Page 1 December 2009 Vol 12 Issue11


Best in

class The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2009

Leadership and strategy

Using KPIs to improve internal comms

Sustainable manufacturing

The true cost of environmental compliance

World class manufacturing Overall Equipment Effectiveness


,)6³7+(*/2%$/(17(535,6($33/,&$7,216&203$1< Desember 2009 Vol 12 Issue 11


Interview Allan Cook

Farewell to Cobham


We’re now stronger than ever.

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Putting all our energies into one name.

Broadfern acquired EIC in 2007, creating a strong market leader in the UK energy consultancy sector. Since then, we’ve been very busy strengthening our operations and beefing up our service offering. In short, we’ve been working out how we can serve our clients even better. So, from November 2009, we’re putting all our energies into one name to become ‘EIC – The Energy Experts’. Hardly a drastic change, but something designed to further enhance the high levels of service our clients have come to expect from EIC. No pain but so much to gain, you could say. If you’d like to know more about the changes or how our services can benefit you, simply call 01527 511 757, or email us at ‘EIC’ is the trading name for ‘EIC Limited’ and ‘EIC Energy Trading Limited.’ EIC Energy Trading Limited is an appointed representative of Sturgeon Ventures who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Editor’s comment

Building the technician class Just when you thought our friends in government had run out of new initiatives to support manufacturing, two turn up in a month. The UK Composites Strategy makes £16m available for a new National Composites Centre and a £5m competition for new composites run by the Technology Strategy Board. The amounts are not huge but it’s a worthy start and, as companies in this market like GKN Aerospace have said, more will come when they attract private sector interest. But the headline-stealer was the National Skills Strategy. This ambitious plan to increase the number of core-skilled people and simplify the market for training provision has not come too soon, where the skills landscape today is a confusing mess. The new strategy has been warmly praised from several quarters. EEF’s Steve Radley welcomed it but questioned if giving power to the Regional Development Agencies is the right approach, when a sector-led view will reflect real business needs. Both the CBI and the Food and Drink Federation welcomed the White Paper’s attempt to reduce the number of bodies in this area to simplify the overly complex system. One of its mandates is to increase the number of apprentices, where it has pledged to deliver 35,000 new advanced apprenticeships over the next two years. Here it must be careful to deliver what industry needs. George Kessler of Kesslers International, a manufacturer of retail merchandising solutions, says his company values any apprenticeship initiative if it leads to useful Level 3 and later Level 4 NVQs in relevant disciplines. “It must be practical; it’s very easy for my staff to get a day-release course to learn PC skills or anthropology, but not engineering or polymer science, where this could be really useful,” he says. The strategy says it will work to understand the short, medium and long term skills needs of the economy. This point was emphatically made by Allan Cook, the outgoing CEO of aerospace manufacturer Cobham, at a panel session at our directors’ conference this month. The skills gap is not only about workshop skills, but also those sophisticated service jobs that support the manufacturing needs of large firms and those operating internationally. Allan Cook is interviewed on page 22. We review our annual awards, The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2009, on pages 18-21. Gardening equipment company Hozelock won the overall Manufacturer of the Year. Our sincere congratulations go to all the winners and shortlisted companies and our thanks to the sponsors. 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 Associate Editors Tim Brown

Ed Machin

Mark Young


Sales Director – Henry Anson Project Director – Matt Chilton

Recruitment Matt Chilton


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 2009.

Claire Woollard

Art Editor – Martin Mitchell

Assistant Designer – Alex Cole


News and features 04 News

Manufacturing news

13 Manufacturing appointments On the move

Find out who’s heading where in manufacturing

15 Dan Jones

Functions are too powerful The growing influence of the customer and the web

16 The Big Picture

Want to get ahead? Have an idea Professor Mike Gregory on turning ideas and opportunities into products and services

17 Economics

Shifting supply chain strategies Steve Radley discusses changing trends in global supply chain strategies

18 Lead story

A Celebration of Excellence A review of The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2009

22 Interview

High flyer readies for take-off Cobham’s chief executive, Allan Cook, talks to TM about innovation, skills and his impending departure from the aerospace and defence manufacturer

Leadership and strategy

26 KPI(TL) – Keeping people in the loop Ensuring maximum benefits from Key Performance Indicators

30 The claims of business interruption

How best to handle insurance claims post-disaster

32 Special feature RBS

UK Manufacturing 2009 end of term report RBS look at the impact of the challenges which UK manufacturing has faced and the prospects for 2010

34 World class manufacturing OEE – Problem solved!

Andy Spooner, business development director at Suiko, provides insights into OEE

38 Employee of the month

Nicola Eagleton-Crowther of The Manufacturing Institute


Contents People, skills and productivity

Ready to recruit? 39

TM examines how and when economic green shoots will translate into manufacturing recruitment

Developing the next generation of CEOs 42

Mark Butler, CEO of Aero Sekur, shares practical advice on the identification, shaping and development of tomorrow’s business leaders

IT in manufacturing

IT news wrap 44

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

ERP 46

Nine things to consider when purchasing an ERP solution

Supply chain and logistics 48 Freight efficient

Tim Brown looks at different modes of freight and some new entrants in the transport market

Special feature RUAM 52

Ready-to-use additive manufacturing

RUAM is a new technology which aims to improve industry’s ability to manufacture high precision ready-to-use functional parts

Special feature EcoSecurities 54 Emissionary times

Measures to engage staff with environmental responsibilities

Sustainable manufacturing 56 Emissionary times

Ed Machin considers the theory, rhetoric and practicalities of carbon compliance

Manufacturinginaction Factory of the month

Aircelle 60

The world class Burnly-based aerospace manufacturer reveals all to TM all about its recent growth and management restructure

Amtico – Flooring solutions 76 Unitex Group – Safety products 79 Icon Polymer – Polymer technology 84 Indespension – Tow bars and trailer systems 87 SRM – Organic Recycling 90


Newsinbrief British aerospace manufacturing giant Rolls Royce has announced a combined $2bn worth of engine orders from Air China and Ethiopian Airlines. The firm will supply Trent 700 engines for 20 Air China Airbus A330s and Trent XWB engines for 12 Ethiopian Airlines Airbus A350 XWBs. The China deal is worth $1.5bn while the Ethiopian company will pay $480m. The engines will be delivered from 2012 and from 2017 respectively.

Food manufacturers are being advised to take extra caution in labelling products after two recent controversies came to light involving UK companies. Café chain Pret A Manger has come under the spotlight for using frozen fish and chicken in sandwiches that were labelled ‘Just Made’ while traditional soft drink maker Fentimans is facing a ban of its lemonade product in the US because it contains a trace amount of unlabelled alcohol.

Trade organisations the Aerospace Industries Association (US) and A|D|S (UK) have jointly announced new global standards for agreements between prime contractors and suppliers. There are separate standards laid out for trading partner and electronic collaboration agreements. The documents have been developed for use across any industrial supply base.

Breaking news BAE Systems has announced in late November that consultation will begin regarding 642 potential job losses across eight UK sites in its Integrated System Technologies (Insyte) business. The latest job losses take the total of posts cut at the defence group to almost 2,300 for the year, as it faces a shrinking pipeline of work. BAE Systems Insyte currently employs 3719 people across 11 UK-based sites in the delivery of radar surveillance, command & information systems, mission training and underwater systems solutions to UK and overseas defence and security customers.


Hunter killer submarine arrives at her home port Astute, the biggest and most powerful attack submarine ever built for the Royal Navy, has sailed into her home base on the Clyde. Measuring nearly 100 metres in length overall, Astute is longer than ten London buses and equivalent to 65 blue whales in mass. The Astute submarine has the latest stealth technology, a world-beating sonar system and is armed with 38 torpedoes and missiles. The sub will be capable of circumnavigating the globe while submerged and advanced nuclear technology means that the craft will never need to be refuelled. Constructed by BAE Systems Submarine Solutions at Barrow-inFurness, Astute will be followed in due course by an expected seven Astute class

submarines including Ambush, Artful and Audacious. An estimated 5,900 people are employed directly as a result of the project, 3,500 BAE Systems staff at Barrow and 2,400 other people around the UK. “This is a significant milestone for Astute as she arrives for the first time in her homeport of Faslane,” said Minister for Defence, Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies. “Astute will now begin a set of sea trials ahead of her full acceptance with the Royal Navy next year.”

Sportscar manufacturer rolls in to Coventry Dutch carmaker, Spyker, has announced plans to move part of its operation from Holland to Coventry. The company, which produces between 40-50 cars a year, has confirmed it plans to move its vehicle assembly lines to the UK. The decision has been welcomed in Coventry which has been hit by the closure of Peugeot’s Ryton factory and Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant in recent years. Spyker says the move makes sense because many components for its cars already come from the UK. “With approximately half of our vehicles’ parts and components

sourced in the UK and virtually all our key suppliers located there, moving will result in substantial savings and tangible efficiency improvements,” said Victor Muller, Spyker’s chief executive. About 45 of its current workforce of 135 will lose their jobs when production moves to the UK, but Spyker is planning to offer workers the chance to relocate. By relocating its assembly lines from Zeewolde to Coventry, Spyker will achieve considerable improvements in efficiency and substantial cost-reductions. The relocation is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

ManufacturingNews Vauxhall remains with GM General Motors has scrapped plans to sell Opel/Vauxhall to Canadian car parts firm Magna. The move, which will likely result in large job cuts in Germany and the UK, is in opposition to a decision made by GM earlier in the year to progress with the sale. According to GM the decision to retain the companies has been made due to an improvement in “the business environment in Europe”. Confirming GM’s intentions, CEO Fritz Henderson said that the decision aims to “secure the best long-term solution for our customers, employees, suppliers and dealers.” Despite the statement, GM vice president John Smith, said he “envisaged” that around 10,000 jobs will be axed across Europe as part of a restructuring of Vauxhall and Opel. However he did not provide details of how this would impact specific countries or plants. Union leaders responded to the latest development by saying redundancies were

inevitable but pledged to work towards minimising the impact on Vauxhall’s UK workforce, which are largely based in Ellesmere Port and Luton. Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of Unite, said in response: “I have no doubt that whoever the owner would be, there will be major restructuring of GM operations. Inevitably some will go in the UK, but our task is to minimise the number of jobs lost and ensure that those who do go, go voluntarily.” While the announcement that has been greeted by cautious optimism among some of the 5,500 workers employed by Vauxhall in the UK it has sparked anger in Germany. Analysts predict that two German plants could now close, with the loss of thousands of jobs, as a result of GM’s decision. German workers undertook walk-outs in protest at GM’s decision, while the German Government denounced the car giant’s behaviour as “totally unacceptable”.

Hozelock tops Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2009 The Manufacturer magazine named Hozelock the UK Manufacturer of the Year 2009 at its awards banquet held on November 12 in London. Hosted by iconic racing legend, Sir Jackie Stewart and held in association with Royal Bank of Scotland, the event was attended by companies across all sectors of industry and highlighted the diversity and strength of UK manufacturing. Birmingham-based Hozelock, a market-leading garden watering, spraying and aquatics company, also scooped the awards for Design & Innovation and Supply Chain & Logistics at the glittering awards ceremony held at The Tower hotel in London. “It has been a fantastic year for the company,” said Managing

Director, Peter Rush, “and to cap it all by being voted Manufacturer of the Year is a tremendous result for everybody in the business. All of our employees have worked their socks off this year and it is a credit to them that we have received this wonderful accolade, in the face of stiff competition from some of Britain’s biggest and most successful companies.” See this month’s lead story on page 18 for the full awards wrap up.

Newsinbrief Engineering schools have failed to offer the Government’s promised extra university places due to concerns over funding. A recent survey by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering of England’s top engineering institutions has found that fewer than half had offered any of the extra 10,000 places announced by the Government this summer. The main reasons for this related to concerns that there was no funding available and that the places were still subject to financial penalties for over-recruitment.

Waste glass, plastic and metal are to be converted into clean energy with the Government giving the go-ahead for a new plant in Peterborough. Energy and Climate Change Minister, David Kidney, has granted consent to Peterborough Renewable Energy for the construction of the 80MW energy from waste and biomass fuelled power station at Storey’s Bar Gate.

British Army Warrior infantry fighting vehicles are set for a major boost in combat effectiveness by 2013 if a BAE Systems bid to upgrade the fleet is successful. The bid, submitted a day before the November 18 deadline, is for the £1bn Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP), which will provide the mainstay of the Infantry’s frontline fleet in Afghanistan and future conflicts. It features a new turret and weapon system to increase firepower; a fully digital ‘operating system’ to improve fightability and survivability, and allow plug-and-play future upgrades; and a modular armour system for quick and simple adjustments to protect against everchanging threats.

While the global economy continues to struggle, there were signs in Q3 2009 that the environment for mergers and acquisitions has taken a positive turn, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Thirdquarter 2009 global industrial manufacturing mergers and acquisitions analysis revealed a 272% increase in Q3 2009 in comparison to the previous quarter.


ManufacturingNews New IfM building will link manufacturing to societal needs HRH Prince Philip officially opened the Alan Reece Building on November 26, the new home of the Institute for Manufacturing at Cambridge University. The Alan Reece Building is a state-of-the-art facility housing the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM),the manufacturing and management division of the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering, run by Prof Mike Gregory. The 4,400m2 building is named after Dr Alan Reece, a philanthropist and patron of the Institute — whose £5m donation provided the construction funding. Dr Reece, founder of Pearson Engineering Ltd, has a long and distinguished involvement in manufacturing, both as an academic and an industrialist. A further £5m donation came from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.

Mike Sharman CBE, a retired engineer who worked for de Havilland after completing the Cambridge Tripos engineering course, set up the original manufacturing department at Cambridge and was present when Prince Philip opened it in 1952. He lectured at the University of Hertfordshire before returning to Cambridge, and taught Mike Gregory as a fourth year student. “When I came back to Cambridge I was asked to do just four lectures a week,” said Sharman. “It’s gradually gone up until you’ve now got this fantastic place.” The building provides new teaching and research facilities, an industrial design and innovation studio, and state-ofthe art equipment for industrial photonic and laser systems, inkjet, and RFID applications.

Recession is the catalyst for business change The CBI has launched a new report detailing what it perceives as necessary changes for UK business. The report, titled “The Shape of Business - The Next 10 Years” outlines four main areas of chnage: Different financing options will emerge as credit terms remain strained and firms look to avoid debt. More collaborative supplier relationships will be forged to guard against the ‘domino effect’ of supply chain failure. Sustainability and ethics will become more integrated into the business model. Firms will operate with a smaller core but more flexible workforce The findings of the report are based on a survey of CEOs, companies

and chaimen of CBI members. CBI Director-General, Richard Lambert said: “What we now need is a more balanced, less risky pathway to growth – one in which the short-term returns may be lower, but the long-term rewards for management success will be a lot more sustainable and secure. “There are important questions around how businesses are going to finance growth and investment in the future. And in a more collaborative, less transactional world, closer relationships with customers, suppliers, employees and shareholders look like becoming the new norm.”

Newsinbrief The UK needs to increase its efforts on low carbon industries in order to maximise its slice of a pie that will be worth £4.5tr by 2015, according to EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation. The trade group has released a report today called ‘Under the Microscope – Is UK plc ready for Low Carbon?’. It suggests the UK is in danger of falling behind other countries in the race to capitalise on green opportunities.

A|D|S, the UK’s aerospace, defence and security trade organisation, today announced a further boost in services to meet the needs of SMEs in the sector. The trade organisation also announced a continued rise in its SME membership and reduced fees for many smaller members since the formation of A|D|S on 1 October 2009. One of the key priorities of A|D|S is to promote the interests of SMEs on both a national and international level.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson today announced £22 million of new investment for the development of composite materials, at the RBS Williams Formula 1 Centre. The investment is made up of £16m for a new National Composites Centre in the Bristol area (£12m from central Government, £4m from the South West Regional Development Agency) and £5m to fund a new ‘Grand Challenge’ competition run by the Technology Strategy Board, as well as £1m upfront funding to help develop challenge bids. The competition’s winning firm will receive funding to develop new composite manufacturing techniques.

The chief executive of the food and drink sector skills council has told the Scottish government and industry to step up on skills or forget about a “Tartan Tiger” economy. Speaking at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry’s Influencers’ Dinner in Edinburgh, Jack Matthews, also chair of Scotland’s Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, called for a “universal currency” for recognising and rewarding achievement.

The report is available at


Datesfor yourdiary December


SMMT is exhibiting at the second Platform Technology for Military Vehicles conference, to be held at the Bristol Marriott hotel. Contact Jason Williams on 020 7973 1273 or


In association with the IET, National Physical Laboratory is hosting an afternoon seminar to look at some of the measurement issues that need to be considered when using materials in extreme situations such as the Bloodhound SSC world land speed record run.


The Institute of Manufacturing is holding a free evening presentation titled ‘the future of supply chain data management’.


EEF is holding a Managing the threat of redundancy workshop in Oakham, Leicestershire.


The Lean Enterprise Academy is holding a workshop titled “Managing a Lean Transformation”.



The Manufacturing Technologies Association will be featuring at Autosport 2010. Contact Christel Moustacas on 020 7298 6416 or cmoustacas@mta.


The Lean Enterprise Academy is holding a six day Lean Practitioner Course which consists of a theoretical part and a part in which the participant will apply the theory direct in daily practice.


The Manufacturing Insititute will be running a seminar based on Lean principles for the pharmaceutical sector.

21-23 21 & 27

ADS will be featuring at the Bahrain Airshow.

EEF is holding Carbon Reduction Commitment workshops at EEF’s SW England branch, Warrington and Engineers’ House, Bristol.


£1.4 billion in new loans for onshore wind farms Three UK-based banks began offering new loans to eligible onshore wind farms. Wind farm developers and the banks will have an opportunity to start brokering the deals at a forum in the city hosted by Ed Miliband and Chancellor Alistair Darling. The scheme — supported by HM Treasury and Department of Energy and Climate Change — could enable around £1.4bn of onshore wind projects to move to construction over the next three years. The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide up to £700m of the new finance, with the remainder matched by RBS, Lloyds Banking Group, and BNP Paribas Fortis. The loans will be available to eligible onshore wind projects with a total project cost of between £20m and £100m. Chancellor Alistair Darling, said: “We welcome the EIB’s commitment to provide this vital funding for renewable projects across the UK. The money that is being made available will help continue the essential work of building the UK’s capacity in renewable energy. “As the Government continues to push for a global agreement on climate change at Copenhagen it is even more important that we live up to our responsibilities and make progress in reducing this country’s dependence on carbon. This Government is determined to provide all the support that is needed to secure a greener future.”

FSB offers flood funding The Federation of Small Businesses has opened its £500,000 Disaster Recovery Fund for its flood affected members. The FSB is offering interest-free loans of up to £5,000 to help small firms in Scotland, Lancashire and Cumbria and the North East of England cover costs associated with keeping their business trading and with repair of their premises. “The last 18 months have been difficult for FSB members up and down the country, said John Wright, National Chairman of the Federation. The last thing otherwise successful FSB members need is unpredictable weather and flooding to damage their prospects. The FSB recognises that to ensure that the long-term damage to the areas affected is mitigated as best it can, all bodies, public and private, need to work together closely and effectively.” The FSB is also calling for banks, local autorities and regional development agencies to be as understanding and flexible as possible.

ManufacturingNews New British electric city car gets £9m funding A project to develop a new allelectric urban car, manufactured using an innovative and sustainable production process, has been announced by Gordon Murray Design. Development of the T.27, the brain child of Gordon Murray Design and Zytek Automotive Technology, has been made possible through a £4.5m investment from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board. With a total cost of £9m, and with match-funding from Gordon Murray Design (£3m) and Zytek (£1.5m), the new research and development project will allow the consortium to develop four prototypes of the vehicle by February 2011. The T.27 will be a sustainably manufactured vehicle, having been designed in a way that minimises the use of materials and keeps the embedded carbon of the vehicle as low as possible. It will be built using the iStream production process, a proprietary system developed by Gordon Murray Design that uses no major steel pressings, no spot welding and no stamping to reduce production costs and energy use substantially. “iStream is totally disruptive on materials – once you get away from being a slave to steel, you can develop a manufacturing process that is fit for purpose using a combination of steel, composites and plastics without the need for

expensive major pressings,” says Professor Gordon Murray, CEO and technical director of the lead consortium partner. The aim of the 16-month project is to develop four prototypes that will position the consortium to explore the viability of large scale production and building manufacturing facilities. Ours is strictly a high volume model,” Murray says. “The ultimate goal is to make an affordable, fun, and environmentally friendly car widely available on the open market.” Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson, who has test driven the T.25, the existing petrol version of the car, said: “The T27 is a great example of smart engineering and sustainable design. It’s timely too, as the UK must demonstrate its readiness to exploit the emerging low-carbon vehicles market. We need to expand our car industry through green innovation.” Integral to the potential of the car’s business model is the tie-up with Zytek and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). “Because the whole project has been designed from the ground up, with two partners’ separate expertise, it will deliver four full prototypes by February 2011,” says David Bott, director of Innovation Programmes at the TSB. Murray was the chief design engineer for Formula One team McLaren and has 44 years of car design experience. He and his team were the creative minds behind pedigree high performance cars such as the Brabham BT46B, McLaren P6 and the McLaren F1 GTR. He left McLaren to set up his design company in 2004 to focus exclusively on low carbon vehicle development. If the project hits target the car is expected to be available commercially by late 2012, at a retail price of about £6,000.

Newsinbrief Government’s credit insurance scheme has turned out to be huge flop having serviced just 72 firms with only £18m worth of cover out of a total pot of £5bn. Introduced in May this year, the top-up scheme was designed to restore the cover of UK businesses who had had theirs cut back to pre-recession levels. But the scheme is now likely to be curtailed in the forthcoming Pre-Budget Report after business secretary Lord Mandelson intonated that ministers will not back an extension and said improving market conditions detract from its necessity.

The new UK Scotch Whisky Regulations came into force on November 23 in a bid to protect the industry against counterfeits and help consumers identify products. The regulations take in production, bottling and labelling. The law has defined five categories of Scotch Whisky: Single Malt, Single Grain, Blended Malt, Blended Grain, and Blended. The category which the whisky falls under will have to be clearly defined on the bottle.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is inviting applicants for £1.5 million Bio-energy infrastructure grants. From today, applicants in England can apply for £1.5 million worth of grants to help develop the supply of biomass, such as wood chips or energy crops like miscanthus. The grants are available through round three of the Bioenergy Infrastructure Scheme. Technology born in the heart of Worcestershire is promising to make Britain’s streets safer after a major new contract with the Scottish Government was announced. Metrasens, which emerged from defence technology specialist QinetiQ six years ago, has agreed a deal to supply 17 of its FG1 Portable Security poles for use at train stations, nightclubs and sporting venues.

McCain Foods is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its iconic Oven Chip. Launched in 1979, the oven chip contains only 5% fat (less than 1% saturated fat) and no cholesterol. Due to oven chips having 40% less fat than the average homemade deep-fried chip, it is no surprise that in the last thirty years, McCain Foods (GB) has sold over 200 billion chips.


Newsinbrief A Norfolk-based paintbrush manufacturer is to make 31 of its 75 employees redundant as it moves some of its production to Sweden and China. Hamilton Acorn, which is owned by Scandinavian firm Anza said it will keep its marketing, warehousing, packaging and distribution facilities in the town of Attleborough but can no longer afford to ignore the cost alleviations that come with moving production abroad.

Coventry-based aerospace and automotive component supplier has acquired Exhall Grinding & Engineering Co and created a new group headquarters and technical centre in the latest phase of its ongoing growth. Arrowsmith director, Jason Aldridge said: “The grinding operation’s facilities both complement and extend our existing capacity, enabling us to offer a full range of surface, centreless, internal and external grinding services alongside Arrowsmith’s established CNC turning, milling and Vertical Machining Centre (VMC) capabilities.

It may sound like science fiction, but industry could soon be producing complex electronics and hi-tech gadgetry simply by pressing the print button. A consortium led by the University of Cambridge has been awarded a multi-million pound grant to investigate how ink-jet print technology could revolutionise manufacturing processes. The group, headed by Professor Ian Hutchings of the Institute for Manufacturing, has been awarded £5m by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

New car registrations experienced the year’s biggest monthly increase in October, due in part to the success of the Government’s scrappage scheme. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have revealed a 31.6% rise in new car sales with a total of 168,942 registered during the month. “October has seen this year’s biggest monthly increase in registrations with the successful scrappage scheme accounting for over 20% of them,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.


This Month in History

British aerospace and defence supplier to a tier two subsystem manufacturer Cobham is a com pany part ner for prime contractors, OE flying high having celebrated Ms its 75th and governments and now emp anniversary this year. loys 12,000 people across five con tinents. The company, created by Sir Alan The firm’s chief executive Allan Cobham in 1934, began its life as Cook retires from his post at the Flight Refuelling Ltd, providin end of g midair this year. Cook, 60, is only the refuelling solutions. This innovati fourth on person to have held the position led, in 1939, to non-stop crossing in s of the company’s 75 year history. the Atlantic. However, it was not The until fifth is to be Cobham’s current the post-war adoption of air refu Chief elling Operating Officer Andy Stevens. by the United States Air Force in 1949, Cobham’s aim is to be the mos that the potential of the compan t y’s trusted global partner for leading invention of the probe and drog edge ue aerospace and defence technolo method of contact was fully reali gies sed. From air-to-air refuelling the 1934: Flight Refuelling Ltd company diversified into other areas formed on October 29 including weapons carriage and release 1939: Non-stop crossings of capabilities. Cobham has gone on to the Atlantic establish an international reputatio n 1949: Probe and drogue for modifying, maintaining and method invented operating aircraft in special miss ion 195 4: Flight Refuelling Ltd roles, as well as specialist training for switches from private to the military. public ownership. FR By the late 1980s the massive (Holdings) Ltd formed as United States market held grea t parent company untapped potential for Cobham . The 1973: Sir Alan Cobham company has always placed inno vation passed away, October 2 at the heart of its operations and that aged 79. combined with an acquisition-b ased 1994: Rebranded Cobham growth strategy ensured continu Plc ed 2006: Sir Michael Cobham success. Cobham then turned its passed away, April 13, attention to acquisitions in the aged 79 related field of avionics. The port folio 200 9: Allan Cook set to retire grew further with a move into safety on December 31; and survival systems, often serv ing current COO Andy those already employing the Gro up’s Stevens to replace him. communication equipment. Thr ough this market Cobham is now invo lved in the space programs of Europe and the United States and worldwide search and rescue. Cobham has developed a commanding capability in the emerging network centric battlefie ld, essentially focusing on moving data between intelligent, sophisticated sensors and decision makers. This part of the business has grown to include microwave components and subsystems that now serve at the heart of radar and electronic war ning systems, communications and self defence for the world’s military aircraft, ships and military vehicles. Sir Alan Cobham pioneered Cobham is now an industry inte rnational air routes on behalf leader in safety and surveillance of the British Government in the equipment, avionics and weapon s 1920s and 1930s, perfected a mea carriage and release while also ns of refuelling aircraft in mid-air remaining committed to the airand then in 1934 founded Flig to-air refuelling capabilities upo ht n Refuelling Ltd, the company whi which it was built. The develop ch, ment as Cobham Mission Equipment, of the company’s capabilities has now supplies more than 90 perc seen it progress from a tier thre ent e of such systems around the wor ld.

ManufacturingNews Government reveals National Skills Strategy The Government has announced a new National Skills Strategy called ‘Skills for Growth’. The initiative is designed to assist economic recovery through the development of skills in key industry areas including advanced manufacturing, engineering and low carbon energy. The strategy, which has been warmly welcomed within the manufacturing industry, includes a number of important measures including: an extra 35,000 apprenticeship places over the next two years; a thousand £1,000 grants for apprentices to progress into university and the reduction in the number of skills quangos. According to Steve Radley, Director of Policy at EEF, the

strategy has come at a crucial time for UK manufacturing and will certainly be of assistance to business. However he added that the EEF are “sceptical about whether giving new powers to Regional Development Agencies is the right approach.” Angela Coleshill, HR director of the Food & Drink Federation, says the food and drink industry supports the simplification of the skills landscape. “We have been lobbying Government for some time for a reduction of the number of bodies in this area, and for the provision of clearer information to employers on how the system works. The complexity at times has been quite confusing for many companies.”

Manufacturingoutput Demand for UK manufactured goods remains very weak, but is less depressed than it has been for much of 2009. However over the next three months firms expect output to grow slightly. According to the CBI. Responding to the CBI’s latest monthly Industrial Trends Survey, 27% of manufacturers anticipate a higher volume of output over the next three months, while 23% said it would fall. The balance of +4% marks the second consecutive month where marginal output growth is expected. A balance of 45% of firms said total order book levels were below normal, which was a slight improvement on October (-51%), and the least negative since December 2008 (-35%). Export order book levels were weak, with a balance of 37% reporting them to be below normal. This slight improvement on October (-46%) may reflect greater interest in UK exports because of weakened Sterling. Ian McCafferty, CBI Chief Economic Adviser, said: “Manufacturers have had another testing month, though conditions are not quite as bleak

as they have been for much of 2009. The weaker pound has softened the blow for exports, but the ongoing lack of demand for manufactured goods reconfirms that any recovery will be anaemic and slow. Expectations of marginal growth in output in the coming months are encouraging, but rising stock levels leave a question mark over the strength of demand.” Stock adequacy increased in November, with a balance of 20% of firms reporting levels more than sufficient to meet demand. This was largely due to higher stock levels among capital goods producers, who are the most pessimistic about output over the coming three months. Manufacturers are also expecting domestic prices to fall very slightly over the next three months, and the balance of 7% expecting a fall is similar to October (-5%).

Newsinbrief Nottingham Trent University’s School of Science and Technology was crowned Food and Drink iNet Innovation Champion 2009 at a gala event held in Leicester last night to celebrate the achievements of East Midlands based food and drink firms and organisations. The University’s development of new material for food and drink packaging won it the prize. Experts at the university successfully solved the problem of leaching in bottles and have taken the technology a step further to add antimicrobial properties which kill or lessen micro-organisms.

Two Autodesk resellers, Imass Design Solutions and Trionics, have relaunched as one business under the name Symetri. Two Autodesk resellers, Imass Design Solutions and Trionics, have relaunched as one business under the name Symetri. Like the former Imass Design Solutions, the newlyformed division is a business unit of Infoterra Ltd, part of EADS Astrium. Supporting 32 per cent of Autodesk’s installed manufacturing base across the UK, Symetri is the largest Autodesk manufacturing solutions reseller in Northern Europe.

Rugby-based Converteam has developed a new superconductor technology for more efficient electricity generation in hydro-electric power stations. The program known as Hydrogenie is a ground-breaking development in electrical machine technology, utilising superconductors instead of copper for the rotor windings. The generator is set to be installed in a river power plant in Hirschaid, Germany on behalf of E.ON.

John Barnes, in association with Henley Business School, is conducting a survey on six sigma implementation in the UK manufacturing industry. The web-hosted survey takes approximately 10 minutes and doesn’t require six sigma specialisation. Any manufacturer with an interest in performance and quality improvement is encouraged to participate. You do no need to be a six sigma specialist. To complete the survey please go to http://www.henley.reading.


ManufacturingAppointments UK Appointments NSF Controls Nev Bettney and Jodie Grant

Yorkshire based NSF Controls has expanded its team to handle ever increasing demand for its electromagnetic components and solenoid switches. Nev Bettney joins the Keighley manufacturer as sales co-ordinator and Jodie Grant as sales assistant. Bettney’s new role is to develop business opportunities and oversee

existing contracts whilst Grant will be assisting with enquiries, quotations and all aspects of order administration, as well as providing general supporting duties. Grant joins from a previous position of field sales whilst Bettney brings with him 16 years working for Japanese company Pioneer Technology.

Atlas Copco Nigel Smith and Paul O’Neill

Atlas Copco Compressors has appointed Nigel Smith as manager of its aftermarket compressor technique service division and Paul O’Neill as manager of its oil-free air division, both based at the company’s headquarters in Hemel Hempstead. O’Neill joined Atlas Copco Compressors Ltd

in November 1993 as a sales engineer, covering the North West of England for both oil free and industrial air products. He has steadily progressed through the company, and has now been appointed as business manager for Atlas Copco’s Oil-free Air Division.

Gripple has appointed a new director for the company’s innovation and ideas (I & I) department. Alan Somerfield comes to Gripple equipped with an honours degree in engineering. Previously, Alan made the leap

to product design, gaining a master of design from the Royal College of Art — following the same course as inventor James Dyson. Dignibh estrud tatinim ex estis aliquat ilisis deliquismod tat ad te del ulputat augue min volore

Gripple Alan Somerfield

Recolight, the specialist WEEE compliance scheme for Gas Discharge Lamps (GDLs), is pleased to announce the appointment of its new health, safety and compliance manager, Gemma Bristow. Bristow joins Recolight from Jacobs Engineering UK Ltd where she was environmental health and safety advisor following her graduation from Nottingham Trent University, where she gained a BSc (Hons) in safety, health and environmental management. Redirack welcomes David Reep as its new national projects manager. He takes on the role with immediate effect, and joins a management team recently strengthened by the appointment of new managing director, Andrew Forsythe. David worked at Redirack nearly thirty years ago, and brings with him a wealth of industry experience. Business Minister Pat McFadden has announced the appointment of Philip Sturrock to the Industrial Development Advisory Board (IDAB). Sturrock has been managing director of publishers Pitman Books Ltd and Routledge & Kegan Paul plc — as well as chairman and CEO of Cassell plc and The Continuum International Publishing Group Limited. He holds chairman and non-executive positions in both private and public sector organisations. Outgoing Roberts Mart chairman and managing director John Roberts has handed over the day-to-day management of the Yorkshire-based flexible packaging printers to his two sons. William Roberts and his younger brother Ben will both become joint managing directors, responsible for the day-to-day running of one of the country’s leading printers of plastic and paper packaging — serving alongside financial director Ken Ellis and commercial director Simon Plomer-Roberts.

Sovex, the UK’s leading conveyor manufacturer, has appointed Darren Birtwistle as sales manager of its service and maintenance division. Birtwistle’s new role means he is now responsible for selling Sovex’s operational maintenance contracts. He has over twenty years of sales experience, including a three-year stint at the ICU Group, a Merseyside IT support specialist. Cobham announced in August 2009 that Andy Stevens would would succeed Allan Cook as chief executive with effect from 1 January, 2010. Stevens has a First Class Honours degree in Production Engineering from Aston University. He was appointed to the Board as Group Managing Director of the Aerospace Systems Group in November 2003. Cook becomes chairman of WS Atkins in 2010.

International Appointments THINK, the Norwegian electric vehicle (EV) maker, announces a further strengthening of its management team with two new senior appointments from the automotive and renewable energy industries. Jan Brentebråten, a senior leader in the European automotive industry, has been appointed director, marketing, sales and service for THINK Global. He has previously held a number of senior positions with Mazda and Ford in Europe. Most recently, Jan was director, sustainability & alternative fuel Vehicle strategy – Ford of Europe. Helge Nerland, who comes with over 20 years’ leadership experience in the finance world, is appointed CFO, THINK Global. He was most recently senior corporate advisor at Fondsfinans ASA, with special responsibility for renewable energy projects and energy saving technologies.

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



JustJones Functions are too powerful Professor Daniel T Jones, founder and chairman of the Lean Enterprise Academy Email:


more that customers are aware of their purchasing options and the way products and services are produced and delivered, the more demanding they become. They recognise they have an increasingly powerful voice! They expect providers to be able to deliver exactly what they want, when and how they want it and to continually improve the experience of using their products and services while minimising the impact on the environment. In retailing, the advent of home shopping revealed that current supply chains could only fulfil exact customer orders about 60% of the time. While suppliers comfort themselves in thinking their service levels are close to 98%, this turns out to be for orders they accepted, not what the retailers asked for! From the retailers perspective it is closer to 70%. A hidden gap that can only be closed by a rapid replenishment supply chain where suppliers make, ship and sell in line with demand within a few days. This is a performance gap that exists in every industry, if we look closely enough. Second, sustainability and environmental issues challenge us to look end-to-end to find systemic as well as piecemeal solutions. The current global footprint of most supply chains with 200 to 300-day lead times and where products travel thousands of miles before being used will have to be redesigned on economic grounds quite apart from reducing their carbon footprint. Progress so far in doing so has been disappointing, even though the opportunity is huge. The root causes of this hidden performance gap and these elongated supply chains go right to the heart of modern management â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the separation of thinking and doing between experts and workers and the organisation of activities in increasingly strong functions, departments and business units. We are recognising the potential of involving every single employee in continuously improving their own work. We are learning to see all the buffers, inventories, delays and handoffs put in place to insulate activities from the rest of the organisation. We are still reluctant to accept that point optimisation and improvement of our own activities is often at the expense of designing and optimising the end-to-end value creation process. As a result no one can see let alone cost these endto-end flows, particularly when they share a common pipeline with many other products or services.

As we emerge from the recession and look to the future, old ways of thinking and action will not be enough to meet the big challenges ahead. The first challenge is the growing influence of the web in opening up the possibility of turning customers from strangers to partners

In short the biggest obstacle to meeting these new challenges is that functions, departments and business units have become too powerful and act in their own interests. And the countervailing power to articulate the voice of the customer and the voice of the organisation as a whole is too weak. Squeezing budgets to remain price competitive only delivers lasting benefits if we also change the value stream that delivers this product or service. It is not about reducing the power of functions but rebalancing the organisation by introducing value stream analysis and management.

Squeezing budgets to remain price competitive only delivers lasting benefits if we also change the value stream that delivers this product or service The value stream manager and their team are critical to defining the problem or performance gap that needs to be closed. They are able to effect this change through a number of mechanisms: establishing the evidence base across the value stream through stability and visual management; developing the ability to respond quickly to interruptions; gaining agreement on the right actions based on the facts; resolving conflicts between departmental and value stream objectives; and delivering win-win results for customers, employees, the organisation and the environment. Over the last year we have learned a lot more about the specific ways in which Toyota uses the scientific method to develop the problem solving skills of its employees. We will also learn a great deal more in coming years about how leaders at Toyota really use policy or strategy deployment to prioritize and focus everyone on making vital improvements. But I think the only way we are going to learn how to make value stream management work is by conducting many experiments in different situations. The learning from these will be extremely valuable as we seek to design the management systems that will be necessary to create and sustain new universal solutions to the challenges we face in the coming years. end

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The big picture Want to get ahead? Have an Idea Professor Mike Gregory Institute for Manufacturing

Turning ideas and opportunities into products and services is what manufacturing is all about. Accordingly, the way we do business and form industrial policy must take into account this bigger picture.

The knowledge economy Manufacturing is about adding value, be it value through new services, products, technologies, or processes. Given that the common thread is the generation of new ideas, the global development of ideas provides a real opportunity for UK business. We have a proud record of inventiveness — from computers and the world-wide web to the jet engine and popular air transport. The challenge now is to grow more ideas and the companies driving them into global industries capable of capitalising on the opportunities that in the past we have all too often missed. The recent BBC drama, Micro Men, illustrated this perfectly. It showed how UK home computer manufacturers, notably Sinclair and Acorn, briefly dominated the market before circumstances allowed US-based firms to takeover. Rather belatedly, people are realising that manufacturing is at the heart of the knowledge economy. It has in many ways led the way in transforming ideas into new ways of generating value, through these business opportunities, jobs, or standards of living. While manufacturing has an industrial focus, it should be realised that the ideas, technologies, and services which the sector has pioneered are already benefiting the wider economy. For example, companies have developed innovative business models which build alternative revenue streams around not only their products, but around use. Additionally, the value captured by providing support activities leads to a much increased understanding of customer behaviour. Firms have thus learned to adapt the way they add value concentrating on the stage of the value chain where they have the best competitive advantage. There are, of course, many ways in which knowledge can be deployed in the economy, but the focus on deploying knowledge for industrial innovation is particularly important — and arguably still somewhat neglected. Indeed, the term ‘Industrial Innovation’ might usefully act as a focus for a broad, practical, and co-ordinated approach to manufacturing. However, no one country has a monopoly on good ideas. How, therefore, can UK manufacturers make sure they capitalise on theirs? Quite simply, they need to have global reach. Globalisation is often seen as a threat, with developing companies producing goods cheaper and quicker than their counterparts in developed economies. Nonetheless,


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companies prepared to take advantage of the global economy can prosper by creating networks of a range of activities across the manufacturing value chain. Successful businesses are increasingly able to link key internal and external capabilities and activities to configure the most appropriate set to meet a given objective. An excellent example of networked value creation is the Apple iPod. The design and development were completed in just one year by a team of engineers from Apple and other companies working together.

Global connectivity Industrial Innovation, then, involves the whole cycle required to turn ideas and opportunities into products and services. It includes understanding markets, R&D, product design, production, supply, and services all in their economic and social context. It is likely to involve innovations in several of these stages, and frequently involves advances in the business model which connects the activities and links them to the market. Industrial Innovation is increasingly global connected, multi-partner, and multi-business. UK manufacturers have adapted to meet the challenges — and opportunities — this presents. Indeed, companies are increasingly capable of responding quickly to changes in markets and customer demands that global competition and technological advances bring. The UK boasts a strong science and technology base (some of our best performing companies, with share valuation of above £1bn, have been built on this scientific foundation) and, according to figures from BIS for 2008, the UK led Europe in attracting venture capital investment in order to exploit these opportunities. The reason for this lead in investment is the UK’s capacity for generating good ideas. While one can never predict which industry will follow computing to become all pervasive, the UK has already begun to take the lead in a number of interesting areas. Firms are now developing commercial applications for bio-technology, regenerative medicine, plastic electronics, and cleantech — and these are just some of the well known areas of development. In summary, as a nation we should be setting our sights on encouraging industries in defining our national advantages and skills in industrial innovation to make sure we lead the next wave of these emerging industries. end

Economics Shifting supply chain strategies Steve Radley, chief economist, EEF


responses to the recession have been a theme of this column over much of this year — from how to minimise the damage to productive sectors of the economy to what’s needed to kick start growth. But as well as dealing with the here and now, we’ve been looking beyond the recession to what shape the UK economy needs to take in future and why returning to business as usual isn’t an option. Manufacturers have also been thinking about these questions from their own business perspective. New research from EEF and BDO LLP, as part of our Manufacturing Advantage series, shows that the recession has provided something of a catalyst for companies to revisit how their value chains are structured and what their priorities are when growth returns. Some of this was going on before the global economic downturn as we saw a significant rise in competitive pressures from rapidly industrialising emerging economies; an increased impetus to reduce costs and increased volatility in the price of key inputs. But the upheaval in global markets and the reverberations of the financial crisis have had a profound impact on markets and suppliers and how manufacturers manage both in future. In some ways the recession has done little to derail manufacturers’ ambitions and strategic priorities. Global growth, when it returns, is expected to continue much as before. The balance of growth will continue to be tilted towards emerging economies, particularly in Asia, providing both business opportunities and competitive challenges. But rather than adopt a new approach to dealing with these, companies expect to press on with the formula of design, development, quality and customer service that has served them well before the downturn. Delivering new and improved products to an expanded customer base along with a portfolio of service offerings has helped companies maintain a competitive advantage and provided new revenue streams.

Onshoring trickle to swell While company strategies appear to remain on track, the recession has thrown up some issues which have inevitably led companies to rethink how best to deliver those objectives. One of the biggest looks likely to be a reassessment of sourcing and

Dutch car maker Spyker’s decision to move production to Coventry last month to be closer to key suppliers is an example of how global supply chain strategies are changing. It also reflects well on supply networks in the UK automotive sector and is a good story about the UK’s place in global value chains. supply chain strategies. The importance of high quality, robust suppliers was highlighted by last month’s decision by Dutch car company, Spyker, to shift some production to the UK to be closer to key suppliers. A positive reflection on the deep and sophisticated supply networks in the automotive sector in the UK and a good story about the UK’s place in global value chains. However, in some other industries it is no secret that capacity in some parts of the supply base have been eroded in recent decades — one reason why manufacturers’ supply chains have become more global. Lower labour costs in emerging markets have also provided strategic sourcing opportunities. Increasingly complex product and production needs are another dimension which has added to the greater globalisation of supply chains. For many companies this approach has served them well but for others, competing more on delivering innovative solutions, lower labour cost economies haven’t always lived up to their promise. Shifts in cost differentials and the ability of low labour cost suppliers to deliver on quality commitments have, in some cases, hindered rather than helped UK manufacturers meet their strategic priorities. We have therefore seen a trickle of activities back to the UK from emerging markets – it’s been a gradual but not insignificant trend and more is expected to follow. More importantly, perhaps, will be supply chain holes that will have emerged as a result of the recession. More than half of companies we surveyed plan to re-evaluate their supply chain strategies as a result of the global downturn. Growing fears about the health of suppliers, both in the UK and overseas, has prompted companies to look again at how value chains are structured. In some cases this means further internationalisation of the supply base to hedge against future disruptions and developing deeper relationship with those closer to home. Previous investments in IT solutions have helped companies better manage more dispersed customers and suppliers. However, the recession has identified some gaps in supply chain risk management and monitoring. The recession may have seriously dented demand but UK companies it seems are not standing still when it comes to making sure their supply chains are in order when it returns. end

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Hozelock wins Manufacturer of the Year


Best in Class 2009 The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2009 in November was a celebration of excellence in UK manufacturing. Will Stirling summarises the winners and some of the runners-up in this highly respected industry awards ceremony.


of the best manufacturing companies in Britain were celebrated at The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2009, held at the Tower Hotel in London on November 12. Hosted by British Formula One racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart, whose address was warmly appreciated by the 400-strong gathering, and held in association with principal sponsor the Royal Bank of Scotland, companies from all industry sectors attended the event that was a great advertisement for the diversity and strength of UK manufacturing. A record number of companies submitted entries for the 2009 Awards. As usual, the standard of entries was extremely high and in some categories it was particularly difficult for the judges to choose a winner.


Market-leading garden watering, spraying and aquatics company Hozelock won top honours with the Manufacturer of the Year award, as well as scoping the awards for Design and Innovation and Supply Chain and Logistics. Hozelock has enjoyed a period of very strong growth despite the recession, partly as a result of extensive marketing and promotional activity. The company grew by 14.8% in 2009, according to analysts GfK, increasing its share to almost 70% of the garden watering market. “It has been a fantastic year for the company,” said managing director Peter Rush, “and to cap it all by being voted the Manufacturer of the Year is a tremendous result for everybody in the business. All of our employees have worked their socks off this year and it is a credit to them that we have received this wonderful accolade, in the face of stiff competition from some of Britain’s biggest and most successful companies.” The Leadership and Strategy award recognises the value of inspirational leadership and a properly constituted and communicated corporate strategy. Drallim Industries collected the award for the second year running. Its leadership strategy included people initiatives like a ‘no blame’ culture, and dedication to open and honest communication, as well as product initiatives like the development of bespoke IT services. Four outstanding companies made the shortlist for the World Class Manufacturing award, which


The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2009

e2v jointly wins World Class Manufacturer

recognises efficiency and business management improvements on a lean journey or programme. While Sheffield Forgemasters’ business turnaround since its management buyout is a compelling story, and specialist printer Howard Hunt Group had shown excellent results from its lean journey, including a host of measured KPIs including internal incidents and customer surveys, the joint winners — who the judges could not separate — were makers of oncology equipment Elekta UK and multiple advanced component manufacturer e2V Technologies. Their individual strengths differed, but both companies presented a very convincing display of employee buy-in to the company’s corporate objectives and excellent internal communications through the use of KPI and message boards, and effective team leaders. “Elekta is honoured and delighted to receive the World Class Manufacturer of the year award,” said Brian Edwards, senior manufacturing manager. “The award is a key message to all staff at all levels in motivating us in our transformation activities to deliver improved performance in a competitive market place.” e2V’s Scott Carson and team were equally pleased with the recognition the award gave to a huge amount of work the company’s management and staff had put in to modernising operations in the last 18 months under the supervision of MD Steve Whigham.

Many happy returns Two great companies made the shortlist for the Best Automotive Company award. The results were very close and Michelin Tyres was commended for its strong application, but the judges pipped Morgan Motor Company as the winner. It was an appropriate prize, given the iconic British sportscar firm celebrated its 100th birthday this year. Morgan has improved workflows at its Malvern factory,

invested in people in 2008/9 through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and is working on an innovative and sexy fuel cell model, the LIFEcar. Charles Morgan, managing director and grandson of the founder, said: “The whole team was very proud to receive an award and we will definitely be entering again.” Award sponsor Accelerate’s Rachel Eade commended Morgan’s contribution to the UK car industry through its long history. The Aerospace and Defence award was collected by building exterior specialists Alumet, who manufacture walling systems for airports among other applications. The award recognised in particular the company’s development of the ABLE Façade System, a clever bomb-blast resistant walling product. This system has led to the company securing its largest order to date – a £6.2m contract to design, manufacture and install the new system on a large Ministry of Defence project. Following the award, director Dean Walton said: “ABLE is probably the most important innovation in our 17-year history. This award recognises the hard work of our team and will certainly speak volumes when negotiating future orders.”

Green for Go In a year where environmental concerns were second only to recessionary ones, the Sustainable Manufacturer of the Year was one of the more fiercely contested awards, with seven shortlisted entries. Global food manufacturer McCormick UK, which has a long history of sustainable practices, were the deserved winners. Mark Whalley, plant manager of McCormick UK in Haddenham, spoke of his delight at winning the award. “While sustainability may be relatively new to many, our company has committed to these principles for many years and thanks to the dedication of all of our employees, we received ISO14001 certification in 2008 in recognition of our environmental achievements. We


Lead story The Manufacturer of the Year Awards

McCormick UK

see sustainability as an integral part of our business – this award recognises the company’s long-term commitment to the future.” The judging was once again very tight and Avon Metals, Boss Design, Lush Manufacturing and Paul Fabrications all gave the winner a very close run for its money. Market-leading food manufacturer Ginsters scooped the Food and Beverage award, closely followed by Linpac Packaging. The judges were impressed with the waste reduction initiatives the company has employed and they commented specifically on the high effectiveness of equipment purchased, which enabled impressive return on investment. Its waste reduction initiatives have completely eliminated the Ginsters’ requirement for landfill. Despite the economic downturn the company has achieved growth at the rate of five times the market in 2009 so proved a tough act to beat. Ginsters scored twice on the night, also collecting the People and Skills award, which Peter Hines from sponsor the Lean Enterprise Research Centre at Cardiff University, valued as arguably the most important award given that the importance of employees to good companies. Six companies made the shortlist and Drallim Industries, Hozelock and e2V were among the firms that ran Ginsters close.

Export drive Sheffield Forgemasters International, who took the Export Manufacturer of the Year, is a company to watch for 2010. It was praised for successfully capitalising on opportunities arising in emerging BRIC economies, and is the world’s major supplier of heavy castings to the offshore sector, as well as realigning its business to benefit from growth industries like power generation. Following a management buyout in 2005, a strong focus on niche export markets meant Forgemasters completely turned its fortunes around – from bankruptcy and near closure before the MBO to record profits last year. Dudley-based office furniture maker Boss Design was unlucky in this category, following success at these Awards in 2008. Another company to watch, it has a clutch of ISO standards and has won awards for its sustainability and corporate social responsibility. In other categories, Pentagon Chemicals took top plaudits by a whisker in the 10-shortlisted Best SME category. By eliminating variance Pentagon has increased its yield and generated £1 million worth of extra product this year, while


its commitment to safety has seen one of its sites operate for six years without a lost-time accident, and the other site for four years with zero accidents. Seven Seas won the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices award, where the company has increased its Overall Equipment Effectiveness this year from 33% to 60%. Linpac Packaging won the Operations and Maintenance award, chased closely by Ginsters. Linpac Packaging’s implementation of almost 7,000, 30-second corrective actions in the 18 months to June 2009, among other operational gains, was a strong contributing factor in the judges’ decision. Motorbike parts maker Renthal did well to win the hugely competitive IT award, where no less than 22 companies entered. The new Manufacturing in Action category is open to companies that have been profiled in The Manufacturer and is judged on a range of business efficiency criteria by the TM editorial team – here Johnston Sweepers were worthy winners.

Pipped at the post In the Design and Innovation category, Alumet, Blueberry Foods and Glen Dimplex Home Appliances can all justifiably feel unlucky, pushing winner Hozelock hard for top marks. Metal recycling specialist Avon Metals, which has won several prestigious awards, was particularly unlucky on the night having been just edged out in both categories it entered, Sustainable Manufacturing and Best SME. Nazeing Glass just missed out for the second year running on the D&I category, but the company is developing a special type of environmentally friendly glass and is confident of recognition next year. The Manufacturer would like to thank all the many companies who entered the awards, and to commend those who were shortlisted but did not win. The awards system is inclusive and many small companies, as well as more familiar names, came close. Advanced Recycling Systems, for example, is a small family business from Cornwall who entered the Design and Innovation category with the KerbyCan, a unique system designed to collect, sort and bale recyclable materials including both types of metal cans and plastic bottles while on the road. A very sincere thank you to all our sponsors for this year’s awards, who are listed overleaf. We hope you will all join us again in 2010 to celebrate more British manufacturing excellence. end

Winners and sponsors “On behalf of RBS may I congratulate each of the finalists, and the winners, of this year’s The Manufacturer Awards. The companies represented a broad cross section of UK manufacturing and helped to showcase the talents and skills of the many people who are helping the sector to return to growth once more. Our congratulations must also go to The Manufacturer for organising such an informative programme and terrific evening. There are several exciting things happening in the sector and we must continue to recognise and celebrate these achievements.” Peter Russell, Head of Corporate Banking, Royal Bank of Scotland

The categories in 2009 were: Leadership and Strategy Drallim Industries

SME Manufacturer of the Year Pentagon Chemicals

Design and Innovation Hozelock

Automotive Morgan Motor Company

World Class Manufacturing Elekta UK and e2V

Aerospace and Defence Alumet Systems

People, Skills and Productivity Ginsters

Food and Beverage Ginsters

IT in Manufacturing Renthal

Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Seven Seas

Supply Chain and Logistics Hozelock

Export Manufacturer of the Year Sheffield Forgemasters

Operations and Maintenance Linpac Packaging Sustainable Manufacturing McCormick UK


Manufacturing in Action Award Johnston Sweepers The Manufacturer of the Year Hozelock

The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2009 brochure – sponsored by Palletline

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High flyer readies for take-off

Alan Cook leaves Cobham in December after eight years in charge


Allan Cook will retire from Cobham in December. The aerospace and defence industry kingpin, National Skills Academy chairman, Ministerial Advisory Group member and competitive squash player talks to TM about his industry, innovation, balanced skills needs and the need to respond to markets quickly in ‘exponential times’.


the aerospace and defence manufacturer, turned 75 years old in October. It is one of the most successful “second tier” British defence companies that sit behind the better known national champions, RollsRoyce and BAE Systems. Founded as Flight Refuelling Ltd by aviator Sir Alan Cobham in 1934, it is best known for developing air-to-air refuelling equipment but its portfolio of products today covers a truly exotic range of highly engineered products, from vehicle intercoms and surveillance technology, to search and rescue devices and oxygen regulators in space suits. Allan Cook, Cobham’s straight-talking chief executive, steps down on December 31 after eight years with the company. He will become chairman of WS Atkins, the UK’s largest engineering consultancy. Cook’s career is long and distinguished. He started as an apprentice engineer and worked his way up through several big engineering firms. Before Cobham, he worked for BAE Systems as managing director of the

Interview Allan Cook

Eurofighter, a controversial project which tested his ability to manage a pan-European consortium with different, sometimes incompatible interests. He admits the job was very difficult to manage both politically and technically. He also has several nonexecutive appointments beyond Cobham. This year he rescinded the presidency of the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe. He retains his chairmanship of the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing, is a director of the Industrial Forum and the DTI Aerospace Forum, and a committee member of the UK Ministerial Advisory Group for Manufacturing (MAG). He is also about to become a mentor for the Sainsbury Foundation.

R&D investment not optional

Stepping up – Cobham’s new chief executive Andy Stevens was appointed to the Cobham Board as group managing director of the Aerospace Systems Group in November 2003. He became chief operating officer in September 2005, and in August 2009 it was announced that he would succeed Allan Cook as chief executive of Cobham with effect from 1 January, 2010. He has a First Class Honours degree in production engineering from Aston University. He says: “We have come a very long way under Allan’s leadership, transforming Cobham from a loose federation of businesses, into a company that is increasingly recognised around the world for its excellent people, products and services. We are at an exciting time in the development of our company, with many opportunities which I intend to grasp.” Before joining Cobham, he was managing director, Defence Aerospace with Rolls-Royce, based in Bristol with responsibility for the military engine business. He is a member of the SBAC council, supports the AIA in the USA and in May 2006 joined the Board of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Cook believes in the modern definition of manufacturing, as a fully integrated progressive industry that does far more than simply make things. “We now ship products that require support services and advice, which can profoundly affect our offering and help to differentiate products in a marketplace, where the end-user can access product information at their leisure using the internet,” he says. On R&D, speaking at The Manufacturer Directors’ Conference in November, he identified five critical factors which would influence the ability of the manufacturing industry to foster innovation in the 21st century. One of these is the ability for firms to rapidly adapt to changing customer needs. He says: “The state of innovation in manufacturing is not in crisis – it is being transformed! For the industry as a whole, the pattern of agile firms progressively displacing lumbering ones on the edge of innovation is not so much a crisis, as an indicator of healthy renewal.” He also observes that a renewed focus on science education, shopfloor skills and lean techniques alone are not the answer. “I support the current focus on innovation in science, technology and engineering, but that should not be to the exclusion of improving service aspects: we simply need to redress the balance.” Cobham has demonstrated its own agility. In response to the recession it has diversified and expanded its product range into markets including surveillance, homeland security and training. But this company has a forecast annual turnover of nearly $2bn for 2009/2010. What can SMEs do to address new opportunities with limited funds? “You don’t have to be a big plc to invest in development and technology,” he says. “Some of the best companies

in the UK are SMEs. The good, successful companies are always looking for ways to improve their expertise and that means investment in the current and future technologies. We are in an exponential market, which is truly international. The companies – big or small – who will survive and grow will be the ones who are agile, responsive, close to their chosen market and who have the skills to address the opportunities.

Perception and skills Despite its success, Cobham exemplifies British advanced manufacturing; a world class company that exports globally, which remains invisible to many ordinary folk outside its operating sectors. Now that Cook is stepping back from frontline senior management in aerospace and defence – Atkins is involved in aerospace, but as chairman his role will not be day-to-day business management – perhaps we will see him more as a publicist of advanced manufacturing, promoting a better perception of the sector through his work with the National Skills Academy (NSAM) and MAG, the ministerial advisory group. His insight here is close to the bone. “Many of the current generation of journalists are based away from the industrial heartland and staffed by people without scientific or engineering backgrounds,” he says. “Given the choice of covering a ‘clean’ industry in a big city or a complicated engineering company in non-urban manufacturing, it’s not surprising the media favours other sectors to the detriment of manufacturing.”


Ryan Murphy became the first time-served engineering apprentice at Cobham Defence Communications in Blackburn for 15 years. Seen here receiving his apprenticeship certificate by Allan Cook after four successful years. Cook’s successor, Andy Stevens, is in the background

Allan Cook highlights at Cobham Successful implementation of Cobham’s strategic review which started in 2005 and resulted in portfolio re-shaping and a clear strategic focus. Transition to a unified Cobham brand, having operated with more than 60 previously. “This makes Cobham easier to understand and helps to reinforce we’re giving people a career with Cobham, not a job with a subsidiary,” says a company spokesman. For the shareholder: Earnings per share compound annual growth rate has exceeded 10% (average) over the past five years. Presided over biggest contract to date, for Cobham’s JV with US defence group Northrop Grumman, a communications deal worth up to $2.4bn over 10 years. Acquisition of M/A-COM for $425m and US systems engineer Sparta for $416m, Cobham’s biggest purchases, both in 2008.


NSAM has a passionate while smart advocate of modern skills as its chairman. It is true the UK has a gap for basic engineering and manufacturing skills, but the big picture is more complex, and Cook understands the skills needs of modern industry.”There are a whole range of skills required in the UK to support industry. These range from workshop skills such as CNC and tool-making to software engineering. They are all essential in today’s fast moving, international business market. In addition programme and project management skills are critical along with financial skills, commercial skills and general management.” He points out more UK companies now rely on skilled people to manage complex projects across many national borders, with extended supply chains. Along with other senior manufacturers, Cook recognises the opportunity the new economic era presents for the skills market. He says the financial services market has been able to attract the best talent across Europe with promises of fast-track careers and financial bonuses. “This has changed now and we should be promoting our industry as never before! Here is an opportunity to communicate with schools and higher education to

Interview Allan Cook

tell our young people that our industry has the best opportunities to create an exciting career.”

Defence spending and the environment Cook has always been vocal of the aerospace industry’s role in the climate change solution. While the European aerospace industry is working to reduce aircraft fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 50% by 2020, in an interview in The Manufacturer in Jan 2008, he said aerospace was seen as the culprit more than the solution. Has this image changed since then? “The situation has not changed - in fact the demand for more efficiency and lower environmental damage is even more intense, as the forthcoming conference in Copenhagen will testify. Many advances have already occurred or are happening now. RollsRoyce has made huge strides with more fuel efficient engines, aircraft manufacturers are turning to new, lighter materials and Air Traffic Controls are being modified to improve and reduce flight times.” Despite stepping out of the aerospace and defence sector limelight from 2010, Allan Cook will continue to advise his non-executive positions on macro matters. Defence spending for example is something he knows a lot about. There are clear signs that defence spending is under threat with public spending cuts expected under any government in 2010. The $2.4bn Northrop Grumman joint venture contract – Cobham’s biggest – this year is the kind of export deal politicians crow about but will be less likely under a more contracted defence spending regime. Who is listening? “Peter Mandelson is listening and acting on some of these issues,” Cook answers. “His department, BIS, is very involved in looking for ways to encourage investment in the most important industries in the UK and that includes aerospace and defence. It is inappropriate to comment on specific programmes but it is clear that with increased pressure on budgets, priorities will have to be established and kept.”

Focus on people and work hard As this stalwart of the UK aerospace and defence industry taxies out for his next departure, he leaves behind a solid, very respectable legacy at the sharp end of advanced manufacturing (see tribute box). What advice would he give to manufacturers and to young people considering this as a career? To paraphrase John F Kennedy: “Ask not what your industry can give to you but what you can give to your industry,” he says. “ I reckon that I have got more out of my career than I have put in and that has meant everything to me over the past 40 years. To highlight one area, it would be to increase the recognition of the need to develop people in all areas. We must attract, develop and retain talented people and help them to understand that the manufacturing and engineering industry will give them a rewarding career, not just a job.” end

What they said:

the industry responds to Allan Cook’s departure

“Throughout his career, Allan has been a major contributor to the UK’s aerospace and defence industry. At Cobham he combined highly successful international acquisition with sustained organic growth, to create one of the jewels in the UK’s manufacturing and high technology crown. An internationalist with a traditional interest in the US, his proactive role as ASD President greatly benefited the industry, not only in the UK but also in Europe, raising the bar for future presidents in the process. He has also been a driving force in progressing the UK’s high end skills in industrial markets.” Ian Godden, chairman, A|D|S “Allan was really helpful in planning and implementing the merger of British Aerospace and GEC Marconi. Since then, he has not only been highly successful as the chief executive of Cobham but he has also been a very energetic and effective leader of our industry.” Mike Turner, chief executive, Babcock “I have known and worked with Allan for many years and have the greatest respect for his achievements during his long and successful career, most recently at Cobham. Allan has been a very strong ambassador for the UK aerospace and defence industry, as well as a great advocate for the importance of science and manufacturing to the national economy. I wish Allan every success for his new role as chairman of Atkins.” Ian King, chief executive, BAE Systems “It is a great privilege to work with Allan. He is one of the UK’s most respected industrial statesmen with 40 years’ international experience in automotive, aerospace and defence. One of his great qualities is that he appreciates the contribution of every person in an organisation and as an astute listener, he leads the way in continuous learning and improvement. A strong supporter of developing people to fulfil their potential, he steered the development of the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing from its start in January 2007. Today, as part of sector skills council Semta, the Academy is dedicated to delivering the independent national standard for manufacturing training with programs that provide measurable bottom line improvements in quality, cost and delivery. Last year Semta helped companies achieve a £50m benefit from a £5m investment in skills - a 10 to 1 return on investment.” “So I am delighted that Allan, as a member of Semta’s board, will continue to enhance our contribution to the competitiveness of UK plc.” Sir Alan Jones of Toyota and chairman, Semta

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KPI(TL) Keeping people in the loop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), in all of the various forms they take, are roundly considered one of the ‘must haves’ of modern corporate guidance. It is likely you’ll witness their existence, or hear them talked about, in almost any manufacturing operation across the developed world and beyond. Yet many could just be wasting their time. Mark Young finds out why.



They are the roadmap to the holy grail of continuous improvement – the fundamental cornerstone within the Divine Mantra of The Efficiency Gods (or Toyota, as this is known in some circles). Loosely, a company or department sets the level that it wants to achieve and then measures its performance to see where it currently stands. It then devises actions that bring the second level up to the first before doing it all over again, bumping the target level up a bit. But like so many ‘must haves’ for modern business, real reporting is given a disproportionately low level of attention to what it actually needs, often rendering a KPI a useless paper pushing exercise. Most businesses do set the levels of what they’d like to achieve and almost as many will take some kind of measurement of their progress. But knowing what you want to achieve and knowing what you have achieved is useless if you yourself are not able to make the changes that can bring today’s performance levels up to desired levels. Simon Law, a senior management consultant at TBM Consulting, stresses the importance of clear communication and transparency when implementing and managing KPIs in the business.

Leadership and strategy

“The biggest problem we see in non-lean manufacturing companies is no understanding of the KPIs by the people that they actually relate to,” he says, describing cases where senior management implement the KPIs but don’t pass any understanding of them down to the shop floor or even middle management. “This means there is no ownership. Sometimes the shop floor workers don’t even know what their targets are. So when it comes to annual reviews, senior management begin talking about these KPIs, that the business has underperformed according to the measurements, but by then it is too late to do anything about it so it’s a complete waste of time.” Law advises introducing ‘Managing Daily Improvement’ and giving each department its own physical and visual KPI board. This provides immediate transparency. It allows employees to see what their targets are, know where they currently stand and understand the gap, i.e. the potential for improvement. “The days of whipping from above are long gone,” says Law. “It is fundamentally important that businesses have KPIs but even more important that people understand those KPIs so that they can respond to any gaps. This is how you reach the core of continuous improvement.”

The results were almost instant with lead time reducing through inventory reduction, which in turn led to quality and productivity improving. The company has now introduced measures that have visualized KPIs and management now meets daily in the production environment with the people who really can make changes to meet the end users’ needs. “Strong communication is key to business success,” says Law. “Ask your employees to carry out a SWAT analysis and you may well find that everyone has raised communication as a weakness or opportunity to improve, therefore we should try to realise that if expectations are not understood it is probably because they have failed to be effectively communicated.”

Driven by business needs Many factories set the ultimate approval line to the standards expected by their final customers, and so set KPIs which aim to meet those expectations. But Law says if you meet the needs of the ‘internal customer’, you’ll automatically meet the needs of the external one. The internal customer needs satisfaction in four areas: safety, quality, delivery and cost. It is another principle devised by Toyota who imaginatively called it SQDC. He is currently working with a north of England manufacturer who has problems with lead times and on-time delivery. His focus began with the shop floor as it seemed nobody at the company could identify exactly why customers were not getting their product delivered on time. This confusion became more apparent when Law and his team began looking into the old measures and found that they bore no relationship to the actual needs of both internal and external customers. “In manufacturing we mostly focus on the end user as the customer and forget that if we meet internal customers’ needs on quality, cost and delivery the end user will always have what they want, when they want it and at the specified cost,” says Law. “At Manufacturer X we firstly had to rewrite the KPIs and introduce shop floor measures, hour-by-hour, so that the relevant departments could understand what targets and goals needed setting and what they were currently achieving. This instantly gave them an improvement opportunity that could be affected by the people in the actual process.”

If you spend too much time looking back you might miss the things in front. Managing Daily Improvement is what it says it is: improvement every day so that we don’t repeat the problems of yesterday Simon Law, TBM

“The corporate KPIs rarely get to the factory floor as objectives or targets. But they could easily be implemented through the SQDC process of measurement and Managing Daily Improvements as measured results.” (see below). He says communication should be strengthened through daily meetings at KPI boards with the relevant department to ensure daily improvements are being made and sustained. “Don’t ask when it’s too late,” he says, by leaving problems until they have reared their heads. “Instead use your KPIs as a warning and try and put proactive actions in place. If you spend too much time looking back you might miss the things in front,” he adds. “Managing Daily Improvement is what it says it is: improvement every day so that we don’t repeat the problems of yesterday.”


Leadership and strategy

Visual remedy and ‘town meetings’ International medical devices manufacturer Elekta, with its UK site in Crawley, West Sussex, won the World Class Manufacturing award at The Manufacturer of the Year Awards last month. Part of the reason it won were the improvements the company has made to its internal reporting to provide a smooth, holistic information flow throughout the organisation. Senior manufacturing manager Brian Edwards and his colleagues have introduced a system which allows its staff to see how their personal, team and departmental targets contribute to the overall corporate objectives. As part of a transformation of the business into a lean-driven organisation, Elekta now links its corporate objectives back down into organisational functional responsibility via functional tactical planning. This functional plan is then communicated to all staff in what Edwards describes as a ‘town meeting’ format. The manufacturing tactic plan is sectioned to each functional department – i.e. planning, test, stores – thus providing separate departmental objectives to all. These are transferred into personal objectives which form part of the performance appraisal system. “We needed to develop KPIs that were meaningful to the staff directly and related to the function, but that were also understood at the top level,” explains Edwards. The link with corporate objectives and change action planning has been strengthened by the use of policy deployment. A policy deployment matrix is used to focus action plans and performance measures to deliver breakthrough objectives. Monthly tracking of implementation and delivery of the KPIs is held by the senior management team. From a workflow perspective, Edwards and his team developed visual boards that link directly back into the tactics plan. These boards measure flow performance, quality and effectiveness of the material pull system. All staff can walk the flow of both products and information course in a process which Edwards says has quickly become a normal part of daily life. “The words ‘let’s go and see’ [Genchi Genbutsu in the original Japanese ideology] is fast becoming our slogan,” he says. “The senior management team have a regular Friday walk visiting alternate functions linking process change, visual management boards and conforming alignment with corporate targets. This is important in providing a two-way information flow.” Edwards says value stream mapping (see photo) is fundamentally important because it provides a picture of the journey the company is on and guides the decision-making from top level management down into the teams that are working on the improvement projects.

Picking your battles Whichever KPIs a company chooses to implement, the key to their success is holistic involvement throughout the organisation, through all processes and for all members of staff.

KPIs should be ingrained throughout the organisation: for the whole company overall and for its separate departments; for individual teams and for the individual employees within them. Toyota even has KPIs for how it measures its KPIs. “I am a strong believer that what is not measured will not be improved,” says Elekta’s Edwards. “We are learning organisationally that clear, good, common information for all staff is required to allow effective decision-making. At all levels staff should be empowered to make decisions based on good data, aligning with the overall objectives. “At all levels we are challenging the efficiency and quality of our processes,” he adds. “There is much greater understanding of our objectives and our vision through Value Stream Mapping and a better awareness of where there is waste in our current processes. This is due, in the main, to good communications provided by our visual management systems and KPIs that are consistent and understood across the business.”

I am a strong believer that what is not measured will not be improved. We are learning organisationally that clear, good, common information for all staff is required to allow effective decision making. At all levels staff should be empowered to make decisions based on good data, aligning with the overall objectives Brian Edwards, Elekta UK

Figures don’t lie but liars figure… Finally, a word of warning. The objective of using KPIs is to develop a true understanding of the performance of individual areas or the business as a whole, in order to ascertain where improvements are required. So it is important that KPIs can be distorted to simply prove a measure of success that doesn’t really exist or is offset by other things that aren’t recorded. The data you achieve must be hard, quantifiable and objective so that a true analysis can be made. This is why TBM’s Law does not advocate the use of subjective measures — reports that do not provide fact-based, foolproof data. “Data is the king. Subjective measurements I would not have on a shop floor or any manufacturing environment. I want data to tell me where I’m going. Subjective measures are generally a device for people to measure what they’re good at and sweep everything else under the carpet.” But Law is just as bullish as Edwards on the value of measurement, if you get it right. “A business that has well-managed KPIs right the way through is a business that succeeds,” he claims. KPI means Key Performance Indicator; KPITL means Keeping People in the Loop. end

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The claims of business interruption December

11 2009 marks the fourth anniversary of the Buncefield oil depot disaster. The explosions, starting at around 6am, were audible over 100 miles away, jolting people awake as millions of gallons of jet fuel exploded or burned. But even now the owners of businesses affected by the disaster are continuing to suffer sleepless nights, still fighting for compensation for both Insured and Uninsured Losses. Even if the material damage claims may have been settled, there is still much going on over Business Interruption and Loss of Profit Claims. It will come as a The buck stops where... shock to many, having worked all hours, called 1. Company A suffers a fire, and gets compensation from in favours and stretched its insurer. credit agreements to 2. The insurer sues the landlord to recover the payment get trading again over made, claiming it was his responsibility under the a tough 12 months, to lease to provide sprinklers. find that such an uphill 3. The landlord sues the facilities company, as it paid struggle is necessary them to maintain the sprinkler system. to receive fair and 4. The facilities company sues the manufacturer,

Forensic accountant Jeffrey Nedas and loss assessor Stewart Dymant relate the warnings manufacturers should heed to survive the drawn-out compensation battles which follow disasters such as fires and flooding.

The circle of subrogation

claiming the sprinklers were faulty etc, etc, etc.


Leadership and strategy

reasonable compensation. One cannot speculate when, and what settlement, a company will receive. The Buncefield case, handling compensation claim four years on, is not atypical of these cases. Get a sufficiently long indemnity period — many companies have It used to be that an insurance a period of 12 months, which is invariably too short. If keeping the company would consider and premium down is an issue, discuss increasing the excess on the pay appropriate compensation policy, and remember that insurance premiums qualify for corporation fairly quickly. But the principle tax relief. of subrogation means that if an insurer expects to be able to hold Keep up-to-date records of management accounts, evidence explaining another party liable for their insured good/bad months and details of contracts you are expecting to win. Be losses, it will be unwilling to pay ready to provide evidence of the size and likelihood of bids in progress. out in the first place if it seems unlikely that it will fully recover its The first 24 hours after such disasters are critical to your claim. Freeze payment. Winning this battle for your operations where necessary, gather data and get as many insured losses is a challenge, but photographs and witnesses recorded as possible. for uninsured losses, the trials are in a different league. It can be quite Bring in a specialist loss assessor to liaise with the insurance company. normal for the affected company They can often get the big items, such as new premises, which they and its insurer to join together and sort out with the insurer quickly and will prepare and negotiate claims sue the party considered to be with insurers and loss adjusters. liable for the loss. And uninsured losses can be more substantial. A company many Monitor your market, and the contracts you have lost as a result of the be compensated for a site being interruption. Knowing to whom they went, and the successes of those inoperable for 12 months as an companies, will help build your case. Insured loss. But the knock-on effect of, for example, a fire at a Lastly, don’t write a ‘quick win’ into your cashflow – it can take years to factory which feeds other locations, get everything you are owed, even when you have a strong case. or at a distribution centre, not only grinds your logistics to a halt but can mean the loss of contracts you greatly, and it was clear that this contract would expected to win or grow, as potential have done so proportionally. With this in mind, the customers are no longer sure you can cope with loss to the company was actually around five times demand. The effect of this may go well beyond the that of its insured losses alone. Any companies policy’s indemnity period. working in high growth markets face similar battles This was the case for one company. With a big to regain their losses. contract almost in its grasp, the prospect pulled out, The greatest action a company can take to fearing the company would be unable to measure strengthen its case, and to shorten its battles, will up to its requirements. That prospect has expanded be in the first 24 hours following the incident. As soon as the site is accessible, or you have access to other sites, get hold of all data (as detailed in the ‘saving data’ box) that is current and store it safely. Cases such as the Buncefield disaster have forced companies to learn the strange realities of compensation as quickly as the fire spread through The more data you can record before their property. If more manufacturers can ensure and after an accident, the better your they are adequately protected, well-informed and chance of recovering insured and ready to act should the worst happen, they can be uninsured losses. Make sure you have confident that they can survive and prosper through up to date records of: any unforeseen disaster. end Relationships with all new business Jeffery Nedas (left) is a partner prospects and clients at chartered accountants Company accounts and any data Jeffrey Nedas & Co and accumulated since Stewart Dymant is a partner All emails held by the organisation at insurance claims assessors Everything you have had to spend since Harris Balcombe LLP. the interruption occurred

Needtoknow Before




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UK Manufacturing 2009 end of term report

In this final article of 2009 we look at the impact of the challenges which UK manufacturing has faced and the prospects for 2010. Peter Brotherton, director of RBSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sector Client Coverage business and Thorsten Fischer, RBSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s senior economic adviser, summarise.


manufacturing sector, like the rest of the UK economy, has seen a severe recession. It is now stabilising however, even as some of the recent output measures point to ongoing albeit slowing declines. Between its peak reached in February 2008 and its trough in August of 2009, manufacturing output fell by 15.3%. It has since rebounded slightly, but stands close to where it was 15 years ago (see chart 1). Consumer non-durables, which include many non discretionary items, such as food and household staples, have withstood the downturn much better than consumer durables. Output of the consumer non-durable goods industries fell by 6.6% from peak to trough compared to 21.4% for consumer durables, 21.6% for intermediate goods and 19% for capital goods, the latter reflecting the slump in business investment. Profitability has been a weak spot of the sector. The net rate of return for manufacturing companies


in the second quarter of 2009 stood at 6.7%, much lower than the 9.2% recorded in 2008 and the lowest since the 1990s recession (see chart 2). Weak profitability is a function of the recession as output has fallen much faster than capital employed. As the manufacturing sector recovers, we expect profitability to pick up again. As a legacy of plummeting demand and weak profitability, liquidations continue to rise.

Survey data provide reasons for optimism External surveys have to be treated with care but they do provide encouragement for the sector. October data points to the fastest expansion in almost two years. Indeed, the data have been consistent with positive growth for five months now. The outlook for consumer and intermediate goods points toward expansion, while the downturn in investment goods continued. SMEs and largesized companies both saw production rise during October. Rising new orders suggest that the

Specialfeature Royal Bank of Scotland

expansion may be sustained as trading conditions continue to improve. The CBIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Quarterly Industrial Trends Survey is not quite as optimistic. It fails to show an expansion in output, but points to a considerable easing of the decline in manufacturing output. The balance of respondents expect modest growth over the next three months. The survey confirms that businesses expect sterlingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s weakness to help exports.

The necessary rebalancing will favour manufacturing Manufacturing offers good opportunities given that the UK economy has to rebalance. We expect growth to be driven by exports and investment, while the consumer sector and government will do much less heavy lifting, as they will be focused on repairing balance sheets. The weaker pound acts as a catalyst for the necessary readjustment, by helping export-orientated manufacturers to gain market share from their foreign competitors. It will also help manufacturers focused on domestic markets by making foreign imports more expensive. The effects of a weaker pound are not yet evident as global demand growth remains subdued, but they will become more visible once the global economy embarks on a sustainable path of recovery. The Consensus Forecast expects manufacturing to outperform the broader economy in 2010. We agree, and expect manufacturing to see discounted accumulated growth of 8% through 2013 compared to 5% for the broader economy. Lending as measured by outstanding balances has declined considerably since the onset of the recession. According to Bank of England lending data, net lending to the manufacturing sector turned negative during the fourth quarter of 2008 and has remained negative since then as businesses reduce debt and curtailed expansion and capex initiatives (see chart 3). In response to this RBS continues to seek new & innovative ways of working with the manufacturing sector to help provide funding for growth. We shall devote our contribution to the January issue of The Manufacturer to this important subject. end

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OEE Overall Equipment Effectiveness

Problem solved!

At its simplest, OEE measures the availability, performance and quality of a machine or line. With a definition and use that has been subject to longstanding debate, Andy Spooner, business development director at Suiko, canvasses the insights of an OEE champion/user, OEE software provider, and a coach and facilitator.


(overall equipment effectiveness), is now seen as a core tool in the armoury for many across manufacturing industry when pursuing operational excellence. There continue to be misunderstandings as to why people should use OEE and what outcomes can and cannot be expected from the use of the tool. Like any tool it is important to consider: Why OEE? What are the practices that need to be put in place to maximise the benefit of using OEE? How do we embed OEE into the way of working?

Why OEE? There remains little doubt that there is a compelling case for the adoption of OEE in combination with


other core tools from the Continuous Improvement (CI) toolbox, providing it is taken in context. In its most basic form, the OEE metric provides a flag to improve and prompts the question ‘Why?’ — if applied wisely, it can be a valuable change-enabler to support the journey to operational excellence. Concurs Bob King, group head of operational excellence, Premier Foods: “Within Premier Foods, OEE is used extensively. Not only does it drive performance improvement, but is used as a catalyst for change.” It is a proven route they have treaded for some time. “We implemented OEE within Hovis over 14 years ago,” says King. “At the time OEE was averaging 60%. After only 18 months deployment it increased to over 80%.” “This was achieved through the improved effectiveness of our people, processes and

Worldclass manufacturing

equipment. The benefits were significant, including reduced cost, increased customer service levels and avoidance of capacity increase capital spend, among others. Today we continue to use OEE. It supports our drive and passion to continuously improve. We constantly challenge the status quo, from downtime to managing bottle necks; from enhancing design speeds to reducing waste. It is a ‘management process’ rather than just a functional measure which has engendered a continuous improvement mentality. Culturally, moreover, it has been important for us to deploy OEE correctly — driving cross functional teamwork and to deliver supply chain excellence.” Alan France, operations director of Idhammar systems advocates pursuing OEE with a systems approach. “In our experience, software can act as the catalyst for significant performance improvement,” he says. “Most production managers are clear on the areas of major losses within their processes. However, getting to the root cause of these issues and doing something about them can be far more challenging.” He continues: “OEE systems take input data and translate it into meaningful information, helping to expose exactly what percentage of production time is truly productive — and providing drill down functionality to reveal the causes of lost productivity. Users can identify and quantify the areas of greatest opportunity for improvement (or greatest loss), helping to guide and prioritise the continuous improvement effort.” Simon Perks, managing consultant at Suiko, expands on the extended tangible benefits of improving OEE performance. He says: “With an operational excellence approach that should encompass the sustainability agenda, the current mantra of ‘Reduce, Reuse and Re-cycle’ sits neatly with the outputs of embracing OEE fully. There are huge knock-on benefits from improvements to OEE. By seeking to eliminate the non value adding time — downtime, slow running and waiting — and improving the quality, performance will have multiple benefits of addressing some of the ‘hidden’ waste and expose the true costs of poor performance on energy, water and disposal which are often underestimated.”

to be established by setting clear objectives and providing steps and flags to plan, monitor, and encourage progress.” Says Perks: “If we believe that ‘what gets measured gets done’, it is important that those that can impact the measure understand how to do so, as well as being pitched at the right level. The key is to ensure that everybody involved understands the concept and benefits of OEE analysis and the way in which their actions can impact on OEE performance. Once understood, it is critical that people understand what they are accountable for and, crucially, how they can influence and impact on OEE performance”.

Most production managers are clear on the areas of major losses within their processes. However, getting to the root cause of these issues and doing something about them can be far more challenging Alan France, Idhammar

King reinforces this view “Often establishing the OEE metrics can be complex. The challenge, in essence, is to make it simple. I am not a great believer in black box data; more an advocate of energised engaged operators inputting the data, given that they know what is going on and must be involved to secure sustainable, continuous improvement. People need to be accountable, from the operator to the central team, for the delivery of Operational Excellence. Short interval control is important at the operator level on the plant, as are cross functional action teams seeking the 100 year fix for the loss analysis top 5 issues, trended over a longer period.”

Maximising the benefits of using OEE Putting the foundations in place for the use of OEE is important. Emphasises France: “Clear, accurate and real-time reporting provides clear evidence of loss, but measuring and analysing OEE is only the first step in the proc¬ess — the key is to make action unavoidable. Accountability for resolving issues needs



World class manufacturing

the problem. It requires a blame free environment where people are given the resource and skills to be able to ask take action for themselves, thus encouraging genuine involvement. Making performance transparent at all levels will ensure that employees understand the cost of any lost opportunity — remembering that ‘seeing is believing’. There was a common view among the contributors that at its most basic level it might be a short interval control board displaying reds (below target) and greens (exceeded target), but as OEE performance increases the value of other techniques to make it visual is concurrently raised. Says France: “As well as accelerating engineering response time to failure and improving the visibility of the maintenance team, OEE dashboards, andon displays and business alerts have a proven motivational effect on teamwork and support crossfunctional communication. Keeping everyone in the loop provides a sense of control and keeps all teams close to, and involved in, the task at hand — making every second of operation count.”

How do we embed OEE into the way of working? Whether we talk top 3 or top 5, the challenge is to avoid concentrating simply on the current emergency, taking time and effort to analyse and make lasting changes. The real benefit of OEE is the quality of the actions that impact on the measure. It requires the people using the system to have the capability to problem solve and get to the root cause of problems — the 100 year fix. So we could expect the key role of an operator to include operating to standard, capturing accurate data, and spotting abnormalities as they occur. A team leader, on the other hand, will be expected to use the information generated from the OEE system to make decisions on how to direct resources, take containment action where there is underperformance, and get to the root cause of issues impacting on today’s performance. The value stream — area — manager will be guided by the trending data to establish priorities and help facilitate the problem solving process. Embedding a robust performance review process is key to getting value from OEE information — from regular huddles around the SIC boards throughout the shift; end of shift reviews and effective handover; daily reviews to prioritise what is to be done to ensure the next 24 hours is better than the previous; to cross functional action team set up to address the pareto items. The OEE information is the flag to investigate which should lead us to ‘go see’ where the issues are occurring, and arguably the most important aspect of understanding the problem. The challenge is to first understand by asking the right questions, thereafter listening to the experts who should own

Like any other tool implementation, OEE needs to be put into context. Indeed, it must be seen as a strategic priority that fits into the strategic framework and is integral to the operational excellence roadmap. The framework will help to direct focus, and should provide guidance to what needs to be done. People need to have the right tools to deliver the expected results. These tools and techniques, when used appropriately, will help them see more clearly; measure; focus; problem solve; collaborate;

The key is to ensure that everybody involved understands the concept and benefits of OEE analysis and the way in which their actions can impact on OEE performance Simon Perks, Suiko and, as a result, be more effective. It is more about changing mindset than the tools (80:20), thus developing a culture which encourages enabling behaviours. Self-discipline and ownership are key attributes for everyone, for it is this that maintains the processes’ sustainability. To mobilise the organisation and ensure that OEE is embedded into the day to day way of working requires a balanced approach to implementation. It will need to be driven, with management applying energy and attention to the critical activities to make it happen. end

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Nicola Eagleton-Crowther The Manufacturing Institute Nicola Eagleton-Crowther is winning the hearts and minds of a new generation of manufacturing talent through the Make It in Manufacturing campaign, shaking off the ‘oily rag’ image of industry and showing young people the reality behind careers in modern industry in the process.


Eagleton-Crowther launched the Make It (www.makeit. campaign in 2006 as an umbrella for The Manufacturing Institute’s activities with young people. Approximately 12,000 youngsters have participated in hands-on manufacturing activities, gaining a taste of the varied careers opportunities available and the broad competencies required to take on roles as varied as engineering; research; production; design; and marketing. She explains: “Make It promotes a more positive image of modern manufacturing to young people and their influencers. It introduces them to the many benefits a career in the sector can offer CV in brief – through a comprehensive Nicola Eagleton-Crowther programme of events, competitions, and Employment: curriculum resources. Aug 2004 to present – Make It campaign manager at The The image problem Manufacturing Institute, affecting manufacturing Manchester is well-documented, July 1996 to Aug 2004 – Work and Make It provides Related Learning Manager for an a route to market for education business partnership those manufacturers Education to date: committed to 2:1 BA Hons in American Studies counteracting the myths 3 A Levels, 1 AS Level about the sector.” 10 GCSEs In addition to Interests: contributions from the Acting, reading, voluntary charitable reserves work for charities inc NSPCC & of The Manufacturing Action for Children, occasional Institute, the North West gym attendance Development Agency (NWDA) and European Regional Development Fund have recently made significant investments in a four year expansion of the programme. It is more ambitious and far-reaching than previously, meeting the strategic aims set by the NWDA and Manufacturing Institute in boosting the image of the sector. Chris Rowlands, head of manufacturing, NWDA, says: “Nicola links into businesses across the Northwest and acts as an ambassador for the image of manufacturers and manufacturing support.


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In running events with large or small businesses — and bringing schools and manufacturers together — she is a passionate advocate for the sector. Her commitment and dynamism have made the programme the success it is today, and we are delighted to be supporting its on-going development.” Says David Douglas, group environment manager, Robert Wiseman Dairies: “We have worked for three years with Nicola in a range of Make It activities such as design competitions, enterprising challenges, and factory visits for teachers and pupils. Nicola works extremely hard to ensure that there are tangible benefits for all those involved. Her approach is to encourage staff at all levels to take part in the activities and everyone gets something out of it. This can be as simple as the enjoyment gained from taking part in the day through to developing new skills.” As campaign manager for Make It, Nicola is involved in events, marketing, PR, and even social networking, using tools such as Facebook and Myspace to engage with her young audience. She says: “No two days are the same. I feel extremely lucky to be doing a job I love, which also happens to be extremely worthwhile. I genuinely believe in ‘the cause’, and think people can see that and feel confident that I will do whatever it takes to achieve our shared goals.” Nicola has more than 12 years experience of working with children and young people in roles that bring together industry and education. She joined an education business partnership (EBP) soon after leaving university, initially in an employer liaison function, and gradually moved up within the company to manage a team of education managers running events in schools. Nicola concludes: “I almost fell into the field by accident. My mum is a teacher, so it was a route I’d considered. I am very fortunate that my job encompasses the best bits of teaching — the chance to educate and inspire young people — without the daily demands of working in a classroom. In addition, I am able to engage with a huge range of fantastic manufacturing partners, ensuring that Make It serves its core purpose in creating a pipeline of talent for the continued success of UK manufacturing.” end

People skills and productivity


torecruit? A more positive economic outlook is now a key message from financial forecasters. But to what extent have these indicators of improvement been boosted by government stimulus and, assuming that the recovery continues, when will it manifest itself as higher employment? Tim Brown examines how and when green shoots translate into recruitment patterns.


September unemployment statistics released by the ONS revealed the unemployment rate was 7.9% for the three months to July 2009. It has not been higher since the three months to November 1996 with the number of unemployed reaching 2.47 million. The number of people claiming jobseekerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s allowance rose to 1.61 million in August, the highest since May 1997 and the 18th monthly rise in a row. While the total number of claimants is still on the rise, the number of new claimants per month has decreased from 65,500 in March to 24,400 in August. Figures from EEFâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Engineering Outlook released in September revealed that the proportion of companies cutting jobs in the third quarter of 2009 still outweighed those recruiting. However, the employment balance showed definite signs of recovery in the three months to September with an improvement of 11%. Capacity concerns in some parts of manufacturing are likely to be keeping further significant workforce adjustments on hold for the time being. Smaller companies have been the least likely to cut staffing levels, reporting an employment balance of -12% compared to the current average of -29%. Looking ahead, the EEF employment outlook is more upbeat with the forward-looking employment balance rising to -15%. This move towards optimism is echoed by Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King, who has expressed a belief that the financial storm is beginning to clear.


However, caution remains the watchword. Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight suggests that it is still likely that unemployment could reach the three million mark in 2010, “Unemployment is a lagging indicator and the sharp overall economic contraction suffered between the second quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2009 will continue to weigh down on the labour market for an extended period”. His warning is echoed by TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber who commented: “There are now over a million people out of work for more than six months, one in three of them under 25. There are no signs of recovery here... This is not the time to take risks with policies that could make unemployment worse. It might look rosier in city dealing rooms but out in the real world unemployment is the number one issue.”

It is important not to fall into a pattern of active inertia, for example doing something just because it worked previously. Be adaptable to the changing times Andrew Nicholas, Executives Online

But despite the gloomy employment figures, the downturn has provided some opportunities for revolutionised employment options. This has been coupled with a reversal in the employment market to favour the employer meaning greater choice, better candidates, lower costs and less risk. In fact even the most risk averse business owner can now engage in the recruitment process using stricter contract terms to achieve the right candidate, at the right price. Assessing the job market of the entire manufacturing industry as a collective is simply impossible. There are no employment trends that are applicable to the every sector indeed some manufacturing sectors have escaped relatively unscathed whereas others have experienced the full brunt of the downturn. A comparison of the food and drink and the aerospace industries highlights some of the commonalities and differences experienced.

Food and drink sector The food and drink industry provides an example of a sector which has largely continued to prosper in recession. “Food and drink and the pharmaceutical sector have been relatively buoyant over the whole period of the downturn,” says Dean Ball, operating director of Michael Page. This has been largely due to the strength of the ‘necessity’ manufacturing industries but is also partially thanks to the adoption of innovative employment options.


The food and drink industry has consistently utilised varying employment methods which has helped it to remain strong. Angela Coleshill, Food and Drink Federation HR director, says that temporary workers are highly valued and sought after in the sector. “They are vital to keeping the food and drink industry responsive, flexible and ultimately competitive,” says Coleshill. “The seasonal nature of our industry means that having a flexible labour pool is essential. We need to be able to respond to customer demand and calls by retailers to provide products for promotions at short notice. The food and drink sector has never faltered from the hiring temporary workers in all capacities. However the recruitment process has certainly grown more difficult with the increase in employee competition. “We are finding that we have a much higher volume of speculative enquiries for work,” says Coleshill. “When we do advertise the sheer volume of applicants has an impact of the efficiency of the process.” This situation has only added to an existing problem with attracting the desired quality of recruits. According to Coleshill “the pre-conceived image of the sector, poor awareness of the career possibilities and competition from the service and retail sector” have all hampered industry development in the past. However, on this head at least the recession has provided an opportunity for relatively stable and savvy companies to attract a previously rare quality of applicant. This phenomenon is not specific to any particular industry and is due to a current surplus of applicants with degrees in speciality areas such as engineering which are renowned for low candidate numbers.

Aerospace Neil Dunthorne, aerospace director for technical engineering recruitment at recruitment firm Morson International says that the aerospace and defence arena have been publicised as suffering heavily in the recession with redundancy announcements at major aircraft manufacturers. However, according to Dunthorne, the recruitment of a specific number of people required for individual projects through contract or temporary roles has recently been of great assistance to civil aircraft manufacturers observing that those companies which have adopted this recruitment strategy have not had a major surplus of permanent staff when work has slowed, but instead have been able to put on hold recruiting new contractors. A consequence of this halt in recruitment has been increased competition in the aerospace sector, due to a consolidation of high calibre labour. This has in turn instigated an impatience with under-performing contractors and a trend, absent from the industry in recent years, of swiftly replacing these with more competent individuals

People skills and productivity

Government support Assistance is available for those companies that are ready to recruit, have been harshly impacted by the downturn, or for whom alternative employment options have provided little improvement. Government initiatives such as ‘Backing Young Britain’, ‘Future Jobs Fund’ or the Welsh scheme, ‘ProAct’, exist to reward employers who are actively engaged in recruitment, retention and training.

rather than investing in training and development. However, Dunthorne warns that this “constant churn of staff is not good practice and will lead to problems in the long-term as employees will not be motivated and enthused to fulfil their role to the best of their ability.” He says that “employers should always be looking to offer training and performance development support to ensure a dedicated, committed and hardworking workforce.”

Efficient Executive Recruiting

Backing Young Britain

Over 150 top British employers have thrown their weight behind Backing Young Britain, a national campaign to create new opportunities for thousands of young people during the recession. Government and employers have pledged an extra 85,000 opportunities for young people today. There are also 5,000 new opportunities, including apprenticeships from companies including Centrica, Carillion, Microsoft and Pfizer. Gordon Brown committed government to supporting those suffering because of the global economic downturn. “We know that people of all ages are being hit by the recession,” says Brown, “but it is young people who can be most at risk and that’s where Backing Young Britain can really make a difference.”

Future Jobs Fund

In July, the Government announced the first 47,000 jobs from the £1bn Future Jobs Fund, which will create 100,000 new jobs targeted at young people. The Future Jobs Fund is open to any organisation from the public, private or third sector from across Great Britain (although excluding Northern Ireland). In the majority of cases we expect bids are expected to come from partnerships led by upper tier Local Authorities or Third Sector organisations but this does not exclude other organisations from applying. futurejobsfund/index.asp


ProAct aims to help businesses cope with the downturn, and develop staff skills ready for the upturn. The scheme provides training for employees who are on short time working, and helps businesses to keep skilled staff who may otherwise be made redundant. It is initially available until March 2010. It is flexible, but broadly offers: training Costs up to £2,000 per individual and wage subsidy up to £2,000 (£50 a day) per individual whilst training is taking place.

The recession and continued development of the IT sector have brought about fundamental changes to the means by which talent can be sourced. Steve Gilroy, who heads the UK arm of Vistage, a chief executive development organisation, says that employers now have a host of new recruitment options available and predicts that some of the more traditional means of job advertising will soon disappear. “The focus on cost-reduction is also forcing organisations to use the new technologies and methods, even if they have resisted such moves in the past. In general, employers are finding that the use of technology, the Internet, social networks and personal recommendations or referrals are actually very effective and much cheaper alternatives to traditional means of recruitment.” But despite this enthusiasm for alternative recruitment methods Gilroy believes that specialist agencies will continue to provide an important service within recruitment. A quality professional recruitment agency offers consultancy advice and will spend the time to understand an organisation. In addition they can ensure the desired quality of candidate is achieved by benchmarking candidates against a company’s existing high performers. The best advice for manufacturing companies, according to Andrew Nicholas, regional director of Executives Online Midlands, is that they be clear on what they need and be open-minded in terms of how they access the skill base they require. “It is important not to fall into a pattern of active inertia,” says Nicholas.“ For example doing something just because it worked previously. Be adaptable to the changing times. It is advisable to avoid the previous processes of thinking you must hire a permanent executive from the same industry just because that was previously the norm. One option that makes sense is to hire an interim manager with expertise and knowledge in management that can give the company a better understanding of what they are looking for longer term and deliver results that the business needs in the short term. A good view to have is that an interim manager from outside the industry can introduce new skills and be a positive change agent to reinvigorate a company and allow it to grow and take on, once more, a positive agenda once tough change has been enacted.” end

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Aero Sekur’s young engineering team

Developing the next generation of CEOs Mark Butler is chief executive of Aero Sekur, an expanding SME that specialises in safety systems and advanced flexible structures for the aerospace and defence markets. In this article, he shares practical advice regarding the identification, shaping, and development of tomorrow’s business leaders

The X factor Drawing a parallel with a popular television programme that sets out to identify the musical stars of tomorrow, a good chief executive must have the ‘X factor’. If he or she is doing their job, they need to go beyond pure leadership to providing blue sky thinking for the company. As a result, when looking to develop CEOs, the person you are looking for needs more than basic technical skills — they need to be a true visionary. The CEO needs to have the future of the enterprise clearly in his or her own mind so as to position the company beyond their retirement. Moreover, the ultimate business head needs to


drive the pace, tone, and ethics of the company to set standards and expectations for success. A long-term view is thus required, but this has to be a balanced against keeping a finger on the pulse of the day-to-day workings of the business. This requires balance; the CEO needs to walk the tightrope of setting the bar for the organisation without becoming embroiled in micro management. This leads neatly onto delegation. It is impossible to do everything that is required to oil the wheels of the company, but relinquishing projects should be more than a desk clearing exercise. The CEO has to guarantee that tasks are handed over to those most

People skills and productivity

suited to the role, while ensuring that projects are clearly defined and monitored. An eye for a degree of detail is needed so that, at any point in time, the CEO can ‘deep dive’ to ensure that all bases are covered and that arguments are sound. As the corporate executive is ultimately responsible for the workings of the organisation, a holistic understanding of the business is critical. The CEO needs to intuitively have an enterpriselevel view to fully understand interdependencies. This will ensure that the impact of doing something in one part of the business on other divisions is fully understood. The final facet of a good CEO is an ability to be the public face of the organisation and to project an appropriate company image. The organisation’s head needs to inspire confidence, trust, and belief beyond employees to all the company’s stakeholders.

The million dollar question The million dollar question, therefore, is how to identify people with true leadership potential and, when individuals have been ‘ear marked’, how they are developed. This is crucial because a number of essential skills can’t be taught via a traditional academic approach. The organisation needs to challenge, test, and nurture these people. It is important, however, to ensure that prospective business heads are unaware that they are being fast tracked as it may lead to their becoming arrogant or complacent. To assess whether someone has the ability, self belief, and staying power to become a CEO, the organisation needs to be able to identify individual’s full potential by giving them experiences that will challenge and develop the required life and business skills. One practical way of achieving this is to rotate people through meaningful roles to provide them with a breadth of appropriate knowledge. Confidence is needed to give people a level of responsibility that takes them out of their comfort zones. This is a two way street. The individual needs to have the strength of personality to experience different roles. Conversely, the organisation needs to be prepared to let people learn in real situations. The only way that people will get the breadth of experience required to rise to the top of an organisation is to constantly edge them forward. With regards to who should keep a mentoring eye on the organisation the answer, to my mind, is the current CEO. If he or she is doing their job properly, they should extend their role to assessing who could do their job.

Aero Sekur Turning the spotlight on Aero Sekur to look at how the principles that have been mentioned are applied, training is predominantly ‘on the job’. This does not negate management training — courses have their part to play, but their main benefit is helping to identify the people who could make the next generation’s CEO.

Vented airbag, part of the ESA ExoMars programme

While Aero Sekur is a relatively small organisation, we are an international operation currently employing 180 people. We are both expanding and developing the next generation of divisional CEOs who will have real responsibility to develop a discrete part of the business. We primarily recruit staff either straight out of college, or shortly thereafter. Our potential divisional heads are then put through a range of different experiences where they are stretched and given real responsibility early in their career. On occasion, this process is short circuited where we bring in people who have the required expertise for a specific role. For this, we tend to recruit people in their mid to late 30s, as we then have time to apply the development techniques previously outlined.

The CEO needs to intuitively have an enterprise-level view to fully understand interdependencies. This will ensure that the impact on other divisions of doing something in one part of the business is fully understood Mark Butler, CEO, Aero Sekur In short, I would argue that vision, empowerment and a holistic view are key to developing tomorrow’s business leaders. Indeed, these are the main skills required of a good CEO. The people that will rise to the top of the organisation will thrive on challenge and be prepared to take calculated risks. The company should resultantly be willing to give its future heads the opportunity to challenge their abilities. Armed with an overview of daily operations, the CEO must be able to stand back to take a helicopter view of the company. While this means that they will have the next CEO snapping at their heels, the true visionary leader will put egos aside to nurture their successor. end

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ITnews... ERP

Baker Perkins selects Epicor in the UK and US Epicor Software Corporation announced that Baker Perkins, a manufacturer of technology to the food processing industry, has chosen Epicor 9, the ERP solution from Epicor. Baker Perkins selected Epicor after an evaluation process of multiple vendors that involved several presentations, demonstrations, and reference visits. To help them better expedite their manufacturing schedules, gain more detailed analysis across their two sites, and integrate their system across functions to

reduce data re-entry, Baker Perkins has chosen to implement Epicor ERP. Bob Collin, project manager, Baker Perkins, said: “We chose Epicor because it was felt to be more project-oriented than other products. This is extremely important to us because capital manufacturing projects form the basis of our business. Epicor will help us move away from our current disparate structure, with different parts of the business using different software

Exel extends ERP capabilities with Oracle integration

Manufacturing operations management

Exel Computer Systems, the UK-based author and developer of the EFACS ERP system, announce the launch of the EFACS Enterprise.

CDC Software Corporation, a global provider of enterprise software applications and services, has announced the acquisition of Activplant Corporation, a Canadian based provider of manufacturing business intelligence solutions.

Designed to be adapted to the individual needs of larger businesses, EFACS Enterprise is built with software technology including Java and the Oracle database. EFACS Enterprise brings the corporate-wide functionality and visibility that larger companies require with the rapid implementation times and lower cost of ownership traditionally enjoyed by SMEs. Exel managing director, Rue Dilhe, said: “Whilst EFACS Enterprise has inbuilt functionality for some elements of these Oracle products, the ability to choose an appropriate combination will be important for the larger and more sophisticated business.” “Oracle will be the only company that can engineer an integrated system — applications to disk — where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves. Our customers benefit as their systems integration costs go down while system performance, reliability, and security go up.”


systems, to a situation where we all access data from a single source.”

CDC Software completes acquisition of Activplant Corporation

“With CDC Factory and Activplant’s out-of the-box MOM functionality, manufacturers do not have to spend costly consulting fees to customise software to fit their distinct business processes. With these CDC Software solutions, manufacturers can now focus their budget on implementing best practices and continuous improvement initiatives that will ultimately improve their profitability,” said Bruce Cameron,

president, CDC Software. The announcement marks the latest of several strategic initiatives undertaken by CDC Software. Last quarter, the company completed the acquisition of WKD Solutions Ltd, a provider of supply chain event management solutions marketed under the brand Categoric. In addition, CDC Software recently announced plans to acquire two SaaS companies as part of its SaaS rollup strategy to expand in this growing market.

IT in



Swan sailing yachts selects Siemens PLM Software Siemens PLM Software announced that Oy Nautor Ab, builder of the Swan sailing yachts, selected Teamcenter software as its corporatewide PLM solution, and will deploy 60 seats when fully implemented.

In addition, Nautor has selected Siemens PLM Software’s NX software for yacht development. Siemens PLM Software will provide both software and services. Teamcenter will enable Nautor to collaborate by sharing design and product information within a single PLM solution. NX — Siemens PLM Software’s digital product

development solution — will enable Nautor’s engineers to increase design efficiency, share design and innovation ideas, and meet customer specific requirements more precisely and eliminate compromises in the engineering workflow. “With Siemens PLM Software we see an opportunity to invest in a new enterprise solution for yacht development and product lifecycle management that is fully integrated and will enhance our

competitive edge and customer value and continue to help further our growth,” said Antti Ivaska, technical director, Nautor.

ITNIBS Preactor appoints Wonderware to extend Scandinavian growth

Preactor International announced that it has appointed Wonderware Scandinavia to be its network partner for Scandinavia. This builds on the growing relationship between the two leaders in their respective fields of Advance Planning and Scheduling (APS) and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), cemented earlier this year with the inclusion of the Preactor Finite Capacity Scheduling module in the Wonderware Operations systems, formerly known as Factelligence.

Psion Teklogix selects CSI as its SAP Partner

Psion Teklogix, a global provider of solutions for mobile computing and wireless data collection, has exclusively selected CSI as its partner for all SAP based solutions. Traditionally providing mobile software solutions to an array of SAP customers, Psion Teklogix recently changed its strategy to focus on rugged data capture products and associated technologies — and distributing these products through its channel partners. Said Psion Teklogix managing director, Paul Westmoreland: “Partnering with CSI Limited to handle our existing SAP accounts was a strategic step towards further improving our integration abilities with a dynamic partner and increasing customer service levels.

SAPActive Global Support Organization wins STAR Award for Service Excellence

The SAPActive Global Support organisation has been honored by the Technology Services Industry Association with a STAR Award for Service Excellence in Partner Management. STAR awards recognise technology companies that display exceptional leadership, innovation, and commitment in service excellence. SAP received the award for its holistic partner support program and in recognition of its promoting a partnercentric culture; establishing common business drivers; incorporating appropriate partner selection standards and offering comprehensive partner training and certifications.

ADT supports global guides for employing electronic surveillance solutions

ADT Security Services announced today its support for two new GS1 EPCglobal publications, a Strategic Overview Guide and a Technical Implementation Guide. Both aim to help retailers understand how they can deploy EPC/RFID-based, antitheft solutions in their stores. GS1 EPCglobal standards are a set of integrated, industrydriven specifications developed to enable the identification of objects, data capture, and sharing of information among partners throughout the supply chain. ADT, with its Sensormatic EAS and item-level intelligence solutions, is a founding member of the GS1 EPCglobal standards body and part of its EAS Phase 2 Joint Requirement Group, which contributed to the Guides.


IT in manufacturing

ITnews... e-commerce

DHL Global Forwarding joins INTTRA eInvoice initiative INTTRA, an e-commerce platform for the ocean freight industry, announced that DHL Global Forwarding has joined the INTTRA eInvoice initiative. DHL Global Forwarding will work with INTTRA in completing a project analysis for the implementation of INTTRA eInvoice solution — with a view to becoming both a pilot and eInvoice customer. INTTRA eInvoice is an electronic invoicing, dispute resolution, and payment processing solution that will enable freight forwarders with the potential to more efficiently receive process and pay carrier invoices, as well as cut average transaction processing costs by more than half. John DeBenedette, senior vice president commercial, INTTRA, said: “We are delighted DHL Global Forwarding is participating in this program. There are an estimated 50 million invoice transactions processed a year for ocean shipping. Electronic invoicing not only saves time and money, but digitisation of invoices within the ocean freight industry could preserve 75,000 trees per year, contributing to climate protection and reducing carbon footprint.”

Mobile resource management

Telematics solution gives fleet managers increased control A new webbased solution for fleet managers, GeoManager, has been launched by Trimble, a provider of Mobile Resource Management (MRM) solutions.

Designed to monitor fleets of any size, GeoManager is a tracking and telematics solution providing easy-to-read, customisable reports — along with a choice of enhanced mapping for vehicle and job location and the option of integrated vehicle diagnostics. As well as real-time


data about driver location and activity, GeoManager highlights additional information such as whether vehicles need servicing, how many are stopped, moving or inactive at any one time, and also has a “cluster” function to identify closely located vehicles and landmarks. For integrated vehicle diagnostics, GeoManager can be implemented using the Trimble Driver DNA box — otherwise known as the TVG 660 — which draws information directly from the vehicle. With this, fleet managers can view Co2 emissions, accurate mpg, and vehicle faults in real time.


things to consider when Purchasing an ERP Solution

By Randy Flamm, president and founder of IQMS


manufacturers looking to add, upgrade or replace Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, one of the most apparent concerns is what the system can do. For example, can the system handle the organisation’s scheduling needs; does it offer production monitoring and quality control; and can it streamline communication? However, while these are important considerations, what an ERP system can and cannot do is only one aspect of the many critical components that should be considered when making an ERP purchase. ERP selection is not just about catering to the wants and wantnots from the disparate groups that make up an organisation. It is about finding a solution that suits your organisation’s needs, both now and in the future. It should be a longlasting purchase that provides you with the feeling of a partnership. The combination of software capability and vendor credibility should both be a factor in your purchasing decision. Only by considering functionality against the backdrop of the entire package—the technology and its vendor—can manufacturers ensure they make a right and lasting choice. The following are the nine key things to consider when evaluating and purchasing a new ERP system.

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Platform. Platform (e.g. .NET, SQL, hosted etc) is important but should not be prioritised above functionality. Choosing a new ERP system based on a pre-conceived idea that only one platform will fit the selection criteria distracts from the real value an ERP system can provide and may eliminate viable options even before they are considered. Don’t eliminate potential software vendors based on platform, rather, look for high-caliber functionality, then consider whether the functionality compensates for a platform difference.


Technology. Your ERP system must be able to evolve with the rapid pace of technology advancement. To determine whether a vendor is on the leading edge of technology, find out how committed they are to researching and developing future applications. If certain features are not in the package but functionality specific to those features is offered, is the vendor willing to put it in writing? An ERP vendor that is not on the leading edge of technology may not be a viable option for the long haul.


How many vendors are included? It is important to understand how many vendors will contribute to an ERP solution in total. Some ERP solutions are built upon technology developed by and acquired from multiple sources but are packaged as a single system. This can result in costly system incompatibilities. Maintaining multiple vendor relationships, databases and connections is time consuming and costly and should be a factor in determining the long-term effects on an Information Systems department. Ideally, all software components will be designed, developed, supplied and supported by the same vendor.


Product demonstration. Product demonstrations are an important way to see an ERP solution first hand and they also give you an opportunity to evaluate the vendor. Consider whether questions are answered clearly and concisely. Be persistent when gathering desired information, such as: who writes, develops and supports each system component; are modules interoperable, easy-tomanage and cost effective; what functionality is included; and how might the system best support specific objectives? Don’t be afraid to take charge of the demonstration so you can test drive the solution. Enter a specific Bill of Material or other data to see how the system reacts.


The always useful buzz words. ERP selection can seem overwhelming with so many catch phrases—i.e. ‘Service Oriented Architecture’ (SOA), ‘Best of Breed’, ‘Lean Manufacturing’—floating around the industry today. Instead of focusing on the buzz words, focus on who is making the

buzz. For example, is SOA really best for your organisation or is it just a nice package that SOA vendors are using to sell how they do business today? Will the SOA buzz diminish when these vendors’ product offerings change?


Implementation time. When provided with an estimate for the number of days to complete an implementation, ask how the vendor arrived at the number. Implementation times may vary from organisation to organisation, but the vendor may have a proven plan of how to implement in less time that does not match what their competition is offering. Contact a reference customer to ask whether the vendor met their implementation schedule. If they did not, how much longer did it take to complete the implementation and why did it take longer than expected? Purchasing ERP is not just about the software received, it’s about follow through that brings that software live, and maintains it once installed.


Customer referrals. While existing customer referrals are beneficial, remember two things: first, customers are on the referral list for a reason; and, second, vendors don’t typically give out the names of problem customers. Take due diligence by checking the vendor’s website for case studies, quotes, and customers in the news, then contact those customers directly. Ask for customer referrals from companies that previously used the same system currently used by your firm, or ask for referrals from companies that are similar in size or in the same product industry as your own.


Customer retention. It is one thing to have a short list of current, happy customers. It is something else entirely to maintain the customer relationship over time. Ask the ERP vendor what their customer retention rate is. Do a majority of their customers continue on with them for years, even decades? With the buyouts and recession of past years, no ERP vendor can claim 100% retention, but anything less than 80% should raise a red flag.


Objectively observe. Understand your true market and your position in that market. Whilst it is always good to think where you want to be in five or more years, also think about where you are now. Buy a package that focuses on your current market position, but can carry you to your next goal and beyond. An over-the-counter ERP system bought at the local office supply store will not see a company through to its multi-million pound goals. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the software solutions used by the huge corporations of the world may be too big. An ideal package is one that can be purchased today, with only the components that are needed, but expand with a business as it grows.

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Freight efficient A bicycle can be up to five times more efficient than walking, produces no emissions and, according to San Francisco’s Exploratorium, 100 calories can power a cyclist for three miles but would only move a car about 85 metres. Tim Brown examines energy efficient options for shifting goods.


it comes to moving a load any larger than a small backpack or a few saddle bags, the effectiveness of the bike deteriorates dramatically. That is not to say that the human body isn’t capable of moving large objects. World strong man champion Mariusz Pudzianowski can drag an Airbus A320, weighing 45,000kg, along 25 metres of runway, and former world strongman, John Wooten, once pulled a 280 ton train along its tracks for a short distance. However, the operative word here is short. It would be truly impressive to see Pudzianowski move five palette loads of toilet seats from China to the UK, or indeed for Wooten to shift one ton worth of window glass any distance in a safe manner.


Clearly the six billion tonnes of freight shipped around the world each year and the £800m worth of annual UK airfreight are beyond the capabilities of manpower alone — not to mention the extensive workload contributed by domestic and international truck and rail networks. The need for long distance large scale freight transport is not going to disappear anytime soon. Despite an apparent economic and environmental imperative for an increase in near-shoring, deglobalisation remains but a theory. However, the importnace of economic and environmental issues ensure the need for supply chain optimisation. Modes of transport differ greatly in terms of both cost and environmental impact. However,

Supplychain and logistics

no one means of transportation is better than the other. Each is simply more suited to particular requirements and thus managing and optimising freight options is key. In addition, each mode differs in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. For example, the quickest and most effective means of transport over any great distance would be air. However, it is likely to be more expensive, worse for the environment and has considerably less capacity than a ship. In general, effectiveness is at the peril of efficiency, and therefore compromise is needed to satisfy both criteria. In simplistic terms, sea freight ranks best in the economical freight hierarchy, followed by rail, road and lastly air. However, this simplistic approach is very much dependent on the required distance, lead time and the availability of infrastructure such as sea ports and intermodal rail terminals. Rail and shipping are currently both enjoying considerable promotion as environmentally efficient transportation methods. As a result of this, less frequently used transportation methods such as intermodal rail and short sea shipping are enjoying increased interest.

Looking out to sea Sea freight is clearly the most efficient means of transporting large amounts of goods a large distance. However, short distant sea freight is also a workable option. The European Union is actively promoting what it terms the motorways of the sea which, for most of us, is short sea shipping. Alan Braithwaite, chairman of LCP Consulting, a specialist supply chain and logistics consultancy for manufacturers and retailers says the use of feeder vessels from the big container ports is certainly viable. “We are seeing a lot of that for example up to Teesport and Grangemouth. Ports up until the downturn had been quite congested, and this mechanism meant you could get your goods through much easier. This was a typical hub and spoke deal as per the airlines, as the costs tended to be absorbed so it wasn’t a big on cost. As an example, Rotterdam or Atwerp might go to Teesport.” The cost for short sea shipping is roughly £30 per tonne. The feeder lines tend to be run by operators such as Samskip which are different to the deep sea lines. Short sea includes intercontinental Europe journeys involving trips of only several hundred kilometres that can generally be completed overnight. Earlier this year Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis, launched the Low Carbon Transport strategy, which was warmly welcomed by the Chamber of Shipping. “I am delighted that the strategy recognises that it is vital that action to reduce emissions from shipping should be taken on a global level, and sets out the Government’s commitment to achieve those reductions through an international emissions trading mechanism,” said Mark Brownrigg, director-general of the Chamber of Shipping. The Chamber took a lead position in the international shipping industry’s response to climate

change in December 2008 by advocating a global and open emissions trading scheme and, together with WWF UK, has submitted a joint paper to the Committee on Climate Change, offering suggestions on the most appropriate methodology of assessing shipping emissions in the UK.

Railroaded The Rail Freight Group has released figures arguing that by switching from road to rail, CO2 emissions can be reduced by 70% — although Defra puts the figure closer to 35%. Regardless, the saving is nevertheless considerable. Braithwaite agrees that rail is certainly a viable option, but its use is dependent on a number of factors. “For anything less than 150km, it is very difficult to use anything other than trucks. I use the maxim that if a journey is 300km or more and it has the right rail connectivity and it is not travelling extensively beyond the rail terminal, then rail is going to be viable under almost all circumstances.”

The impact of that was that not only on the freight rates, but also shipping schedules due to many ships dialling back their throttle in an effort to conserve fuel John van Wyk, Barloworld Logistics

Rail is considered of high importance in UK government transport policy. According to Braithwaite, inside the UK intermodal rail freight is concentrated on two elements. First is the movement of containers from the ports to the distribution centres, primarily Southampton and Felixstowe. Those trains run in to places like Daventry, Birch Copse and the midlands, where the train will be unloaded and the goods trucked to a warehouse and unloaded. “Because the service is maturing and is competitive, that mechanism is growing,” he says, “despite the fact that container volumes are well down.” The second is for inland transport primarily from midlands locations up to Scotland. The containers used — known as 45ft megafrets — are different to the kind used in shipping. They sit on the bed of the rail wagon and can be lifted off and placed straight on to the bed of a truck. During a recent trip to a rail freight terminal, Braithwaite says he was pleasantly surprised by the high amount of back loading occurring with trains operating at 50-60% capacity for their return journeys from Scotland. “This makes it very economical. Take, for example, a journey from Daventry to Scotland; roughly 500km. That is well beyond the break-even point for rail. It is sufficiently economic that the train could come



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Supply chain and logistics

back empty and it is still cheaper than sending a truck. The fact that they are getting backloads is immensely environmentally interesting.” In an example of a company optimising use of the rail network, supply chain solutions provider Wincanton has recently been working with Malcolm’s Logistics to create a rail freight solution for drinks manufacturer, Britvic. The resulting solution will take up to 50 lorry loads off the road each day and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 3,285 tonnes per year, as well as reducing cost. Currently in its trial phase, the rail route will replace daily road journeys moving an average 1 million bottles of Britvic product including Robinsons, Pepsi, Tango, J2O, Drench Water and Fruit Shoot from the midlands up to Scotland. Having originated from production sites in Norwich, Beckton, Rugby, Widford, Leeds and Huddersfield, the product will be consolidated at the Daventry rail depot ahead of transportation to Grangemouth and Mossend. The solution will deliver genuine CO2 savings by ensuring full return legs. Despite the viability of rail, Braithwaite says there is a severe deficiency in terms of infrastructure and terms the availability of rail freight terminals and interchanges as “a massive issue” — although he concedes that an increase in capacity is planned. “There are about eight terminals around the UK that could be described as full intermodal terminals. There is certainly a desperate need for more. There are 1100 terminals around the UK but most of them are tiny. Many deal with bulk aggregate material such as coal. For manufactured goods there are only about 8 terminals available with a few additional ‘bit players’. These terminals tend to be biased to the north of England. There is almost nothing of any significance in the south.” There has also been an increased interest in intercontinental European rail recently, although the cross channel tunnel is currently extremely underutilised. “The rail channel tunnel is currently running at five freight trains per day,” says Braithwaite. “This is quite low, considering the allowable limit under the treaty of Canterbury is 35 and that there is a capacity for much more.”

Logistics management The optimisation of freight transportation is, however, not dependent simply on the pairing of right transport mode in the right situation. There are many other management tools and techniques that can dramatically improve efficiency. Barloworld Logistics CEO, John van Wyk, says the creation of a cogent supply chain solution is necessary for every business, as is adequate preparation for changes in the transport market. “We faced two major events in the last 18 months,” says Wyk. “Many people have already forgotten the first one, which was the first oil price spike where oil reached nearly $150 a barrel. The

impact of that was not only on freight rates, but also shipping schedules due to many ships dialling back their throttle in an effort to conserve fuel. This lead to a delay in delivery, and the knock-on effect of that flowing through a network can be tremendous, especially for companies running a very finely tuned network and some just-in-time management arrangements. “Shortly afterwards we had the economic crisis which resulted in a steep fall in global trade. The result was a surplus of capacity in air and sea freight throughout the supply chain. Many of those companies that decreased their freight rates so as to remain operating are now increasing rates by as much as 25%. There has been a huge variability in the last 18 months and these issues have a tremendous impact on efficient supply chain management.” According to Wyk, a big change as a result of recent freight market turbulence has been a higher demand for visibility. He says that managers want to know what is happening in the supply chain so they can execute logistics activity in the most

The fact that they are getting backloads is immensely environmentally interesting Alan Braithwaite, LCP Consulting optimal way, and if the opportunity arises, take advantage of the volatility. He says that the use of a good logistics management and the application of the right technology can allow companies to link planning tools and methodologies with absolute killer execution, and start to improve not only the visibility, but also the flexibility of the supply chain. Richard Burnett, unit director at Wincanton agrees, adding that visibility within logistics management across all the flows of a customer base allows for improvement in efficiency. He says that the logisitics market is focusing a lot more now on driving efficiency and looking at shared user transport. “Where once there was great competition within this market, I think there is now a much more collaborative approach.” The drive by consumers, government and the freight industry itself for continual efficiency gains will ensure continued improvement. However, the successes to this point are most likely far below the levels needed to satisfy the increasing requirements. With the price of oil expected to become a considerable issue again very shortly, the freight industry will undoubtedly see more market volatility. While the bicycle will never be able to replace the freight liner, there is an obvious need for effective transportation methods and techniques that have a similarly low environmental impact. end

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Ready-to-use Additive manufacturing Ready-to-use Additive Manufacturing (RUAM) is a new technology developed by Cranfield University, which aims to improve industry’s ability to manufacture high precision readyto-use functional parts for a range of applications from small turbine blades to large aerospace structures. Cranfield’s Dr Jörn Mehnen explains. 52


a single machine that can help you repair turbine blades quickly, build large aeroplane wing structures in short timescales, re-produce worn metal parts, or generate light weight metal structures from CAD or scanned data. Imagine a machine that is also economically friendly, easy to handle and maintain. Energy, metal and good ideas are the ‘fuel’ of this machine; ready-to-use parts are the immediate results. The idea may sound futuristic, but Cranfield University is currently working on such a machine.

Specialfeature RUAM

RUAM combines multi-axes grinding and additive manufacturing. Currently, additive manufacturing generates robust three dimensional metal objects and multi-axes grinding generates high precision free form surfaces. Their integration allows for manufacturing of high precision three dimensional geometries which cannot be produced using conventional techniques. The RUAM process does not follow the typical rapid prototyping concept. The project aims to manufacture ready-to-use parts made of steel, aluminium or titanium structures with dimensions from several inches up to 30 metres. Surface integrity and precision is achieved — where necessary — via well-aimed machining. The integrated concept of the machine reduces issues such as re-clamping and the awkward handling of workpieces. A high performance grinding machine provides the grinding facilities and housing for the integrated RUAM machine. Innovative additive layer welding techniques such as Cold Metal Transfer (CMT) helps deposit metal with relatively high speed. High flexibility in the shape of the parts is achieved via a welding robot. A quick and user-friendly interface developed at Cranfield University reads CAD data and helps avoid the often long periods associated with robot training. The optical scanner supplies the system that provides important information about the quality of the workpieces at any time of the process. The successive layer-by-layer technology allows for flexible welding strategies. The successive process also allows for the mixing of strategies and materials as well as for amending already existing metal workpieces. Engineers do not need to think in terms of ‘cast objects’ any more. The RUAM process is much more flexible, capable of producing geometries that fit various demands.

Team effort The complex research is still ongoing. The Cranfield team is currently exploring various questions such as the distortions due to the intense thermal influence. This is dealt with by extensive finite element method (FEM) analyses leading to optimised welding and cutting strategies. The use of FEM analyses will lead to a whole library of rigid, light weight and fit-for-purpose geometries. Thorough experiments and statistical analysis are being conducted, with the aim of identifying optimal welding parameters. Current RUAM research considers optimal welding strategies for titanium or aluminium parts. Here the introduction of a new local gas shielding technique is of special interest. Material properties are also being analysed by the University of Manchester. In addition, research regarding economic and environmental aspects will highlight areas where the RUAM process will give industry special advantages and where it can leverage new routes to innovative production processes.

For our products to really embrace the value of ALM technologies, significant effort in research must be undertaken to develop the knowledge for scaling up the physical build size Dan Jones, Airbus Supported by EPSRC through the Cranfield Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre (IMRC) and supported by a range of industrial collaborators, the £2 million RUAM project has attracted considerable industrial and scientific interest since it began in late 2007. The RUAM project is currently supported by 18 industry partners with leading contributors such as Airbus, Doncasters and Bombardier. RUAM also collaborates with two UK Universities. Current state-of-the-art ALM technologies are a long way from addressing this challenge, which is why we are highly active in this field of research. Scaling up will drive new integrated research on materials, process and control. RUAM represents an integrated approach to research, and not just with the industrial partners but also the academic integration across institutes and PhD studentships.” Keith Birmingham of aerospace-grade welding filler supplier VBC says: “The RUAM project is visionary and its rapid progress has delivered excellent examples of what can be produced when industry interacts with a top class welding engineering university such as Cranfield and its dedicated academics.” Martin Stevens of A1 Technologies also considered the smaller applications of the technology. “Working together with Cranfield, we at A1 Technologies intend to bring the RUAM technology to market for less demanding 3D metal applications.” end

For more information visit the RUAM project website: Dr Jörn Mehnen is the RUAM Project Leader and senior lecturer in IT for Product Engineering in the Manufacturing Department at Cranfield University,


Eco - conscious

employees How can companies engage most effectively with employees to make them more environmentally responsible? Reinforcement and reward is part of the solution, says Rachel Mountain at EcoSecurities.


any successful climate change mitigation strategy is the need to fully engage employees at every stage of the process. In practice, this means employees must be helped to understand the rationale behind the characteristics and objectives of your company strategy; be armed with the right information in order to carry out what is expected of them with genuine enthusiasm; and understand how their work can contribute to the achievement of this strategy. EcoSecurities has found that there are four main components to a successful climate change campaign, which cover a range of activities designed to achieve maximum employee engagement.

1. Consultation 2. Communication 3. Education 4. Participation


Consultation â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Collaboration is the key to successful change

In order to achieve maximum engagement, the whole business, including employees should be consulted and involved at the very beginning of the design of a climate change strategy.


It is vital that employees feel part of the decision-making process when selecting the right blend of internal emission reduction activities whether these include changing energy use, cutting down on paper communication, or implementing more extensive recycling schemes. By getting feedback on what employees feel is appropriate and realistic, the chances of them buying into the process are increased.


Communication â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Getting the right messages to your employees

From the outset, employees need to fully understand the aims of the environmental objectives in order to fully engage with, support and participate in the process of achieving them. The key to ensuring understanding of organisational goals is the effective planning and deployment of an integrated communications strategy, which delivers meaningful and relevant environmental messages that reflect the brand values and culture of your organisation.


Education â&#x20AC;&#x201D; arming employees with knowledge to join the fight against climate change

Strategically positioned posters and stickers near energy intensive appliances with key

Specialfeature Eco-conscious employees

Posters and stickers near energy intensive appliances with key information and statistics will provide the impetus for employees to be aware of the impact that their day-to-day work has on the environment and take action to reduce it

information and statistics will provide the impetus for employees to be aware of the impact that their day-to-day work has on the environment and take action to reduce it. Mouse mats, positioned next to computers, could also provide a source of educational messages.


Participation — developing, recognising and rewarding the right environmental behaviours

The concept of reducing emissions needs to filter through the whole organisation in order to achieve the stated objectives. If real behavioural change is to be achieved and sustained, then reinforcement, recognition and reward of those behaviours needs to take place on an ongoing basis. To summarise, in order to achieve real and sustainable employee engagement, organisations must consider the following when devising their climate change programmes: Be open, honest and transparent. Be clear about the organisation’s motivations and ensure they will stand up to scrutiny. Every claim should be backed up by easily accessible information. Make sure your company’s green messages effectively filter from board level to frontline staff.

Rachel Mountain, EcoSecurities

Get the internal communications channel, or mix of channels, and the timing right. Don’t hide your communications in an unused area of your company intranet. Make it fun! Climate change should not all be about doom and gloom! Employee engagement is all about education and empowerment — reducing your emissions should be an enjoyable uplifting experience. Educate employees and stimulate real behaviour changes — this could be through activity days, focus groups, or employee incentive schemes — to guarantee buy-in and ensure employees are communicating your green business values appropriately. Ensure that the messages conveyed to employees are coherent and that your internal and external faces are aligned. Be consistent, coherent and holistic. Eliminate contradictory signals. Make change simple and easy for employees, understand their level of knowledge and avoid jargon. Speak a language that they will understand to add value to your brand and environmental efforts. end

This article was written by Rachel Mountain, global marketing manager at EcoSecurities, one of the world’s largest developers and suppliers of emissions reductions.


times Emissionary In the second part of TMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s environmental regulations feature, Edward Machin considers the theory, rhetoric and practicalities of carbon compliance


Johnson has less than six months to ensure his company is compliant with the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC). Our operations directorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s remaining hair is disappearing in his desire to become a green manufacturer, and not without reason. The rewards for environmental excellence, its proponents argue, are extensive. Higher profit, lower costs, increased efficiency and a raft of reputational benefits to boot. But with league tables highlighting the best and worst carbon emission performers, Johnson questions whether turning green into gold is really that simple. He is not alone. Manufacturers are finding the cost of complying with environmental regulation, or even best practice targets, can be high.


Sustainable manufacturing

Case studies Boss Design

Founded in 1983, Boss Design manufactures seating and upholstery to markets including automotive, hospitality and leisure, public sector, broadcasting and utilities and telecoms. In 2007, the company undertook the first steps in a carbon reduction drive — having its footprint measured by the Carbon Neutral Company and verified by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management. Says operations manager Virginia Seaward: “This process allowed Boss to put a complete carbon reduction plan into the business, with 30 items which we felt could be targeted to reduce our footprint. We’ve very recently been remeasured, and managed to reduce our carbon emissions by approximately 0.1 kilo per employee.” Given such achievements, are Seaward and Boss Design awaiting the Carbon Reduction Commitment’s implementation in 2010, and the potential for big fiscal savings? “While as a company we are ready for the CRC,” she says, “there remain a number of profound concerns around the project going forward. Because our carbon reduction drives have been in place for two years, the significant reductions which are required have already been made. The fact the company will potentially be penalised because we cannot backdate the considerable reductions in our carbon emissions is both disappointing and a source of deep frustration.”

Precision Engineering Plastics Precision Engineering Plastics (PEP) initially applied for a £10,900 interest free Energy Efficiency Loan from the Carbon Trust to fit energy optimisers to 19 motors used on injection moulding machines and chillers in its 24,000 sq ft factory in north London. As a result, the company made annual energy savings of £3,114. In February 2008, in line with its continued growth, the company approached the Carbon Trust again, this time for help to replace two injection-moulding machines with newer models. A second interest free loan of £47,285 to help fund the purchase of the new machines was provided. Besides being quieter and more energy efficient, the replacements are also quicker. Together with reducing cycle times and running costs, this has reduced PEP’s annual energy bill by £18,700. At the end of 2008, the company used a third Carbon Trust loan of £10,500 to buy a power factor correction unit and regulate the amount of power consumed by the plastic moulding machines. “The Carbon Trust’s interest

He said, she said:

Aspirations and reality for carbon reduction in business “It is vital that the UK offers conditions which make it the best country in the world to develop and grow low carbon businesses.” Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, February 20 2009

“Our research makes clear that a significant number of organisations are still unprepared for the rigours of monitoring and reporting energy use — and do not have the ‘CRC Team’ in place to both plan and deliver the energy savings required.” Chris Pywell, head of strategic economic change, One North East “The way to make truly substantial cuts is to get to the very heart of manufacturing. By rethinking the way manufacturers operate from the ground up, we plan to spearhead a low carbon industrial revolution that will not only reduce emissions, but increase demand for innovation, generate jobs and cut costs.” Dr Mark Williamson, director of innovations, the Carbon Trust “A major concern is that numerous SMEs still remain unaware of, and unprepared for, what the CRC will involve in practical terms. While awareness across the business community is being heightened by trade associations such as EEF and the CBI, more could – and must be –done.” Cahal McMenamin, health & safety manager, Paul Fabrications “Emissions from most organisations could be cut by around a fifth by 2020, at little or no overall cost to the participants in the scheme. From April 2010, when organisations need to start registering for the CRC, carbon reduction will become as much a part of corporate culture as health and safety. It needn’t be complicated or expensive — the cost of energy saving measures will be more than offset by lower energy bills.” Lord Chris Smith, chairman, the Environment Agency

free loan scheme was a perfect way to keep PEP at the forefront of our market in terms of technology, while enabling us to steadily reduce our energy costs over time,” says PEP codirector, Vince Marino. “If not for this, it would be much more difficult for a company of our size to finance and purchase new equipment, and therefore to stay competitive.”


Sustainable manufacturing

A carbon revolution? More than a quarter of Britain’s carbon emissions come from industry. Accordingly, says Henrietta Stock, technology acceleration manager, the Carbon Trust: “Working with UK manufacturers to reduce both their carbon footprint and related industrial emissions is vital to meeting the UK’s overall carbon reduction targets. Most importantly, improving energy efficiency within industry remains central to making British manufacturing leaner and more competitive.” At its simplest, reducing energy consumption can have a significant — and immediate — impact on the bottom line. In fact, says Stock: “Detailed analysis conducted through our Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator programme has identified opportunities to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions by an average of 28% in asphalt, plastic bottle, and

animal feed manufacturing. We are working to roll out this research more widely, unlocking major efficiencies in other areas of industry; bakery, confectionery and dairy, among others. In order to realise truly substantial cuts, we must get to the very heart of manufacturing and the processes that individual industries rely on. This collaborative approach will enable companies to rethink the way that factories and plants operate from the ground up.” In the longer term, by spearheading a low carbon industrial revolution we will increase demand for innovation, generate jobs and create economic value, Stock says. “As the UK moves to develop a thriving low carbon economy, we have an opportunity to become a leading supplier of sustainable products to the rest of the world. Indeed, with major brands already looking to squeeze

Is UK plc ready for

low carbon? An EEF report

The global market for climate-friendly ‘cleantech’ goods and services, worth £3tr in 2008 — and projected to reach £4.5tr by 2015 — is driven by powerful long term trends; accelerating resource depletion, growing environmental awareness and increasingly aggressive climate policy, among others. Manufacturing accounts for a big share of this market, particularly in the fastest growing sectors such as renewable energy. The UK remains some way from being a global leader for manufacturers of low carbon technology. That being said, there are both strong foundations and encouraging recent progress which can be built upon. Through a combination of more strategic industrial policy, better joined-up thinking from government, and active engagement from industry, the UK can still position itself as the premier location for the low carbon industrial revolution. To create a compelling business environment for cleantech companies, government must ensure that skills, tax and industrial policies are all pulling in the same direction to create an environment where private enterprise is compelled to look at cleantech. Failure to do so could well leave the UK with the worst of both worlds — incurring the costs of the transition to a low carbon economy without taking advantage of the benefits. end


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carbon out of their supply chain, reducing Henrietta Stock, carbon technology acceleration manager, emissions at the Carbon Trust the point of manufacture will play a significant role in driving down the carbon footprint of the goods that the UK consumes and exports.” Those companies that demonstrate a commitment to reducing their environmental impact will reap the rewards in this new, lower carbon world. “Cutting carbon today equates to cost savings tomorrow — of this we must be clear. Vitally, it holds the key to a revitalised and competitive manufacturing base that, 300 years after the start of the industrial revolution, the UK can be proud of.”

As such, EEF recommends that government should: Enhance the effectiveness of low carbon industrial policy by focusing on a smaller number of industries and making a long-term commitment to support them. Nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, offshore renewables, and low carbon vehicles are prime candidates Raise public support for clean energy research, development, and demonstration from its current low level to the OECD average and make greater use of public procurement to stimulate the development of low carbon technologies Introduce a ‘green bond’ scheme that allows manufacturers to use future tax benefits to finance low carbon technologies at the critical stage of their development Avoid attempting to plan in detail or micromanage the supply of skills for a low carbon economy. Policy should focus on creating a strong supply of core skills and a genuinely demand-led vocational training system Work together with all stakeholders and use the issue of climate change to inspire young people to study for and pursue careers in the STEM professions

Manufacturinginaction Putting UK manufacturers under the spotlight


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The world class Burnly-based aerospace manufacturer reveals all to TM all about its recent growth and management restructure.


Flooring solutions


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Unitex Group Safety products


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Icon Polymer

Polymer technology


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Automotive accessories


Indespension tells TM why the tow bars and trailer systems manufacturer is best in class


Organic recycling


Consolidating its market lead while enforcing best environmental practice is all in a days work for Solvent Resource Management Limited.


High-Tech hidden in the hills

High technology design and manufacturing is very much alive and well in the UK and is often found in surprising places. None more so than in the Lancashire hills, home to Aircelle Burnley, a cutting edge, world leading aerospace company that has recently undergone a major growth and management restructure which has further strengthened its place on the global manufacturing flightpath.


Factory of the month Aircelle


in a natural three forked valley formed by the Brun and Calder rivers, the old mill town of Burnley deep in the industrial heart of Lancashire is not, on the face of it, the first place that you would expect to find world class aerospace manufacturing. In actual fact, Northwest England is seen as the premier aerospace cluster in the UK and, according to the North West Aerospace Alliance, plays a pivotal role in the UK’s aerospace sector, employing more skilled people than any other region. Legend has it that the location of the site is as a result of the fact this part of the country could not be reached by any enemy bomber during the Second World War.

Carrying on the Tradition One of the biggest players occupies one of the old Lucas manufacturing sites in Burnley and is the only UK base of French firm Aircelle, part of the giant SAFRAN conglomerate. It is from here that Aircelle design and manufacture jet engine nacelles, essentially

We have seen investment in cutting edge technology and the skills needed to use it in a way that makes us here at Burnley a truly world class company Darren Mitcheson, operations director, Aircelle UK

the structure around a jet engine, which also provides the reverse thrust mechanism. They do so for aircraft of all sizes from business jets to the enormous double decked A380. Aircelle Burnley has established itself in the hearts and minds of the surrounding population winning awards for its work and involvement with schools and its investment in local people. At the same time, it has become a major force on a global scale with huge investment in process, infrastructure and technology. Aircelle Burnley is continuing a tradition of aerospace design and build in the area that has been around since 1940. They are also the largest private sector employer in Burnley. Despite that, four short years ago even the people of the town hardly knew who Aircelle were. Being situated on an old Lucas manufacturing site, Aircelle seemed to have fallen off the radar. That was before the visionary influence of the man now at the helm, Managing Director Andrew White. “When I first came here in 2005, I went along with a couple of colleagues to the Burnley Business Awards evening” said Andrew. “People would ask where we worked and we’d say, ‘Aircelle’ to which the usual response was ‘who are they’?” Since then thanks to the hard work and dedication of the team that Andrew has built, Aircelle in Burnley has won Lancashire Business of the Year 2008 and Burnley Business of the Year 2009 in recognition of the company’s contribution to the local area and the substantial investment made in its workforce.


Factory of the month Aircelle

New Line Up, New Future When Andrew White joined the business in 2005, he brought with him substantial experience of the aerospace industry having spent most of his early working life in the sector. However it was experience of another industry which has been the inspiration for his work at Burnley. Andrew spent 7 years in the field of medical equipment manufacture with global giants Johnson and Johnson and it was there that he learned about cutting edge, high tech manufacturing and how to structure a business and the skills and the culture needed to get the best out of all the elements at your disposal. He had a vision for Aircelle Burnley and the talent lies in implementing it. From that point alone, Andrew is clearly highly skilled. The ability to see and read

The aim being to help those suppliers to grow their businesses with the help and guidance of Aircelle the bigger picture is essential and he has a refreshing outlook. Andrew also recognises that great leaders need to be able to maximise the potential contribution of every one of their people. Andrew focused his team to ensure everyone played their part in the rejuvenation of Aircelle Ltd. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are looking at carefully selecting the work that we take on here so that expansion complements the work that we already do. That means largely working with composite technology in keeping with the technology and skill investments we have made and for which we are knownâ&#x20AC;?. The management team that Andrew has built is almost entirely new, made up of a mix of internal promotions and external recruitment. Experience of industry outside of aerospace taught him the value that the knowledge of other sectors can bring. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The management people who are new to the business are here because of their specialist skills and knowledge. These people have complimented our existing skills and created a team with impressive capability.


Factory of the month Aircelle

Let the people lead the way Andrew recognised early on that there was an imbalance between those who had very high, technical capability and those with the leadership qualities needed to engage and harness the people potential. It was critical that Aircelle had strong leaders who could role model the right ways of working and develop high performing teams within their technical specialisms but also develop a broader business mind set capable of seizing and developing new business opportunities. A plan was developed to identify those already within the business who had leadership potential that could be developed and then, where that was not possible, to bring in people from outside who already had that ability to lead. The management team before the Andrew White era had served the business well enough but lacked the strategic thinking needed to drive Aircelle into the future, especially as output grew.

What they have done at Aircelle is move from a very traditional, skill based training format which tended to focus on core capability, be it engineering or operations, to a more modern approach with far greater emphasis on values and behaviour and developing sustainability among the work force.

83% of employees said that they were proud to tell other people where they worked and had a sense of pride in the business “When I first joined we had quite a high attrition rate for new starters. People would come in and be put off by the very traditional feel and set up” said Andrew. “It has taken a while to implement but the focus now is on involving our people to maximise their contribution to our success.” The HR Team have been responsible for steering the culture shift headed up by HR Director Helen Gopsill. Helen joined the team two years ago from a background in Retail Distribution. During this time the team have worked hard at creating a working environment in which individuals can thrive.


Bulloughs Cleaning Services B

ulloughs Cleaning Services Ltd are a family business that has steadily grown over the past 40 years entirely from recommendations from satisfied clients, and we are now one of the largest independent cleaning companies in the North of England, with over 1,000 permanent employees, specialising in the high specification cleaning of quality manufacturing sites. The company consists of a Daily Cleaning Division, providing contract cleaning to offices; factories and warehouses and an Industrial Division specialising in high level cleaning; kitchen, carpet and window cleaning; painting; and fire/flood damage cleaning.


Why Choose Bulloughs? Use only direct employees who have been full trained and certificated. No agency or casual staff are used. All recruitment handled in-house, comprehensive database of suitable job applicants maintained. Rigorous selection process, all employees subject to comprehensive security checks. All employees receive full training, awarded Employer of Excellence for commitment to staff development. All machinery and cleaning materials supplied and maintained. Accredited to BS EN ISO14001 Environmental Standard.

Member of the Cleaning & Support Services Association. Accredited to the BS EN ISO9001:2000 Quality Assurance Standard Fixed price that includes everything - no hidden extras. Web based time and attendance system to ensure only the hours worked are paid for. Published in association with: Bulloughs Cleaning Services LTD Tel: 01756 798768 Email: Web:

Factory of the month Aircelle

“We looked at the existing training programmes right the way through the business and quickly decided on necessary changes.” Said Helen. “We had a problem with sourcing core skills so we decided to re-introduce apprenticeships and introduce a lot of Vocational Training through the NVQ route. We have even developed a number of our own NVQ programmes that have been taken up by local training organisations.” The plan is to create a learning culture within the business and Helen, along with operations director Darren Mitcheson, are passionate about seeing it happen. They are in an enviable position as being part of a conglomerate like SAFRAN which means that funding for justified projects is available but they are also free to design and implement their own strategy and retain a certain autonomy.

“People work here a long time and we have an immense amount of knowledge and experience that has not been unlocked effectively in the past” said Darren. “We are changing mindsets and encouraging people to have those ideas and bring them to life. If we get just one great idea from each person per year, that is a lot of positive, hard won knowledge that we can harness.”

Outside the factory gate One of the biggest focal points for Helen has been the local community. Aircelle are part of the Business in the Community initiative aimed at forging closer relationships with the town folk of Burnley by adopting a holistic approach to health and wellbeing for the workforce and their families, engaging local groups and organisations as well as taking an active role in economic development. The result has been incredible with 100 speculative approaches for work per month not being unusual, along with external award recognition and a sense of immense pride from the employee population. In March this year Aircelle carried out their first Great Place To Work survey during which 50% of employees were questioned on all areas of their working life. That 83% said that they were proud to tell other people where they worked and had a sense of pride in the business speaks volumes.


Gandtrack F

or the last 15-20 years Gandtrack has been involved with Aircelle, starting with their roots as Lucas Aerospace. In the last 10 years we have been supplying and managing their cutting tool inventory which has progressed from a manual drawer ‘line-side’ system to a fully automated ISIS system with five vending machines spread throughout the site. Gandtrack has grown with Aircelle to enable us to sustain a constant supply of cutting tools ‘at the right time-in the right place’, also a substantial quantity of hand tools are supplied (singularly and as department packages). Gandtrack


are able to provide fast response specialised tooling for one off operations to drawing, sketch or even description, in a fast efficient way using our 5-axis Walter CNC machines or conventional cutter tool grinding methods. Along with our automated or manual inspection systems this gives Gandtrack the ability to provide the best cutting tool solutions to Aircelle and other leading edge businesses. During the same period we have been supplying tooling for machining composite materials to HAL, NAL and ISRO in India, TERMA in Denmark, CTRM Malaysia and our latest project, Spirit Aerosystems in Malaysia.

As a company we realise knowledge and experience is a major issue, not only for Gandtrack but for most companies in the engineering sector. It is one of the reasons we have created a supply network of specialised companies to enable us to offer a wide range of products.

Published in association with: Gandtrack Tel: 0161 627 2627 Fax: 0161 633 4448 Email:

Factory of the month Aircelle

Streamlining supply At Aircelle Burnley, 70% of turnover is externally sourced meaning that efficiency gains in supply chain logistics is a major focus for the company. Aircelle has seen production of its key products, the thrust reverser on the Airbus A330 engines, more than treble from 40 units per year to 140. While nowhere near automotive output, it represents a major operation in aerospace terms where complexity is much greater and industry compliance is necessarily very high. The man tasked with the job of streamlining this aspect of the Burnley operation is Adrian Banks, Supply Chain Director.

A plan was hatched to identify those already within the business who had leadership potential that could be developed Adrian is the newest member of Andrew White’s new team, having only been with Aircelle since February. Recruited from the automotive world where finely tuned, slick supply chains are absolutely vital to operations, Adrian has a good idea of the challenges ahead and following Andrew White’s remit, is determined to work hard and closely with all suppliers. “We have to be more demanding of suppliers in order to move forward. You’re only as strong as your weakest link” said Adrian The plan is to design and implement a comprehensive supply measurement system whereby every quarter, all suppliers will be given feedback on their performance and a ranking; the aim being to help those suppliers to grow their businesses with the help and guidance of Aircelle. What will result from this will be a number of frontline, world leading manufacturers whose businesses have been directly enhanced by the Aircelle Burnley connection. By being a tier two or three supplier to a growing global player is going to be hard but rewarding work for those up for the challenge. Adrian is also continuing the further integration of the lean processes which


Manufax Engineering LTD Manufax Engineering Ltd (a member Company of the MANe Group of Companies) has supplied a consistent and responsive precision engineering service to Aircelle UK Ltd (formerly Hurel Hispano and Hurel Dubois ) for the last 25 years. During this time we have completed jig, fixture and tooling packages on numerous projects including Trent , Embraer and AS907. Working predominantly for the Burnley site we have established a reputation for our experience and knowledge in the design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of jigs, fixtures, mould tools and vacuum routing fixtures for Thrust Reverser components and assemblies.


During 2008/9 we were contracted by Aircelle to manufacture and install a series of Assembly Fixtures for the Trent Rate 10 program. Supplementing our in house manufacturing resource with our low cost supplier chain for low tech activities, ensured Aircelle received low costs benefits and additional value. Manufax continue to expand their low cost supply chain with initiatives in Eastern Europe and Malaysia. Our dedicated project teamed worked closely with the Aircelle tooling team, led by Mr. John Varley, achieving on program delivery and installation. The assembly and installation of the jigs and fixtures was completed by our in house laser tracker measurement teams.

Following the completion of the production line, Manufax continues to provide a responsive on site service for modification and recertification of the jigs and fixtures. For further information on Manufax Engineering Ltd. Please visit our website or contact Howard Bennett, Sales Director, to discuss your requirements.

Published in association with: Manufax Tel: 0161 480 2855

Factory of the month Aircelle

have begun to work well at Burnley and to further reduce the amount of ‘parts tourism’ where components arrive at the factory and then leave again for more work such as painting before reappearing again for assembly. “We are also working hard to meet our environmental obligations for example increasing re-usable packaging. We have established an employee working group who focus on recycling within the factory and we now recycle 90% of our waste.” Andrew White firmly believes that all of the suppliers can be sourced from within the UK and often from the North

West. “The low cost economy route has been looked at in great depth but by working hard with all of our suppliers to help them to grow and improve their products and operations

Aircelle Burnley are continuing a tradition of aerospace design and build in the area that has been around since 1940 we can easily compete. The logistics of dealing with somebody who is an hour down the road rather a day away by plane is blindingly obvious” said Andrew.



Factory of the month Aircelle

Maximizing operations At the heart of all the changes within Aircelle Burnley is Operations Director Darren Mitcheson. Darren is the only one of the members of Andrew White’s team who is Burnley-born and bred and has been working within the site for the last ten years. A man fiercely passionate about the company and its people and justifiably proud not only of the technical skill brought to bare but also of the actual individuals that make up the whole. He has seen big changes under the current leadership and is revelling in the effect it has had on the workforce. Being a part of all that clearly drives Darren, as he speaks from the heart and with utter conviction.

North-west England is seen as the premier aerospace cluster in the UK “We have seen investment in cutting edge technology and the skills needed to use it in a way that makes us here at Burnley a truly world class company“said Darren. “One major customer who has visited us compared us with over 60 primary suppliers in our field. They told us that on all levels - cleanliness, ability and organisationally - we are 1 or 2 in the world at what we do. That pleases me”. Darren has overseen a doubling of the factory floor space in just 18 months and the ramping up of first class composite design and manufacture required by primary customers such as Airbus. The installation of laser cutting tools, presses and autoclaves, plus new production line streamlining techniques fit well with the ongoing supply chain efficiency gains as part of the overall growth and sustainability of the company.


Brookhouse Holdings Ltd Providing Total Solutions The business has some of the most accurate measuring capabilities in its sector. Since 2005 Brookhouse has been following a successful growth strategy to secure strong positions on key programmes and develop new customer relationships such as Aircelle. In parallel, the company has made significant progress in materials and technology development, in order to ensure its position on future aerospace programs. Brookhouse does not just supply its manufacturing and assembly expertise, it also provides a complete


project management capability from start to finish. Whether it is the manufacture and assembly of a new aerostructure, or the repair of an existing assembly. Brookhouse will assume responsibility for all aspects of a project, to provide a total customer solution. This can include the design and manufacture of composite structures and a full in house tooling design and manufacturing service. The solution also extends to managing the supply chain for all material services and components required in the production of the assembly.

Brookhouse provides line-side, on-time solutions in the manufacturing environment and quality repair service, for both civil and military aircraft.

Published in association with: Brookhouse Holdings Ltd Tel: 01254 706000 Fax: 01254 706808

Factory of the month Aircelle

The right path “We’ve come a long way but we are not there yet, we are on a path. The biggest change in the business has been the recognition of the role our people play in our success. That wasn’t there before” concluded Andrew. Heading into the future, Andrew White is focused on winning the right contracts which are natural progressions of current capabilities that means high tech, high quality composite work leading to full system integration there are plans to overhaul all the current Information Technology Systems and introduce SAP within the operation, which is group led and will happen soon. Aircelle Burnley has a bright, prosperous future ahead of it with a very bright, capable and dedicated management team at the helm and some fantastic plans outside of the immediate workplace which will ensure both sustainability and position as a global force. end


Out on the tiles With a burgeoning orderbook seemingly unaffected by the recession, TM’s Edward Machin meets Amtico, a British manufacturer taking deliberate steps to ensure its own continued success.


from its global headquarters in Coventry, Amtico International manufacture high-end LVT — luxury vinyl tiles — flooring for both retail and commercial markets. However, what differentiates Amtico from the majority of it competitors is, says supply & logistics manager, Ben Naylor: “Our world class design capabilities. Indeed, the company is primarily led by a culture of continual product innovation, with a key objective of ours being to remain at the forefront of all design advances within Amtico’s respective markets.” “What is more, it is the facet of our business which is widely recognised as being sector-leading. For example, we were awarded first position for design and product capabilities in a recent survey of the American flooring industry. Given that Amtico is not the largest company in our sector, especially when compared with the American corporations, it was particularly pleasing to be recognised as an undisputed best in class manufacturer.” Amtico’s operations are broadly delineated two seperate, albeit often cross-pollinating, customer bases: retail and commercial. In terms of the clients that the company works with, says Naylor: “We have a number of diverse channels that we sell through. In the UK, for example, Amtico primarily supplies high street flooring specialists — which provide retail customers such as you or I with our flooring needs.” “In terms of the global product breakdown, we supply approximately one third to the UK market, one third to the rest of Europe; one third to the USA and the rest of the world. We are currently increasing our presence in the rest of Europe to complement the significant traction that the company has in both Germany and France. However, we have identified further opportunities to increase our footprint across the continent.”


In spite of the current downturn, business remains robust across the company’s portfolio. While Amtico’s orderbook to some extent depends on general economic conditions, the products which it manufactures are often at the front end of any recovery. Moreover, that Amtico is well ahead of where it expected to be in such a climate highlights, says Naylor: “The excellence of our product offerings, together with the fact that we are able to respond more robustly than our competitors.”

Spacia: a new frontier In 2005 Amtico launched a new ‘Spacia’ flooring range, designed as a “simple, stylish collection of woods and stones for everyday living” to complement the company’s high-end, sector-leading product offerings. To enable low-cost production, Amtico partnered with a state of the art manufacturing facility in China, which has, says Naylor: “Enabled significant growth in a market segment that the company hadn’t traditionally operated in.” “However, such growth can be rather unpredictable, and thus challenging to manage. Thanks to the considerable process improvements made in our UK facility — including lead times, flexibility and increased control, among others — it was identified that we could compete on a cost basis by recalling a percentage of our product manufacture to Britain.” Accordingly, in June 2009 Amtico began manufacturing of the Spacia range at its Coventry site — currently sitting at 25% of total production. Given the aforementioned advantages, does Amtico have plans to recall its entire production to the UK? “We are hitting the point where UK manufacture of the Spacia

Flooring solutions Amtico

range is constrained by our production capacity,” says Naylor. “While it doesn’t stack up on a fiscal basis for the company to invest in increased capacity, if we can do so then it is economically beneficial to recall a greater percentage of manufacturing to the UK.” That being said, Amtico will look to retain a manufacturing base in China, ensuring both a balanced spread of production footprints and the ability to increase capacity at very short notice. Central to the success of Amtico’s UK operations has been an ethos of maintaining fastidious standards of internal quality. Confirms Naylor: “Within the manufacturing aspect of our business in particular there has been a pronounced investment in training and personal development — such as Six Sigma Black Belts and NVQs for floorlevel operators. Ultimately, we are driving a culture of root cause analysis in all that we do, ensuring that every member of our organisation understands where we are headed and why.” The benefits have been both immediate and significant. Amtico used to quote a lead time of three weeks from order to dispatch; it now does so within five days — with a delivery rate of 87%. Says Naylor: “We believe that this sets us apart from the vast majority of our competitors, who largely use a sale from stock model. We have subsequently improved our availability to 98.7% in 2009, and both our throughput and cost per metre rates are regularly breaking company records.”

Because Amtico’s internal processes have become considerably more formalised, the company’s next challenge is, says Naylor, to implement a support system capable of analysing all related data. He explains: “It is a programme that sits on top of our ERP system, and while not a huge spend financially, will require an extensive amount of training to ensure that all employees are aware of what it means to them and the attached benefits. Ensuring this smooth transition is very much the company’s future from a supply chain point of view, and will only serve to further improve our availability, lead times, efficiency and overall production processes.” And Amtico’s wider organisational strategy? “Given that it is the single most important aspect in the company’ remaining ahead of our competitors, we will continue to develop our products in both design capabilities and technical solutions, says Naylor. “Indeed, Amtico is primarily a design and research-led organisation, with every department in the company involved in the process.” “Our ultimate goal, and one which has driven the company since its inception, is to design the best fit flooring to meets our customers’ needs. Inevitably certain designs come in and out of fashion, and we must clearly seek to stay on top of them. However, we believe that an Amtico flooring solution is timeless, and it is our manufacture of such industry-leading products that will ensure we fulfill our mission of becoming the number one global supplier of premium resilient floor tiles.” end

Supply chain and demand Given his role in the company, Naylor is understandably keen to highlight the developments made in Amtico’s supply chain. In essence, he says: “We have moved from a make to order to a mixed make to stock and make to order model, meaning that the company has had to wholly change the way we work.” Having analysed its markets in depth, Amtico identified that the majority of its customers were purchasing the same type of products — a finished goods range of approximately 250 items which covers over 60% of the company’s sales volume. Says Naylor: “There are certain products which we hold specifically for large customer orders. Given that the majority are for general commercial or retail clients, however, who will generally choose to purchase similar flooring solutions, we decided to tailor our supply chain accordingly.”



Safety products Unitex Group


Lean TM associate editor Edward Machin talks to Unitex UK about the significance of Lean in ensuring that it remains a best in class manufacturer of webbings, slings, and safety products

Three’s company Staffordshire-based Unitex UK is a multi-faceted international manufacturer comprised of three legally distinct, yet intrinsically linked, subsidiaries: Marling Leek, Miller Weblift and RidgeGear. Founded in 1942, the former is one of the UK’s foremost producers of webbings for the commercial and automotive markets, having developed the first automotive seat belt and one-piece woven airbag. Miller Weblift manufactures a range of web slings, round slings, nets, and load restraint systems for market segments including

Arguably the most exciting opportunity that our embracing of a lean ethos has enabled is in combining the manufacturing facilities of Miller Weblift and RidgeGear within a single production unit Andrew Bradley, Unitex UK the ever-demanding and non-forgiving offshore industry. Lastly, RidgeGear design, manufacture, and test advanced height safety products including full body harnesses; safety lanyards; fall arrest blocks; rescue equipment with high profile customers including British Telecom and Sky. Says Andrew Bradley, Managing Director, Unitex UK Finished Product Division: “Within the European market there are a great many manufacturers who, for example,


Safety products Unitex Group

solely produce lifting gear or safety products from previously acquired materials. Crucially however, Unitex is unique in the industry, given that we manufacture our entire product portfolio from concept — including the sourcing of raw polyester yarn, design, and production of marketleading devices.” As a finished product manufacturer Unitex thus retains a hugely competitive advantage across its processes, in that the company is able to circumvent the sourcing and subsequent testing of raw materials. Moreover, because each of its subsidiaries operate from a single manufacturing site, Unitex’s lead times are significantly reduced when bringing new products to market. Says Bradley: “The fact that we are not relying on an external source who — with the best will in the world — simply does not have the same investment in our developmental strategies gives the company a tremendous sense of coherence and urgency in all that we do.”

The Journey Central to Unitex’s continuing success has been the adoption of a culture of lean within the organisation. Its genesis began with a recognition that lean was to represent the foundations of Unitex as an organisation operating within an industry of intense rivalry. Bradley explains: “Our product types particularly lend themselves to outsourced production and economies of scale — i.e. China, Vietnam,

Without empowering the shop-floor and ensuring that all advances are made completely visible through the organisation, the potency of a hard-drive’s worth of strategies will be rendered futil Andrew Bradley and Taiwan, among others. Given this intensification of competition and driving down of the bottom line, without seeking to actively reduce our cost base and overheads while increasing productivity we are in danger of conceding our position as a best in class manufacturer.” Coupled with this fiscally-based, external need, Unitex held the organisational benefits of lean as equally important to its strategic efficiency drives. Says Bradley: “It is one thing having wonderful plans for improving flexibility and reducing waste, but without the commitment top down and without the continued support of the shop-floor any strategy implemented is always to be seen as “flavour of the month”. Without empowering the shop-floor and ensuring that all advances are made completely visible through the organisation, however, the potency of a hard-drive’s worth of strategies will be rendered futile.” Intriguingly, while Lean is enabling Unitex to reduce its cost base, it does not equate to a need to marginalise the company’s cost advantage. “There are a number of market segments that Unitex supply to, and not all segments are driven from a price perspective. For example offshore lifting


Jamie Stewart explains how 2nd-tier ERP business software can cut companies’ investment by up to 75 percent, whilst streamlining business processes, increasing transparency and delivering high value.


n a normal economic climate, when striving to optimise their business processes and boost value, companies might automatically be compelled to choose a 1st-tier as their business software solution. Top market brands such as SAP or Oracle are widely believed to be safe and trusted choices, although they come at a significant price, require a lengthy implementation period, and may not even be optimally suited for every business because of their complexity. Today, in these challenging economic times, most companies are not in a position to simply accept paying the premium amount for any investment, which also applies to business software. As it has never been this important to have a strong software backbone to help streamline processes, increase transparency and control, companies are searching for cost-efficient alternatives to the pricey market giants. And there is an alternative – in the form of 2nd-tier ERP solutions. They can save companies millions on investment, implementation time and long-term cost of ownership, while delivering as much or more value, benefits and satisfaction. No matter what type of business software set-up companies are currently using, 2nd-tier business software solutions like Exact Software are well worth considering. Study According to a study carried out by the Panorama Consulting Group, companies can save up to 70 percent with 2ndtier solutions within a much shorter implementation time. They were also found to yield up to 10 percent more employee satisfaction. In around three to six months, a 2nd-tier provider can help company to gain control, optimize cash flow, increase transparency, boost revenues, identify underperforming areas and increase reaction time – providing valuable agility in these challenging times. Fully integrated and standardized,


2nd-tier alternatives can either complement 1st-tier solutions already in use at headquarters or they can serve as comprehensive ERP system across the whole business, and they are generally perceived as more user-friendly by employees and IT. If a company is considering which type of ERP software to implement, 2nd-tier providers present a cost-efficient and often more attractive alternative to the top-tier brands. Additionally, in cases when a leading brand has not optimally served its customer’s needs or running costs like maintenance are a material factor, it could still be more cost-effective to switch to a 2nd-tier ERP system in order to gain significant overall savings and benefits. Exact is a cost-efficient 2nd-tier provider whose solutions are specifically designed to suit the needs of SMB’s or the SMB subsidiaries of larger companies. Combining global presence with local support, Exact provides companies with one standard product globally and complete integration of all business areas in one solution. “If a company is considering which type of ERP software to implement, 2nd-tier providers present a cost-efficient and often more attractive alternative to the top-tier brands” Customers Founded 25 years ago, Exact currently operates a network of subsidiaries in more than 40 countries worldwide, providing support to customers, such as Siemens, Toyota and Lufthansa, in over 125 countries. Exact’s solutions can be implemented more quickly that 1st-tier competitors and better suit a company’s needs without weighing it down with unnecessary bulk. Exact Synergy and Exact Globe – Exact’s full-suite, front and back office business solutionsintegrate all business areas to provide real-time enterprise resource planning, high information quality and streamline

processes for all of a company’s stakeholders, thereby increasing transparency. By reducing the number of different ERP solutions a business uses, Exact also lowers long-term cost of ownership, resulting in future economies of scale. The decision to invest should never be taken lightly, but it is particularly critical today. Studying the available options and their real return on investment, companies may be surprised to find that 2nd-tier solutions are the better choice in almost every scenario. After all, why pay substantially more for less satisfaction? About Jamie Stewart is the Managing Director of Exact UK, a Major player worldwide in the ERP Software market. Jamie has worked in the IT Industry for over 25 years. He is responsible for advancing the business in the UK and Ireland as well as supporting the existing customer base of some 400 companies. Most of his experience has been gained within a number of the large international ERP vendors such as Computer Associates, JBA, GEAC and SSA Global. However more recently he was the Sales & Marketing Director at both Data Technology PLC and CedAr Software Ltd.

For more details please contact Agata Marshall: Exact Software UK Limited Tamesis, The Glanty Egham, Surrey TW20 9AH, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1784 221 200 Fax: +44 (0)1784 221 251 Email: Web: Registered in England & Wales. Company Registration Number: 02752425

Safety products Unitex Group

is driven by a competitive fit for purpose product but it is service and delivery that is key to success. As such, price ceases to become the driving force — delivery is. The onus must therefore be on increased flexibility and throughput while simultaneously reducing lead times and waste in the system, ensuring that the required parts are available at any given point in time,” says Bradley.

(C)leaning up The implementation of Unitex’s Lean journey began in 2008 with a robust 5S programme which resulted in the removal of 75% of extraneous items on the shop floor. In spite of the considerable benefits entailed in such a process, it nonetheless presented a logistical problem for the company — namely how its material lines were going to be fed most effectively. To combat this predicament, Unitex implemented Kanbans at strategic positions throughout the production process, both within its internal systems and the supply chain itself. Says Bradley: “The fact that our suppliers are working to Kanban not only assists us with cashflow considerations and in keeping the shop floors organised, but has eradicated the need for purchasing on multiple items because of the self managing nature of the process. That being said, arguably the most exciting opportunity that our embracing of a lean ethos has enabled is in combining the manufacturing facilities of Miller Weblift and RidgeGear within a single production unit.” Working with considerable involvement from the kaizen Institute, the combination will enable Unitex to transform what is primarily a batch manufacturing system into cellular operations. Practically speaking, says Bradley, this will enable the company to increase throughput by 30%, and reduce rework and stock levels by 20%, ensuring that Unitex remain a leading manufacturer within Europe with long term competitive advantage. “The project will be largely implemented by our staff, albeit with guidance from the kaizen Institute,” says Bradley. “We have deliberately created a team of multi-skilled individuals from across departments, given that we feel it hugely important to both lean and cellular that their benefits aren’t simply limited to the shop floor.”

Start up the engine With continued lean endeavours remaining central to Unitex’s organisational strategy, the company is taking ever more innovative steps to ensure its remaining ahead of the chasing pack. The majority of Unitex’s management team have backgrounds in the automotive sector, an industry renowned for its utilisation of lean doctrines. Consequently, says Bradley: “The company has undertaken a three year continuous improvement commitment to attain the international automotive accreditation standard ISO/TS 16949. This will primarily

Unitex is unique in the industry, given that we manufacture our entire product portfolio from concept — including the sourcing of raw polyester yarn, design, and production of market-leading devices Andrew Bradley

enable us to differentiate Unitex UK as the only manufacturer of its type within the industry to attain such an accreditation. We all know the automotive industry does not suffer fools, and quality is engineered into each and every process ensuring the customer is always the reason for change and improvement. If we can tap in to this culture and the benefits it can bring then the long hard road we are about to undertake no longer seems a daunting exercise, but the greatest challenge that Unitex has ever encountered. More importantly it is a challenge that we have decided to take – it has not been forced upon us.” Prior to the commencement of Unitex’s lean journey, it was asked how much implementation would cost in practice. Says Bradley: “The question should always be what is the cost of not entertaining lean practices? Very simply, it will cost nothing if you do it, but a great deal if you do not. While Unitex is in the relatively early stages of its journey, we continue to discover new and exciting lean applications on a daily basis. When coupled with our distinctive ‘concept to production manufacturing’ model, it is this commitment to placing lean at the heart of our long-term strategy that will ensure Unitex’s continuing success as a best of class manufacturer.” end




As a member of the polymer industry, Icon Polymer Group supplies a wide range of products across a diverse application base. Tim Brown finds out from managing director, Tim Pryce, how process management improvements on all levels have ensured Icon manufacture products to an exceptionally high reliability standard for the transport, aerospace, defence, and power generation industries.



Polymer was formed in 1999 with private equity funding provided by Lloyds Development Corporation. Between 1999 and 2005, it expanded through the acquisition of three existing UK rubber companies and then consolidating these facilities into two sites in Retford and Burton. In 2006, Tim Pryce, who had recently departed his role as president of a US polymer company, undertook the position of interim managing director and began to truly integrate the facilities and cultures within the business. Ever since, undertaking improvements in every aspect of business operations has become a fundamental focus at Icon. The goal has been to distinguish the business from its competitors not only in terms of the quality of its products but also through its high level of service. Combining significantly reduced lead times with improved customer satisfaction has been possible by perfecting operating processes says Pryce. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We decided to differentiate ourselves by lead time. The first step to achieving a significant reduction in lead time was simply defining a new standard. As we changed our own expectations we then set about arranging our supply chain so that our vendors understood the new benchmark level. Today we have a highly efficient supply chain that provides many benefits to us as a group.â&#x20AC;? Prior to the setting of these new benchmarks, Icon had a large supplier base for many of their outsourced materials. By working very closely and communicating their specific goals to elements of their supply chain, Icon was able to streamline the number of companies from which they sourced products. For those suppliers that remained, Icon developed much closer working relationships and now receive a better level service and greater flexibility. For instance, Icon reduced their toolmaker supplier list and now work very closely with a small number who have

Polymer technology Icon Polymer Group

extremely fast turnarounds and are very accommodating to Icon’s needs. In another example, Icon used to source its required metal components, over which rubber is moulded, from a large range of different suppliers. After spending a considerable amount of time with these suppliers explaining the expectations of the new management team, Icon was able to reduce the number of sources to those that were capable of meeting those expectations. Having successfully streamlined its supply chain, Icon also needed to perfect its internal processes. While operations were already quite sturdy, the implementation of a new role greatly assisted the company to undertake a host of different operational advances. Just under a year ago, Icon hired a gentleman into the newly created position of Process Improvement Manager. According to Pryce, “his sole job is to make sure that every process is robust. He literally goes through every one of our processes drilling down and down until we remove the probability of errors occurring.” “With the process improvement manager we have really achieved genuine lean manufacturing...To me lean is about understanding your processes through effectively challenging the status quo, that exists within all businesses, and then making sure any needed change is successfully executed.” “Since we’ve put the process improvement manager in place,” says Pryce, “we’ve seen our returns decrease by 90% and that is within an 8 month period. They were pretty low already but he has certainly made a difference not only within the business but also to the customers. We are also seeing a steady decline monthon-month on internal scrap as well. I would say that by the end of the year he will have paid for himself by a factor of four times. This four-fold saving is on tangible costs which is particularly impressive considering that on the typical quality iceberg most of the costs are hidden..” A simple example of a successfully executed process improvement involved the part marking of vacuum cleaner belts. Icon manufactures 60% of the world’s vacuum cleaning belts. All of the belts are part marked, however with a very low percentage,

the ink failed to adhere and dry properly. After an initial investigation, it was inferred that this was an unavoidable result. While the occurrence was very infrequent, with several million belts being shipped every month, that small percentage added up to be a fairly considerable quantity. Pryce says that after providing the operator with more appropriate tools, such as colour coded dispensers and mixers, they haven’t had a single reject. By perfecting operations, Icon has developed a globally recognised name for the quality of its products and has further expanded several important areas. One such area is the transportation market, particularly subway and rail. The Group’s fability in Burton, called SilentBloc, has, over the past few years, experienced a 50% growth. Pryce says that much of the growth is coming from the rail market, including aftermarket in the UK and the new build market in continental Europe. “We are taking an increasing share in aftermarket because we have reduced our lead times and we’ve become far more competitive in the way we run our business, both from a procurement side and with regards to importing from Asia. The same applies to our success in new build applications. Where a typical lead time could be 16 weeks, we deliver in four.” The rubber to metal components that are used in the rail market are also used in off-highway vehicles, such as those produced by Caterpillar, JCB and Terex. Icon have been working with such companies to supply components to assist them to extend the life of their vehicles. “We have


Icon Polymer Group a component on a vehicle currently where its life is reported to be 50% longer than the incumbent following testing in quarries all over the world,” says Pryce. “That particular vehicle builder is experiencing a significant gain through the use of our technology. In this particular case, the previous part was failing within the warranty period and thus the OEM was extremely keen to find a component that not only met the warranty but far exceeded it.” Icon considers the defence industry to be another important area of growth. The company has for example a large number of components to be fitted on the Joint Strike Fighter. The build rates for that particular aircraft alone are projected to increase substantially over the next three years and the company is forecasting rapid growth in that area. Pryce highlights that the continued support of the defence industry and its related suppliers by the government is imperative and of great assistance for economic growth. “We have 238 employees with 60% living locally supporting the local community


and creating jobs. In turn, both directly and indirectly Icon supports numerous other national businesses. If the government supports businesses related to the UK defence industry it would be a considerable help to thousands of people both here in Retford and nationally.”

To me lean is about understanding your processes through effectively challenging the status quo and then making sure any needed change is successfully executed Tim Pryce, Managing director With the financial backing of Lloyds Development Corporation, Pryce and finance director, Shaun Finn, completed a management buy-out of Icon in July of this year. This further consolidation of control will undoubtedly lead to even more developments at Icon. The continued expansion and enhancement of what Pryce refers to as the company’s ‘toolbox’ combined with intensive continuous improvement is likely to keep Icon in top shape in to the future. The next few years are likely to see not only continued growth in Europe and the UK but also a further development of Icon’s Asian focus both in terms of market share and supply chain. end

Tow bars & trailer systems Indespension


blazing With its origins in a Belmont garage, 2009 finds Indepension Ltd as a best in class manufacturer of tow bars and trailer systems. TM associate editor Edward Machin hitches his wagon…


its inception in the garage of Barrie Badland, Bolton-based Indepension Ltd has undergone a remarkable progression in little over four decades. The company is now positioned as the second largest trailer manufacturer in the UK, winning a prestigious £2m order with the government to produce a specialised trailer as a resource for its law enforcing agencies. As the first company in the UK to manufacture suspension units, Indepension has continually diversified into the production of affiliated trailer components and, ultimately trailers themselves. Such a portfolio consists of both commercial and leisure trailers — the former including vehicle, plant, and goods transportation systems; flatbeds; tippers; and box van trailers. With regard to its retail output, Indepension manufacturers marine and box van trailers, and are resellers of marine, daxara, motorcycle, and car transportation trailers, roofboxes, and roof bars. Uniquely, the company is backed by a network of twenty distribution and retail depots. These are, says Indepension marketing manager, Neil Singleton: “In contrast to our competitors, who use stockists and dealers alone. We believe that such penetration has been central to Indepension’s success, in that we can ensure the optimum realisation of our products — from cradle to distribution, sale, and servicing inclusive.”


Investment Recent years have seen Indespension make significant investments in an assorted range of process machinery. Initially the company purchased three lean lifts — designed as a selfcontained shelf stacking system in the company’s warehouse facility. Says Singleton: “As with each of our recent acquisitions, implementing the lean lifts was critical to the company’s space efficiency drive, as well as it being a cost effective way of storing a large number of parts.” Similarly, in 2009 the company purchased laser cutting and CNC folding machines, to the tune of £1m. Explains Singleton: “Every piece of sheet metal is utilised as much as practically possible, ensuring that any offcut is not simply discarded. While the machines have vastly streamlined our operations, we estimate that they will pay themselves off in three years — saving the company approximately £300,000 per annum.” In 2000, Indespension’s production and office headquarters moved to its current 160,000 sq ft facility in Bolton, Lancashire. However, such was the company’s growth that an additional manufacturing factory was required


Tow bars & trailer systems Indespension

in its current form, we’re never going to stand still; to do so would be in complete opposition the ethos that has enabled our manufacturing successes.” For example, the company’s website is only three years old, but has been changed once already — with phase two of its most recent facelift currently being implemented.” “We are not resting on our laurels by any means,” says Singleton. “Especially given the current climate, Indespension is considering every opportunity and avenue to further the business — however ‘trivial’ or unrelated to manufacturing it may seem.”

A family affair What with its rise from garage project to best of breed trailer manufacturer, it should come as no surprise to learn that Indepension continues to both update and diversify its

Especially given the current climate, Indespension is considering every opportunity and avenue to further the business — however ‘trivial’ or unrelated to manufacturing it may seem

for finished trailer assembly. “As with our primary site, we have invested heavily in cutting-edge technology to ensure that the business remains world class in its manufacturing processes,” says Singleton. “By way of example, hydraulic lifts and railings were installed for the trailer builders — at a cost of £500,000. These machines largely eliminate the need for assemblers to move within the shop floor, as each operative has his or her own manufacturing bay within which to work. As such, our operations can be described as cellular, ensuring optimum efficiency in all that we do.”

The brand experience Together with its numerous machining advances, Indepension simultaneously undertook a complete company rebranding, beginning in 2006. Having considered the original brand at length — from trailer decals to brochures, staff uniforms, and signage — a number of issues became immediately apparent. Says Singleton: “There were too many disparate components of our branding, and we thus drew it together under a single, uniform banner.” He continues: “While we are delighted with the company branding

product range in order to remain ahead of the chasing pack. For example, the company has recently developed a new car transporter, the unveiling of which will be at the Autosport International motor show — held in January 2010 at the NEC. Coupled with its production of a diverse range of trailers and related products, Indespension is also the largest tow bar fitting company in Britain. Given that it doesn’t manufacture such devices, however, the company has opened depots in Carlisle and Penrith as scale versions of its existing store model — designed to increase area coverage for the motoring population. Due to their success, Singleton reports that the business is currently looking at several more sites within the UK, thus enabling complete geographical exposure. In spite of economic conditions that have left many despondent in the face of shrinking order books, these remain, says Singleton, exciting times for Indespension. “The company understands that there is no one secret to our achievements. Consequently, we consider each aspect of our business as central to any continuing progress — product range; price; service experience; reliability; and organisational attitude. It is our unwavering attention to each of the above that ensures we retain a loyal customer base; one we would be foolish to take for granted.” Ultimately, he says, Indespension is, and has been since its inception, a traditional family firm — albeit one which has realised considerable success. Says Singleton: “As such, there is very much a collegiate feel to our business, and employees remain with us precisely because they feel part of a family. Taken with the company’s continually refining our operational processes, it is this dedication to employee engagement which has positioned Indespension as an undisputed leader in our sector.” end


Recycling? Problem Solvent Consolidating its market lead while enforcing best environmental practice is all in a day’s work for Solvent Resource Management Limited (SRM). As Tim Brown discovered from operations director, Tony Walmsley and commercial director, Richard Butcher.


are used in

industries including chemical, pharmaceutical, agro-chemical, printers, paint production and in everyday items such as paint, cosmetics or cleaners. The solvent market has changed dramatically over the past two decades. Infamous chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were once the overwhelming solvent choice for many market segments. Today, there are heavy restrictions on CFCs and chlorinated solvent use due to environmental concerns including ozone depletion. Over the same period, waste minimisation and sustainability have become everyday parlance and the waste hierarchy has become enshrined in environmental legislation. Solvent recycling is very much in tune with achieving such aims and meeting these directives. UK based Solvent Resource Management Limited (SRM) operates one such solvent recycling business. As one of the largest organic waste material recyclers in Europe, SRM processes nearly 400,000 tonnes each year, employs over 300 people on seven sites and has an annual turnover of approaching £40 million.


“Our biggest product line is solvent recovery,” says Walmsley, “which involves taking in waste solvents and recovering them back to solvents that can be sold and re-used within the market as equivalent or similar to virgin products.” The company has developed rapidly over recent years through organic growth and strategic acquisition. One sign of this is the development of its European activity and SRM now employs multi-lingual agents in all the main markets in Europe. It is committed to providing customers with a specialised waste management service in the chemical and waste-to-energy markets in which it operates. It handles material in any quantities and has the capacity to handle entire shiploads. SRM treats waste in accordance with the European waste hierarchy and recycles or disposes of it by the best practicable environmental option. The company is committed to respecting and protecting the environment and preventing pollution. In doing so its activities are covered by an environmental management system certified to the requirements of ISO 14001. Impressively, the environmental advantages of engaging in solvent recycling are matched by the commercial reward. According to Butcher: “The main drivers for companies using us, as well as wanting to be environmentally friendly, is the commercial benefit. As in, they can get paid for the waste rather than having to pay to dispose of it and then we can unlock the value within that some cases up to several thousand pounds per ton.” The recycling method encompasses a distilling process which relies on the different boiling points of the waste

Crganic recycling SRM

components to separate the different end products. According to Walmsley, the process is extremely effective and solvents can be returned to market in near virgin state for almost indefinite re-use. “Very often there is more than just one solvent component in the waste stream that can be recycled. The distillation process separates individual components which can either be returned to the originator or sold on the open market. We can recycle many different solvents including alcohols, hydrocarbons, acetones, acetates as well as more exotic chemicals such as tetrahydrofuran (THF), dimethylformamide (DMF), pyridine and acetic acid.” As part of Heidelberg Cement, the worldwide building materials group, SRM has access to a valuable international network of expertise and experience. SRM’s customer service centre is based at Morecambe in Lancashire. From here it co-ordinates operations for its sites in Morecambe, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, Knottingley in West Yorkshire, Rye in East Sussex and Ketton in Rutland. It is this connection with the cement industry that provides the second major element of SRM’s business model. The manufacture of cement and lime is very energy intensive. SRM is able to use the organic waste from its solvent recycling process to create an alternative energy substitute for use in cement and lime kilns. The substitute fuel, called Cemfuel, replaces the need to burn coal and in some cases has achieved a reduction in emissions. Not only is there an environmental benefit but in the same way as with the solvent recycling, there is also an economic benefit as the Cemfuel is a cheaper energy source than coal. The company also incorporates two further products. Profuel is another alternative fuel for cement kilns which is made from paper and plastic predominantly from municipal inputs. Companies take municipal waste, treat it, sort it and if it can’t be directly recycled, SRM can convert it into another calorific substitute alternative fuel. SRM’s sister company, MRM, runs their Alternative Raw Material program which takes minerals and inorganic materials and re-cycle them as alternative raw materials within the cement industry.

It is without a doubt that SRM’s active continual improvement program has contributed to their holistic and highly successful approach to recycling. Part of the continual development and improvement in the business is demonstrably as a result of their project based approach to problem solving and the well organised project reviewing process. “Everybody is actively engaged in a continuous improvement effort,” says Butcher. “This includes top to bottom regular reviews across all operational areas of the business and all active projects are reviewed quarterly by the board of directors. Furthermore, our CI approach has been successfully adapted to meet the needs of our customers through the introduction of Stream Improvement Plans (SIPS) with many of them.” As an environmentally sensitive and economically sensible operation, SRM demonstrates the kind of initiative that will be vital as the world moves towards a low carbon economy. By focusing on the needs of a particular niche market, SRM have developed an effective means of contributing both to the effective operation of industries producing organic waste while also providing an effective alternative fuel for the cement industry. The company’s rapid growth is testament to its market comprehension and its future outlook is promising as the organic waste and alternative fuel markets grow and the company’s capabilities continue to expand. end





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Putting all our energies into one name.

Broadfern acquired EIC in 2007, creating a strong market leader in the UK energy consultancy sector. Since then, we’ve been very busy strengthening our operations and beefing up our service offering. In short, we’ve been working out how we can serve our clients even better. So, from November 2009, we’re putting all our energies into one name to become ‘EIC – The Energy Experts’. Hardly a drastic change, but something designed to further enhance the high levels of service our clients have come to expect from EIC. No pain but so much to gain, you could say. If you’d like to know more about the changes or how our services can benefit you, simply call 01527 511 757, or email us at ‘EIC’ is the trading name for ‘EIC Limited’ and ‘EIC Energy Trading Limited.’ EIC Energy Trading Limited is an appointed representative of Sturgeon Ventures who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). December 2009 Vol 12 Issue11


Best in

class The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2009

Leadership and strategy

Using KPIs to improve internal comms

Sustainable manufacturing

The true cost of environmental compliance

World class manufacturing Overall Equipment Effectiveness


,)6³7+(*/2%$/(17(535,6($33/,&$7,216&203$1< Desember 2009 Vol 12 Issue 11


Interview Allan Cook

Farewell to Cobham

The Manufacturer - December Edition 2009  
The Manufacturer - December Edition 2009  

The Manufacturer Magazine December 2009