood panel production and could contribute to a considerable increase in CO2 emissions.

It’s a very integrated business. We have a number of group initiatives that take place every year that are about Benchmarking, sharing Best Practice and Continuous Improvement. We have an Indbest representative on every site within the company to report to the group on improvement initiatives Mark Callaghan, Operations Manager Sonae Industria (UK) “Woody biomass energy generation actually produces more CO2 than burning coal, whilst the wood panel industry is all about carbon capture,” says Huckstepp. All of the materials are sourced from the UK and this has enabled the company to capitalise on green

A platform tipping raw material out of the rear of a heavy goods trailer into a chute


Sonae Industria (UK) Ltd at a glance Location

Knowsley, Merseyside


Manufacturer of wood based panels

Size of facility

24 Hectares (geographic) OR 450,000m3 per annum (production scale)




2008-2009: £50m 2009-2010: £50m

Key products

Particleboard, Melamine Faced Boards

Key markets

Decorative (Furniture) and Construction Markets

Points of Interest

Uses 98% recycled material in board production at its Knowsley plant £85m plant built in 1998 £6.5m investment in state-of-the-art cleaning facilities in 2005 Uses 1,200 tons of recycled wood fibre daily A member of the Make Wood Work campaign credentials in the market place. The company came 35th in the Sunday Times list of the Best Green Companies, an achievement John Huckstepp, describes as “a proud moment.” The 200 employees at Sonae’s Knowsley plant are well aware of the company’s eco-friendly spirit, with 72% reporting they are encouraged by their bosses to recycle and 80% saying they feel that the company does a lot for the environment, according to the survey by the Sunday Times. Sonae Industria (UK) supplies a number of kitchen and flooring manufacturers among its industrial customer base. It supplies companies such as Kingspan Access Floors, Wilsonart, Symphony Group PLC and Decorative Panels. According to Huckstepp, “For Sonae Industria (UK), sustainability is about much more than a green agenda. It is a core value that is incorporated into the management structure and practice. There is special emphasis on Corporate Governance and Risk Management. Sonae, in addition to creating economic value expects all businesses to act responsibly, both environmentally and socially”. The Knowsley Plant works closely with Indbest, the head office best practice support team. IndBest gleans best practice knowledge from each of the Sonae Industria plants around the world. Mark Callaghan, operations manager says: “It’s a very integrated business. We have a number of


Construction & furniture Sonae Industria (UK) Ltd

The main Dieffenbacher Contiroll chipboard press

group initiatives that take place every year that are about benchmarking, sharing best practice and continuous improvement. We have an Indbest representative on every site within the company to report to the group on improvement initiatives.”

We look for improvement. With 28 plants in the group, there’s a good chance that one of them is doing something in a better way than we are John Huckstepp, Human Resources Manager, Sonae Industria (UK)

The plant has been working with Indbest for several years. The size of the Sonae group has been one of the factors that have helped make Indbest a success: “We identify opportunities for best practice, implement those ideas and share them with the Sonae group. We listen to them when they visit and see how they implement opportunities. With 28 plants in the group, there’s a good chance that one of them is doing something in a better way than we are. The idea is to ramp up everyone’s performance.” The company is also working with a “Kaizen” best practice programme in partnership with the Kaizen Institute and takes great pride in working closely with union representatives at the company’s facilities, a relationship John Huckstepp describes as “integral” to the success of the company. “We have labour turnover and sickness levels both below two per cent and work with the union on site as a further means to encourage active employee involvement.” Chapman says: “We are fortunate to have a loyal committed workforce who continue to demonstrate their ability to adapt to the challenges of the economy and the market. We have just marked the 10th anniversary of our business and with the continued support of our workforce, customers, and suppliers, we look forward to continuing our successful development in the future” says Chapman.



green shoots

Irrigation of baby leaf on a Vitacress farm


From singlehandedly developing the UK watercress industry, Vitacress has established itself as a leading European grower and packer of salad and vegetable products. Tim Brown discusses with members of the Vitacress team the differentiating factors that have afforded the company its considerable success.

Food and drink Vitacress


founded by Malcolm Isaac in the 1950s, from a single acre of watercress bed, Vitacress expanded its growing base to be the first to develop a pre-washed, ready-packaged watercress offering for the retail market. Expanding the product range to include lettuces, spinach and other kinds of baby leaves, the company quickly developed a reputation as a reliable supplier of healthy, nutritious and fresh salad products. In order to support the company’s growth it expanded its supply chain expertise and capabilities. To ensure that the product could be presented in the freshest possible way to the consumer, the raw material is not only grown in the best possible way but it is also kept cold and transported quickly. While still headquartered in Hampshire, Vitacress is now a fully-owned subsidiary of Portuguese company Grupo RAR, whose portfolio of diversified businesses includes packaging, contract manufacturing, food, real estate, services and tourism. With consolidated sales of 900m euros (2008), it is present in Portugal, Germany, Spain, Poland and the UK employing 5400 people. The 2008 acquisition followed the prior year’s purchase of Wight Salads, leading UK producer of tomatoes largely based on the south coast.

Our capacity is now approximately 70% higher using slightly less equipment  than it was before we implemented  continuous improvement Mike Rushworth

Delivering freshness The UK remains the largest market for Vitacress, although the company is also joint market leaders in Portugal and is building a considerable share in Spain. “The Portuguese and Spanish markets are supplied from our farms in Portugal where we also have a modern pack house,” says Mike Rushworth, managing director of Vitacress Salads UK business unit. “During the peak UK season, in the pursuit of freshness we supply from our UK farms in to the UK. Outside of that period when inevitably we can’t grow in the UK, our own farms in Portugal and our joint venture partners in Spain supply raw materials in to the UK.” As well as ensuring freshness, UK production director Andrew Davidson says the company employs a procurement strategy that plans for 80% of its projected needs to come from its own farms and the balancing 20% from partner growers, giving the company flexibility in supply and geographic (climatic) hedging, since the weather has a massive impact on growth rates and continuity. In addition to being highly dependent on favourable weather, Vitacress must also overcome difficulties associated with the delivery of a product with a very short shelf life. “But growing our salads as close to the factory as we can is only part of the strategy” explains Rushworth



Food and drink Vitacress

“we also run an industry leading cold chain...simply defined as “Keep if cold. Move it fast”. To that end we beat the frozen pea claim of field to frozen in 90 minutes...we aim to go from field to chilled in 60 minutes!“ “The packed product then has a shelf life of five to six days in store. The difficulties associated with the delivery of a product with such a short shelf life is the single biggest challenge within the business. To meet this challenge we use our own internal logistics to take the product when it is the ideal size and quality,” says Rushworth.

Growing together With such a strong emphasis on in-house operations, Vitacress has undertaken a number of procedures to ensure effective communication, process improvement and staff development. The business has been divided into various areas including planning, production (growing), inspection, and operations with individual teams allocated within these areas, known as mini-businesses. To assist with the development of the business’ culture and its staff, working with a company called Competitive Dynamics, Vitacress implemented a system called ‘mission directed work teams’. It is a ten module continuous improvement programme which includes both people development and process modules. “Goal alignment and 5S are the two core modules,” says continuous improvement manager, Rachael Williams. “The system recommends the implementation of goal alignment initially, as we did in 2004 which develops the concept of the level one mini-business teams at the foundation of the business and creates a structure within the more senior levels, through which information cascades both up and down throughout the business.” Every area within the business has undergone 5S and now follows

set standards. The majority of teams will do an end of shift checklist and the company also uses a team of auditors that visit the various areas of the factory. “We’ve seen a massive improvement generally in our standards and there is no doubt that the base standard has risen considerably. We do however expect to see peaks and troughs where standards will improve and then stabilise for a while. In these situations, we fully expect to have to introduce another initiative to achieve the next improvement.” Rachael admits that maintaining staff engagement in continuous improvement requires constant attention. Indeed, the goal alignment and 5S modules have been re-launched several times to help sustain involvement. “In August 2008 we launched a recognition event, something we had never formally done in the past. Now every quarter we recognise those that are performing best or showing the most improvement across the various aspects of our continuous improvement programme. We are also focusing a lot of resource on people development and training and so we had a training recognition event at the end of last year.” “We’ve taken a view that moving forward in terms of profitability is essentially governed by how fast we can improve,” says Rushworth. “We knew that the obvious improvements we could make would eventually come to an end and that we needed some sort of structured framework to implement new changes. Our capacity is now approximately 70 per cent higher using slightly less equipment than it was before we implemented continuous improvement.”

The new branded offer which epitomises the core values of Vitacress


Raising expectations Vitacress washes its salads in pure spring water drawn from the deep chalk aquifer beneath its Hampshire factory. The process of “Washed only in Pure Spring Water” is unique to the company and has become a strong market differentiator and is fully supported by their major customers Sainsburys and Marks and Spencer. “After almost two years of development we implemented Washed only in Pure Spring Water back in 2007,” says Rushworth, “and we manage the system in such a way as to make it non-consumptive, the

wash water flowing from the factory being used to reduce the nearby abstractions to grow our watercress. We then go one further in making this a truly sustainable operation, using the water flowing from the watercress beds to feed a series of chalk streams we have created on the site which have become a fantastic biodiverse habitat. This concept of “borrowing” pure groundwater to wash our salads, using it to supply our watercress beds, and then to feed some very special chalk stream habitat fits perfectly with our philosophy of minimising our environmental impact – the company’s efforts in this regard have been recognised in a number of prestigious environmental awards.” “Having a Washed only in Pure Spring Water offer is very important to the positioning of our products in the market” says Rushworth “but equally important are their nutritional credentials. We have a number of research

Vitacress at a glance


Staff numbers



Salad products


Primarily baby leaf products that are washed in spring water

Key Markets

UK, Spain, Portugal,


2006 Factory of the Year, 2007 SEEDA Sustainable Business Award for Environment, 2009 Sainsbury Supplier of the Year

Food and drink Vitacress

The High Care packing area at St Mary Bourne

projects underway with the University of Southampton aimed at better understanding, communicating and continually improving the health giving properties of our salads. This work has paid major dividends with watercress, helping us position it as a leading “Superfood”. Vitacress has most certainly made a concerted effort to ensure the company is moving steadily in the right direction, and those improvements have not gone unnoticed. In 2006 the company won the Zurich Best Factory of the Year award as well as several other awards including best supply chain. Not only was this a welcome surprise considering it was the first competition of that kind that the company had ever entered but it also demonstrated to the management that it

was indeed taking the right steps towards improvement. Most impressive of the company’s accolades was to be named the 2009 Sainsbury’s Supplier of the Year particularly considering the international level of competition. As the company continues to grow it is looking to continue to innovate in terms of its products, packaging and processes. Recently the company launched a rocket leaf with wasabi flavour as well as a new branded offering, Steve’s Leaves, that allows the company greater freedom with its marketing and packaging for better communication with end customers. Such a commitment to consistent development has certainly led to tremendous achievements at Vitacress but the business is very aware that the scope for further improvement is enormous. Vitacress recognise that continuous improvement is “never-ending” and is all about adding value on the journey, rather than reaching an end-point. With this approach hopefully its continued development will undoubtedly lead to further business improvements and most likely their fair share of industry accolades and recognition.


UK Flow Ltd Your partner for innovative and individual Fluid Technology System Solutions. UK Flow are pleased to be associated with Moog Controls. VSE Flow meters Beinlich Pumps DST magnetic drive couplings HBE Components UK Flow Ltd. is part of the German Echterhage Holding Group. The leading specialist for individual solutions in Fluid Technology. The production companies within the Group develop technical solutions and products for the fluid, drive, measurement and process technology industries. UK Flow offers a range of products which includes high precision flow measurement equipment. Dosing/metering and high capacity pumps. Permanent magnetic drive couplings. A comprehensive range


of hydraulic components including bell housings, cleaning covers, tank heaters and heat exchangers, Softex速 and Starex速 drive couplings. To support our range of standard aluminium tanks we can offer a bespoke service for tanks in various materials. An increasing focus for the group is the product development of integrated system solutions. The close co-operation between all the companies within the E-Holding Group leads to synergy effects, which enable us to find solutions for complex assignments. The technically advanced products are installed in hydraulic systems, process measuring and control technology industries With their highly precise mechanics and electronic readouts, our systems may also be installed in highly specific application areas such as in

precision dosing and flow measurement monitoring systems. UK Flow Ltd. provides distribution, application expertise, quality service and technical support for the UK market. We work closely with our customers from the initial inquiry through development, construction, installation and commissioning. Providing innovative solutions for demanding applications of the highest quality within the shortest possible development time.

Published in association with: UK Flow Ltd Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 151 510 90 89 Email: Web:

Motion control systems Moog Controls

Moog targets complete control

Moog is an important member of the aerospace supply chain manufacturing key equipment for the OEMs

Next time you fly, consider the electro-mechanical wizardry at work behind the pilot’s flight deck that keeps your aircraft on course. Servo valves and manifolds for flight control systems make up an important part of a broad portfolio of precision aerospace and industry components made by Moog Controls, based in Tewkesbury.


of the great things about British manufacturing is its discrete strengths – most ordinary consumers are blissfully unaware of many of the highly engineered products that we are so good at making behind the scenes. Certain names in UK aerospace are familiar to many: Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Cobham and Goodrich among them, but the companies that supply these primes with sophisticated components that help operate aircraft control systems receive much less press. A layman might expect that many of the smaller electro-mechanical components used by these Tier 1 and 2 companies are bought in from China or India. But look deeper into the UK aerospace sector, and you find companies like Moog in Tewkesbury; foreign-owned firms manufacturing in the UK as part of efficient internal and external supply chains to these big primes. Moog, a US-owned company manufacturing in Gloucestershire, makes a wide portfolio of advanced products, where its business is split about 70% in aerospace and 30% in the industrial divisions – motion control systems for applications like plastics, metal forming, power generation and motor sport. While Moog, which employs 370 staff at Tewkesbury, has been in the UK for 40 years, as a global company operating in 26 countries with volume production in the Philippines, the


UK site is under intense pressure to control costs. Tewkesbury has worked hard to analyse its costs and recently consolidated a five-year, enterprisewide lean programme to deliver higher productivity and better staff engagement. This has reaped dividends, says director and site manager of Moog Tewkesbury UK, Steve Hawkins. “We’ve had a strategy for the last three years

We’ve had a three year cost reduction strategy, using cost identification combined with internal strategies like New Product Introduction and lean Steve Hawkins, site director, Tewkesbury for reducing recurring costs, i.e. those in manufacturing, and non-recurring costs – those taken on up-front – by cost identification combined with internal strategies like New Product Introduction and lean,” he says.

Aircraft Group: three businesses in one As part of the Moog Aircraft Group, Moog Tewkesbury has two types of OEM market: internal and external. The internal business supplies aerospace parts to the Moog Aircraft Group, which include servo valves and manifolds for flight control systems. The external business manufactures products that are fitted to fuel metering systems for aircraft engines, braking and steering systems and missile control systems. Moog Tewkesbury also has an aftermarket activity (about 30 % of the external business). Nigel Cottell, director of quality and deputy site manager, describes one of the bigger external lines: “These products are largely interface devices for aircraft engine fuel metering systems. Rolls-Royce is predominantly at the top of the supply chain, the next tier is our customer that manufactures fuel metering systems, our products are a sub-set of those systems. These receive low level


electrical signals and provide the hydraulic control for the metering system.” In the internal Moog market, typical products are servo valves and manifolds for flight control systems. These are the critical components that help to control your plane that you’re unaware of when jetting to the Canary Islands. “Moog provides the primary flight controls for an aircraft; actuators, control electronic and components,” says Cottell. “An actuator is a hydraulic cylinder controlled by a servo valve. The servo valve is commanded by low level electrical signals from the control electronics. The integration of valve, cylinder and control electronics determines the performance of the flight control system.” In the Moog Aircraft Group, the military servo valve products are designed and manufactured in country, whereas civil servo valves are designed and qualified in Tewkesbury for final phase manufacture and assembly at the Moog facility in Baguio, Philippines. Baguio, with 1,000 employees, and Tewkesbury have a very close working relationship within the parent Moog Inc’s global supply chain. Tewkesbury flows to the Philippines factory the designs, manufacturing processes and even management personnel who disseminate Moog Tewkesbury’s New Product Introduction and lean manufacturing programmes to Baguio when seconded there for regular, three-year postings.

A strategy for growth Put simply, Moog Tewkesbury’s three-year growth strategy has focussed on identifying and reducing recurring and non-recurring costs through Lean, and a New Product Introduction scheme to tighten standards in the process of design to point-of-sales delivery. On reducing recurring costs, i.e. those generated in certification and testing, Steve Hawkins says: “Certification for our servo valves s require exacting physical performance tests, which demand significant resource. They are sometimes funded in the price of the first few aircraft, but we have focused on bringing this down to be more competitive.” Non-recurring costs in this sector are becoming more and more important. “As the aerospace market becomes more cost focused and more strictly regulated, customers will differentiate not only on recurring costs but also on non recurring costs, with the supplier expected to take the risk on the success of the programme. Nigel Cottell describes non-recurring, or up-front, costs. “We define this as the set of costs that we accumulate from the point of starting to design the product, through product development to early preproduction hardware, through qualification testing to a point where the customer and Moog can sign off the product and say it’s now good to go.”

Central pillar — New Product Introduction Manufacturers frequently talk about visibility and communication between departments to improve the manufacturing process: order – manufacture - quality control - delivery. Moog Tewkesbury has introduced and piloted a ‘gated procedure’ to augment this visibility, with the express aim of increasing quality assurance and simultaneously reducing costs. Called the New Product Introduction process (NPI), it’s a programme that ensures all appropriate steps are

Motion control systems Moog Controls

undertaken and then reviewed by the relevant company functions. This links all internal departments, from design to the prototype manufacture – finance, sales, purchasing, IT and manufacturing – to ensure that technical performance, costs and quality standards are met and that the customer is satisfied. It has been a manifest success, says Hawkins. “The NPI process is a gated procedure. Each department signs off a check-sheet and takes responsibility for their stage before moving through the gate.” An important aspect of Moog’s business is ensuring stringent product specifications are maintained throughout manufacture. The NPI helps to identify potential deviations from the product specification as early as possible. “There is now far better visibility and collaboration between departments and sites,” says Cottell. This gated process extends to transferring commercial products to the Baguio facility. “Common processes with the Baguio facility and Moog Tewkesbury is important,” Cottell adds. “So now Baguio has similar machine tools and test rigs to Tewkesbury, this has reduced duplication of effort with CNC programming, fixtures, specialised tools, CMM programmes and the automated test process.”

Time to refine lean Moog Tewkesbury has made a big investment in its lean and six sigma programme, refining the baseline lean work done over the last five to six years. In some cases, operating costs have reduced in real terms by 23% as a result of new lean activities. New initiatives include the introduction of several single piece flow cells in the factory, a departure from the former batch manufacturing process. Results have been striking; “typically” a 25% productivity improvement, says Cottell. “The introduction of single piece flow lines has highlighted the impact of part shortages, test failures and inefficient use of labour. This has led to focussed activity by the technical and operations team to fix the underlying problems not just the ‘quick fix’ from the established specialist.” Lean, a methodology often associated with volume, process manufacturing like automotive lines, can be equally effective for discrete manufacturers. Moog has established “Cell management teams” in all 11 production

area and some support areas so there are cells now in quality assurance, finance, purchasing and IT. Inclusive monthly team meetings allow all staff to have their say with senior management present. This has been a cathartic process. “We found some of this can be extremely uncomfortable for management, until the main issues were on the table and management were seen to be interested and trying to help,” says Cottell. “Both sides are now held to account.” At Moog Tewkesbury all managers are strongly encouraged to participate in the Lean Management Programme, and all staff receive a level of lean training. The company has three six sigma black belts internally, supported by external training. “The focussed groups have driven some fundamental changes to the way we test valves and correlate our rigs both internally and with our customers, which has involved a multi-functional team redesigning test rigs to get much better accuracy measuring pressures, flows and frequency response,” says Hawkins.

Lean results and outlook Many companies engage in lean to some degree, but to assess the effect results must be measured. Moog Tewkesbury says scrap costs have fallen by in excess of 20%, and there is now much improved identification of root cause and subsequent corrective action.

Now Baguio (Philippines) has similar machine tools and test rigs to Tewkesbury, reducing duplication of effort with CNC programming, specialised tools and the automated test process Nigel Cottell, director of quality & service excellence Communications have really improved, Steve Hawkins says, and line operators are now evaluating their own ideas unprompted. Some hard metrics stand out. “Lean activities in the manufacturing cells, have reduced machine tool consumable costs from £450,000 to £350,000 a year,” says Cottell. Employee engagement has varied, but generally management is pleased. “When I joined it was about 10 per cent. Now 30-40 per cent of staff are actively engaged,” says Hawkins. This has been helped by a transparent pay structure, linked clearly to lean training grades. Moog Tewkesbury is a member of the aerospace association A|D|S and UK Trade & Investment’s Supply Chain 21st Century initiative (SC21), a benchmarking process for aerospace companies. “SC21 has revealed that Moog Tewkesbury has improved, but we’re not the best yet and need to improve further,” says Hawkins. But senior management are confident that continued involvement with its NPI and lean programme, and SC21, will further refine Moog’s business operations to embed it as a world-class company serving clients with the highest requirements in the industry.


(Left) Toroidal & Clamp winding machine (Right) Multi spindle winding system. Ideal for high volume work


electrifying E.M.R Electronics specialises in the manufacture and supply of wound components for the electronics industry as well as the winding or rewinding of electric motors. Tim Brown talks to managing director, Robert Walker, about the company’s capabilities and its international supply chain.


E.M.R group was established in the South West of England nearly 40 years ago and has seen substantial growth and earned a reputation for highquality products and excellent customer service. “We offer a complete manufacturing solution combining our expertise and established manufacturing facilities in the UK together with high volume capacity capability using our partners in China and India,” says Walker. One of its first clients, a major cable location company, required the development of an aerial winding component for an electromagnetic cable location product. E.M.R worked with the company to develop the required winding from prototype stages through pre-production and on to production. While E.M.R has since experienced considerable growth, in demonstration of the reliability of the company, E.M.R remains as a supplier to the same company. “The


product was a massive success and has been sold throughout the world,” says Walker. “Since the original product launch we have been involved in prototyping several new generations of the locator and today still continue to supply the aerials for the new generation of product.” The company has two different divisions: E.M.R Electronics and E.M.R Rewinds. The former is responsible for the manufacture and supply of wound components to the electronics industry while the latter offers a quick turnaround facility for the winding or rewinding of electric motors. “What we are doing in our company is what we have been doing for years,” says Walker. “Versatility is the key. If someone brings us an item and asks us if we can put a winding on it, the answer will almost certainly be yes.” According to Walker, if a company works with E.M.R, “you get more than just a supplier – you get a manufacturing partner who will search with you for the best way to give you entire satisfaction. A strong commitment to excellence, over 40 years of expertise in wound components and dedicated production facilities are all part of the package. We will discuss with you all your requirements, from design specification to delivery constraints and select from our range of up-to-date machines the most adequate and cost effective one to resolve your problem.

Electronics E.M.R Electronics

E.M.R Electronics at a glance Location

Location: Unit 5 & 6, Kiln Park Industrial Estate, Searle Crescent, Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset, BS23 3YX


+44 (0)1934 646 942


Electronic components and service

Key products

Electric windings and wound components

Niche over competitors

Produces all bespoke products and is capable of both low and high volume production

“Our success is linked to the success of our customers’ products and we believe in partnership. Working with you we can advise on what would work best with your product before going into production saving you time and costly mistakes. By building prototypes and running pre-production runs between us we can iron out any issues before committing to large batches from our Chinese factory.”

Reliable resources E.M.R Electronics is capable of producing any production range of wound components from low volume production runs from as few as 25 up to as high as 5000. “Most of our low volume production is all completed in-house and a lot of our high-volume runs are completed out in our plant in China,” says Walker. The company’s product range include aerial windings, chokes, ferrite windings, inductors, lead assembly, PCB assembly, power supplies, switch mode, toroids and transformers. “All the products that we make are bespoke products,” says Walker. “They are all specially designed for a purpose and we manufacture everything to specification.” To ensure its products are produced with an extremely reliable quality every unit that leaves the factory is tested before it is dispatched. “We are ISO registered and work to a very strict quality system,” says Walker. “The failure rate on our products is very low and often we may not have a failure rate on our components.” This includes any product which is manufactured at their facility in China. All components that are produced overseas are freighted back to the UK for inspection and testing before being dispatched to the customer. “Every product that we make usually go through an LCR data bridge which measures tolerance and frequency before it leaves

the factory. This makes sure the component fits within the consumer’s specifications. If anything falls outside of that then it is rejected.” In addition to ensuring quality, E.M.R also ensures pricing reliability despite a declining UK exchange rate. By modelling its Chinese operation on an exchange rate between the pound and the dollar to be 1.50 the company has provisioned for the current poor exchange rate. “On top of that,” says Walker, “it is costing more with airfreight due to the taxes that have been applied but we can compensate for the cost by delivering volume and we don’t pass any additional cost on the customer.”

E.M.R services include: R&D Prototyping Short production runs Medium to large production runs with significant savings through our partner in China. Sub-Assembly and Assembly Out-sourced repair centre - we can support your product even after production by becoming your outsourced repair centre

Benefits of using E.M.R: Over 40 Years experience in the electronics industry Cost effective solutions for every stage of your product development Planned production runs in far east providing substantial cost reduction on unit prices without the headache of dealing with China Short runs with fast turnaround times offering a total flexibility for prototyping

E.M.R can provide all of the following products and services: PROTOTYPES: To help you at the early stages of product development, we use machinery specially designed for prototypes and small batches PRODUCTION BATCHES: Our production facilities have been developed over the years to cover both toroidal and non toroidal products in small, medium and large quantities. Additional cost savings can be achieved by utilising our Chinese manufacturing facilities. ASSEMBLY: Thanks to the flexibility of our work force, we can also assemble for you complete modules or instruments, test them to your specification and deliver them to you, on time, all the time and at the right price.



Ibstock Brick, part of CRH Plc, the International Building Materials Company, is the UK’s leading manufacturer of clay facing bricks with an enviable reputation for producing high quality, sustainable products, supported with outstanding technical support and customer service.

FACTORY MANAGER - Throckley, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Following a substantial investment in a state of the art manufacturing facility that is now fully commissioned we are looking for a World Class Factory Manager to further develop the factory and team to deliver World Class standards in terms of cost, quality and efficiency benefits.

Key responsibilities of this role include:

The person we are looking for must:

• The delivery of stretching performance targets in terms of volume, quality and profitability through the effective and efficient management of budgets, quality audits and production schedules.

• Be an inspirational leader with substantial operational leadership experience within a continuous improvement environment and state of the art manufacturing facility with a proven track record of delivering results.

• Ensure compliance with Company standards of health & safety, environmental legislation and quality management standards. • Application of TPM tools and techniques to enhance existing continuous improvement strategies across all areas of manufacturing capability.

• Have a high level of personal drive, energy and resilience and a passion to deliver results.

• The management, motivation and development of our workforce to create a flexible, effective and multi-skilled team across all disciplines.

• Have exemplary communication and influencing skills at all levels together with the ability to connect and build strong relationships with diverse manufacturing staff, site management and senior business stakeholders.

•The utilisation of KPI’s to ensure targets are exceeded.

• Have effective organisational, problem solving and IT skills.

• Identification, submission and implementation of capital investment proposals to deliver improved efficiencies or to enhance legal compliance.

• Have experience of TPM tools and techniques to enhance the existing continuous improvement culture.

• Product development to expand and enhance the existing range of products in conjunction with the group product development team. • Collaboration across the business to lead the factory to meet and where possible exceed the ever changing needs of the business. • Managing the quarry operations to ensure safety and efficiency.

• Have effective understanding of financial budgeting and cost control including TWC and RONA. • Have a NEBOSH qualification. • Be ideally experienced in the clay industry with a ceramics qualification.

If you believe you have what it takes to make our factory the best in the world, please send your CV and covering letter confirming your current salary to: Gareth Emmonds, Group HR Manager, by email only to no later than 31st August 2010. Strictly NO agencies thank you.


EntEr nOW

Celebrate Manufacturing for a Better Britain Having emerged from the recession stronger, leaner and with many new initiatives in place, UK Manufacturing is ideally placed to make a better Britain! Established over 10 years ago, The Manufacturer of the Year Awards competition is specifically designed to celebrate the strength and diversity of UK Manufacturing. So enter today and showcase your achievements. For further details visit

Corporate Sponsor:

The categories this year are: Leadership and strategy Innovation and design World class manufacturing People and skills IT in manufacturing Supply chain and logistics Operations and maintenance Sustainable manufacturing SME manufacturer of the Year Financial services Advanced manufacturing And the winner of winners category: The Manufacturer of the Year

For further details contact Laura Williams on 01603 671323 or email The winners will be announced at a black tie gala dinner and Awards ceremony at Chesford Grange, Kenilworth on Thursday 18th November 2010. If you are interested in sponsoring an Award, please contact David Alstin on 01603 671307 or email

EntEr nOW

Celebrate Manufacturing for a Better Britain Having emerged from the recession stronger, leaner and with many new initiatives in place, UK Manufacturing is ideally placed to make a better Britain! Established over 10 years ago, The Manufacturer of the Year Awards competition is specifically designed to celebrate the strength and diversity of UK Manufacturing. So enter today and showcase your achievements. For further details visit

Corporate Sponsor:

The categories this year are: Leadership and strategy Innovation and design World class manufacturing People and skills IT in manufacturing Supply chain and logistics Operations and maintenance Sustainable manufacturing SME manufacturer of the Year Financial services Advanced manufacturing And the winner of winners category: The Manufacturer of the Year

For further details contact Laura Williams on 01603 671323 or email The winners will be announced at a black tie gala dinner and Awards ceremony at Chesford Grange, Kenilworth on Thursday 18th November 2010. If you are interested in sponsoring an Award, please contact David Alstin on 01603 671307 or email

The Manufacturer August 2010 issue  

August's issue of The Manufacturer focuses on the motorsport industry, with an interview with the managing director of Renault F1, Bob Bell,...

The Manufacturer August 2010 issue  

August's issue of The Manufacturer focuses on the motorsport industry, with an interview with the managing director of Renault F1, Bob Bell,...