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Three inspirational days that could transform your business May 2009 Vol 12 Issue 4

The UK/US Shingo Summit provides operational and enterprise leaders with three days of hands-on workshops, best practice factory tours, hard-hitting presentations and inspirational speakers from both sides of the Atlantic. Whether you are lean enlightened or a lean beginner, you will witness the ʻhowʼ and ʻwhyʼ of those making exceptional gains in operational excellence – businesses that are turning todayʼs economic challenges into productivity and profit.

Winds of

Discover how to take lean beyond the shop-floor and into the whole enterprise – from the boardroom to the back office. Learn about the underlying principles behind The Shingo Prize philosophy and approach, regarded as ʻThe Nobel Prizeʼ for operational excellence and internationally recognised as the blueprint for lean transformation.

Steven Spear, Ph.D.

Max Brown

Author of ‘Chasing the Rabbit’ and ’Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System’

Speaker ‘Carrot Philosophy’

Norman Bodek

John Bicheno

Author of numerous lean books and articles on the Toyota Production System

Author of ‘The New Lean Toolbox’

Robert D. Miller

Drew Locher

Senior Lecturer Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Director O.C. Tanner Company

President PCS Inc.

Can renewables energize British industry?

Senior Research Fellow Lean Enterprise Research Centre, Cardiff Business School

Executive Director, The Shingo Prize, Utah State University

Principal Change Management Associates Author of ‘The Complete Lean Enterprise – Value Stream Mapping for Office and Administratice Processes’

Jerry M. Wright, P.E.

Professor Peter Hines

Vice President, Lean and Enterprise Excellence DJO, LLC

Chairman Lean Enterprise Research Centre Author of ‘Staying Lean’

Lead story

Shingo Prize recipient

Green economy needs green skills

Design and innovation University links with industry

Supply chain

Freight forwarding economics May 2009 Vol 12 Issue 4

Best practice factory tours include:







Melanie Leech Director General, Food and Drink Federation

C a he of t ll f ld he or o Y en in n N ear trie sid ov A s e em wa : Th fo b rd e rm e s M or r 12 200 an e 9 u in in L ar fac fo o e tu rm nd be re at on in r io . g n Se e

Manchester skyline photo courtesy of MEN Media

Source of Supply Doing more to help business use less.

Our Account Managers do fantastic things to cut energy costs for manufacturing.



&INDOUTMOREATpoweringefďŹ or call 0845 076 3655 today.

Editor’s comment

A green light for industry This year’s Budget was eagerly anticipated, in the same way one might look forward to watching a good horror film. But there will be relief that the rate of capital allowances for purchases over £50,000 was doubled to 40%, albeit for just 12 months – a sign that government is listening to the real needs of industry. As accountants BDO Stoy Hayward point out, however, the Budget “missed a vital opportunity” to help small businesses raise scarce equity finance by not relaxing rules on the type of company eligible for the Enterprise Investment Scheme. Did the Budget do enough for your company? We’d like to hear your views. New technologies, like biosciences and plastics engineering, were given a Budget boost through the £750m Strategic Innovation fund. And there was £525m to get several offshore wind farms, that were floundering in the Doldrums, back on track. Industry has the potential to benefit so much from the renewable energy sector but few British manufacturers will benefit directly from offshore wind turbine contracts. Our piece on page 68 points to the crushing inertia of policymakers to support domestic wind turbine manufacturing while Germany and Denmark capitalised on a clear long term government strategy. Danish firm Vestas plans to close its Isle of Wight manufacturing base, blaming red tape and a lack of UK demand, a humiliating decision coming so soon after what was hailed as a green Budget. But the future of renewable manufacturing could be bright — the British Wind Energy Association’s report, Powering a green economy, presents a compelling case for jobs and thriving exports in renewables if the UK can realise its potential and invest in it. Therein lies the rub. A green economy will need green engineering skills. Lord Bhattacharyya of Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) articulates the opportunities for manufacturing in a modern economy crafted around low carbon energy solutions on page. He calls for a “green New Deal”, which could provide 400,000 green jobs, many in manufacturing. But the skills gap is wide and deep — currently over a third of core STEM (science, tech, engineering and maths) graduates go into nonengineering jobs. The clock is ticking for up-skilling the UK for a green economy, but organisations like IMechE, National Skills Academy and WMG who are working hard at it need a proper long term strategy to assess the scale of the job. Will Stirling – Editor

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

Project Director – Matt Chilton Sales Manager – Jane Larcombe

Associate Editors Becky Done

Mark Young


Chief Executive Officer

Nick Hussey


Assistant Designer – Alex Cole

Henry Anson

Matt Chilton


Art Editor – Martin Mitchell

Sales Director

Claire Woollard

Britannia House 45-53 Prince of Wales Road Norwich, NR1 1BL T +44 (0)1603 671300 F + 44 (0)1603 618758 ISSN 1477-3201 ‘The Manufacturer’ is registered with the Audit Bureau of Circulations ABC application approved 16/05/08. Copyright © SayOne Media 2008.


News and features 04 News

Manufacturing news

10 Manufacturing appointments

Find out who’s heading where in manufacturing

13 Just Jones

Lean summer reading

Dan Jones recommends his top lean books to take you through the summer

15 Economics

Have the courage of your convictions

Steve Radley looks ahead to the upturn and asks how we can prepare

16 Interview

FDF gives government food for thought

TM talks to Food and Drink Federation director-general Melanie Leech about the future of food and drink manufacturing in the UK, skills, and the environment

20 Lead story

Green skills for a greener economy

Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya explores the challenges facing UK manufacturing from climate change

25 Special feature

BDO Stoy Hayward

Worthy of support – Tom Lawton calls for more support for manufacturers

26 Leadership and strategy

Let’s talk about communication

Ruari McCallion asks how manufacturers can manage their internal and external communications

30 Design and innovation

A more than academic symbiosis

Ruari McCallion examines how collaborating with a university could work for your company

36 Special feature

Currency risk: minimising exposure to the weak pound

Mark Deans of Moneycorp looks at the risks of playing the exchange game

38 World class manufacturing

Metrology training measures up

Tom Ashby of the National Physical Laboratory looks at the measures manufacturers can take to make the most of the recession

41 Special feature

Kingston Smith LLP

A summary of the Budget 2009


Contents People, skills and productivity 42

Flexible working prompts payroll investment

Matt Wheeler of Stanley Security Solutions looks at how flexible working affects your payroll management

Employee of the month 45

Gary Jones, Atomic Weapons Establishment

IT in manufacturing 48 Personnel analysis

Investing in a new payroll and HR system can deliver multiple benefits for your business, says Chris pope

Pointing out the difference – 54 planning and scheduling

TM asks Mike Novells of Preactor International to outline the difference between planning and scheduling

Supply chain and logistics 58

Curbing costs on the long haul

Purvinder Tesse of FCL UK looks at how manufacturers can minimise their logistics costs

Logistics and supply chain report summary 63 Find out all about this year’s report

Operations and maintenance 64 Outsourced and on site

Ian Ritchie of Brammer looks at how outsourced maintenance stores can deliver benefits to manufacturers

Sustainable manufacturing 68

Blown away – can wind energize British industry? In this first part of a three part series, Will Stirling looks at renewable energy manufacturing

Appointments 90

Latest jobs in manufacturing

Manufacturinginaction Factory of the month TSC Foods 74 Constant innovation and an emphasis on superior service are key factors for success at TSC Foods, as Becky Done finds out

Seating systems – TS Tech 81 Security units – Ultra Secure Products 84 Food and beverage – Pinneys of Scotland 86 Packaging – Benson Group 88


Newsinbrief Chemical giant BASF has revealed Q1 net profits were down to €375m – a 68% fall – and revenues were down to €12.2bn, a decline of 23%.Historically low demand for both plastics and chemicals owing to production cuts at manufacturing plants worldwide was blamed for the slump. BASF’s Asian, European and North American sales fell by 34%, 26% and 21% respectively. The German company said it plans to make 2,000 of its 97,000 global employees redundant.

Eurofer, a group representing steel heavyweights ArcelorMittal, ThyssenKrupp, Corus Group and others warned steel demand will be down by half in the first six months of 2009. It said heavy contraction in the car, construction and machinery industries is taking its toll as demand is falling and steel users have the supplies they need stock-piled already. Corus announced in January that it was cutting 2,500 jobs in the UK alone. The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed 69,903 vehicles came off UK car production lines in March — a 52.1% drop on the figures this time last year. Car production for the Q1 2009 was down 57.4% in total with the total figure reported as 205,305. Commercial vehicles have suffered the biggest decline in production, falling 57.1% in March. Exports make up roughly four out of five vehicle sales in the UK so far this year. Consultancy firm Deloitte has singled out manufacturing as the industry to lead the UK out of recession, despite a difficult start in 2009 for the sector. The firm predicted in its latest Economic Review that manufacturing’s contribution to the economy could rise from 11% to 13% while it thinks financial services could fall from 8% to 5%. A weakened pound and low confidence in financial industries has primed manufacturing for resurgence, Deloitte said. A Spanish pharmaceutical firm has opened a new London office in order to continue its assault on the UK market. Almirall, which has its main headquarters in Barcelona, opened its new offices at Stockley Park, near Heathrow Airport, last week. It will be home to 50 staff. The company plans to expand its main product portfolio, dermatological medicine, in the UK. Almirall has market presence in 70 countries. In 2007 turned over €793m.

The Budget 2009 – green, new technology winners but no easing of Enterprise Investment scheme Alistair Darling announced a £750m investment fund for emerging technologies and £525m new support for building offshore wind farms on April 22 in a Budget dominated by eye-watering public borrowing figures. Amid the headline debt figures the key measures for manufacturers included £405m of state funding to assist green manufacturing projects. It also included £500m of extra finance to help the construction industry build more homes and complete unfinished works. The Chancellor promised £260m of money to help young people acquire more skills and training, which will benefit the manufacturing sector. The £750m Strategic Innovation fund for its ‘New Industry, New Jobs’ programme is aimed at preparing Britain for the global economic recovery by investing in business in key new technologies including low carbon business, life sciences and communications technologies. Among the smaller measures was a £2,000 discount from May on cars bought where the owner scraps another car more than 10 years old to encourage new car purchases.

Other key measures of the Budget for manufacturers: Capital allowance for investment doubled to 40% All people under the age of 25 and out of work for a year to be offered training or a job £405m new funding to encourage low carbon manufacturing and green energy Statutory redundancy pay up to £380pw from £350 Commitment to cut carbon emissions by 34% by 2020 Loss making companies to get tax on profits from last three years



David Brookes, a tax partner at accountants BDO Stoy Hayward LLP, said the Chancellor “has missed a vital opportunity” to help small businesses raise increasingly scarce equity finance by not relaxing the rules on the type of company that can benefit from the Enterprise Investment Scheme. “This is a missed opportunity,” he said. “Companies can only raise £2million a year from venture capital schemes, and have to have less than 50 employees. These restrictions are certainly hindering investment in medium sized companies and the Chancellor should have taken a more robust position on the EU State Aid rules behind them and removed the £2million limit and increased the employee limit from 50 to 250.

Nissan takes scrappage scheme further Nissan has extended the government’s £2,000 trade-in scheme to eight year old cars when one of the firm’s British made models is bought. Under government’s recently announced scheme, a car over 10 years old, registered with its current owner for 12 months or more and with a current MOT certificate can be scrapped for a £2000 discount on the purchase of a new car. The discount is made up through £1000 from government and £1000 from the manufacturer.

ManufacturingNews Nissan staff go voluntarily Nissan has announced that it has managed to secure all 1,200 redundancies at its Sunderland plant on a voluntary basis. This expels the need for compulsory lay-offs, the firm assured. Nissan first announced it would be making 1,200 employees redundant in January in what it called a “rightsizing programme”. “I believe we have managed the situation in the best way possible by placing a priority on minimising the impact rightsizing has had on our employees and their families,” said Trevor Mann, Nissan’s senior vice president for manufacturing in Europe. But the company is not yet out of the woods while low demand for new cars persists globally. Mann said the automotive firm “remains ready to take further action if needed to protect the company.”

Chrysler files for Chapter 11 Chrysler, the third biggest car manufacturer in the US, was to planning to file for bankruptcy as this issue was going to press. A small number of creditors had delayed the process for several days, withstanding pressure from the Obama administration to write off billions of dollars in debt. On April 30, US government officials confirmed negotiations had broken down with hedge funds and investment funds that are owed $6.9bn by the Illinois-based one time national champion, which employs 59,000 people and owns brands including Dodge and Jeep. Obama had set a deadline of the end of April for Chrysler to come up with a way to secure its future. Failure to do so means that Chrysler will be put into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, placing its future in the hands of a bankruptcy judge.

BAE Systems cuts 500 jobs BAE Systems is axing 500 jobs and shutting three of its UK factories. The cuts are partly due to reduced British military activity in Iraq. Plants in Telford, Leeds and Guildford will all close by the end of the year. Unions have signalled expressed their disapproval of the move and have requested urgent talks with management. Tim Roche, the GMB’s regional secretary for Yorkshire, told the BBC: “This is of course another indication of the state of the economy which the Government needs to get a grip of. “GMB will be seeking an urgent meeting with BAE to find the full extent of the problem and to see what can be done to safeguard GMB members’ jobs.” The cuts came on April 30, when British forces formally end combat operations in Iraq, after the military campaign that has lasted six years.

Newsinbrief The 2009 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise winners have been announced with manufacturing taking a customary dominant position. This year Her Majesty awarded 135 companies for International Trade, 49 for Innovation and 10 for Sustainable Development. Different factions of multi-engineering firm AESSEAL were represented in all three categories. Its Co Antrim mechanical seals manufacturing plant was awarded the Innovation and International Trade awards while its Rotherham-based environmental technology facility was recognised in the Sustainable branch. Other winners of the International Trade Award include JCB, Leyland Trucks, Nissan’s Sunderland plant, Nisa International and PPI Engineering of Norwich. Innovation winners included Renishaw for its OMP400 ultra-compact strain gauge spindle probe; Smartstak for its load handling system which eliminates breakages when transporting glass bottles; and CGC Technology Ltd for its design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of satellite tracking systems. Sustainable Development accolades went to Green Building Store, Boss Design Limited and Shotton Paper among others. Winners/2009.html

UK manufacturers are experiencing their worst level of demand in 30 years and have ground production to a halt as a result, according to the CBI Industrial Trends Survey for the first three months of 2009. Sixty per cent of firms reported a fall in the volume of new orders compared with the previous quarter, and 13% reporting an increase. The resulting balance of -47% is the lowest since 1980. Both domestic (-52%) and exports (-39%) orders contributed to the fall.

The areas of Britain where traditional manufacturing is most prevalent are among the hardest hit in terms of job losses now that the recession has hit its steepest gradient, according to the Office of National Statistics. Birmingham, Sheffield, Hull and Glasgow — whose economies still rely to a large extent on manufacturing — were in the top 10 list of cities where the number of unemployment benefit claimants has risen. ONS figures for the year to February show Birmingham with the biggest increase; 7.3% (45,657) of eligible people who are now claiming benefits compared with 3.3% (33,274) a year before.


Newsinbrief The British Wind Energy Association has launched a report on the wind, wave and tidal sector’s contribution to a low carbon economy: Powering a Green Economy. It sets out the action needed in the Budget to release an immediate £10bn of private sector investment, £2.5bn of which would be spent direct in the UK on installation and construction work, providing an immediate stimulus to the UK economy and pave the way setting up the creation of a £65bn wind and marine energy sector by 2020. pdf/publications/Powering%20a%20 Green%20Economy.pdf

Barclays has declared it will lend UK businesses an extra £5.5bn this year. The bank has also committed to increase its lending to individuals by the same amount, making £11bn available in total. The extra lending constitutes a 6% rise on the 2008 total, which itself was a 12% rise on the previous year. “We want to do our part in getting credit to customers,” said Barclays chief executive John Varley. Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and GlaxoSmithkline have merged their respective divisions that develop drugs to treat HIV to create a new, separate company.The new company will have a 19%, £1.6bn global market share in HIV and AIDS medication. The as yet unnamed new unit will be 85-15 weighted in favour of GSK in terms of ownership.

Running out of gas Troubled British van maker LDV has filed for administration after a proposed management buyout of the firm collapsed. Government has confirmed it will not bail out the West Midlands based automotive firm but it reiterated there would be “a range of government support” available if the company survives. Up to 850 UK jobs are at risk and a further 6,000 in danger in the supply chain. “The pressure of the unprecedented global downturn, coupled with the actions of a small number of suppliers, has caused the position of LDV to deteriorate to the point where LDV has been left with no alternative than to apply for administration,” said a spokesman for LDV. The application is due to be processed on May 6 and talks with one potential investor, a Malaysian firm that would reportedly keep production here in Britain, are not thought to be likely to be

£5bn credit insurance top-up Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has launched a scheme to provide £5bn of additional trade credit insurance. The scheme is for businesses who have suffered reductions in their level of cover. It will be delivered as part of the Working Capital Scheme and will help mitigate the cash flow constraints

Aquamarine Power, a leading global wave energy company based in , announced successful test results from its Oyster® wave energy converter. The device has now produced and exported electricity to the grid at the New and Renewable Energy Centre near Newcastle, for the first time. The output from a single pumping cylinder delivered over 170kW of electricity proving that a full scale device, with two pumping cylinders, will deliver well in excess of the modeled output of 350kW.


completed before that date. LDV, owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, had a bid for £4-5m of public money in bridging loans rejected by government in March. That was to tie the company over until a management buy out by members of LDV’s parent company, Deripaska’s GAZ Group, and then help the company secure further funding from the European Investment Bank thereafter.

The Manufacturer Awards 2009 are being held on November 12 in London. For further information please contact Alexis Catchpole on either 01603 671303 or a.catchpole@

caused by the withdrawal of trade credit insurance cover and constraints on the provision of working capital that this withdrawal has created. From May 1 to December 31 this year, UK businesses will be able to purchase six months’ ‘top-up’ insurance from the Government if credit limits on their UK customers are reduced. The qualifying window will be backdated to include any reductions since April 1. The scheme comes in response to growing concern from businesses across all sectors of the economy that reductions in the value of insurance cover create pressure on suppliers to shorten payment terms, and can place additional pressure on businesses’ working capital facilities. “This scheme will provide a much needed breathing space for businesses suffering because of the reduction in trade credit insurance,” said Mandelson. “We will not prop up bad businesses or take unacceptably high risks, but will provide targeted support,” he added.

ManufacturingNews Blow out for Vestas The UK’s only wind turbine manufacturing plant will almost certainly close, barely a week after government put renewable energy at the forefront of its 2009 Budget. Danish company Vestas, the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer, has said it plans to cut investment at its Newport, Isle of Wight facility, having previously planned to expand its operations there. The extension would have seen the site cater for British orders — currently it exports blades to the USA — but Vestas said the UK market has “dropped significantly” since last summer. The firm said the Newport plant will cease manufacturing in June, unless new developments

ensue, taken to mean a significant government backed order for onshore turbines, meaning around 600 jobs will be lost, leaving only 150 R&D employees. “The UK has large wind resources and it’s a priority for the government but the orders didn’t move,” said Ditlev Engel, Vestas chief executive. “That’s why we’re telling employees that we’re not reinvesting there.” Vestas said it will reconsider its plans if the measures announced in last week’s budget stimulates enough new orders. However, it blamed lengthy bureaucratic holdups in British planning permission for delaying onshore projects and turning investors away.

Go to page 68 for this month’s lead article on sustainable manufacturing

Government unveils new way for industry Government has unveiled a new industrial strategy, titled “Building Britain’s Future - New Industry, New Jobs”. Lord Mandelson, business secretary, said the report addresses a world economy which will “double in size” when the downturn is reversed. “Global competition is getting tougher and technological change is happening faster,” he said. “We can’t afford to stand back as other countries invest and skill-up to win in highvalue markets and sectors.” The main areas the report concerns itself with are innovation, skills, finance, infrastructure and trade. It suggests capital support for high growth, high innovation, small and medium sized businesses and more support for exporters by enhancing the role of UK Trade

and Investment and the Export Credits Guarantee Department. Government says it will increase its emphasis on skills gaps and providers as well as low-carbon opportunities and wants to build the Technology Strategy Board up so it can further support bringing innovative ideas into reality. The report also highlighted key areas that Britain has major presence in which Whitehall should focus its attentions on. They included pharmaceuticals, aerospace, nuclear, life-sciences and plastic electronics. “To succeed in this hi-tech, low carbon economy of the future, to drive growth and to secure more high-value jobs in the UK, we need to act. It’s not about picking winners or ignoring market signals but removing barriers which hold business back,” added Mandelson.

Newsinbrief The best way government can aid manufacturing is to cut unnecessary legislation, according to the president of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Ross Warburton, speaking at the FDF’s annual dinner, said superfluous levels of red tape “ultimately undermines the UK’s attractiveness as a place in which to invest in manufacturing.” He said it was essential that government commits to shelving any new regulation or quasi-regulation for the food and drink sector. Workers at the United Biscuits factory in Liverpool began a petition last month against the firm’s plans to move 170 jobs to India. Debbie Brannan, a regional officer for the union Unite, said: “United Biscuits is owned by private equity firms Blackstone and PIA whose only motive is profit. It is the hard-working staff who have made this company profitable.” A mechanical engineering company has sold its engineering department to a rival company after falling into administration, saving 50 jobs. The division of Taylor and Sons, based in Cardiff and Port Talbot, which specialises in bridges, river engineering, flood defences, marina gates, piers and other marine work, has been bought by fellow Welsh firm TEMA Engineering. The companies’ engineering departments will now be merged. Precision engineering firm Renishaw has announced that up to 320 jobs will go from its four plants in Gloucestershire as part of a 440 strong global lay-off. There will definitely be 308 redundancies in the region and possibly a further 12 but the company said it does hope to reemploy some of these staff when its fortunes turn around. Renishaw employs 1,500 people in Gloucestershire. Frozen food manufacturers are emerging as uncustomary winners of the economic malaise, according to consumer research for the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Research firm Inside Track reporting to the FDF’s Frozen Food Group and found 80% of people value frozen food because of its storage and convenience benefits while 75% said they thought quality has improved. Overall, 49% of those questioned cited frozen food as something which would help them through the recession.


News Apprenticeship scheme takes off The new National Apprenticeship Service which will be in charge of the funding and delivery of all Apprenticeships in England has been officially unveiled. NAS will be overseen by the Learning and Skills Council and will combine the roles that the LSC and the National Employer Service have carried out with regards to apprenticeships up until now. Skills and Apprenticeship Minister, Lord Young, said at the launch: “The National Apprenticeship Service is testament to the Government’s

commitment to ensuring the future of our nation’s skills. Government has continually reiterated its view that apprenticeships offer the best chance to fill expected skills gaps that will hit production industries when an aging workforce begins to retire mid next decade. In January, Gordon Brown announced he will take measures to enable a further 35,000 apprenticeship starts this year, bringing the total number to 260,000. NAS is the organisation tasked with seeing that happen.

Energy costs fall provides some respite Manufacturers’ energy bills plummeted in the first three months of 2009, according to BDO Stoy Hayward’s Quarterly Manufacturing Energy Tracker. Falls were registered in electricity, natural gas and Brent Crude. Electricity costs, at an average of £47 per MWh, were at their lowest since the tail end of 2007. The figure constitutes a 25% fall

Go to page 25 for Tom Lawton’s views on why Government must support manufacturing

year-on-year and a 37% drop on Q4 2008 costs. Brent Crude fell to an average of $47 during the quarter and is now 53% down compared to the same period last year. Natural gas is down 18% year-on-year. Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing at the business advice consultancy, said: “As manufacturers are some of most energy intensive businesses in the UK, this reduction in key energy costs should come as welcome relief to the recession hit sector. .... the fall in energy prices provides the sort of positive news manufacturers need.”

New edition of key lean reference The Lean Toolbox is widely acknowledged to be a seminal textbook on lean thinking and tools, one of its main strengths being its reader-friendly style. Designed to make lean accessible for practitioners at all levels, the book covers every element of lean, laying out the individual lean tools and then linking them together, ready for the reader to apply in practice. Easy references and pointers towards additional resources

make the book a comprehensive, up-to-date and indispensible reference on lean. Published in December 2008, the revised 4th edition sees Matthias Holweg of Judge Business School at Cambridge University team up with the book’s original author, John Bicheno. The book features a comprehensive lean chronology, which serves to illustrate just how far lean continues to evolve and change. An key textbook for anyone involved with, or interested in, lean.

Datesfor yourdiary May 19 Sustainability LIVE is being held at the NEC in Birmingham. Further information can be found at: 19 BWEA Connect is being held at the Aberdeen Douglas Hotel, starting at 6:00pm. Further information can be found at: 19 Secure the Future. Dr Eli Goldratt will present a one day seminar at the Institute of Directors, giving tips on how to eradicate problems arising from the global economic crisis. Further information can be found at

21 The Manufacturing Directors’ Forum Dinner is being held at The

Lowry Hotel, Chapel Wharf, Salford and is sponsored by Yorkshire Bank. For further details contact:

21 Free Manufacturing Advisory Service manufacturers’ networking

breakfast in Accrington. Call 0161 872 0393 for more information, or visit

June 8-11 UK/US Summit 2009, being held by MAS in Manchester introducing the Shingo Prize. Call 0161 872 0393 for more information, or visit: 9-11 Subcon is being held at the NEC in Birmingham. For further information can be found at: 15-21 The Paris Air Show is being held at Le Bourget Exhibition Centre in Paris. Further information can be found via

16 The third annual BWEA Cymru 09 event is being held at the Holland House

Hotel in Cardiff. Further information can be found at:

17 & 18 The 12th annual North West Manufacturing Exhibition is being held at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton. Further information can be found at


UK Appointments Volvo Peter Horbury

Volvo has appointed Peter Horbury as its new vice president of design. He will assume responsibility for the division of product design within Volvo Cars. He will also lead the next stage of the development of Volvo Cars’ design language. Horbury has more than two decades of expertise, counting posts with Ford and the Premier Automotive Group among his previous jobs.

National Skills Academy Ian Thomson

Ian Thomson has been appointed chairman of the bakery steering group at the National Skills Academy (NSA). He has been tasked with developing new industry training courses developed by the NSA for food and drink manufacturing. The steering group works alongside the NSA bakery network, a group of learning providers that specialise in training for the bakery industry.

Barclays Commercial Bank Graeme Allinson

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Richard Carter

Sandy Wilkie, sales and marketing director at Robert Wiseman Dairies, has been appointed chairman of The Dairy Council. Wilkie is also chairman of the European Dairy Association’s liquid milk committee, chairman of the Milk Marketing Forum and a director of the Royal Highland Agricultural Society of Scotland. Bus and coach manufacturer Optare has announced the appointment of Jim Sumner as chief executive officer with effect from June 1, 2009. Sumner, who leaves Leyland Trucks to join Optare, has a strong track record of operations management and business development, with over 20 years’ experience within the commercial vehicle, engineering and FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) sectors. Brammer UK, a leading distributor of industrial MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) products and services has further expanded its marketing team by appointing Jason Currall to the new position of marketing development manager. Currall has extensive marketing and channel management experience gained across a range of organisations in many sectors.


Barclays Commercial Bank announces the appointment of Graeme Allinson as Head of Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics. He will be responsible for coordinating the delivery of corporate banking to UK manufacturing, transport and logistics companies. Prior to his new role, Allinson spent the last four years looking after the London based manufacturing Richard Carter has joined Rolls-Royce Motor Cars as director of global communications. He joins from BMW. He will be based at the company’s head office and manufacturing plant at Goodwood and will have responsibility for the brand’s global communications strategy. Before his 11 years’ service with BMW, Carter held a number of positions including serving as presidential press secretary to South African ex-President F.W. de Klerk during transition to full democracy in 1994.

James Perkins has joined international technical outsourcing specialists Qcom as business development director. Perkins, previously sales director at Ingram Micro UK, brings with him more than a decade of new business experience internationally and across the supply chain. TT electronics, a leading provider of electronic design and manufacturing services, has appointed John Bran to vice president, global business development. Bran will be responsible for designing and executing sales strategies across the company’s five global manufacturing sites in the United Kingdom, North America and Asia. Jungheinrich Ltd has appointed Alan Kirk as product sales manager. Alan has recently returned to the UK from Australia, where he held senior positions with a number of global manufacturers. Simon Bolton has joined Sheffield-based supply chain innovator Loadhog as a key accounts manager. Bolton has spent 20 years of his career in plastic materials handling roles, most recently with Schoeller Arca.

ManufacturingAppointments Siemens Automation and Drive Technologies has appointed a new regional sales manager in the East Midlands area, specialising in mechanical drives. Ian Steer’s remit covers the area from Northampton to the Humber in East Yorkshire. Steer previously worked for BSL Brammer and other drive-related companies covering the entire drive train. Eric J. Lewis, chief executive officer of Staffordshire-based precision engineering group Doncasters Group has announced his retirement. He will be succeeded by Bill Ellis, who joined the group as chief operating officer in November 2008. Lewis will remain on Doncasters’ board as a nonexecutive director. Ellis previously held positions at Textron Fluid and General Electric. Business improvement specialist Freshbaked Business has appointed Don Carr as a business improvement assessor. Carr joins the team with over 30 years’ experience in engineering and lean manufacturing.

The Transport Innovation Network (iNet) is driving forward innovations among businesses and research organisations in a variety of sectors, with the appointment of three new team members. Georgette Hall has over two decades of manufacturing experience spanning academia, industry and publicly funded projects in the automotive sector and is an innovation advisor, along with James Reeves. Carol Wright brings a wealth of postgraduate administrative experience and will be the programme administrator. Braby, a manufacturer of stainless steel and aluminium silos, has welcomed two new employees. Richard Larcombe joins as a product sales engineer, focusing on the South East market in the UK, whilst Martin Geukes has become the company’s European sales agent and will be based in the Netherlands. ACW Technology, a contract electronics manufacturer, has made two senior appointments to its sales team. Jim Davies joins as business development manager and Simon Cruddace as international sales director.

International Appointments Innospec Patrick Williams

Royal Haskoning Erik Oostwegel

Innospec has announced the appointment of Patrick Williams as president and chief executive officer, with immediate effect. Williams has been executive vice president and president of fuel specialties with the corporation since 2005. In addition to this role, he also assumed responsibility for the active chemicals business in 2008. Royal Haskoning has appointed Erik Oostwegel to the board of management with effect from May 2009. Oostwegel has been promoted to the role from director of industrial installations and joins the board of management as director of Koninklijke Haskoning Groep B.V. Oostwegel has been with the company since 1992 and has been the driving force behind the successful development of the Industrial Installations division.

Sony Ericsson has announced that Anderson Teixeira, currently head of its Western Europe region, is appointed president of Sony Ericsson US and head of the North America region, effective from June 1, 2009. Kristian Tear will succeed Teixeira as head of the Western Europe region effective from the same date and will be based in Munich, Germany.

Todd Newton has been appointed to the positions of senior vice president and chief financial officer at Arthrocare. Newton previously served in various executive officer roles at Synenco Energy including president and chief executive officer. Prior to this, Newton was in various roles at Deloitte & Touche LLP, including as partner.

Bodo Uebber, Daimler AG’s chief financial officer, is set to become the new chairman for European aerospace group EADS NV. Mr. Uebber, who has been member of the EADS Board of Directors since 2007, has succeeded Rüdiger Grube.

Unilever Ireland has appointed Conor Kilduff as its new managing director, replacing Ronald Drieduite, who will step down from the role next month. Kilduff will be responsible for developing Unilever’s strategy in Ireland. Kilduff began his career with CPC Foods in 1987, and went on to work across several divisions of the company.

Software developer Epicor has appointed Michael Pietrini as chief financial officer and executive vice president. Pietrini has worked for the enterprise business software company for 14 years and was most recently senior vice president of sales and operations for the Americas region.

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



JustJones Lean summer reading


many years ago Koichi Shimokawa and Takahiro Fujimoto, two leading Japanese academic experts on lean, conducted a series of unique interviews with Taiichi Ohno and his colleagues about the original experiments that led to the Toyota Production System. They are finally available in English in The Birth of Lean. Toshiro Norusawa and John Shook have collected some of the original training material used by Toyota in the original Japanese and English translation in Kaizen Express. It would be very good to compare this with the lean training material being used in your organisation. Jeff Liker has done us all a great service by writing down the current Toyota management practice in his most recent book, Toyota Culture. And Satoshi Hino, a very astute Toyota watcher who worked for many years at Mazda, gives a really interesting view of what lies Inside the Mind of Toyota. Particularly fascinating are his observations on how Toyota brought together the lean knowledge developed by Ohno and others and the knowledge about quality they learnt from Deming. Toyota’s synthesis of the two still makes them the reference model for both lean and quality. Learning about Toyota is one thing – working out what it all means for our own management systems is another. When John Shook worked for Toyota he discovered that Ohno based his training material on the Training Within Industry material developed for the US government during World War II to teach newcomers, often women, to replace factory workers who had gone off to fight. Jeff Liker tells the story on Toyota Talent, but it is really worth reading the original material. This is now available in Donald A Dinero, Training within Industry, and the accompanying TWI Workbook by Patrick Graupp and Robert J Wrona. Ohno saw how this combination of learning and doing in bite sized chunks was the most effective way for people to learn how to do lean. Ironically most US firms ignored this material after the war, which lay hidden for many years. Probably the most insightful building block of lean management is the use of the A3 process to teach managers how to think about the right things in the right way. Durwood Sobek and Art Smalley’s describe this tool in detail in Understanding A3 Thinking. While John Shook’s Managing to Learn walks through the use of this process from both the teacher and the

In the last year or two we have learnt more and more about what makes Toyota’s lean management system so successful. The emerging literature grows by the day and it is hard to keep up with it all. Someone asked me the other day what are the best books to read on lean management this summer. This is my list.

pupils’ perspective. As you read this tale you begin to understand how powerful and transformative this tool is for changing the way we manage. This tool is taught to every manager joining Toyota and forms the framework for every planning and problem solving activity. One of the biggest challenges at the top of any organisation is to prioritise the vital few things the organisation needs to focus on and then to engage in a dialogue down the organisation to translate these plans into actions. Two excellent books describe how you can use policy or strategy deployment in your organisation are Thomas L Jackson’s Hoshin Kanri for the Lean Enterprise and Pascal Dennis’s Getting the Right Things Done.

of the biggest challenges “One at the top of any organisation is to prioritise the vital few things the organisation needs to focus on and then to engage in a dialogue down the organisation to translate these plans into actions

Dan Jones, founder and chairman of the Lean Enterprise Academy Email:

If all this is a bit heavy going and your team learns best from telling stories then I still think The Gold Mine is the best lean novel around. Michael Balle’s sequel called The Lean Manager ought to be on everybody’s reading list this summer. Give it to your team to read on holiday and then use it for your study group when you get back. Finally healthcare is one of the most active areas of lean at the moment. Follow the early steps of one of the pioneering lean hospitals in David Fillingham’s Lean Healthcare and follow how a top management team transforms their hospital in our own new lean workbook by Marc Baker and Ian Taylor called Making Hospitals Work. That should keep you busy for a while. Happy reading. end

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Economics Have the courage of your convictions


increase in capital allowances announced in last month’s Budget was therefore welcome. At the same time, it was disappointing that the government failed to build on the major efforts that manufacturers are making to hang on to skilled workers by introducing support for companies with employees on short-time working. Yet, while most Budget speeches are soon forgotten, the launch a few days before of a new approach to working with industry could prove to be really significant to manufacturers. Providing, that is, that it delivers on its promises and such an approach survives a potential change of government.

Renewable wake-up call

Looking through the launch document, ‘New Industry, New Jobs’ there is little in the way of new policy announcements save for a few consultations and the promise of more detail to come soon. But importantly, it contains a number of admissions that the past overreliance on financial markets has failed and left the UK behind its competitors in industrial output. For example, it states that the Government ‘s role ‘needs to change to deliver a more coherent and effective approach… through more policy consistency across departments, greater regulatory certainty, smarter public procurement and a readiness to intervene where necessary.’ It also admits that countries like Germany and Denmark have forged ahead of us in the field of renewable energy because of their clear incentives to produce and use renewable energy and government action to support research and development. There is also recognition that the Government invests less in R&D than our competitors. What does this mean in practice? A number of areas for action and reform are identified, including innovation, skills, finance and infrastructure. In particular, the Government will look at how best to meet the long term capital needs of SMEs. There is also much talk of using the Government’s £175bn annual procurement spending to foster innovation and support the creation of new markets. There is also a commitment to identify the role that the government should play in several growing manufacturing industries. These include low carbon aircraft engines and wings, the shift from metals to composite materials, the growing role of renewable and biological substances in chemical manufacture and developing plastic electronics technology. Alongside this, the Government will develop an action plan to take advantage of the opportunities presented by an ageing society.

Can it deliver?

The key question is whether government will be able to deliver on these promises. Our history in this area and the timing of this new approach suggests that this will be an immense challenge. Though the new approach appears more sophisticated than industrial policies from past decades, it will be important to learn the lessons from failed attempts to ‘pick winners’. Our lack of recent experience in this area compared with our partners in Europe is also concerning. But perhaps the biggest worry centres on whether the UK can really get the machinery of government working in a new way. This will involve getting an inherently cautious public sector to take a new approach to risk. Achieving such a culture change at a time when economic uncertainty is more likely to be pushing civil servants towards the cautious corner will not be easy. It is vital that the Government recognises the size of this challenge and makes sure that it draws on the experience of the private sector.

the biggest worry centres on “Perhaps whether the UK can really get the machinery of government working in a new way

Steve Radley, chief economist, EEF

Despite some evidence that the pace of decline in the economy is slowing, only a very brave or foolish person would claim to see the recovery just around the corner. Yet it is important for companies to start looking towards the upturn now and ensure that UK manufacturing is well prepared to take advantage of it.

The dire state of the public finances will also inevitably constrain the Government’s ability to provide more financial support for industry. Though the Government can achieve a good deal by being more strategic and joined up, it cannot escape from the fact that supporting new technologies is expensive. In addition, the Government could easily undermine any improvements in the UK’s standing as a place to do business if it pushes through large rises in business taxation to claw back public borrowing, or if it bows to public pressure for tighter regulation of employers. The Government must therefore match its new more active approach to working with industry with a renewed effort to make the public sector more efficient. Despite these concerns, the Government’s admission that its current approach is not working is welcome and the ideas it sets out are promising. We need to spend the next few months discussing how to put flesh on these bones rather than fretting about the economy sinking back into recession. end

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FDF gives government food for thought The food and drink sector is the biggest sector of manufacturing in the UK, but it has been overlooked by government, the press and career-seekers in favour of more headline-making sectors of manufacturing like automotive, aerospace and pharmaceuticals.


Interview Melanie Leech


Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is a non-profit trade association and the voice of the UK food and drink industry. It has several functions, chief of which is to lobby government on behalf of its food and drink industry members. Its membership comprises manufacturers of all sizes as well as trade organisations and groups dealing with specific sectors of the industry. The Manufacturer asked FDF’s director-general, Melanie Leech, how she hoped the 2009 Budget would benefit the food and drink industry, about energy, the environment, skills and the industry as a career choice, bureaucracy and food security.

Food and drink (F&D) is the biggest sector in UK manufacturing; FDF says it accounts for 14% of total manufacturing output. Has this proportion changed recently and what do you attribute the change to? We are a very stable part of the manufacturing landscape. To put that 14% in context, this sector has a turnover of £72.6bn and gross value added of £21.6bn. The industry employs some 440,000 people. There has been consolidation in the industry so we’re tending to move towards some large groupings of companies. The sector as a whole is dominated by a few very big companies then a host of perhaps 8,000 SMEs down to micro enterprises. But the sector has been stable.

What is the food and drink industry hoping for from the Budget? The biggest single thing we’d like is for government to acknowledge the strategic importance of the food and drink industry. We have not felt that we’ve had that in recent years, when the Government has talked about manufacturing and the key sectors of the UK economy. As the biggest sector in UK manufacturing we don’t think that’s right and, particularly with food security so high on the agenda, the Government can take the opportunity on Budget day to

make a very clear statement about the importance of food and drink manufacturing to the country and to the economy. That’s important because of the signal it sends to investors in food companies and the management of those companies, giving them confidence to continue to invest in UK production over other parts of the world, its important for private equity investors seeing a stable, growing and confident area to which to invest and its important to bring people into the industry because we need to get bright young talent into the industry and one of the best ways to do that is for them to see clearly that this is a sector that is valued by the government and that they can have confidence will make a career for them.

So has the F&D sector been somewhat neglected by government policy in preference for, for example, somewhat more glamorous areas of manufacturing such as advanced engineering? It is undoubtedly true that the sector has been overlooked and when the Government published its manufacturing last year, there was barely a reference to F&D manufacturing in it. If you look at the document that Gordon Brown published in April, New Industry, New Jobs, there’s a lot of talk about manufacturing in that but no reference to food and drink manufacturing, so I think government has missed a trick there.

Investment direction: Is more investment needed in F&D manufacturing to make it leaner, more competitive and to offer and make use of more appropriate skills? The strengths of the industry are in innovation, not only in process innovations but in product innovation, and in marketing — we have a huge talent in marketing expertise in the UK. So across the board we are a high value added sector that has expertise that competes globally, across all the different aspects of manufacturing. So if the Government wants to have an industry for the future, it needs to give us the incentives to continue to attract enough expertise and excellence to the UK.

Environment: in your recent pre-Budget submission, you concur with the expectation of a green Budget, and you highlighted FDF’s Five-fold Environmental Ambition. What is this and how could a stimulus package support it? We came together as a membership [around 200 UK food and drink companies] almost 18 months ago to commit to making a real difference to the environment through our fivefold environmental ambitions, which are: reducing carbon dioxide emissions; reducing water use in our processes; reducing food and packaging waste in our factories and aiming to send zero to landfill by 2015; reducing the amount of packaging reaching households and fewer and friendlier food transport miles. We set out to make a difference across the whole environmental impact of the industry. When we reported back last autumn, we had very encouraging results. For example, we had reduced our


CO2 emissions by 17% [across our membership], against 1990 levels. We found that 82% of food and packaging waste at factories was being reused or recovered, and not reaching landfill. We’re working hard to reduce the remaining 18% even further. But to say that actually four fifths already is not going to landfill and is being recycled is actually a very significant achievement.

Energy and waste: is the greater imperative for companies in your industry to reduce wastage and carbon emissions for environmental reasons, or is the driver more about economising, given the recession? It has to be both. The leadership of our member companies is very aware of the environmental impact F&D manufacturing has, and of their responsibilities to do what they can to mitigate those impacts. What is good for the environment is in many cases good for the bottom line too — for example, we administer a climate change levy agreement on behalf of the F&D sector, and those companies have saved around £14m a year.

Biography Melanie Leech

Provide other examples of F&D companies using alternative energy facilities and what is stopping more companies from using them? There are two main factors stopping them, one is simply that the facilities have to be there. We are working closely with the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme, NISP, and WRAP [Waste & Resources Action Programme] to match the availability of the infrastructure to the corporate appetite to use it. We hope to have a map on one hand of where plants will be created, and on the other where the waste is arising that can be diverted to that process. Government has to provide and invest in the infrastructure to take the waste, then for some companies they will need incentives to be able to take those facilities up in the short-term because of cash flow problems, so they’ll need some help to get there. Industry will get there on it’s own over time but in order to accelerate the pace we need targeted investment that will help companies to take those long term investment decisions on a shorter time scale than it would otherwise be able to do.

Pre 1988:

Police constable in Metropolitan Police Service

Govt help might be in the form of targeted subsidies, or adjustments to the planning or tax systems.


Joins civil service. Worked in a variety of departments including HM Customs and Excise, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Office of the Rail Regulator.

Skills: Does the food and drink industry need to “up-skill” its workforce? What is the most effective method of doing this; that is, which skills bodies and training schemes offer the F&D industry the most effective training?


Seconded as executive director of the Association of Police Authorities. Following this, returned to the Cabinet Office as director of communications.

We work very closely with the sector skills council for food and drink manufacturing, Improve. It has done a lot of work over the last 3-4 years to map the skills needs for the sector and match that to the availability of the right courses and training — we’ve supported them very closely through that. They are part of the skills alliance that work with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) on skills for manufacturing, through their Insight to Manufacturing Programme and their Manufacturing for the Future programme, which is about trying to attract talent into manufacturing generally; but we want a slice of that for F&D manufacturing.

August 2005: Director General of the Food and Drink Federation. Melanie is a Trustee of the Carnegie UK Trust and a Governor of St Margaret’s CE Primary School, Angmering.


When you consider the times we are now in and the pressure on companies, it’s harder to make those investment decisions where they have a long payback, which is why we appealed in our pre-Budget submission about providing incentives and enabling companies to continue to make that investment. For example, if you look at one of the case studies on our environmental ambition, McCain, they have invested £15m on a four to five year pay back period, to put things such as wind turbines on site, they’re investing in an anaerobic digestion facility and they’ve got a combined heat and power facility. They were able to make that investment at the time they planned to, but it would be tougher for them to make that decision with confidence in the current economic climate. And other companies, large or small but particularly smaller companies, will struggle to make those investment decisions with long payback periods when they’re focused on survival.

Calling for entries: Have you achieved best of class in the Food & Beverage sector? This specific food and beverage industry award will go to a company or plant — whether it be an OEM or a supplier — that is able to demonstrate tangible benefits from focusing attention on the key pillars of manufacturing excellence.

We’re also involved in the less highly qualified end of the spectrum, working through initiatives like championing the new diploma in food manufacturing and product design which we introduced this year. That is a very important piece of the jigsaw of trying to attract people at all levels in all the different kinds of roles, because it is a very diverse career choice and there are a very diverse set of jobs available.

Is it difficult attracting qualified people into your industry? We have been successful attracting good quality people in the health and wellbeing side and the work we’ve done to invest in healthier products, we’re leading the world in that. And we’re leading the world in areas such as marketing. So we have been very successful in promoting the UK as a centre of excellence. But you have to put up against that the research that we did with Improve last year that shows that around 25% of food science jobs in the UK are vacant. You can see that we do have a problem of attracting the talent of the future into the industry and that needs to change if the UK is going to maintain its position.

Where does the FD stand on Train to Gain and the amount of paperwork involved in this initiative? Its one of the things we’ve highlighted as a very quick and easy thing for government to make a real difference for our smaller members in particular, to take an axe to bureaucracy, and I absolutely hear and understand our members’ bureaucracy grievances. This is a very highly regulated sector and that’s absolutely right and

enter at

Best food or beverage company award

proper, particularly regarding food safety. But we’re also burdened continuously by new regulation, quasiregulation and voluntary targets that we’re being asked to sign up to. We can’t do that and maintain a healthy and vibrant industry in the downturn, so our Budget submission had a moratorium on more regulation.

Is food security the biggest global challenge to the F&D industry? It has to be for the planet. People are still working towards what food security really means. What it doesn’t mean is self-sufficiency, but it does mean the ability to maximize and use resources efficiently. Its playing to your strengths effectively, so partly about maximizing food production where that’s environmentally sustainable and the right thing to do but also about open and flexible world markets, about global sourcing, the environmental and social impact — a very complex and rich mix, but it has to be high up the agenda and it certainly is for the companies we represent. Nobody has seriously floated self-sufficiency as a likely model for the UK. The debate is much more about what we have to do globally to make sure that we can feed the planet. Looking to 2050 and a doubled population, and food production going up by 50%, there’s enough challenge there for everybody to have a part to play in that. end

For further information about FDF’s Five-fold Environmental Ambition, visit: http://www.fdf. For a video link to this interview, go to:


Green skills for a

greener economy

Writing exclusively for The Manufacturer following a lecturer to members of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing (The Skills Academy), Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya KB CBE, director and founder of Warwick Manufacturing Group, outlines his view of the challenges facing manufacturers as the UK faces up to climate change.


Leadstory The

challenge of climate change has produced a convergence of political priorities, economic needs and the hope of scientific breakthrough that gives us a once in a lifetime opportunity to put engineering at the heart of what it is to be British, using engineering and manufacturing to grow the economy and transform our workforce. In a recent speech the Prime Minister compared the scientific challenge of creating a green economy to that of sending a man to the moon. Just last week, reporting on the Government’s latest green initiative, The Independent called it a new “industrial revolution.” These are useful comparisons. Yet the challenge of reducing the carbon imprint of our entire economy is far bigger than the space programme.

At the degree level, only around 13% of graduates leave university with the most valuable science, technology, engineering or maths degrees. This needs to rise to at least a quarter if the UK is to match the growth in jobs ministers have talked about. We must put building engineering skills at the heart of our environmental strategy.

Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya has published extensively in the field of manufacturing and acts as an adviser to many companies in the UK and overseas. In 2003 he was awarded a Knighthood for services to higher education and industry and was elevated to the Lords in 2004.

The Committee on Climate Change has set out the level of change we need to make in the next decade. It proposes that UK greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by 21% compared to 2005. Last month, the Tyndall Centre at Manchester University published a response saying that this target would not keep global temperature rises below two degrees celsius. If you say you plan to lose a third of your body weight, and your wife then tells you that’s not going to be enough, you know that’s there’s going to be a tough few months ahead.

Bob Gibbon, managing director, National Skills Academy for Manufacturing (right) and Lord Bhattacharyya of Warwick Manufacturing Group signing the memorandum of understanding between the two organisations.

Meanwhile the CBI has pointed out that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 120 million tonnes over the next eleven years. So in the next decade we must double the rate of emissions reductions we achieved with the dash for gas, the decline of British manufacturing, the end of coal mining and all the improvements in environmental technology across areas like adipic acid emissions.

Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) was founded by Lord Bhattacharyya in 1980 at the University of Warwick and provides a wide variety of undergraduate, postgraduate and post-experience education and training.

So when you try to list the manufacturing sector skill sets that will be needed to reduce carbon emissions, it is easier and simpler just to say “All of them”. To stand a chance of meeting these targets, engineers must lead the way. Today, we are a long way from where we need to be.

Recently the WMG signed a memorandum of understanding with the Skills Academy that will see the two organisations pool their collective knowledge in skills development for the benefit of UK manufacturing. The Skills Academy is continually developing and implementing leading edge practices that enable work-based learning to achieve its full potential. The lecture delivered by Lord Bhattacharyya on Tuesday April 21 at the IMechE headquarters in Birdcage Walk, London, also reflected the Skills Academy’s aim of working in partnership with organisations that share a commitment to ensuring that the UK manufacturing industry has the necessary skills to meet future challenges and maintain its position as a world leader in innovation. For further information about the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing, please visit


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Image courtesy of ULVAC. Autodesk, Autodesk Inventor and Inventor are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc. in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at anytime without notice and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document. © 2009 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.

We need new Brunels, new Bazalgettes, new Armstrongs and new Lucases – and since our world is now global, we will need to recruit the skills and inspirations of new Kalams and An Wangs too.

Only by working together

Companies should see this as a great opportunity, rather than tiresome bureaucracy and an extra tax burden. We need to recruit, train and educate a small army of green minded engineers to lead the changes we need in businesses and corporations. To achieve all this we need a compact between government, industry and academia. Government must provide better science education in schools and a stronger vocational skills system at NVQ levels 2 and 3 while making careers in Industry more accessible. We need an immediate programme of funded graduate internships in areas such as low carbon vehicles, aerospace, electricity generation and material technology.

Calling for entries: Has your SME agility and vision created its own niche market? The UK’s manufacturing sector is one of the most efficient, nimble and innovative in the world. Some of the best exponents of innovative design and rapid manufacture, based around lean and agile processes, are small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). For too long these silent heroes of UK manufacturing have been unrecognised. The SME Manufacturer of the Year Award will identify those SME organisations that have delivered remarkable performance and results.

need an immediate “ Weprogramme of funded

Next, government must transform its attitude to applied technology. The Technology Strategy Board has a budget of £700 million over three years. I believe it needs to be £1 billion a year if we are to see a real transformation in applied environmental research in this country. The Japanese Government recently announced an extra £10 billion pound (¥1.6tr) investment in environment technologies. We need to be thinking in that scale. Of course, government cannot bear this burden alone. Business must join with them. If British manufacturing companies do not invest in research in exciting new technologies, companies overseas will. If British manufacturing companies do not offer good reward packages to graduates and talented workers, they will work for companies that do. British companies should adopt silicon valley style reward packages for top engineers, giving those who create value a stake in the businesses they build. If British companies do not invest in the skills of their workers, we know companies in China, India, Brazil and South Africa will develop the skills of theirs.

If the Government must offer core STEM education throughout peoples lives, then business must offer workers the chance to learn the skills they need to succeed. If we do all this, then British companies in sectors from aerospace, nuclear, automotive and engine technologies, to batteries, renewables and construction will be able to build both the technologies to drive green growth and the skilled workforce to fuel that expansion.

when you try to list the “So manufacturing sector skill sets that will be needed to reduce carbon emissions, it is easier and simpler just to say “All of them”

graduate internships in areas such as low carbon vehicles, aerospace, electricity generation and material technology

enter at

SME Manufacturer of the Year award

Many observers think this is daunting task. Can we meet the challenge ahead? In the words of the new American president: “Yes, We Can”. end

If you wish to comment on this article, please contact: and CC To contact the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing: Tel Nicole Green 0121 329 1970 or email


Corporate statement BDO Stoy Hayward LLP

Worthy of support Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing at BDO Stoy Hayward LLP, accountants and business advisers, says that it is imperative for government to support manufacturing when it is under such pressure.


manufacturers, the final months of 2008 proved to be some of the most difficult on record. Ongoing surveys and our discussions with clients suggest that in general the first quarter was little better. Businesses and consumers globally have switched from spending to saving as the labour market deteriorates, finances are squeezed and these cuts in spending, combined with a huge focus on inventory downsizing, have resulted in a massive reduction in manufacturing activity and production. It is no surprise that increasing numbers of manufacturing companies have failed through a combination of rapidly declining sales and a lack of credit. Unfortunately our expectations are that failures will continue in high numbers through 2009 and 2010. Until recent weeks it had seemed that analysts and forecasters were becoming ever more pessimistic about the economic outlook. From a UK perspective they were predicting negative growth and, perhaps more importantly, signalling that unemployment would continue increasing towards the three million mark. However, recent economic data has shown a slightly more positive, albeit still difficult, position than expected and there does appear to be a new optimism in markets globally and in the UK. There has been recent talk that we may have seen the end of the worst of the recession and are now starting our slow climb back to normality. Some commentators have even suggested that manufacturing will be one of the leaders in taking the UK out of the recession.

Stronger evidence needed

they need with the right skills, continuing to invest in the latest equipment where they can, optimising and safeguarding their supply chains and considering where growth markets will be when the upturn comes. We are aware that many manufacturing companies are looking at innovative strategies to achieve this positioning.

Credit schemes found wanting

This crisis has rightly emphasised the importance of manufacturing to the UK economy and the Government appears to have recognised this and has promised its support through several different initiatives. However, manufacturers continue to tell us that these initiatives do not seem to be working in practice and are not actually feeding through the various systems put in place to get the help and support through to the companies that need help. The lack of access to credit has been at the core of this crisis for manufacturers, yet many months in to the crisis our clients and contacts continue to tell us that they have not been able to access support from the many initiatives offered. The rhetoric has been excellent. But what manufacturing needs is some focused, workable, timely and even imaginative help from the Government This article was completed shortly after the publication of the Chancellor’s Budget statement on April 22 2009 and this statement will be considered in detail elsewhere in this month’s edition of The Manufacturer. Overall given the state of public finances it was pleasing to see some positive steps being taken to support business and manufacturing but it will be important that the credit insurance and vehicle scrapping schemes are implemented in a way that makes them effective.

We hope that this change in sentiment actually does mark a change in the underlying economy, but we are concerned that there are many factors that suggest that optimism at this stage may be premature. Until we see more evidence of a sustained upturn, and more evidence that the Manufacturers are expecting orders and output to deteriorate sharply Government really understands how to help Percentage balance of change in next three months the manufacturing sector on a sustained and practical basis, we will continue to suggest that manufacturers are likely to go through an extremely difficult period this year — and will need to stay absolutely focused on the basics to ensure survival. Our research indicates that manufacturers have already factored in a very difficult next 12 months and consider that any sustained recovery will not take place until 2010 at the earliest. The positive news from this is that manufacturers are taking the right actions now to enable them to survive, and safeguarding the increasingly competitive and global position they had before the recession struck. That will mean ensuring they have the workforce

Source: EEF Business Trends Survey / BDO Stoy Hayward Manufacturing Monitor

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In a digital age, with the reality of instant communications bringing even police procedure under immediate and intense scrutiny, how does a modern company control its internal and external messages? Ruari McCallion plugs himself in.


ain’t what you say, it’s the way you decide to say it, to paraphrase the song. Corporate communications are instant and their audience is vast, voracious and demanding, whether press and media, shareholders or consumers and the public at large. Messages do not just come from official channels either. Newspapers and broadcast media are forever looking for bad news stories, that disgruntled employees or other sources may be willing to give them, even if their motives are not strictly malicious. It looks like it must be impossible to control communications, so should one invest valuable time and resources even trying? The consensus is probably yes, even if it may seem like a Canute exercise. “Internal communications are becoming more important, particularly as people form opinions of organisations by the vibes they get from those they meet who work


Leadership and strategy

Comms boost Bentley’s output

That last point has often been made by companies that have successfully implemented Lean transformations, effectively managed change and otherwise delivered business improvement. Bentley Motors, in Crewe, invested a lot of time in preparing the ground for the implementation of the Bentley Production System (BPS), within which continuous improvement is integral. The associates, i.e. employees, are involved in generating ideas for improvement — the final layout of the assembly hall wasn’t exactly what the BPS steering team had in mind but if it had ignored every one of the 4,000 suggestions that emerged in the first 18 months of the process, enthusiasm would soon have waned. As it is, Bentley employees continue to exude passion and zeal for their work, according to the company. And the result of the improvement drive was an increase in output from fewer than 1,000 cars a year to over 9,000. It could be more but the company uses the additional time available to look for and implement further improvement opportunities. Communication is a two-way process and people appreciate being listened to. The converse is also the case: if they are not listened to, then suggestions will dry up and opportunities for improvement will wane.

How, then, to best communicate internally?

There are two considerations: ongoing activities and management of big changes. The classic method is by e-newsletter and, broadly speaking, this can be quite effective. News like which employee has done something special, a significant contract, achievements within particular divisions or product lines. Employees like reading about themselves and hearing about colleagues’ successes. But this can be overdone: a weekly company newsletter can quickly find its way into the ‘round file’, unless the company’s activities are so diverse and inspiring there is enough to fill a news issue every week. The message is: let people know when there is something of interest, rather than the ‘same old, same old’. A good example of overkill is the Daily Mirror, when Robert Maxwell owned it; the more exposure given to him, the more the sales figures fell.

Get it on the board

One contract catering organisation issued a newsletter every time it opened one of its new-style workplace restaurants. It featured interviews and profiles of key staff, including their successes in competitions, and background on the client company. It helped to build a momentum that the change in business — and it was big, from running purely functional canteens to ‘food court’ offers — was happening, that it was successful and was helping to attract custom. Similar campaigns have worked with Lean projects and ERP implementation.

Information about change is a relatively easy sell but how important are communications in the day-to-day humdrum round of work? Vital, some companies would claim. Boards, visible data display, team targets and planned progress are all part of the information menu. They help people know and understand where they are and how they are performing. Management can see in a moment if there is a problem and the workforce can see quickly what is being done about it. That raises the other side – if nobody can be bothered to respond, the reporting will fall into disrepute. BAE Systems Submarine Solutions achieved some remarkable results, in terms of cutting work times, through discussing new ideas, implementing them and using visual management boards to both manage and to communicate. British Gypsum too have had measurable success by providing more key information on the factory floor, as East Leake site manager, Darren Wilson, explains:

a recession, “Inwhen people are worried about their jobs, clear [internal] communication about the company’s future is Annie Noble, Noble Ink vital to ensure that staff buy in and stick with you

there,” says Annie Noble, founder and principal of Noble Ink, which specialises in B2B communications. “Getting your staff ‘on message’ is key. And in a recession, when people are worried about their jobs, clear communication about the company’s future is vital to ensure that staff buy in and stick with you.”

“Visualisation forms a massive part of the World Class Manufacturing programme at British Gypsum. From Policy Deployment to the use of images and symbols on machinery to aid autonomous maintenance, it encompasses everything we do and has proved to be highly effective in terms of ensuring British Gypsum and Saint-Gobain Gypsum strategic objectives are understood and successfully met.” “In terms of Continuous Improvement projects, performance data from across the business is analysed to provide graphical representation illustrating the biggest opportunities for improvement,” he adds. “The correct tools for tackling losses are identified and action plans are transferred to activity boards in relevant areas across the site. These boards provide clear reference points to ensure everyone involved, from director to shop floor operator, knows exactly what is required of them at all times.” Effective communications turn your own employees into valuable evangelists for the organisation, whether it is simply to endorse ‘a good place to work’ or putting over the company’s side in a crisis, for example. This is where internal and external communications structures overlap, and where the decision on whether to use internal or third-party communications organisations is focused.


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Open evening 24th June

MSc in Manufacturing Leadership Are you destined to make it to the top in manufacturing? You have the ability, the vision and the drive. Now give yourself an edge. The MSc in Manufacturing Leadership is designed to develop your leadership qualities and provide the essential knowledge and understanding you need to champion enterprise, advance wealth generation capacity and to develop and sustain a successful business. Starting in January 2010, this two and a half year part-time programme is delivered through a combination of web-based core learning, taught workshops and action learning sets and involves just 15 off-site days per year. The MSc is awarded by Lancaster University Management School, a triple-accredited, world-ranked management school, consistently among the UK’s top five. For an invitation to the open evening on 24th June visit: or call 0161 872 0393


We are seeking manufacturing’s most capable, ambitious and aspiring individuals to embark on this challenging programme. Are you up to the challenge? For one student who has recently completed the MSc, Steve Crossman of HMG Paints, the benefits to both himself and the business was summed up by his Managing Director: “It’s nothing to do with the qualification but it’s EVERYTHING to do with your development and the knowledge and ideas that you bring back into HMG Paints”

Going public

“PR is both a conduit and a damp blanket,” says Noble at Noble Ink. “It’s a great channel to get your key messages across if you get your strategy and tactics right but it’s also a vital channel to use in a crisis, as long as you communicate carefully.” However, for too many companies, careful can equate to ‘deny everything’, which is a foolish strategy in a crisis. Before, during and after sorting out the actual problem, communicating your solution and progress effectively to staff, customers and the outside world is vital. “PR is one of the things good crisis managers cater for,” Andrew Masterson, of commercial lawyers Pinsent

Andrew Masterson, Pinsent Mason LLP

one of the things good “ PR iscrisis managers cater for

Masons LLP says, when discussing crises. “They will identify what will be said in certain circumstances, and what to say.” Communication may be necessary to fulfil legal obligations and it will help to reassure the wider community that the problem is under control. Perception of failure to manage a crisis effectively is a quick way of losing trust and confidence and effective communications are, to the outside world, how you are managing the situation: the medium becomes the message. For an example of good and bad, look no further than drinks company Perrier, when the benzene problem was initially denied and then followed with the brilliant ‘Helleau’ advertising campaign. But public relations is not just about crisis management. It has a vital role to play in communicating the company’s message, managing information and determining reaction. Journalists (like your author) can find PR agencies both invaluable sources of information and infuriating obstructions when they want to get probing questions answered quickly and accurately. Some companies (including, perhaps especially, the big names) are so much into control of their communications that they don’t want to be mentioned in the media at all, without their permission. Even quoting publicly available information has been known to raise objections. That is plain daft and gives the impression of paranoia, which surely should not be the intention. Wanting to manage the message is one thing and acceptable as part of ‘the game’ of communications, but total control is neither feasible nor desirable. Not feasible because journalists will, in the end, write what they wish, and even quote ‘no comment’ or ‘they were unavailable for comment’, if that is appropriate. A few such references in an article, or a history of this, and the company concerned can begin to look foolish — as did the Government, when the BBC’s Newsnight programme tried to get a response to an ongoing issue and showed an empty chair, night after night, until someone came along to fill it. Failure to respond does not show control, it demonstrates a lack of it.

Calling for entries: Does your company have a properly constituted & communicated corporate strategy?

This award will go to the manufacturing company or plant that, in the opinion of the judges, best demonstrates the value of inspirational leadership and a properly constituted and communicated corporate strategy. This might, for example, mean recognising and embracing a need for change and providing the kind of leadership and discipline required to implement the change and recognise it as a continuous process.

enter at

Leadership and strategy award

In-house or external?

Which works better, external PR agencies or internal departments? The internal department is part of the company and can be trusted explicitly to transmit the message their senior management desire. An external agency is not part of the organisation. At its most base, their loyalty is for hire but it is more fair to perceive it as dispassionate and more able to give a lateral view – even, if they have the freedom or courage, to provide advice and direction that is against the prevailing thinking. That advice can be invaluable and can give a refreshing dose of reality. “My approach with any new client is this: what are you trying to say, who are you trying to say it to and what are the best ways of reaching these people, with those messages, within the budget you have available,” Noble says. “Then you need to think about whether the message you are trying to get across is actually viably communicated by whichever method you’re thinking about. For example, these days straight product launches aren’t as easy to communicate via the press, particularly in the b2b world.” This is a valid point. PR is not advertising and journals are rarely going to be as excited about a new widget as the company will be – it has to be newsworthy. The relationship between publications and companies is symbiotic: both need each other. But neither is the master. The more that is understood, the better the relationship will be and the more effective the company’s communications strategy becomes. end

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A more than academic

symbiosis Collaboration between universities and manufacturing is vital to both innovation and development of processes and products. Ruari McCallion finds that both sides are getting better at it.


was a time when the gap between places of academic learning and the realities of manufacturing industry looked more like a gulf than a mere difference in location. This was, in a way, strange, because several British universities were established either with money from industry or with its support and encouragement. The universities of Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham are three examples. Imperial College, London, was always a science-oriented university. But at some point, something got lost and relations between academe and industry were characterised by misunderstandings and cultural differences that led to frustration on both sides. All the more paradoxical, then, that the UK’s seats of learning looked across the Atlantic with envy at the large bursaries and endowments enjoyed by their American counterparts, riches that come from business and industry. It was never the case that relations disappeared completely. Penicillin came from academic research, for example. More recently, Nurofen was created at the University of Nottingham, whose graduate and former professor, Sir Peter Mansfield, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2003 for his work on magnetic resonance


Design and innovation

imaging. DNA profiling was invented by Prof Sir Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester. However, while breakthrough discoveries and innovations grab the occasional headline, much more — and, arguably, much more valuable — work goes on in a more routine and ordinary way every day in educational facilities across the country, helping companies to gain, maintain or enhance competitive advantage.

An Open solution

System), an e-learning platform that makes up-todate information on employment legislation available to all staff in an easily accessible format, provides full control over content and enables delivery of specific training. An award-winning project undertaken by one of Derby’s students helped improve the management of maintenance, and shutdown periods in particular. The university has also worked with Heinz, Bosch, JCB, and sweet manufacturer Swizzels Matlow with administering food manufacturing NVQ training for its staff.

“For us, one of the important things is that we stick to doing what we’re good at doing,” says Paul Jerram, development manager for e2v. Based in Chelmsford, it is one of the world’s leading imaging and optical companies. It has been involved with the Centre for Electronic Imaging at the Open University’s Milton Keynes campus since mid-2008. “The OU people are academics and able to look at things longer term, where our ability is restricted because of commercial pressures. For example, our ability to look longer term at, for example, the physics of imaging under radiation, is limited. The idea of this joint venture is to work on problems like these in an academic environment.” So why go into partnership with the Open University, all of whose undergraduate students are distance learners?

“The feedback we have received about outsourced training via the university has been terrific because our staff are able to speak with fellow students from similar industries and bounce ideas off each other,” says Tony Salt, training and development manager at Swizzels Matlow. “In-house training does work to a certain level but it can become costly and can often be difficult to find the right provider.” The ability to oversee the content of the courses is a major attraction. “This gives us confidence that the course material is useful and worthy for our employees and allows me to put my own slant on things so that systems and procedures specific to Swizzels Matlow can be included in the learning programme.”

“The OU has a lot of postgraduate students on-site,” Jerram said. ”What we’re part-funding is basic research into image devices and applications thereof. You don’t need undergraduates to do that and it means that the staff don’t have the distractions of teaching, lecturing and so on. OU has a good and growing reputation for research in this area. Its Planetary & Space Science Research Institute is famous for its involvement in the Beagle project. We expect good and growing synergies in this area.”

specific projects were undertaken “Ten last year and there are eight this year.

Sweet success of commercial tie-ups

There is a growing body of successful examples of partnerships and collaboration around the country. Microsoft’s research centre at Cambridge University is one, Boeing’s involvement with the University of Nottingham is another. The University of Derby has completed a number of projects with Rolls-Royce, including the development of ISS (Intelligent Shell

Benny Tjajhono, Cranfield University

Jerram emphasises the importance of recognising both side’s strengths and weaknesses. There is also the need for either side to understand the other. An academic research institute is not going to come up with a groundbreaking product in time for the next sales cycle, in six months. From the academic side, the pressures of the commercial world have to be understood. One source revealed several embarrassing details about a project that fell into disaster. The university was confident it could do the job but the first thing they did was go away on holiday, where there was no contact for three months. After two years, the whole thing was abandoned. That kind of experience used to be uncomfortably common; to say they have disappeared completely today would be unrealistic. The important thing is for each side to understand the other, their culture, expectations and ideas of delivery and to clarify everything up front.

The focus is very much on industry involvement and exposure — students come here to get that experience

The University of Manchester partners with The Manufacturing Institute to provide help with lean manufacturing, and the University of Cardiff School of Business Lean Enterprise Institute has been delivering lean training and education for some years. Bristol University is offering postgraduate courses in partnership with Airbus UK, one being on the dynamics of aircraft landing gear and shimmy oscillation. AWE, the nuclear weapons manufacturer, at Aldermaston and the University of Reading offer a studentship on ‘transition effects in an adaptively refined ALE (arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian method)’, which may sound esoteric but is rooted in practical need. Universities all over the UK take part in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, a formal scheme which involve student placement at partner organisations, whether for business improvement or some specific technical projects (see Arrested development? in TM March 2009). Liverpool University has recently been awarded £3.5 million for its engineering, electrical engineering and electronics, physics and chemistry departments to share research and expertise with industrial and manufacturing partner organisations. It will be used to create a Knowledge Exploitation Laboratory and to fund KTP arrangements. It is one of 12 universities in the UK to have received similar funding from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council.

>Article continues on p34


UK manufacturers/university collaborations. The full listing can be found downloaded at:




Industry links




ug, pg, collab, KPT

Ford, etc

PhDs can research in aerospace engineering; composites; innovative design and manufacturing, etc.

The University of Bath has had close links with industry since it began, and the majority of its courses have a placement year in which students work in one of more than 2,500 public, private and voluntary sector organisations. It is part of the SETsquared Partnership with the universities of Bristol, Southampton and Surrey. The collaboration, the largest of its kind in the UK, was established to encourage enterprise and to work more effectively with industry. The Bath Ventures Innovation Centre provides practical support and expertise to local technology enterprises, and companies that emerge from the University’s student and academic research base.

Bath - Innovative Design and Manufacturing Research Centre (IdMRC)

pg, collab research, KTP, short


ug, pg, collab, KPT


pg, collab, KTP


ug, pg, KTP, collab research, CASE


The Centre is unique in the UK in its emphasis on research in both design and manufacture, based on long-established research strengths in machine design and design information systems, and in manufacturing processes and systems. VES Andover Ltd; Next Control Systems; TSG South Ltd; etc

FdSC in Engineering (Manufacturing Management). PhD studentships offered in design simulation; smart technology; sustainable design. "MSc in Manufacturing Management addresses the technological drive of this century and is designed to produce students who can meet the huge demand for well-qualified manufacturing engineers."

The School of Engineering, Design and Technology at the University of Bradford has an international reputation for the high quality of its postgraduate programmes, which are aligned to high quality research supported by a wealth of expertise and facilities across all areas. It offers a number of courses in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and medical engineering and has research groups in advanced materials, automotive, environmetnal and infrastructure, and communications systems.

Airbus UK, Rolls-Royce, GE Aerospace, etc

Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS)

ACCIS s at the heart of composites research regionally, nationally and internationally. A number of strategic partnerships have been set up with industry and government funding agencies to develop and exploit this research. ACCIS also links to centres of excellence across the University of Bristol in specific areas.

ug, pg, collab, KTP

DePuy International, BT, etc

Advanced Manufacturing Systems MSc. One of five universities involved with MATCH, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s (EPSRC’s) Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre (IMRC) in Assessment of Medical Device Technologies.

The University provides high quality commercial research and expert services for business and industry. Particular expertise includes failure analysis, analytical analysis and particle identification, as well as solidification science and technology.

Cambridge - Institute for Manufacturing

ug, pg, pe

Microsoft, Unilever and many others

Judge School of Business; Unilever Cambridge Centre for Molecular Informatics

research is always undertaken in collaboration with industry and leads to practical techniques that companies can apply to improve their strategy, operations and technology. Findings are disseminated through courses, publications and via consultancy services to companies.

Cardiff Manufacturing Engineering Centre


Over 100 industrial partners inc Daimler, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Mitutoyo, Parametric Technology, SAP, Silicon Graphics, Siemens and Zeiss

Cardiff University; Business School; etc

We focus on helping manufacturing industry, particularly SMEs to develop competitive instruments, machines or products that enjoy increased margins and that compete successfully in existing and new markets. Since 1996, we have completed four thousand projects with local companies.


ug, pg, collab, KTP

Award winning Coventry Uni School of Art and Design has built strong links working on projects with many design and production companies in Transport and Product Design, inc Ferrari and Ikea

The Future Manufacturing Applied Research Centre (FMARC) is the interface between industry and manufacturing applied research and education at Coventry University.

The University's commercial work has enabled it to build a good network of clients and has gained a reputation for providing ‘real business solutions’ whilst taking an innovative and enterprising approach to today’s changing business environment.


pg, collab r Many, including Nissan, Boeesearch, KTP, short ing, Rolls-Royce, Ford, etc, etc

Project-focused MSc in Manufacturing; Executive Masters in Manufacturing Leadership

UK's original graduate-only, business and industry-focused university.

Design and innovation

Key: fd=foundation degree; ug=undergraduate (1st degree); pg=postgraduate; pe=post-experience University


Industry links




ug, pg, pe, KTP, NVQ

Rolls-Royce, Swizzels Matlow, etc


pg, collab

Nissan, Toyota, etc

1-yr MSc Design, Manufacturing and Management includes in-company Teaching Day Challenges and intensive in-company projects.

The Centre for Automotive Research brings together relevant expertise from the departments of Engineering, Mathematics and Physics to support the motor industry worldwide. Research themes include aerodynamics, hybrid-electric vehicles, statistical mathematics, stress, vibration and acoustic analysis.

Exeter - Advanced Technologies Research Institute

pg, collab

Rolls-Royce, Airbus UK, EADS Astrium, Bombardier, etc

PhD Studentship in Carbon Nanotube Composite Structures

XMEC is a multi-disciplinary research centre carrying out advanced research in manufacturing technology, systems, and management. It also provides vital support to local industry by identifying and transferring best practices/techniques in Agile, Lean and e-business/e-Manufacturing to companies in the Southwest, particularly SMEs. Interests of the institute are led by Prof David Zhang and include agile and lean enterprises, configurable manufacturing systems, supply chain modelling, OR for multi-level inventory and supply chain optimisation, intelligent multi-agent systems, business systems modelling, concurrent engineering, digital enterprise, rapid manufacturing and automation.

Glasgow Caledonian Scottish Maintenance and Manufacturing Group

pg, collab, short

SMPT Ltd, Ineos Grangemouth, MSc Maintenenance ManageRoyal Mail, Royal Navy, etc ment; short courses and consultancy in Strategy & Innovation; Maintenance Management; ISO9000; ISO14000; materials; manufacture; project management; condition monitoring; etc.

The Scottish Maintenance and Manufacturing Group is located within the School of Engineering, Science and Design at Glasgow Caledonian University. Group members have been engaged in the teaching of academic and private courses as well as "in-house" consultancy for nearly two decades.

Greenwich Renishaw Centre for Manufacturing Productivity

short, collab

Renishaw, Haas, etc

The centre offers benefits to business with a range of practical training courses, and access to the latest tools and systems.

Heriot-Watt - SMI

collab research, KTP

Funding from local authority and industry

Hertfordshire - Science and Technology Research Institute

pg, short, collab, KTP

CHAM Ltd, etc


ug, pg, KTP, collab research

Yorkshire Enterprise Fellowships, Yorkshire Proof of Concept Fund


pg, short, collab, KTP

KLM UK Engineering, British Airways, Cabair, Delphi, Edmund Nuttall, Lotus, Piper Racing Cars etc.

Leeds University Business School

pg, collab research

Study for a university qualification in work time or your own time, and without the need to attend University regularly. It's ideal if you need to fit study around your other commitments. Learn about the relatively new field of rapid manufacturing, and how to correctly use these developing technologies to benefit the manufacturing and production industry you work in.

One of 16 IMRCs (Innovative Manufacturing Research Centres) established by EPSRC with long-term funding and enhanced with susbstantial additional financial support from Industry.

Our mission is to support manufacturing innovation through research in technologies that underpin sustainable growth of high value-added manufacturing industries in Scotland and the rest of the UK, by exploiting a constructive engagement between academic researchers and industrial stakeholders. Our particular focus is on new technology and processes for high value, low volume, highly customised products with high IP content for the benefit of global manufacturing industry. Engineering programmes in microfluidics and microengineering; materials and structures; fluid mechanics; radio and mobile communications; and agriculture and environment. cutting edge project is a collaboration with CHAM Ltd to use a single code for the solution of Fluid Structure Interaction problems. At present at least two codes are used for such problems. UH has more active KTPs than any other university in the region and is in the national top twenty of KTP performers.

Research centres cover auto engineering, biomolecular sciences, precision technologies, etc

Precision Technologies - Centre of Industrial Collaboration focuses especially on the interface between surfaces, where most engineering failures originate. PgDip/MSc enables students to turn ideas into real products by employing the most appropriate methods and techniques in a cost-effective way. Students are given the opportunity to visit various industrial companies to appreciate how the technologies are used in real production environments.

MSc Manufacturing Leadership

Seeks to meet the needs of manufacturing professionals who face the challenges created by the fast pace of technological progress, the globalisation of markets and pressures for sustainable development. It combines postgraduate work and leadership development by integrating studies with organisation needs and career development plans.


Leeds MSc, Cranfield flying high

The University of Leeds recently launched an Executive Masters in Manufacturing Leadership. “The course is a part executive MSc, it has been written by a number of academics here in Leeds as well as outside the university,” says Stephanie Abraham, business development manager at the Keyworth Insitute at the University of Leeds. It has been created in line with the traditional executive MBA but where the MBA tends to attract candidates from financial services, Leeds’ MSc has been created for people from a technical background or environment. The course is made of 12 modules. The third year is devoted to the production of a business-based dissertation. All the modules were written specifically for this course and cannot be studied anywhere else across the university. When it comes to university/manufacturing collaboration, possibly the Daddy of them all, and the best known, is Cranfield University in Bedfordshire. Its Technology Park hosts Nissan’s Technical Centre Europe as its best known resident and it will be joined by the Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) project. “IVHM monitors the health of aero engines in flight,” says Benny Tjajhono, course director in options on Cranfield’s manufacturing programme. “It provides all the support needed for condition monitoring and can predict when the engine needs maintenance, repair or components changed.” Cranfield also performs a logistical function in supplying the required parts. IVHM is sponsored by Boeing, Rolls-Royce and EEDA (East of England Development Agency) and is the latest of Boeing’s technical centres, with others at Nottingham University and the Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre at Sheffield University. Cranfield offers an MSc in Manufacturing, which has practical engagement at its core. Forty per cent of the course is classroom-based; 20% is awarded to a commercially-sponsored group project and a further 40% to the student’s thesis, which may also be commercially sponsored. “Ten specific projects were undertaken last year and there are eight this year,” says Tjajhono. “The focus is very much on industry involvement and exposure — students come here to get that experience.” In 2008, students worked with companies such as Ford, on improving engine machining and assembly lines; Airbus, on zero-carbon manufacturing, ramp-up for the A380 wing, and on a Europe-wide benchmarking exercise; Jaguar Land Rover, on concurrent engineering across multi-functional departments; DSGi, better known as Dixons, on warehouse management; and Hallmark — the greetings card company — on optimisation of the order planning process.

Wales’ Technium and beyond

Universities across the country have established science parks, incubation units and other means of spinning out commercial embodiments of research success. In Wales, the Technium network fulfils that function and also works with established industries on innovation. The Performance Engineering Centre in Swansea works with both new companies and larger, established clients, and hosts Connaught Engineering, which retrofits hybrid units to petrol and diesel engines to reduce CO2 emissions and make fuel savings,

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

enter at

Design and innovation award

among other companies. Technium@Sony is unusual, because it is hosted by a commercial organisation. The Caparo Innovation Centre, established as a joint venture with the University of Wolverhampton, helps small inventors and innovative companies to develop ideas through design and marketing into full business plans. It filters out the more crackpot schemes through a sophisticated system that includes assessing whether the IP (intellectual property) is patentable; the ease of manufacture; competition in the marketplace; cost of manufacture; how much capital is required and time to market. The academic and manufacturing partnerships in this article and the accompanying table are far from being an exhaustive list or analysis. The message is, there is plenty going on in this field. That is a very good sign: 10 years ago such an article could have covered most of the existing university/manufacturing collaboration to a reasonable depth. The universities have grown to appreciate the commercial value of their research, and to realise that it’s unusual for anything to make millions overnight for the academics who invented it. Industry increasingly appreciates the value of the assistance universities can provide. The key, as Jerram at e2v says, is to understand each stakeholder’s strengths and weaknesses and to work with them. As the co-operation grows, it strengthens the UK’s manufacturing base and ensures competitiveness. If it did not, the UK would not have so many students from China, India, South-East Asia and the Middle East coming to study here. end

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minimising exposure to the weak pound

Mark Deans, dealing manager at Moneycorp Commercial Foreign Exchange, exposes the risks of playing the foreign exchange game.


for a generation has sterling collapsed so spectacularly as it did in the 18 months or so up to the end of last year. Four years of relative stability against the euro were followed by a 30% drop. The pound fell by a third against the US dollar, reversing seven years of upward progress. In a similar pattern, it lost more than half its value against the yen. The early months of 2009 have brought a degree of calm to the foreign exchange (FX) market but it still leaves sterling at levels substantially lower than company budgets had bargained for as recently as two years ago. Many analysts believe sterling has fallen too far, particularly against the euro. They point to the identical GDP performance of Britain, the United States and Euroland in the fourth quarter of last year; all three economies contracted by 1.6% in the quarter. They highlight the purchasing managers’ indices for the UK manufacturing and services sectors in March: both were stronger (or, more accurately, less weak) than those for the Euro zone, the United States and, for that matter, Switzerland. They remind us that in the year to February, industrial production in Japan went down by more than three times as much as the 12.5% it fell in the UK. Why, they ask, should sterling be singled out for cruel and unusual punishment when, according to the recent data, it is doing no more badly than its peer group? It is a good question but simply to recognise that a currency is undervalued is not enough to bring it back into line in an instant. Look how long it took for the market to realise it was overvalued.


Keeping your cool

The Government would have us believe that a weak pound is beneficial to British exporters. Indeed it is to those who saw the writing on the wall a couple of years ago and left their receivables uncovered. They are now able either to raise the margins on what, for most, are smaller volumes or to push for increased market share with lower foreign prices. For those firms who hedged or covered their currency exposures, and for most importers, it is a different story. The business plans of two years ago have been shot to ribbons and the non-execs are demanding to know what is being done to protect against further sterling declines. It must be made clear to all concerned that it is far too late in the game to panic. The pound is not going to plummet through parity with the euro. Boards must also recognise that currency exposure is not the only risk in the equation. Yes, it is possible to avoid FX risk entirely. You can cover 100% of all anticipated future requirements, thereby locking into a predictable sterling cost or revenue. However, that merely changes a currency risk into a commercial or operating risk. The economic history books are littered with hard-luck stories about firms who failed to recognise that reality. Here are just a couple that illustrate two sides of the argument.

Specialfeature Moneycorp

Kodak in the 1980s was selling US-manufactured photographic film to Americans. Whatever it did about hedging foreign sales, it saw no need to bother about domestic business. Consequently as dollar/yen soared to the giddy heights of ¥260, Fuji was able to undercut the US firm, taking large chunks out of Kodak’s market share and profits. So much for not covering your FX risk. At roughly the same time, Lufthansa was contracting to buy aircraft from Boeing. Having seen how far the dollar had strengthened against the Deutsche Mark, and fearing more of the same, it set up forward trades to lock in the cost of its dollars. Instead of strengthening, the dollar weakened, landing Lufthansa with an opportunity cost of some $150m. So much for covering your FX risk.

Spreading the risk

A constant factor in these tales of failure is that nearly every one of the firms involved was taking an all-ornothing approach. The ultra-cautious were covering 100% of their exposure while the hope-for-the-best mob was covering none. In both cases, the companies were speculating, even though the ultra-cautious faction would argue otherwise. Except in the unlikely event that they are mandated to do so, it is inappropriate

for most companies to speculate in foreign exchange. Renault, Volkswagen and Allied Lyons will explain why. That rules out covering the total exposure just as it rules out covering none.

in the unlikely event that they “Except are mandated to do so, it is inappropriate for most companies to speculate in foreign exchange. Renault, Volkswagen and Allied Lyons will explain why. That rules out covering the total exposure just as it rules out covering none

Tales of caution

The rule of thumb is to do half; to hedge. If there is a strong opinion that the exchange rate will go one way or another that 50% can be swerved to 25% or 75%. Push it much further and you will be speculating, unless the underlying business transaction is imminent. A one-way bet is a one-way bet, however you dress it up. end

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g n i n i a r t y g o l o r t Me

measures up A recession is precisely the time to up-skill staff says Tom Ashby, business development manager for training at the National Physical Laboratory, the UK’s national measurement institute.


Worldclass We

all know it is a tough time for manufacturing. Whether household names or small firms, companies across the UK are feeling the pinch. In these circumstances there are two ways to maintain a profitable business — either increase sales or reduce costs and wastage. The former is becoming increasingly difficult, so ways to make manufacturing leaner and more efficient are becoming ever more important. That is why appropriate staff training is now more crucial than ever, particularly the right training from the right people. Training that sees a return on investment and affects the bottom line. Since launching in 2006, over 120 companies and 600 delegates have gone through level 1 and level 2 of our dimensional measurement training framework, with more signing up every day. Customers include BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, GKN, AWE and Bentley as well as small and medium sized businesses. These manufacturers are seeing that dimensional measurement training has a real effect on their efficiency and productivity. We take a generation of workers and reintroduce the questioning and planning culture into their daily routine. For example, machines that measure co-ordinates are a wonderful thing but are they always the best way of measuring a particular part or component? What are you actually measuring, under which conditions? People who have undertaken our dimensional measurement programme have started to ask questions like these. The problem is that some workers know less about the principles of measurement today because advances in technology mean they don’t have to know them. New equipment has become easier to use so operators do not need the depth of measurement training they did twenty years ago. This can lead to poor decisions and mistakes with expensive consequences. The result is fewer companies with appropriate measurement expertise and the slow decline of industry’s measurement competency. It is the National Physical Laboratory (NPL)’s responsibility to address this key issue.

The training framework

Our dimensional measurement training addresses this issue head-on. We base our programme on a framework of four levels. Level 1 provides the underpinning knowledge and expertise for anyone using dimensional measurement tools or requiring an appreciation of the importance of measurement. It covers an introduction to geometrical product specification, cartesian and polar co-ordinate measurements, a guide to tolerancing and an introduction to the principals of measurement. Level 1 is a three day course. Level 2 comprises six modules and builds on what candidates have already learned. It encompasses geometric product specification, co-ordinate principles, first principle measurement, principles of process control, measurement calculations and a competence module in co-ordinate methods.

World class manufacturing award

Calling for entries: Is your company making quantified, sustained progress towards being world class? This award will go to the manufacturing company or plant that, in the opinion of the judges, best demonstrates that it is trying to achieve world class manufacturing standards – generally understood as scoring a minimum score (from 95%-98%) on an absolutely true measure of efficiency. Judges will look for evidence of benchmarking against best practice and will examine measures like lead times, customer returns, work content, labour minutes per unit, inventory levels and cycle times, checking that action has been taken to improve these.

enter at


The courses are workbook-based, providing the evidence that the delegate has completed the course and the tasks within it. Upon completion they will receive an NPL certificate of qualification for that respective level. Later in 2009 we will roll out level 3 of the training framework which will be aimed at those in the design community, those calling up geometrical tolerancing or those on the shopfloor putting measurement into practice. This level is for measurement developers, people who are looking to bring best practices into business and manufacturing environments, those who would know and recognise through the training they’ve had how to bring new equipment into a business. There will also be modules on surface roughness measurement and process control taught to a very high level. This is about training that has an impact on the bottom line. Level 4 will be for people whose career paths are very definitely set on becoming senior metrologists within their business. It is project-oriented and will involve a secondment at NPL doing actual measurement development and innovation. Alternatively, candidates might identify an area of measurement innovation and definition in their own business and could collaborate with a university or NPL to develop a new measurement strategy.


World class manufacturing

Casestudy Dawson Precision Components

Dawson Precision Components Limited (DPC) is an independent, family owned, sub-contract engineering company established in 1965.

The company’s workforce uses a range of skills as wide as the bespoke products it makes. Its operators are all from different backgrounds with varying levels of experience from full apprenticeships to in-house, on the job training. They have different levels of understanding of technical drawings and the use of measuring equipment. DPC invested in NPL Training to bring all these employees up to an across-the-board level of competence. The course demonstrated that the simplest way to measure a particular feature is not always possible due to factors such as feature size and accessibility. Employees consequently learnt to consider the inaccuracies of the measuring equipment being used, even when operating the most advanced instruments on the market.

Who delivers?

Traditionally, NPL Training is given through one of its ten approved training deliverers. These are typically equipment manufacturers or training service providers who act as NPL accredited third parties, promoting NPL courses and training delegates from a variety of industries. Recently NPL accredited BAE Systems’ staff to deliver the training in-house as an end user. BAE Systems picked a select group of experienced employees to be trained in delivering the programme at BAE Systems’ Barrow Calibration Centre. Now training courses take place on site at times that suit delegates, supervisors and the management team. Two to three NPL training courses will take place each month at the BAE Systems’ Calibration Centre based at Barrow-inFurness, Cumbria. But it’s not all about the big boys. We have been working with SMEs across the country, companies like Dawson Precision Components in Shaw, Greater Manchester.

Astute Class A1 Submarine

Samples of DPC components

The operators benefited from the training in several ways, including a clearer understanding of geometric symbols and tolerances; increased confidence in inspecting various components; a collective understanding of how to interpret drawings to avoid confusion and an appreciation of the conditions or inaccuracies that can affect measurement as a whole. The course provided benefits in all areas of DPC Quality Control: increasing production efficiency, accuracy and, ultimately, ensuring customer satisfaction. “The NPL Training undertaken recently by eight personnel was very successful for DPC as, although all personnel on the course were skilled engineers, their knowledge and understanding of tolerances, inaccuracies and measuring techniques were greatly improved giving them increased confidence and subjectivity to take back to the shop floor,” says Simon Dawson, managing director of DPC. “We plan now to roll out level 1 NPL Training throughout the factory and also to progress key personnel to level 2.”


Measuring up for the future

As well as rolling out levels 3 and 4 of our dimensional measurement programme, NPL is working on electrical measurement and temperature measurement training courses, as well as other courses specific to the nuclear and healthcare industries. The objective is for these to have as much impact in their respective markets as our work within the manufacturing industry. Many companies are trying to cut labour costs at the moment and training budgets are under tight scrutiny. Budget holders have to decide which are the areas where they can’t afford not to invest. Skills training for staff that cuts costs and increases quality is surely a good candidate. end

Specialfeature The Budget 2009 Kingston Smith LLP

The Budget 2009 – summary of corporate and business taxes The Budget this year will be remembered mainly for the shocking levels of borrowing necessary to balance the public finances, and a 50% rate of income tax. But beneath the headlines what were the measures that mattered to manufacturers? Maureen Penfold, head of the specialist manufacturing group at Kingston Smith LLP, summarises the key points.

Corporation tax rates

Comment: The budget announcement maintains the current 21% rate for small companies and the headline rate of 28% for the year commencing April 1st, 2010. It is disappointing that the Chancellor did not take the opportunity to reduce the tax burden on smaller companies.

Capital allowances – Plant and machinery – temporary first year allowances

There will be a new temporary 40% first year allowance for expenditure on general plant and machinery for capital expenditure incurred in 2009/10. There are a number of exclusions including cars. Comment: This measure is clearly designed to encourage firms to bring forward investment in new plant. Since April 2008 businesses have been entitled to claim an Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) of up to £50,000 on expenditure on plant and machinery. The new 40% allowance will only be relevant to expenditure over and above the AIA threshold, so may be of limited application to smaller businesses.

Plant and machinery leasing

The definitions of sale and leaseback arrangements have been revised to cover the types of transactions that are in the market. The changes will come into force from today and effectively mean that a business entering into a sale and leaseback does not gain any more relief than it would have done if it had obtained loan finance. Comment: This will affect leasing businesses and businesses that have entered into tax planning arrangements involving sale and leaseback of plant and machinery.

Extension of trading loss carry-back for business

The Chancellor, in his Pre-budget statement in November 2008, announced an extension of the ability of businesses to carry back their trading losses to set against earlier years’ profits for up to three years, generating repayments of corporation tax. The relief was limited to accounting periods ending between November 24, 2008 and November 23, 2009 — in practice one year only. Further, the maximum amount that could be carried back under these provisions was

£50,000, worth in tax terms a maximum of £20,000. As widely predicted, the relief has been extended for a further 12 months, to cover accounting periods ending in the period between November 24, 2009 and November 23, 2010. Comment: Whilst the extension is welcome, the limitation to losses of only £50,000 means that the relief is of relatively little value to all but the smallest businesses.


The VAT registration threshold

This will be increased from May 1st 2009 to £68,000; the de-registration threshold will be increased to £66,000 from the same date. The standard rate of VAT of 15%. This is to remain in force until December 31, 2009 as previously announced, whereupon it will revert to 17.5% from January 1st, 2010. Comment: Most taxpayers, including charities, who cannot recover all of the VAT on their costs will continue to benefit from the 15% general rate until December 31, 2009.

Cross-border supplies

Changes to the time of supply rules in respect of cross-border supplies of services will be introduced from 1 January 2010. These changes will be linked to the change to the European Sales Listing (ESL) to be introduced from the same date. A new electronic intraEU VAT refund procedure for cross-border supplies of services will be introduced from 1 January 2010. Precise details will be introduced in due course. Comment: Likely to be affected are businesses that supply goods and/or services to business customers in other EU member states where the place of supply of these services will be the customers’ country, subject to the reverse charge by the customer in their country. The intention with this measure is to correlate the supplier’s ESL with the recipient’s reverse charge declaration. It is highly unlikely that all member states will be compliant with these required changes by the due date due to the scale of the proposal.

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Flexible working prompts payroll investment

The trend towards flexible working practices has meant that more manufacturers have to adapt their IT to cope with complex demands on resource planning and staff rostering. Matt Wheeler at Stanley Security Solutions explains why access to accurate human capital information has never been more important.


to employment legislation, particularly with such a wide range of flexible working patterns now in place, is just one area at risk of being increasingly compromised by the tough economy. The traditional workplace of the UK has undergone radical change in recent years with the “9 to 5� culture of most offices and factories long gone. On April 6 the government extended the right to request flexible working hours to every employee with a child under the age of 16 (before this it was six or under). This decision will affect another 4.5 million employees in this country and mean there are now over 10 million people that have the right to request flexible working. There is evidence to suggest that introducing flexible working can be a highly effective way of responding to the pressures of modern business and that its benefits considerably outweigh the negatives. Flexible working can provide a genuine competitive advantage to any business, by reducing employee stress and enabling employees to become more motivated, happy and productive.


People and skills

There is also evidence that people cite the option of flexible working as key to their decision-making when job hunting and there’s evidence that it actually widens the labour pool. Offering flexible options makes an employer a more attractive proposition to a broader range of candidates, for example older, part-time workers or mothers wishing to continue their career but with less intensity than in their previous working life.

A management tool

But with the trend towards flexible working practices comes the growing need for businesses to manage and report on it more accurately and to adopt an efficient workforce management system. Manufacturers need tools to keep track of all shift patterns as well as the day to day jobs of juggling production schedules and planning. With the economy so volatile, advance forecasting, scheduling and staffing become very inexact sciences: the key to improved business performance lies in more accurate workforce data and detailed analytics. Modern time and attendance systems are no longer just about tracking basic data such as clock-on/clockoff times and employee hours worked. Manufacturers contemplating investing in a workforce management system need to think about what specific capabilities they require, so their expectations of what the investment might ultimately deliver are realistic. Some of the immediate return on investment examples might include:

Improved labour management

Analytical reports allow managers to spend less time and money creating reports manually. Once they have real-time access to information about employees they are better equipped to proactively control and manage workforce attendance, absenteeism and productivity. Improved labour management is the first step towards delivering big cost reductions and improved efficiencies. Today’s sophisticated management tools are designed to cope with the increasingly complex demands on resource planning and staff rostering and to analyse business critical information such as the productivity of specific departments within a factory or cost centres within a business. This can then improve workforce planning so that resources are more accurately matched to customer demand and deadlines.

Reducing or eliminating payroll errors

Payroll errors including overpayments are for the most part attributed to human error in data entry and can therefore be nearly eliminated using automation. As a manufacturer’s annual wage bill is probably a large proportion of its total costs, even reducing a payroll error by 2% can have a big effect on a company’s profit and loss and deliver immediate return on workforce management investment.

Reducing pre-payroll process time

Because the manual data entry process is eliminated, automation streamlines the entire process so it takes less time for employees to fill out timecards, for supervisors to review and approve them and for payroll to enter them. This frees up people in the

Casestudy PC Henderson

A good example of a company using an integrated time and attendance and payroll system is PC Henderson, a leading company in the design and manufacture of garage doors and sliding door gear produced at its main manufacturing plant in Bowburn, Co Durham.

Established in 1921, the company’s original clock card machine and payroll system had altered little, even as the new production plant became more technologically advanced. Employees still clocked on in the traditional manner, team leaders still had to process all timesheet records manually and the payroll department still had to painstakingly plough through paperwork to calculate every employee’s hours, wages owed, and who had worked where and when throughout any given production schedule. The company decided to move towards an electronic time and attendance system from Stanley, fully integrated with a payroll package. Using this technology all employees clock in using an electronic swipe card which automatically begins to calculate their hours worked. Staff holidays are preprogrammed in so that any unscheduled absences are immediately recognised and highlighted. Pay grades and overtime allowances are programmed in for each individual employee so that at the end of each working week, the hours worked are exported into payroll and a fully accurate wage run is processed. A spokesman for PC Henderson says: “Whereas before we employed two people to work full time in payroll collating and processing timesheets, the Stanley system enabled it to be achieved by one person in just a day and a half. We calculated that in a year it effectively freed up an additional 45 days of resource for our finance department. That’s a return that goes far beyond the day-to-day benefit to employees and more than justified our investment.” The need for daily performance measurement and the efficient management of employees and resources by manufacturers is not only necessary because of the recession. But these difficult business conditions have brought the benefits of workforce management into even sharper focus. With more uncertainty over orders and sales and the constant threat of redundancies, any technology that can help payroll delivery and monitor shift systems should be assessed as a priority. When business continuity, even survival, may depend on critical workforce management based decisions, careful selection and implementation of the most appropriate technology requires a manufacturer’s close consideration.


enter at 44

People and skills award Calling for entries: Is your workforce contribution valued and improving? This award will go to the manufacturing company or plant that, in the opinion of the judges, best demonstrates how, through recruitment, training, labour relations, HR systems or educational liaison initiatives, has increased productivity, while improving employees’ opinions of the value of their contribution. Judges will also factor in companies’ contribution to an improved public perception of manufacturing itself and the diversity of careers that manufacturing offers.

finance and payroll department to be re-assigned to more value added tasks, for example credit control which can have a positive impact on a company’s cash flow. As desirable as the integration of time and attendance systems with payroll might be, historically it has not been as easy to implement as companies might think. What on the surface might appear to be the simple conversion of hours worked into wages owed is complicated by myriad different payroll systems being used, all using different formats and rate codes. Some payroll systems, for example, rely as much on data about hours not worked, through unscheduled absenteeism or sickness, as they do on hours worked. Others calculate pay based on the total sum of hours worked rather than using a breakdown of different rates such as basic, overtime or time and a half, so the transfer of compatible information becomes increasingly complex. Fortunately, some manufacturers of workforce management and time and attendance systems, such as Stanley Security Solutions, are now developing much closer relationships with payroll software developers and suppliers to ensure a tighter integration of systems. Any reputable time and attendance system supplier will take the time to understand the payroll requirement and should have encountered, and overcome, the complexities of integration many times before. end

Employee of the month

Gary Jones, Atomic Weapons Establishment Welcome to the first ‘Employee of the Month’ feature. Each month we will profile the employee of a manufacturing company who has demonstrated particular dedication to his or her job, has shown competence and responsibility, willingness to undertake in-house or external training on offer and/ or who, in the opinion of the employer, is a credit to his/her company and just an all round good egg.


is a second year electrical apprentice at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire. He began training in his chosen trade just three years ago at the age of 30. After completing a full time one year college course in electrical installation, while working nights, he applied for, and was accepted by, AWE to begin training as an electrical apprentice. Before joining AWE he worked as a supervisor for homeless charity Winchester churches nightshelter. When asked about this career decision Gary, now 33, says: “I had just got married and started thinking about my direction in life. At the time I was working for a homeless charity as a supervisor, although I loved the job I knew it was time for a change. “My wife suggested learning a trade, so I embarked upon a college course in electrical work and quickly realised this was the path I wanted to take. I then applied to AWE for the opportunity to formally train as an electrician, went through their rigorous selection process and was delighted to be accepted.” In the two years he has been with the company he has excelled in all aspects of his training and in March was awarded Southeast / East England Nuclear apprentice of the year by the newly formed National Skills Academy Nuclear. He has also been nominated for the Learning and Skills Councils South East Apprentice of the year award, the winners of which will be announced at an Awards Ceremony in London on the May 20. Best of luck Gary! Gary is currently studying for an HNC in Electrical Engineering on a day release course. He has been allowed by his employer to make the transition from his City and Guilds course (2330) straight to HNC because he achieved distinctions in all units taken as part of the Guilds’ course.

Gary adds: “I’m very excited by the range of prospects a large employer like AWE is able to offer me. I will begin a series of placements around the business in a few months and will get a better idea where my skills will be best used. CV in brief – Gary “I am an unusual apprentice in terms of my age, and although this move has meant a little financial hardship, the long term outlook for electricians is very positive. In my opinion if you want to learn a trade properly, you must do an apprenticeship. “College courses are great, but I have found some of the best information comes from the electricians at AWE who I work with on a daily basis. I feel that life is too short to be stuck in a job you don’t enjoy, or has no future, so if for you a positive career change means completing an apprenticeship then go for it.”


Age: 33 Employment: Aug 2007 – present – apprentice electrician at Atomic Weapons Establishment, Berkshire. Jan 2005 – August 07 – supervisor for a homeless charity based in Hampshire. Jan 2004 – December 05 – foundry worker at a bronze fine art foundry in Lasham, Hampshire. 1999-2004 – worked in the financial services industry, mainly in the mortgage and insurance market.

Education to date: Nine GCSEs Four A-levels City and Guilds 2330 level 2 and 3.

Interests: Fishing, voluntary work at a local night shelter, cooking and his VW camper van!

Marcus Hutchings, AWE’s Apprentice Academy’s technical and craft training manager, says: “The [NSA Nuclear] award is a true reflection of Gary’s hard work and the role model behaviour he displays to his peers. We are very proud of Gary’s achievement as it crowns a fantastic 12 months for the academy, after we achieved an Ofsted grade one and were awarded Beacon status.” end

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Rise to operational excellence at the UK/US Shingo Summit Manufacturing’s business leaders will gather in Manchester this June for the UK/US Shingo Summit where world leading authorities on lean and operational excellence and practitioners at the cutting edge of business transformation will guide delegates towards achieving world class performance.


he Manufacturing Institute’s fourth UK/US Summit takes place over two days (10-11 June) at Manchester city centre’s landmark Hilton tower. But an entire week of activity features privileged factory tours (12 June) of best practice sites, including BAE systems, Siemens and PZ Cussons. There is also a pre-summit Shingo Workshop (8-9 June) to introduce the Shingo Prize, regarded as the ‘Nobel Prize’ for operational excellence. The 2009 Summit will be the biggest and best to date, with eight keynote speakers from both sides of the Atlantic, 25 best practice presentations and workshops from international industry and thought leaders, as well as best practice site visits giving vivid demonstrations of excellence in action at some of the UK’s top manufacturing businesses.

Julie Madigan, Chief Executive of The Manufacturing Institute, said: “This crucial event will promote far-sighted thought leadership on the difficult challenges ahead and the strategic solutions necessary to conquer them. Those attending will gain inspiration and knowledge to re-invigorate their people, processes and management practices – ready to lead their business through and beyond the downturn - to seize competitive advantage in a tougher new economic era.” “Whatever your specialist sector, size or marketplace – whether you are just starting out on your transformational journey or at the mature stage of sustaining and refining improvement, this summit will provide you with the insights and knowledge you require to succeed. It is a first class Julie Madigan, opportunity to meet some of chief executive, The Manufacturing Institute the world’s best performers and take away their wisdom, proven thinking, practical tools … and the inspiration to put them to good use.”


US Shingo prize winning businesses OC Tanner and DJ Orthopedic, which have driven deep cultural change to embed lean transformation across their entire business enterprise will present alongside many leading UK lean performers, including BAE Systems, United Biscuits, Nortel, Patheon UK, Ultraframe, C-TEC and HJ Berry. Keynote speakers include Steven Spear, Senior Lecturer at the world renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of Shingo Prize winning book ‘Chasing the Rabbit”, who will provide insights into how companies can do to compete more effectively and overtake the competition. Max Brown, Director of OC Tanner, will show how the ‘Carrot Principle’ ensures employee recognition and better business results. Inspirational speaker, author and lean pioneer Norman Bodek, President of US-based PCS and co-creator of the Shingo Prize, will draw on 30 years at the centre of the lean revolution to demonstrate how to unlock innovation. Robert Miller, Executive Director for The Shingo Prize at Utah State University and a lean industry veteran and former senior leader at John Deere, FMC, Hermann Miller and the Gates Rubber Company, will also make a keynote address. Other thought leaders presenting at the Summit include John Bicheno and Professor Peter Hines from the Lean Enterprise Research Centre at Cardiff Business School.

Steven Spear

Max Brown

Norman Bodek

Robert D. Miller

John Bicheno

Peter Hines

Best practice factory tours include:

To book places at the UK/US Summit log on to or call 0800 917 1685

UK/US Shingo Summit – TEN OF THE BEST

1) Adopt the ‘True North’ principles of lean

Gain insights and knowledge to guide you in building value-adding enterprise based on the application of ‘True North’ lean principles across the entire organisation.

2) Gain inspiration from world authorities on lean The Hilton Tower Manchester, venue for the UK/US Shingo Summit 2009

Introducing the Shingo Prize for operational excellence The Summit will introduce the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence, which is recognised as the world’s most effective blueprint for lean transformation across the whole business enterprise, and the attainment of operational excellence driven by deep cultural change. So far, this model for profound organisational change has only been available in the US, Canada and Mexico, but in collaboration with The Manufacturing Institute, The Shingo Prize Challenge is now open to organisations in the UK and Ireland. Pioneering UK and Ireland Shingo Prize challengers BAE Systems, Nortel and Ultraframe will share lessons in lean and the valuable progress they have made through pursuing the Shingo model of operational excellence. They will illustrate how they have used the proven Shingo guiding principles, systems and tools to build and sustain remarkable, competitive and forward-looking enterprises. The Summit will present UK and US best practice across three key Shingo themes of: Cultural Enablers, Focused Improvement Phil Astley, head of and Enterprise Thinking, with the ultimate production system goal of real business and operational results design, BAE Systems will outline how BAE is always firmly in sight. This overarching aim using the Shingo Prize is embedded throughout the Summit which model to pursue opis focused on creating better people, quality, erational excellence. delivery, cost and competitive performance.

Gain inspiration to re-invigorate your people, processes and management practices with thought leadership presentations from some of the world’s leading authorities in lean principles and operational excellence, including: Norman Bodek, Steven Spear, Professor Peter Hines and John Bicheno.

sustainable change in your 3) Achieve organisation

Many enterprises have started the lean journey, but few have stayed the course to reap the lasting benefits that can have such a powerful impact on their people, processes and overall performance. The challenge is to accelerate this change and sustain lean progress so that it becomes part of your organisation’s DNA.

4) Drive down costs and increase efficiencies

Select from 25 practical break-out sessions structured on the Shingo themes of Cultural Enablers, Focused Improvement and Enterprise Thinking. Whether you are lean enlightened or a lean beginner, you will learn the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of making exceptional gains in operational excellence, increasing efficiencies and driving down costs.

5) Aspire to world-class performance

Learn from top-scoring US Shingo Prize winners who have embedded the lean principles of the Toyota Production System and hear from UK Shingo challengers about their lean transformation journey.

6) See what best practice looks like

See excellence in action with our post-summit best practice tours which give you privileged access to top performing sites, gain vivid demonstrations of excellence in action and visit the UK’s first Shingo Prize entrants.

7) Hands-on learning experience

If you are looking for enhanced learning, interaction and discussion among fellow delegates then attend the half-day hands-on sessions delivered by some of the best exponents of lean and culture development.

out how The Shingo prize could raise 8) Find your performance

Learn and understand the underlying principles behind The Shingo Prize philosophy and approach, regarded as ‘The Nobel Prize’ for operational excellence and internationally recognised as the blueprint for lean transformation across the whole enterprise.

9) Share experiences with like-minded leaders Throughout the daytime and evening, like-minded enterprise and operational excellence leaders from across Europe and the US will be able to share their experiences and ideas through our informal networking programme based at the Hilton Hotel.

See and learn from more than 25 best practice presentations and workshops

of a professionally delivered 10) Beeventassured offering real value

The Manufacturing Institute has a proven track record in delivering high quality, professionally organised events that never fail to delight our delegates. If you are committed to improving your organisation, its people and its processes then you cannot afford to miss the UK/US Shingo Summit 2009.

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Personnel analysis

Human resource delivery systems can streamline payroll and time & attendance so well they can help businesses avoid making redundancies, claim software vendors. Workforce management tools also provide added benefits including shift planning that should be valued following the new working directive legislation that enables more flexible working. Chris Pope reports.



people are their company’s greatest asset, as many manufacturing businesses claim, then the role of human resources and the software systems designed to support HR should be paramount for any manufacturing enterprise. However, given the turbulence in the manufacturing sector in recent years, many companies have seen substantial change due to mergers and acquisitions, growth or contraction as a result of changing customer demand and increased competition as well as off-shoring of operations. According to Brian Cormican, director of HR for Oracle UK, this is one of the three key reasons its clients invest in a new HR and payroll system. Another is that their existing ones are in such a poor state that they are worried employees will not be paid or that they are complying to statutory regulations.

IT in


Add to this the cost control and ensuring the business has an effective human resource and payroll headcount ratio to the total number of employees and it’s not difficult to see how the credit crunch will have exacerbated these pressures. Perhaps no greater challenge comes from a potentially sustained drop in orders which can often lead to redundancies. Andrew Weir, advocacy team leader at NorthgateArinso is quick to point out that such severe reactions to falling orders can be detrimental for businesses. “Losing skilled workers could prevent companies responding to the needs of the upturn and many businesses in an array of industries, including the manufacturing industry, are realising they will need their skilled staff when the market picks up again.” Weir is emphatic about the role that HR technology can play within a proactive HR strategy, especially when identifying alternatives to redundancies. “Management teams are increasingly looking to focus on restructuring and skills redistribution. HR technology would enable them to obtain the right information to make the informed decisions that were best for the workforce and the company.” When it comes to making the best case for HR systems, the availability and accuracy of information is the first stage to empower manufacturers to make the best decisions in such challenging circumstances. As Rosie Heptonstall, marketing manager of Sage points out, “Unless you truly know the value and worth of each employee, not just in the present and the past, but also their potential role in the future of the company, you will not be able to make the most effective HR decisions for the short, medium and long term success of your company.” This includes information not just on employee attendance, performance and profitability but also managing and growing the talent within the company. Talent Management itself means ensuring that everyone is up to date in their developmental training as well as relevant health and safety practices. While Heptonstall appreciates that such systems can seem intrusive, especially when involving Time and Attendance (T&A) practices and when jobs are potentially at risk, she is adamant that if handled skillfully they can have a positive motivational and galvanising effect on the workforce and the company. “Skilled managers can communicate the need for everyone to pull together with the focus being on ensuring everyone is best able to fulfil their role and their potential within the company, which in turn enables the company to do so. HR technology can be then seen as a means to achieving this while also giving an appropriate degree of self determination to each employee.”

Benefits of workforce management

Piers Freeman, senior EMEA director of business development for human capital management at Infor also sees talent management as an important, longer term strategic tool that manufacturers would be advised to implement. He adds that the related area of Workforce Management (WFM), the scheduling of human labour resources on the shop floor, offers some very positive benefits especially in the today’s business climate.

“Apart from saving 3-5% of a manufacturer’s annual payroll costs, workforce management systems can drive labour planning and scheduling tools much more efficiently, and more fairly than any harassed plant manager or line supervisor.” Typically the production systems will output from their planning cycles the labour needs to achieve the plan. The next step, of assigning named workers to the demand, is often done manually, even by rote, and this has proven to be inefficient. WFM systems can take the demand forecast, skills information (held internally or by a talent management system) as well as availability information and create shifts for individual employees. More sophisticated approaches can optimise these schedules such that ranked drivers will influence how varied demand and skills availability can best be used to give optimal labour coverage. Freeman concludes “operational needs for remaining agile and “lean” revolve around better decision making. Decision making stems from information and manufacturers can now have good information about what work is being done and what it is costing. Simply put the more you know, the better you can plan.”

skilled workers “Losing could prevent companies responding to the needs of the upturn and many businesses in an Andrew Weir, array of industries, advocacy team leader, NorthgateArinso including the manufacturing industry, are realising they will need their skilled staff when the market picks up again

Analysing employee value

As of April 6, this will even more relevant to many manufacturers as the new working directive legislation comes into effect which theoretically enables workers to request greater flexibility in their working hours. Take, for example, a labour intensive manufacturing operation where the key production resource is human and not machine based. In addition to different skill level requirements per specific job, manufacturing systems — especially planning and scheduling components — are going to have to take ever more complex shift patterns into consideration. A recent visit to one manufacturer revealed they had in excess of 15 different weekly calendar templates in operation to cater for the different working requirements of its employees. All of this can add to the operational costs of the company and again highlights an area of potential real cost saving when HR systems are integrated tightly and smoothly with the organisation’s other IT systems.


Taking care of business

Completing a job ahead of schedule is just one of the many advantages associated with effective business specific software. Or at least it should be. You see, we hold the view that business software should not only be judged on its features and functions, but also on how easy it is to use and how effective it makes you. IFS Applications has been designed to heighten usability by making things easier. We have eliminated all the major time wasters that showed up in a recently conducted survey of business software. You know the culprits; inefficient search

facilities, illogical navigation and lack of system collaboration. So with IFS Applications you are free to go about your daily business confident you will not encounter any of the previous frustrations. IFS Applications also provides you with a Google-like search facility and many more features that will enable you to extend your reach and work far more efficiently. Take care of your business and see IFS Applications—the ERP solution designed for increased user productivity at


IT in manufacturing

HR solutions for merged entities

A well implemented HR system can also minimise additional costs and wrong decision making as a result of a merger or acquisition, but not completely. Human involvement is necessary, but this is constrained by the quality of information. “If visibility lies at the heart of talent management and ensuring you retain the very best employees, especially following a merger or acquisition, how is the HR director to do this when assessing employees with no hard and fast factual information?,” says Sage’s Heptonstall. Even where each company may have had an HR system in place, there is no guarantee that this provides consistent criteria for identifying employee effectiveness as different standards may have been adopted in each company. The reality is that such incompatibilities can and will occur and Heptonstall encourages people to look to the positives, saying that this provides a good opportunity for a thorough review of the new company’s HR requirements. “Manufacturers need to be open to the fact that neither legacy system may in fact be up to the challenges facing the new company, both in the short and long term.”

Casestudy Hadleys Industries

Hadley Industries is the largest Britishowned producer of steel cold roll frame sections and operates across three UK sites. It is using personnel and time & attendance (T&A) software from Sage’s SnowdropKCS to streamline its HR and clocking-in processes for 450 employees across 11 operations.

The company previously had a system of clockingin all employees using a traditional manual card based system. “Every site had to be collected weekly for payroll and overtime calculations were referred back to the bays for authorising,” says business systems manager Mike Collier. “It was an inefficient, convoluted system that required personnel time and duplicate record keeping.”

The solution

If visibility lies at “ the heart of talent management and ensuring you retain the very best employees, Rosie Heptonstal, especially marketing manager, following a merger Sage or acquisition, how is the HR director to do this when assessing employees with no hard and fast factual information?

It would be easy to see human resource technology as a tool that primarily benefits an organisation at a management and strategy level, but HR professionals that know a key element of its success relies on the need to keep workers informed of their performance at every step of the way. Doing this can have a positive motivational impact on each worker where they can truly value their own role as well as what this means to the company. Furthermore, helping employees to see the reasons why various HR practices are important, especially in a newly formed company where they may well be a merging of different work cultures, helps to overcome any sense of alienation by providing consistency and a level playing field. All employees know what is expected of them and where employees believe they have a real sense of input into being the best they can be at their job, and contributing to companywide decisions, this can only be a benefit to all. end

With the new system, on entering or leaving a bay or work area, workers swipe a magnetic card and indicate whether they are clocking-on or off. They can view their holiday entitlement and overtime details for reference. The system records the working hours of an employee and indicates their presence in the building in case of a fire or accident. Site managers and supervisors, in addition to HR and managerial staff, have on-site PC access to this data to help them manage their staffing and work flow. “Supervisors feel in control and empowered with the new system and overtime is only approved when needed,” says Collier.


The business now has a better handle on overtime and can identify trends and anomalies within each working area. “Sage has enabled individual bay managers to focus on their business overtime practices, good and bad,” Collier says. “For instance, some workers used to clock-in early even when they were not required, merely to boost their hours. Data analysis and the management reporting tools clearly show up the culprits and appropriate action can be taken.” The rostering feature in the time & attendance module allows the shop floor managers to manage their bay’s holiday and overtime. On-site security is a big issue in heavy industry and controlling access is the first line of defense. Hadleys’ system ensures that leavers are automatically barred from access. The swipe card also controls access at the front door. Once an employee is registered on the personnel system as having left or been dismissed from the company, their swipe card is automatically disabled.

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Tropos combines all the benefits of integrated standard software functionality with the flexibility of customised user interfaces and front-end programs

Calling all manufacturing businesses… Whether you’re looking for a total end-to-end ERP solution, need to add or replace part of your manufacturing software or want a hosted solution, Tropos from Solarsoft is the answer. Tropos provides flexible, low-risk ERP solutions for manufacturers seeking defined ROI throughout their business. Solarsoft’s Tropos will manage and deliver improvements in all your business processes, from quote to cash, from order to invoice through planning and production, material control, quality and traceability. With built-in shop-floor data collection and supply chain integration, Tropos will bring unprecedented levels of control and efficiency to your operations. If you’d like Tropos to be at the heart of your ERP, call us today on 01256 685223 or email

Cloud 9 provides ERP for hire to tackle downturn Software developer Solarsoft’s main ERP solution is Tropos, which has been on the market for 20 years. The core sectors Tropos serves are: food and beverage; ‘reels and rolls’ / mills and metals – for example carpet manufacturers or clients that make castings for engine turbine blades; chemical and pharmaceutical companies; and what Solarsoft calls Lean Discrete, that is discrete manufacturing that is fast and continuous, therefore being similar to process manufacturing.


he system was originally developed for process manufacturing – fast-moving environments where traceability, quality control and precise timing are of paramount importance. It is versatile enough to be suited to high or low volume production: to slower, discrete manufacturing applications such as coin production for the Royal Mint, as well as faster, process environments. Other Tropos customers include the Bank of England (banknote printing) and a nuclear fuels company. Solarsoft identifies Tropos’s strongest characteristics as: Product traceability ‘Demand-pull’ manufacturing – suitability for fastmoving environments Quality control Micro-scheduling – the ability to manage the manufacturing schedule down to minutes rather than days.

A central pillar of the software is the ability to be able to use Tropos on the shop-floor. It is a real- time, online system, which can be used on remote handheld PCs, with shop-floor data capture and control being an integral part of the product, rather than a bolt-on. “This enables the system to be driven from the shop-floor,” says Derek Lupton, sales and marketing director at Solarsoft Business Systems UK. “In manufacturing, making real-time bookings at key production stages is vital to the accuracy and timeliness of information. For example, having set an order running, progress can be recorded at various stages of manufacture, as it happens. As updates are made on the shopfloor, all departments in the company can see progress in real time, enabling more timely communication with business partners, as well as enhanced management decision making.” Tropos is especially suited to extremely fast-moving environments, such as bakeries, where the business needs to forecast what needs to be produced before receiving orders, and then manage product through the cutting, packing and despatch phases.

Three flavours

Enterprise. “Often people say that what they really want [from ERP] is to cover most of the bases, with the ability to grow the solution with their business, but being able to implement rapidly and hence start to realise benefits quickly,” says Lupton. “SME is pre-configured, can be implemented quickly and predictably, and all for about one-third the cost of a comparable enterprise solution.” Elements: this breaks the Enterprise system down into modules, where the company might want just one feature of ERP. Borne out of market research, like Tropos SME, Elements modules are compatible with Enterprise, enabling additional modules to be implemented as needs arise.

Cloud 9 Solarsoft has launched Cloud 9, an online hosting and facilities management plan that enables users to access all its offerings without having to purchase a licence. Customers pay a monthly rental fee per user, which covers software implementation, maintenance and technical management. It removes the capital cost of a full licence and the need for IT resource to manage the system in-house. Solarsoft calls it ‘solution as a service’, rather than software as a service. Cloud 9 is applicable to all three Tropos versions. The application can be accessed via the Internet or VPN (virtual private network). “As an alternative to purchasing a licence and servers, and putting in place maintenance contracts, the solution can run from our data centre. Solarsoft will install and configure the solution during the implementation. However many users you have, it’s paid for in affordable monthly payments,” says Lupton.

Ball-park price guide: Elements solution, single module – for example, sales or purchase order processing: implementation from £35,000. Tropos SME can be implemented from about £80,000. An Enterprise system is typically available from £150,000. Cloud 9 total solution – typically around £100 per user per month, depending on the level of ERP functionality required.

Tropos is available in three versions: Enterprise: the full-blown ERP system, suitable for larger and complex implementations, where a company will benefit from a full business process review and possibly additional partner applications. SME: an out-of-the-box, pre-configured solution, with a similar footprint but slightly shallower functional capability to


Pointing out the difference –

planning and scheduling

Planning and scheduling IT systems are very valuable to manufacturers, but how do they differ and how do they interface with ERP? Mike Novells, managing director of Preactor International, explains.

TM: The terms planning and scheduling are frequently used interchangeably – what are the differences between planning and scheduling?

evolved and what are the key differences between the latest offerings and those 10 years ago?

Novells: The terms planning and scheduling are used to mean the same thing but in fact they do very different things and use different data sets. Perhaps we should refer to them as long term capacity planning and detailed scheduling. Long term capacity planning typically works in ‘buckets’ of time, say a day or a week, where demand is assigned to one or more buckets of time to use up the available capacity. Often demand for each product is a mix of confirmed and forecast orders for each period/bucket or spread out over a number of buckets. The real difference between capacity planning and detailed scheduling is that capacity planning does not take account of the sequence of orders within a time bucket. For the planner, a detailed scheduling system will tell you both what will happen and what the effect will be if certain further actions are taken, such as adding overtime or changing priority of orders. Capacity planning systems cannot do that.

Novells: The power of computing has changed everything. The user interfaces are much more interactive than they were 10 years ago. The standardisation on the Windows operating system and databases has also helped developers to focus on what we can do for the end user and their experience of using a planning and scheduling system rather than ‘under the bonnet’ stuff. For us, the key differentiator is how flexible the system is, because all companies are different. Preactor is used by over 2,400 companies and we know that even companies that make the same product or are in the same sector have different priorities and different operational constraints. You must be able to fit the system to the client’s requirements rather than the other way around.

TM: Computerised planning and scheduling solutions have been widely available for over a decade. How have such systems


TM: Planning and scheduling is also closely linked to demand planning and long term forecasting requirements. What are the latest developments in this area and what benefits are they bringing? Novells: There is a growing need for companies running demand planning, forecasting and supply chain

management systems to offer a detailed scheduling capability. We work with companies like Dynasys and others to add this capability. The problem is that companies which supply, for example, the large retailers are being given less and less time to respond to demand that can vary hugely from one day to the next. Also their supply of raw materials can vary so that many have a daily balancing act to perform to manage the situation. Preactor is used by many companies to do this

TM: Planning and scheduling has also become more interesting to ERP vendors, with several claiming to have fully integrated planning and scheduling capabilities. What is your perception of the interaction between ERP and planning and scheduling? Novells: Remember that the data required for detailed scheduling models is totally different to what is normally held in a typical ERP system. As such ‘fully integrated’ really means an in-built interface between the scheduling system and the ERP database. For example, you really do not want your scheduling system to slow to a crawl every time the payroll is run — so even in a scheduling system that’s fully integrated to ERP, they typically run separately and on different computers. Most ERP systems have very limited if any detailed scheduling capabilities. Even when they do, they are inflexible and do less than our entry level product. This is why so many ERP vendors encourage the use of Preactor and why we have over 30 proven links to different ERP systems.

TM: Looking at the manufacturing enterprise, closing the loop between planning and execution has often been talked of as a ‘holy grail’. To what extent is this true? Novells: For most companies closing that loop is essential. When you want to re-schedule, which might be once a day, once a shift or even once every hour (we have some customers who schedule every 20 minutes) you want to start from where you actually are and not re-schedule operations that have started or finished. So having real-time feedback is important. We have a Preactor Viewer, perhaps linked to a bar code reader, to do this but we are also seeing many more excellent products that allow for touch screen updates and even full activity control, or MES systems like Wonderware Operations, which are linked to Preactor to provide the finite capacity engine that they lack.

TM: With many manufacturing IT vendors having a tough time with sales, why are manufacturers continuing to invest in this technology, even in the downturn? Novells: Companies are having a rough time right now, or think they might do, so they don’t want to invest in ‘big bang’ projects such as replacing their ERP. What they want is to deal with specific pain points that improve what they have. Improving performance with on-time deliveries, while reducing costs of holding raw materials and finished products in stores, is a key requirement for them. Preactor typically takes a couple of months to get up and running to your preferences, so it is producing results quickly and the total cost of ownership is lower. This is why we have seen a lot more demand in 2008 when manufacturing started to feel the credit crunch effect on demand for its products.

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

enter at

IT in manufacturing award

TM: If a manufacturer were looking to invest in such a system, how should they approach getting the best from the system? Novells: Make sure that the company can deliver what they say they can. Ask to see a schedule generated using your data even if it is cut down to a minimum size. If detailed scheduling is something you require, ask the vendor to show you a work-to list for each resource showing the specific time and the sequence of loading across the schedule horizon. If they can’t then it’s not a true scheduling application.

TM: How does the UK compare with other countries in terms of the adoption of advanced planning and scheduling (APS) systems? Novells: It is interesting how different the markets are, even within Europe. The British and French markets for APS are quite sophisticated and mature. Companies there know what APS is, how it can be used, and the widely acknowledged benefits it can bring. In both countries there are strong local suppliers of APS systems. Germany is completely different which I think may result from the domination of SAP [software] which has meant that local German APS companies like ours have not been able to gain as much traction and thus German companies have not been exposed to the advantages of real time detailed scheduling. The US market is a little behind France and the UK in my experience but is catching up fast. The BRIC emerging markets vary quite a lot. In Brazil we have a thriving installed base and we have our own office in India. China and Russia though are quite new to planning and scheduling software. end

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Improving efficiency and competitiveness at Presspart Manufacturing This article charts the progress of Presspart’s search for a world class enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for its metal products manufacturing business that would not only deliver competitive advantage, but also meet the demanding requirements of its pharmaceutical industry customers.


resspart Manufacturing Ltd, a member of the German Heitkamp & Thumann Group, is an established leader in its field, serving many of the major pharmaceutical producers such as GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim and TevaIvax Pharmaceuticals, in locations across the globe.

A complex operation The company specialises in high precision, deep drawn and injection moulded metal components and devices for the pharmaceutical industry as well as making specialist parts for other applications. It excels in the manufacture of deep drawn aerosol cans for metered dose inhalers together with other drug delivery device components. As a result, almost three quarters of all metered dose inhalers used around the world incorporate components manufactured by Presspart. In addition to the inherent complexities of the metal products manufacturing business and the need to manage the risks of rapidly varying metal prices, Presspart’s business systems have to cope with the distributed and international nature of its operations. Based in Blackburn, its locations include semiautonomous manufacturing sites in Blackburn, Marsberg in Germany and Tarragona in Spain, plus sales offices in North Carolina and Shanghai. A further challenge arises from the need to meet the requirements of its multi-national pharmaceutical industry customers. Comprehensive reporting capabilities are needed to provide full visibility of the supply situation at all times.

The need for a better ERP system The limitations of its existing business systems were a major cause for concern at Presspart. Installed in 1999, the old ERP system had been selected and implemented with only limited input from users and, consequently, did not fully meet their functional and technical requirements. A lack of subsequent training only made matters worse. The existing ERP solution was clearly not a good fit for the company as only 30 percent of its functions were actually used, making navigation through the system difficult. An inability


to communicate with other systems in the company also led to duplication of information, which resulted in inefficient administration and a greater likelihood of data errors. The difficulty of supporting the system, however, posed an even greater risk to the company. The many bespoke changes made to the system over the past ten years to address its deficiencies made any upgrade impossible and ongoing support challenging. The risk of an unsupported system had been highlighted in audits by its pharmaceutical customers and was a prime driver for the search for a new ERP solution.

Comprehensive consultation The management at Presspart was determined not to repeat past mistakes and embarked upon a rigorous requirements gathering and evaluation process to ensure that the right ERP solution was chosen. All stakeholders were consulted, including group management, the user community and customers. Although Heitkamp & Thuman was a strong advocate of ERP, the diversity of its activities meant that there was no preferred solution for the group, so Presspart had complete freedom of choice. The group did, however, stipulate the need to integrate with specific software packages, such as Lotus Notes, and outlined requirements for reporting. Additionally, the solution provider had to have a proven track record, global presence and a UK office. The team leading the ERP project consolidated the input from all sources to create a detailed and comprehensive specification, which was then used in a methodical, year long selection process.

Finding the right solution An extensive research exercise resulted in a list of potential providers, which was quickly whittled down to a short list of three, each presenting a different software solution. The team’s next task was to compare the proposed solutions. A series of presentations by the final three candidates was organised and the team ensured that a truly representative audience of management and users was invited to evaluate the proposals. All those attending completed a detailed questionnaire, which covered functional and technical aspects of the solutions in addition to more general issues of ‘look and feel’ and feedback on the vendors. The questionnaires were assessed with an objective scoring system that had been developed within the Heitkamp & Thuman group. The SAP solution presented by itelligence emerged as the clear winner, fully meeting all Presspart’s requirements. The fact that SAP is widely deployed in both the metals and pharmaceutical industries, and is used by the majority of Presspart’s customers, made the case for a SAP solution all the more compelling.

will not need expensive customisation, with its attendant support and maintenance issues. By conforming to the best practices built in to SAP, rather than forcing current processes onto the system, Presspart expects to gain substantial benefits in efficiency and improve its competitiveness.

Why itelligence? itelligence is one of the leading international full-service providers for solutions in the SAP environment, employing more than 1,400 highly qualified employees in 17 countries. In addition to largescale SAP projects, the company provides and implements a range of templated solutions that enable rapid and effective installations in the small to medium-sized company sector. itelligence’s tried and trusted offerings include a solution that addresses the needs of the non-ferrous metal industry. The solution enhances the SAP system by providing specific capabilities that the industry needs, such as price-fixing, risk management, tolling and metal accounting.

The SAP system’s ability to integrate easily with a broad range of external applications and deliver state-of-the-art ERP functionality removes may of the company’s existing administration headaches, while powerful reporting facilities keep both management and customers fully up-to-date on progress and ensure compliance with industry regulations. Most importantly, Presspart’s management are confident that itelligence can provide them with a robust, standard solution that

Dietmar Schmitz, Presspart

This article is based on a white paper written by researchers at the Strathclyde Institute of Operations Management, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. The original paper can be downloaded from www.


long haul Curbing costs on the

Purvinder Tesse, logistics director at leading global logistics supplier FCL UK, provides some useful advice on minimising logistics costs for importers and exporters.


the international movement of goods should, in today’s global village, be a simpler process than it was a few years ago. Yet it is one which many still see as too complicated or difficult to arrange or manage themselves, despite the costs involved and the potential cost savings achievable through effective negotiation and careful supplier management. UK importers and exporters of goods are unnecessarily paying out millions of pounds on hidden transportation costs which, had they been properly checked beforehand, could have been reduced or even avoided altogether. Loading and unloading, haulage, containerisation, storage and ocean and air freight costs can all end up costing the buyer more than they need to, eating into their margins. If the cargo is time-sensitive, transportation costs are likely to be higher than standard rates. However, regardless of time-sensitivity, committing to a contract of 12 months or above in the current economic climate is a questionable strategy, given that transportation costs have fallen on average by approximately 55% since the start of the economic downturn and may yet fall further. As an example, December 2007 rates for 20-foot containers were $1,100 for imports from base China ports, but 12 months later had fallen to $300 per container.


Bigger not always better

Historically, many pharmaceutical companies have assumed that dealing with the larger global carriers and freight forwarders will guarantee better rates, but this is not always the case. Some global carriers have been very slow to pass on the recent savings on shipping and air transport costs to their customers, assuming ongoing loyalty from customers on the basis of ‘better the devil you know’ or that the customer does not have time to shop around for a lower cost. But some customer-focused forwarders are negotiating rates on an almost daily basis with the large shipping, air and road transport companies, to get the lowest possible prices for their customers. With forwarders, bigger is not necessarily better, as even smaller forwarders are buying in sufficient quantities to offer good economies of scale — even to customers moving only occasional consignments or a few containers each week.

Expensive coding errors

Importers need also to be aware of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs commodity codes for imported goods. Careless and inaccurate use of these codes is potentially costing UK businesses millions of pounds each year. There

Supplychain and logistcs

is one example of a customer importing four containers a week and paying a massive £1,500 per container in duty, totalling £6,000 per week and thus close to £300,000 per year just from incorrect code allocation. Ultimately it is the importer’s responsibility to ascertain the correct commodity code. A relatively small amount of time spent researching the available codes and methods of obtaining exemptions on certain goods can pay big dividends in cost savings on import duties. HMR&C produces an array of fat booklets detailing commodity codes with their respective duty rates every few months, but many companies have neither the time nor the inclination to examine these and establish which of several categories the product they are importing might fall under. Companies might either keep using the code they have always used or call the HMR&C’s commodity code ‘helpline’, which will just give them one category number under which to register the goods. However, due to the enormous and ever-growing number of subheadings, which change every two or three months, many goods can quite legitimately be registered under several different categories, with differing duty rates.

Import duty is normally charged as a percentage of the cargo’s value, but this money can never be reclaimed even if a mistake is revealed later on. It is no good, therefore, assuming that a company is using the most cost-effective code — spending time checking, or getting its supplier to advise or assist in this matter, could create big savings in the long run. A supplier can also deal with HMR&C on behalf of their client in the event of an audit by HMR&C.

Terms of sale as important as price

When negotiating an international sales contract, as much attention should be paid to the terms of sale as to the sales price. The almost universally accepted international trade terms (Incoterms) set out several categories ranging from ‘Ex Works’ — where all the seller has to do is package the goods while the buyer arranges transport — through to ‘Delivered Duty Paid’, where the seller pays for all aspects of transport all the way to the buyer’s premises, which covers all duty, taxes and customs clearance as well. However, there are a further 11 categories between these two, each placing different responsibilities on the buyer and seller, and this is often where extra costs creep in if the responsibility for carriage costs is


not clearly agreed in advance. When exporting goods from the UK by sea or air, the Cost & Freight (C&F) Incoterms category is usually the most favourable to the exporter, as the shipper has control of the cargo for the majority of the time. However, if the agreed terms are Free Onboard Vessel (FOB), the UK shipper will incur higher charges from the nominated shipping line or freight forwarder, thus placing them at a disadvantage. This is because the consignee will specify to the exporter which carrier or forwarder they must use, who is then likely to charge a higher than average rate to the exporter, while quoting a lower cost to their regular customer (the consignee), but still making a profit procured from the difference between the higher costs quoted to the shipper and the cost reduction given to the consignee. For importers of raw materials, purchasing on an FOB basis can result in significant savings on transportation. Indeed, buying on a C&F basis typically results in the importer paying 10%-15% more in transportation costs than they would have done had FOB terms been agreed. To save time, many exporting manufacturers around the world often use one shipping line or forwarder which will provide a cost that is then simply marked up and passed on to the importer, as there is no incentive for them to negotiate a cheaper deal, while cheaper shipping costs may be counterbalanced by high haulage costs if the shipping company is itself using a third party haulier. It is clear to see, then, how transport costs can often be as much as 20-30% higher when using a single shipping line than if the buyer arranged the transport themselves or used a forwarder. Even if the UK importer uses a freight forwarder for the UK legs of the journey, they do not necessarily enjoy the full benefits if the overseas manufacturer’s shipper or forwarder uses a different UK agent, with ‘handover costs’ often charged. Leaving the responsibility of shipping goods with the manufacturer is therefore often likely to be an expensive option and one which should generally be avoided.

The impact of bills of lading

For imports, the terms of the ‘bill of lading’ — a document that gives proof of particular goods having been loaded onto a ship — can make a difference to costs too. The person to whom the goods are being sent normally needs to be shown on the bill of lading in order to obtain the release of the goods. If the bill of lading is a ‘direct master bill of lading ’ — i.e. it includes only the name of the shipper and the consignee, and not the names of any third parties or forwarders — then the importer can deal directly with the shipping line when securing release of the goods. This can sometimes be an expensive route as freight forwarders typically import several thousand containers per annum will get better rates from the carriers than a company moving only small numbers of containers a month.

Calling for entries from companies embracing supply chain integration as a whole business process. This will be awarded to the manufacturing company or site that, in the opinion of the judges, is making measurable progress towards realising a fully integrated network of supply chain partners that demonstrably reduce costs and increase efficiencies. The judges will look for an integrated supply chain strategy that embraces the whole business process from raw materials or component procurement to customer delivery.

enter at

Supply chain and logistics award

However, if the bill of lading mentions other intermediaries, such as a third party freight forwarder or agent, the importer has to deal with those intermediaries before those goods are released. The less scrupulous of these will take the opportunity to add on extra charges such as handover fees, charges for documents and so on, which can add several hundred pounds to the bill on a single consignment. To get around this, importers can specify a direct bill of lading when booking with the shipper if importing on a Cost & Freight basis. Another alternative is to import the goods on an Ex Works basis, although this presents a different set of challenges.

To outsource or not to outsource

In a digital age with quicker forms of communication, international freight transport is not the minefield it once was, although the sheer volume of documentation, and the investment of time needed to get the best deal, make it very difficult for some organisations to manage the process in-house. Placing the entire responsibility with a reputable freight forwarder can both remove worry and allow the buyer to access the most cost-effective transport suppliers. Not only is the forwarder used to dealing with manufacturers in distant parts of the world, hands-on account management by staff who can converse in local languages means the process is constantly being monitored and any potential hold-ups are quickly identified and dealt with. This process allows the buyer to focus on the important aspects of their business rather than being distracted by ancillary logistics, and to be satisfied that their transport costs are as low as possible. end

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recognition •Supporting your development •Keeping you informed •Saving you time and money For more information on how we can help you to achieve your career aspirations: t: 01536 740105 e:


Supplychain and logistcs

L o g i s t i c s s u p p l y R E P O R T


c h a i n

2 0 0 9

The latest addition to The Manufacturer’s Industry Research Programme is the Logistics and Supply Chain Report 2009


today face a variety of challenges when trading in the UK and overseas, including the building and maintenance of strong supplier relationships, the removal of waste from the supply chain, environmental legislation and the effective management of risk. Sponsored by KPMG and Transwide, the Logistics and Supply Chain Report 2009 builds on research to reveal new thinking and trends in supply chain practice, and provides an in-depth examination of the biggest issues in this field for manufacturers today. Our industry-wide survey reveals how logistics and supply chain policies and procedures are changing and evolving as constraints on finances and trading terms become tighter. Unsurprisingly, cost saving has proved a big theme this year, with cost of service cited as the number one driver of supply chain improvement mentality among our survey’s respondents. In addition, cost saving is named as the most important factor when considering whether to outsource aspects of your operations offshore. The report also includes have plenty of real-life stories from companies who have tackled their own set of supply chain and logistics challenges. We hear from innocent Drinks about managing expansion overseas during a period of rapid growth; there is also testimony from Tata Steel on using technology to improve its supply chain processes and keep up with the rapid pace of change in the steel industry. In addition, pallet network Palletways sheds light on firming up your transport strategy in an economic downturn. There is also useful advice on visibility, integration and co-ordination within the supply chain from Sterling Commerce.

Sponsored by:

In association with the Lean Enterprise Research Centre, Cardiff Business School

As prices rise and pressures increase, the reality for manufacturers today is that margin for error within the supply chain is slim. Our report will be a useful and indispensable tool by which to measure your own operations against those of your peers, gain valuable insights into how you can improve and thereby better prepare yourself for the challenges of the coming year. To ensure accuracy, legitimacy and credibility for the Report, The Manufacturer is partnered with academic experts from the Lean Enterprise Research Centre at Cardiff Business School, who are independent of our commercial partners. end

The report is free to subscribers of The Manufacturer and costs ÂŁ195 to non-subscribers.



and on-site

Ian Ritchie, managing director of Brammer, a leading supplier of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) products and services, examines how having an outsourced maintenance spares stores on-site can deliver significant financial and operational benefits to manufacturing companies.



management is a complex issue for manufacturers in almost any sector. Rapid access to spares is vital to maintaining continuity of production and avoiding costly downtime. However, not only are the required spares often of low value and required infrequently, but the sheer range of components which a plant can need access to can be daunting. For many, that range of products means dealing with multiple suppliers across different product areas — from bearings and mechanical power transmission to hydraulics, pneumatics, tools and personal protective equipment. This in turn leads to investment in engineering, purchasing and administration time to identify the required product, finding a supplier, negotiating a price, and then receiving and managing the goods, all many times over. Add to this ongoing stock management requirements and costs.

Operations and maintenance

It is no surprise that this time-consuming process affects productivity and effectiveness of both purchasing and maintenance teams. In the case of the hard-pressed maintenance team, this can often lead to a focus on shortterm fire-fighting — dealing with immediate requirements to keep production lines running — and never getting to grips with more strategic projects which would improve production output and efficiency and make more efficient use of energy, or undertaking preventative maintenance which would reduce the risk of future downtime.

Improving maintenance spares management

Maintenance spares stock management can frequently be an issue, with many companies holding a large value of stock ‘just in case’ as they lack reliable management data on their component usage. To compound this issue, stock is often replicated across numerous locations on site. In many instances, the items are not catalogued or recorded, leading to duplicated stock and cash unnecessarily tied up in inventory. It can be hard to know what is available, there can be poor stock turns and the constant risk of a productioncritical component being missing when it is needed. At a time when, more than ever, cash is king, any action which can be taken to eliminate waste in business process transactions — for example, raising purchase orders for multiple suppliers when the same goods could be obtained from a single supplier — and reduce inventory should be welcomed. Indeed, many forward-thinking companies have identified that optimising maintenance and stores management can help to deliver improved performance by reducing costs, improving efficiency and eliminating expensive downtime that impact so heavily on overall profitability. A solution to this issue is one which would reduce MRO spares processing and handling costs, while rationalising the supplier base, the number of spare parts used and amount of stock held, while guaranteeing quality and the continuity of supply of key parts. There is a proven solution to this problem that is helping a growing number of major companies to reduce total acquisition costs and working capital — and, through the engagement of the expertise of Brammer and its leading engineering component suppliers, also delivering significant and measurable improvements in production output and operational efficiency.

On-site solution

This solution involves effectively establishing a Brammer branch on a company’s premises, geared entirely to meeting its needs in terms of spare parts inventory management and the expertise available. Indeed, an ‘Insite’ branch by-passes many of the problems associated with in-house maintenance spares management by outsourcing all procurement and inventory management issues to Brammer.

An Insite provides highly trained and experienced site-based personnel delivering dedicated MRO spare parts sourcing and technical support to keep production running smoothly, while offering many value-added services and solutions to the customer — freeing up the in-house procurement, engineering and maintenance teams to concentrate on other, more valuable activities, knowing that their MRO spares operation is in safe hands. An Insite gives companies dedicated access to all Brammer’s resources and knowledge as well as the benefit from an innovative range of engineering services, production audits and technical support. With over 50 Insites in operation, the positive

production “The efficiency improvements

Ian Ritchie, managing director, Brammer

generated have helped Brammer deliver some £40m of operational cost savings to customers since 2007

And all of these requirements are complicated by the fact that parts are often required at short notice — often immediately — to prevent plant-critical downtime.

impact of this approach is already proven in the UK in many large production plants in different industrial sectors including automotive, food and drink, metals, packaging and pharmaceuticals, with customers including brewer Scottish & Newcastle and aluminium producer Alcoa. The production efficiency improvements generated have helped Brammer deliver some £40m of operational cost savings to customers since 2007.

Cost savings across the board

While Brammer’s pan-European sourcing operation can frequently purchase components more competitively than the client company, the real business benefits are delivered from the process improvements, stock management systems and technical support and advice that a Brammer Insite can provide. Total component acquisition costs are significantly reduced, as the company is now dealing with only one supplier for all its MRO requirements, resulting in simpler invoicing with the option of electronic ordering and invoicing, helping to reduce transactional costs. The reliable management reporting offered will track component usage, which creates greater transparency and provides the basis for stock profiling, redundant stock analysis and targeted reductions in stock profiles and purchasing costs. The company is also only paying for spares that are being used rather than those gathering dust in a storeroom.


By using the technical consultancy and application advice available, engineers can substitute parts for those with a longer life expectancy and lower total cost of ownership, delivering further cost savings. Genuine parts are guaranteed too, as Brammer is an authorised distributor for most of the leading engineering component suppliers, which eliminates the risk of purchasing sub-standard or counterfeit parts through a non-authorised supply route. Stock profiling will, along with vendor-managed inventory, result in standardisation of products and brand rationalisation. Standardisation means fewer products, which in turn means less stock and reduced working capital.

Improving production efficiency

Perhaps the biggest issue for most maintenance and plant managers, however, is optimising the production efficiency of their manufacturing lines. Maximising uptime is key to this and the support and capability of an Insite can be a major contributor.

Calling for entries: Is your operation flexible, effective and efficient and well maintained? This award will go to the manufacturing company or plant that, in the opinion of the judges, is making quantifiable progress towards having fully integrated factory operations that identifies and utilises to good effect the interaction between machines, processing steps and the tasks that need to be performed. This may include use of flexible process and operations techniques, which allow for adjustments that are required to meet shifting manufacturing and demand scenarios and that implement effective maintenance programmes.

An Insite’s operating hours are geared to the requirements of the company’s manufacturing operations. The on-site branch can be staffed and operational on a 24/7/365 basis, if required.

enter at

Operations and maintenance Operations and maintenance award

Companies also have access to experienced, independent technical expertise. The Insite manager can arrange for performance measurement and component kitting, while application advice, condition monitoring and energy efficiency surveys are further examples where an Insite can help to ensure that downtime is minimised and plant operational efficiency optimised.

50 Insites in operation, “ With over the positive impact of this

approach is already proven in the UK in many large production plants in different industrial sectors including automotive, food and drink, metals, packaging and pharmaceuticals

Some manufacturing companies which have investigated the best way to develop their maintenance and stores management strategy have found that, by taking the bold step to outsource some or all of these functions, they are enjoying greater operational efficiencies and financial benefits. Brammer Insites are proven to deliver a combination of operational performance improvements and cost savings, while improving plant uptime and company profitability. The concept is an innovative partnership approach that will help to drive the competitiveness of the UK manufacturing sector forward. end

Have your say at



Blown y w a a

Can wind energize British industry? The UK should reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 80% by 2050, according to advice from the Committee on Climate Change. It also needs to bolster exports to assist economic recovery. Surely the time is ripe for a renewable energy manufacturing bonanza? says Will Stirling. Part 1 of a three part series


multiple converging factors, the UK should have a thriving domestic large wind turbine industry. The arguments for this – environmental, economic, export-driven, the need for engineering skills and, at last, government funding – were brought into sharp focus from several angles last month. The Department for Energy and Climate Change published a report on April 23, Investing in a Low Carbon Britain, outlining the case for multiple low carbon energy types, vehicles, jobs and products. The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), the trade association for the UK wind and renewables industries, produced a report on the manufacturing opportunities in wind, wave and tidal energy for domestic and export markets. The Chancellor’s Budget on April 22 announced a £405m fund to support low carbon manufacturing and green energy, as well as committing £525m for offshore wind energy projects over the next two years. The idea of green jobs for a green economy has real momentum from many directions (see the Lead story on p20).

Policy blown off course

Then, on April 29, Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas announced the closure of its Isle of Wight manufacturing base, to the dismay of many. Demand for wind turbines has dropped in the recession and many wind farm projects globally have stalled. But some feel the reason is deeper than mere economics. Vestas mainly supplies to the onshore wind market and probably established its blade plant on the Isle of

Wight with a view to supply to the UK market. But government policy has focused on offshore wind. “Vestas has identified that the market for offshore wind turbines is likely to be less profitable than onshore,” says David Sharman, managing director of small wind turbine manufacturer Ampair. “Since the UK is blocking onshore it is not profitable, and many countries would like to host Vestas and give it business.” Ditlev Engel, chief executive of Vestas, was hopeful that the Budget measures would help recover demand so that closure might be avoided. He told The Guardian the weakness of the pound was also responsible, making it more costly to build wind farms in the UK, but the biggest problem lay in planning application. “It is extremely time consuming and extremely complicated. Some of our developers, customers, will tell you it is so difficult. In the UK, nimbyism is a huge challenge. This is outside of Whitehall territory.” While offshore wind offers arguably more potential for large scale wind projects, onshore wind farms are by some estimates twice as cost effective as offshore. Planning constraints are certainly a big issue. Infrastructure projects normally have a 16 week maximum planning and approval period. In nonwind farm projects, a decision is reached within this time for about 70% of projects. Only 5% of wind farms get a decision by deadline, according to Nick Medic at BWEA. The reluctance of banks to lend for project finance further compounds the problems for makers of wind turbines. Of Vestas’s decision, Adam Buckley, head of programmes at The Manufacturing Institute says: “It is extremely disappointing in light of the government’s target for achieving 15% of all UK energy from renewable sources by 2020. Britain has the best offshore wind, wave and tidal resources in Europe… the government must recognise that these resources present a significant opportunity to help create the right conditions for enterprise and UK manufacturing.”

Sustainable manufacturing

Room for a British player

Project finance is tight, yet it is hard to avoid the conclusion that, had there been more policy-level conviction before now to finance onshore wind projects, and less planning red tape, Vestas would not be closing its UK plant (its R&D facility remains on the Isle of Wight). Its decision is humiliating for government in light of its recent vocal support of low carbon industries. BWEA’s April report Powering a Green Economy, makes a compelling economic case for the UK to use the opportunity of renewable energy to bolster manufacturing, create and secure jobs, fill the skills gap, increase exports and contribute to economic recovery. It says that fulfilling Britain’s renewable energy potential will require up to 60,000 employees across wind, wave and tidal, including 10,000 offshore construction and operation jobs and says if the UK capitalises on its potential, its green technology sector could dominate world markets worth perhaps £200bn each in the next 20-20 years. For manufacturing, while the UK currently imports all its large scale wind turbines (mainly from Germany and Denmark, with Siemens alone supplying about half), BWEA says that, “providing measures to induce investment in renewables such as the recent US stimulus package [or UK Budget funding] are successful….. there is room for new entrants to the sector and a general need for greater production capacity across the board.”

The UK seems to have missed a trick in taking viable opportunities in the wind turbine supply chain. But who is to blame, government or industry?

While foreign companies like Vestas that could assemble turbines in the UK suffer from a weak pound when importing parts from Europe, conversely the low euro to sterling exchange rate is an opportunity, making British turbine manufacture more competitive both for domestic projects and for exports. Buying wind capital from Europe is more expensive now, adding weight to the argument for a UK wind turbine manufacturing capability. When the demand for wind projects recovers, without a domestic supplier the UK will be subject to the pricing policies of a small number of suppliers – only two manufacturers dominate in offshore wind, for example. BWEA’s report articulates this case compellingly: “It is still possible that a major expansion of off¬shore wind in the UK will result in turbines being made abroad and exported to the UK. Being dependent on imports would be much riskier as there would be strong competition for the production capacity from the home markets of those manufacturers. The opportunity to max¬imise the benefit to the UK would be lost: there would be no chance to earn export revenue from future offshore development in Europe or elsewhere if we have not developed a manufacturing base.”

Industry must respond

A British wind power industry would have to contend with the dominance of Siemens, Vestas, Repower and Nordex, which have proven technology and are favoured suppliers by both public-private projects like London Array and on-site single turbine operators like Wind Direct and Ecotricity. But the revenue and export appeal of manufacturing big wind turbines alone is alluring – recession or not, Germany’s export of wind turbine technology is worth over $6.8bn per year and growing, which rises to more than $10.2bn if including installation, operations and maintenance according to the German Wind Energy Institute (see fact box). Some domestic manufacturing does benefit from a foreign turbine industry. Converteam in Rugby, for example, is a leading manufacturer of power conditioning and conversion equipment for the wind market. But there are issues for UK companies supplying to wind manufacturers abroad. “It is more difficult to compete against established suppliers when crossing the sea and with exchange rate volatility to contend with (though the current low pound is helping right now),” says Dr Gordon Edge, co-author of BWEA’s report. “Hence our insistence on bringing a turbine assembly facility to the UK, as a prelude to building up the local supply chain rather than the coda.” As Dr Edge points out, the UK component is

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Environmental Manufacturing 17-18 June 2009 CBI Conference Centre, London

Cut your costs. Reduce your environmental impact. In the current economic climate, manufacturers need to look to leaner methods of working to cut costs and reduce inefficiencies within operational processes.

Who should attend?

Implementing standards can help to identify opportunities and show where changes can be made. This conference will provide you with the tools to apply new methodologies and implement existing standards that will reduce your running costs and your carbon footprint.

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Focus areas for this conference include: • Information on existing standards – BS ISO 14001 and PAS 2050 • Updates on forthcoming Energy Management standards • Changing the perception of environmental manufacturing within the industry • Environmental permitting.

All those in both the private and public sector for whom manufacturing legislation and standards has a direct impact including: Operations directors Production managers Compliance officers Procurement managers Environment officers and managers Energy managers Facilities managers.

For more information on the programme and speakers, visit

Special offer: Subscribers to The Manufacturer receive an additional 10% off their conference fee. To book, call BSI customer services on +44 (0)20 8996 9001 and quote reference code CTBCM-MAN To book your place contact BSI Customer Services quoting marketing reference code CTBCM-MAN

raising standards worldwide ™ Standards and publications may also be ordered via the BSI shop at *P&P £5.95 UK (inclusive of VAT); £9.95 Rest of the World (+VAT if applicable) – one-off charge added to your order of 10 items or fewer. FREE P&P to BSI Subscribing Members. Pre-payment is required by non-Members. VAT is applicable to all purchases of PDF downloads, CDs, DVDs, other electronic products and Conferences and Training Courses. All prices, content and publishing dates may be subject to change. For details of BSI Membership, call +44 (0)20 8996 9001. © BSI British Standards Institution 2009

still very low, “even for towers that are relatively simple to make and difficult to transport - factors in favour of local production.” The UK seems to have missed a trick in taking viable opportunities in the wind turbine supply chain. But who is to blame, government or industry? “The German and Danish governments were active in bringing forward emerging technologies to commercialisation, this didn’t happen in the UK,” says Alex Murray, small wind systems manager at BWEA. Others support this view. EEF, the manufacturer’s organisation, wants to lobby government to make up for past complacency. “The main reason manufacturing activity in the wind sector is limited in the UK is the lack of government vision and support,” says Roger Salomone, energy adviser at EEF. “In stark contrast to the generous subsidies for generating power from wind, there has been no plan for exploiting the industrial opportunities. The world-leading Danish wind turbine industry was deliberately nurtured over several decades through a phased programme of government support. EEF is looking to the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, due to be published this summer, to address this lack of foresight and ambition.” However some voices, like WMG’s Lord Bhattacharyya (see page 18), feel that industry needs to take a leap of faith. In the 1980s and early 1990s there were some UK pioneers making wind turbines, Howdens and Wind Energy Group being notable. “They failed to establish themselves due to a difficult home market with a support mechanism (NFFO) which focused very hard on reducing cost, at the expense of actually delivering projects and thus providing orders to domestic manufacturers,” says BWEA’s Gordon Edge. Few British names are today associated with the big turbine market, and the consensus view is that only with a stronger state commitment to invest in wind energy, Howdens and others might have persevered. RollsRoyce, perhaps the best placed British company to enter the wind turbine market, has been comparatively quiet for its size and reach. A campaign group, Wind Not Weapons, has demonstrated at Rolls-Royce’s Raynesway nuclear engineering plant to drop nuclear in favour of manufacturing sustainable technology. The company has in fact invested in onshore wind and tidal energy projects through partnership with the Energy Technology Institute. ‘Helm Wind’ is researching methods of improving the efficiency of generating electricity from offshore wind. But its manufacturing contribution to wind is muted, at present.

Grasp the nettle

Ostensibly the manufacturing opportunities for Britain’s green economic revolution are vast, providing there is political will, funding and the necessary skills available. Collating and delivering those three elements is a big challenge in a stretched economy, but must happen for many important reasons. “UK manufacturing must be in a position to take advantage of the demand that this sector creates – this requires both an acceleration of government policy, a relaxation of the planning approval process and a targeted support programme to develop supply chain capability within the UK manufacturing renewables sector,” says The Manufacturing Institute’s Buckley. end

Calling for entries: Are you reducing your carbon footprint? This award will be given to the manufacturing company or plant that, in the opinion of the judges, best demonstrates how it has improved its environmental performance and reduced its carbon footprint. This may take the form of a single highly effective initiative, or a wide ranging portfolio of smaller improvements. For example, switching to a renewable energy source, or increasing energy efficiency through simple but demonstrable methods such as minimising unnecessary lighting; reorganising the shopfloor to save energy; powering down equipment that will be dormant for periods of time; reducing packaging and designing recyclability into its products.

enter at

Sustainable manufacturing award

Wind on your doorstep Wind Direct and Ecotricity install, operate and maintain wind turbine generated electricity on clients’ premises, and have many manufacturing clients. See TM August 2008 for the feature on Ford Dagenham’s turbines, and watch this space for coverage of Wind Direct’s installation at Eastman Chemicals.

Useful links Powering a Green Economy: Wind, wave and tidal’s contribution to Britain’s industrial future Powering%20a%20Green%20Economy.pdf Investing in a Low Carbon Britain http:// news/090423_low_car/090423_low_car.aspx Energy Technology Institute and Rolls-Royce Home/Media/FirstETIprojects.aspx BWEA Small Wind Report 2008 SWS_UK_Market_Report_2008.pdf




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FOR GENERAL INFORMATION OR ENTRY INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Sara Donaldson Senior Event Co-ordinator T 020 7970 4792 E

Manufacturinginaction Putting UK manufacturers under the spotlight TSC Foods

Factory of the month


Constant innovation and an emphasis on superior service are key factors for success at TSC Foods, as Becky Done finds out

TS Tech

Seating systems


The seating systems supplier to Honda has been dealing with the downturn in its own unique – and highly successful – way

Ultra Secure Products Security units


Flexibility and an emphasis on skills are key at the Yorkshire-based manufacturer of anti-vandal units, as TM discovers

Pinneys of Scotland Food and beverage


A Royal Warrant to supply smoked salmon to Her Majesty the Queen indicates just how important quality and service is to the Dumfriesshirebased seafood manufacturer

Benson Group Packaging


Unrivalled expertise, a breadth of services and a true understanding of its customers all contribute to everincreasing success at the Benson Group


recipe success



Innovation, service and expertise are key ingredients for success at Scunthorpe-based TSC Foods, where the new products and new business just keep on increasing. Becky Done tries to keep pace.


Factory of the month TSC Foods

If you have recently dined at any of the top five pub-restaurant

companies, any of the high street restaurant brands or have completed your weekly food shop at Sainsbury’s, Morrisons or Waitrose, chances are you will have come across a soup, sauce, dip or dressing manufactured by TSC Foods. The company, which is located on a single site in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire and has a workforce of 280, counts the major pub and restaurant chains among its clients, alongside an impressive selection of major food retailers. Supplying to the pub and restaurant trade in particular has been a major driver of the company’s success over the past few years. The nature of the food service industry is that pubs and restaurants typically re-vamp their menus every three months or so in order to meet the expectations of their customer base – and this results in the opportunity for TSC to supply a whole new range of products. In order to do so, the company has in place a fully dedicated development team headed up by an award-winning chef, and investing in such expertise is clearly paying dividends. Last year, for example, the company launched a breathtaking 1000 new products – on average, three per day.

The one ethic that runs through everybody here – from the managing director to staff on the shop floor – is focus on customer service, on an hourly and daily basis. If we’ve got an issue that could result in a potential non-delivery, we are on it; it’s at the top of the agenda for the day

The company works closely with its customers to develop the new products. “We tend to take the lead – quite a few of our customers rely entirely on us,” explains operations manager Chris Taylor, who has worked in the food industry for 25 years. “We know what the food trends are and we’ve got the expertise; but we also understand the customer’s brand and what fits with that brand and what might go in one restaurant better than another, because they all have their own identity. We’re very active in that area.” TSC produces both chilled and frozen products, understanding that customers’ requirements vary greatly according to their individual consumption of the product. “Whether it’s chilled or frozen usually depends on how they handle it in their supply chain,” explains Taylor. “With a small pub outlet, for example, one case may take a week or two to shift, so they don’t really want to deal with chilled – they need to manage their wastage. We certainly don’t see frozen product as being of inferior quality to chilled – it’s just a quality product that you can freeze. “Retail is predominantly chilled,” he continues. “That’s made up of soups, gravies, pasta, fish and meat sauces although we also supply frozen into retail café outlets. On the food service side, it’s typically 60% frozen, 40% chilled. But that is entirely dependent on the customer’s supply chain.” The company has an off-site cold store on the other side of Scunthorpe where it freezes stock and co-ordinates its frozen logistics operations.


The right ingredients Ingredient Solutions was established in 2000 to provide innovative cheese ingredients for application across a broad range of industries


ur facility is based in Boherbue, Co. Cork, in the heart of the cheese producing region of Ireland, with a heritage and tradition centuries old. With substantial investment at our manufacturing facility and a dedicated team at the core of our company, we aim to provide a fully integrated service, from consultancy, product design and prototype development, through to full service production. To satisfy the diverse tastes of today’s discerning consumer, we work in partnership with suppliers, food manufacturers and food service providers to deliver winning solutions to market-based challenges. These relationships are vital to the development of quality cheese ingredients at competitive


prices, thus meeting the needs of our most exacting customers. Our sales and new product development team strives to be ahead of the trends, working closely with our customers’ technical and development representatives to provide a range of products suited to their immediate needs, in an ever-changing market place. With BRC accreditation, we are a one-stop shop to all companies looking for a quality supplier of block, grated, sliced, diced and crumbed cheeses and a range of other dairy commodities. Ingredient Solutions’ relationship with TSC Foods continues to go from strength to strength. We supply TSC Foods with a vast

array of products in different formats, as and when required. We hope our allegiance with TSC in some small way contributes to its continued success in the future. Think cheese...think Ingredient Solutions...realise profits. Contact us, our dedicated team are waiting to help.

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Factory of the month TSC Foods

“We pride ourselves on the fact that our service levels are 99.5% on-time-in-full, and we go the extra mile to make sure we get the volume into the customer of the right quality at the right time,” he explains. “We’ve aligned ourselves with a lot of companies who have had a good year, so 2008 was a record year for us in terms of sales and profit. 2009 is also going very well and we have a lot of opportunity in our pipeline business – that is, potential business coming in – and it’s looking better than it ever has, so if we can convert some of that into real sales, then we should be in for a very good year overall.” Supermarkets in particular are renowned for being particularly discerning when it comes to choosing their suppliers, and TSC has found that offering a superior level of service combined with strong leadership on innovation has enabled

them to win the business. “It’s the innovation coupled with the service level,” Taylor confirms. “Our customers know they can get good development and innovation from us and we know that we can get it to them of the right quality; so it’s a combination of those factors. We’ve also got a very good

we ensure we pay a competitive rate to the people that we employ and we believe we can offer them a bright future. We work with them to really drive the business forward

With the major industry players on its client list, it is hardly surprising that for TSC, business is booming. In 2007, the company turned over £25m; it followed that in 2008 with a turnover of around £33m. Taylor attributes such impressive growth to a number of factors: “We picked up a lot of business from local competitors pulling out of the market – for example, when Baxters pulled out of the chilled soup market,” he explains. “We also launched our own brand – Glorious! – which is a big chunk of business.

manufacturing facility; we have regular [customer] visits and they always go away impressed by our capabilities. It shines through when they meet the people and walk the factory. “The one ethic that runs through everybody here – from the managing director to staff on the shop floor – is focus on customer service, on an hourly and daily basis. If we’ve got an issue that could result in a potential non-delivery, we are on it; it’s at the top of the agenda for the day. Our people ensure that we close out these issues, that they don’t just get left and that somebody has got their name on it and is driving it through to ensure it gets to the customer. That is what makes us successful.” In order to consistently deliver such a high level of service, TSC has found that an emphasis on staff development is crucial. It has in place a continuous training programme, and employs two full-time members of staff to carry this out among


IT software – food for thought? TSC Foods has been using the Formul8 business management system for over five years


esigned specifically for food and drink manufacturers, Formul8 is a powerful software solution which integrates business operations, including production, inventory management, new product development, sales, procurement and business analysis. Formul8 is developed in line with industry changes and addresses issues such as traceability, quality control, customer service, production inefficiencies and rising raw material costs. TSC Foods selected Formul8 to support their business and to increase efficiencies in all areas, while providing accurate information at every level on which to base business decisions.


Formul8 has delivered many efficiency benefits to TSC: Improved company profitability by identifying profitable and nonprofitable products and processes Provided better control of distribution costs by reporting on actual cost per case of any product being despatched to any customer Reduced data entry and removal of duplicate activities, thereby reducing errors Improved stock management – total visibility across the warehouse Advanced traceability by providing a visible trail of data, including

ingredients, purchase orders and customer information Increased management control through the provision of accurate, real-time business information Enhanced customer service levels

Published in association with: Sanderson Tel: 024 7655 5466 Email:

Factory of the month TSC Foods

its 230 shop floor and 50 office-based employees. “We have two dedicated trainers who work within the HR function,” explains Taylor, “and they undertake fulltime training of the workforce. They are primarily here to continually refresh and make sure the workforce is up to the standard we require; however, if we’re putting a new plant in, for example, they also get involved with that, making sure that we’ve done risk assessments and that new users are fully trained. At the end of the day, it’s our people that are the main ingredient in our success. We believe we’re a preferred employer in the local market; we ensure we pay a competitive rate to the people that we employ and we believe we can offer them a bright future. We work with them to really drive the business forward.” These firm foundations have underpinned TSC’s increasing prominence within the industry. The company boasts numerous awards for its products, such as the Retail Q Award for Best Soup, awarded for its Glorious! Chicken, Courgette and Orzo Pasta Broth in 2008. Its Chargrilled Vegetable Cous Cous won silver in the Best New Vegetable Accompaniment of the Year category at the 2008 British Frozen Food Federation Awards and TSC was a Food Manufacture Awards finalist, also in 2008.

soup volume, and we do a lot of Christmas volume for retail as well. The restaurant trade gets busy over Christmas so they’re all pulling volume in too, so that’s our busiest time. Then we scale off during the summer.” Supplying to major brands clearly has major benefits, but it does not come without its responsibilities, either. “We trade ethically in terms of our environmental and employment responsibilities,” explains Taylor. “The retailers don’t want to be associated with people who are not doing so. We had our key retail partner on site last week looking at new packaging initiatives with us on both primary and secondary packaging. We’re working with them to produce some lighter-weight packaging to try and drive out some of the weight and waste, which is obviously key in retail. We are conscious that retailers are under stringent targets to reduce wastage and we need to be aligned with them; so we’re looking at driving initiatives with their involvement to improve costs through the supply chain. We work with all our key suppliers to bring cost down and improve on [things like] environmental issues.” With such a proactive attitude towards its own success, TSC is refusing to rest on its laurels. “We have invested a lot over the last year – around £1m in capital expenditure across 2008 to 2009,” confirms Taylor. “At the end of last year we invested in new cooking capacity; this year, we’re looking at more automation in the casing area and we’ve put a new bottling line in the deli operation. We’re not standing still; we’re looking forward, we’re investing and we’re going out to get new business,” he concludes. end

In such a competitive marketplace, product recognition is always highly soughtafter – but so is appreciation of a firm commitment to excellence in terms of the wider business. “We won the Lincolnshire Business Of The Year Award last year,” confirms Taylor, “and we’ve also won the Supplier Of The Year Award twice in the last three years for our largest food service customer. We’re hoping to win again!” Being a lean operation certainly enables TSC to achieve its own high standards. “We have automated downtime capture systems which help us target inefficiencies and overall equipment effectiveness,” confirms Taylor. “We know straight away what the issues are in the plant during any given period – if we’ve had any downtime this morning, for example, I can go in and see what’s caused it. It’s a good means of getting live information on performance, which is a key part of our strategy to drive forward overall equipment effectiveness improvements.” It is absolutely critical for the business to continue to drive operational efficiency in order to mitigate unprecedented raw material and utility price increases. TSC is what Taylor calls “a 24/7 operation”, with some of the plant being run constantly, especially at peak times such as in the run-up to Christmas. “Winter is a busy time for us because of


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HCE employs highly skilled engineers delivering engineering excellence. We are dedicated to providing customers with products known for their superior quality and reliability. Our core business in the UK is advanced conveyor assembly lines and automatic storage and retrieval systems (ASRS). Our modern factory is located in Wiltshire south of J15 (Swindon) on the M4 motorway. Our 1,400m2 factory facility allows full system assembly and functional testing before dispatch to the customer’s site. Our design office uses the latest 3D

CAD design suites to give the designers enhanced visualization of design concepts.

Published in association with: Hirata Corporation of Europe Ltd Tel: 01672 811555 Fax: 01672 811666 Email:

Seating systems TS Tech

In the

driving seat TM talks to seating manufacturer TS Tech about the unique and positive way it is using the global downturn to its advantage. Founded in 1999, TS Tech, based

in Swindon, Wiltshire, manufactures and supplies seating systems for Honda cars and has grown year-on-year since its inception, enjoying what it describes as six phases of expansion. At the outset, the size of the site was just 3000 square metres with a daily output of seating sets totalling 250; at the end of 2008, the facility had expanded to almost 10,000 square metres, with around 1,200 seating sets being built per day. Supplying a key player such as Honda clearly comes with its upsides; but at a time like this, the drawbacks can become painfully evident. TS Tech has had to make redundancies as a result of a global financial crisis that has impacted particularly severely on the automotive industry. The company is also currently on a four-month shutdown until June, when preparations will begin for the production of seating for the new Honda Jazz, due to commence in October. “On the back of that, we’re hoping to return to [a greater] capacity than we’re currently running at,” confirms operations director David Stone.

New ways to improve

While such drastic alterations to daily business might spell disaster for some, TS Tech has adopted a uniquely proactive and positive way of dealing with the slowdown. “We try to be as open as we can,” administration director Malcolm Corcoran explains. “And what has helped is the training that we have started: those who aren’t at risk of redundancy have been doing or applying for training courses.”

The company is working in partnership with Swindon College, the National Skills Academy and Semta for the duration of the shutdown and into the future, to deliver a range of courses for its entire remaining staff. From Japanese language and project management to lean foundation, staff members can choose from over 50 courses (although some are mandatory), as around 430 have already done. “When things are going well, people don’t have the time do anything [like this],” explains Corcoran. “We’ve got 50 courses available; for us to have undertaken that through last year would have been a nightmare to set up – we wouldn’t have been able to do it. During the downturn we’ve been able to get it set up and we’ve been able to secure the government funding, so we’ll be using it for our benefit.” Staff must register on-site daily and are receiving basic pay throughout the shutdown; in return is the unique chance to take advantage of the self-development and new learning opportunities now on offer. Corcoran hopes the initiative will deliver significant benefits to the whole workforce when production resumes: “One of the things that I think the company as a whole should be proud of as a result of this downturn is that we’ve been able to secure somewhere in the region of £480,000 of government-funded training. In doing so, we’ve been able to set up a programme of which the long-term benefit is developing individuals. People have seen it as a means of improving themselves.” Of course, the trick for any successful business – and one that TS Tech has clearly mastered – is to successfully turn a problem into opportunity. “We’ve been able to look on the bright side,” confirms Stone, “and see this as an opportunity to revisit a lot of the operations and processes that we were using that had maybe become cumbersome or inefficient.”

Management makeover

Corcoran agrees that the quiet period provides the chance to work on areas of training and development that are in need of improvement – and that does not exclude the management team itself. “We’ll be utilising the shutdown and beyond for developing our managers,” he confirms.


Moulded in quality Certwood is a technical plastic injection moulding company manufacturing components and assemblies in a wide range of thermoplastic materials


ith a skilled and dedicated workforce, Certwood manufactures components and assemblies from a wide range of engineering thermoplastic materials. We are committed to providing all of our customers with exceptional levels of quality, service and delivery. Approved to ISO 9001:2008, we are proud of the high standards that we operate to and the reputation that we enjoy with our business partners. The company is equipped with 18 modern injection moulding machines, and all of our machines are fitted with CNC robots, material drying and vacuum loading equipment. We are also able to offer customers a range of post-moulding


finishing, packaging and delivery options. All of the company’s key manufacturing equipment is linked to a central computerised production planning and monitoring system which allows us to respond quickly to changes in customer demand. We are also able to provide a full tool sourcing and management service. In addition to the injection moulding services offered to customers, Certwood also manufactures and supplies its own ‘StorSystem’ range of storage trays and furniture, which offer practical, flexible and innovative solutions to storage requirements. The trays are manufactured from tough high-impact polystyrene and

ABS materials which outperform similar polypropylene products in the market. The company has recently introduced a new patented ‘Glide & Tilt’ runner system to the range giving further additional benefits and flexibility to both end users and system manufacturers.

Published in association with: Certwood Limited Tel: 01582 456955 Fax: 01582 485855 Email:

Seating systems TS Tech

The company is clearly committed to continuous improvement – four years ago it received an award from the Learning and Skills Council that recognised the training achievements within its workforce. And now it is setting its sights on further improving its lean capabilities – that is, building on the setup it already has in place. “We’ve adopted a wide range of lean tools that we’re obviously very focused on,” explains Stone. “We’re a just-in-time operation and value stream mapping is very important to us. We also look at trying to minimise tooling changeovers in our welding operations, for example, and we use 5S. We’ve also adopted a scoring system from one of our sister operations in Canada, which was a process that they rolled out very successfully with very good results. So we did something similar, and we’ve also had very good results. We’ve moved forward with it now and we’re slightly modifying it to [best suit] our own individual operation.”

Experts in innovation

It can be argued that innovation is the lifeblood of any successful manufacturing operation. Without it, and particularly in the current climate, even the best businesses can flounder. “Innovation within the product is very important,” Stone agrees. “We’re always looking for that cutting edge – though we obviously have to modify our operations and manufacturing processes in line with meeting the expectation of the customer. The actual [manufacturing] processes themselves are fairly traditional, but we apply cutting-edge technology to achieve them.” The company has clearly struck a successful balance between the reliability of tradition and the imperative of advancement. Many of TS Tech’s processes, for example, are highly automated but, as Stone explains, there are crucial aspects that still rely heavily

on the expertise of the company’s workforce. “Assembly and final assembly of our operations for both our Civic and CRV products – actually applying parts and building up the seats – are heavily manual. It’s very difficult to automate many of the variations. By having manual processes we’re also able to increase and decrease production quite easily. [This gives us] flexibility and also adaptability as the types of products that we’re dealing with can change quickly. “IT is also very important to us – to have quick data acquisition and to be able to store important data as far as traceability throughout our products at any given time,” he continues. “We’ve also recently gone through installing a QAD or a MRP system, so in line with our IT, the operation has expanded and the technology behind that has also expanded. And the infrastructure across the operation has to be able to sustain that requirement.” The company also has in place robust environmental policies and is clearly forward-thinking in its approach to recycling: “We are accredited with [ISO] 14001 and 9000,” confirms

One of the things that I think the company as a whole should be proud of as a result of this downturn is that we’ve been able to secure somewhere in the region of £480,000 of government-funded training

Stone agrees: “Our management structure is very different to how it was [a few years before the downturn]. Originally [there was] a very small team doing many tasks until the operation grew beyond the capabilities of the team; the management team then grew but perhaps some of the skills didn’t catch up with the organisation’s requirements. Now we’re slimming down the organisation slightly in line with our demand, we need to become more focused and we need to move things forward to try to recover some of the losses, and make sure that we’re more effective and lean into the future,” he explains.

Corcoran, “and last year we recycled on average 90% of all our scrap. In doing so we generated £200k for the business.”


With a firm eye trained on its internal processes, TS Tech clearly takes a responsible position towards its role within the wider community as well, through contributing towards a number of external projects. “In terms of CSR, we also support local initiatives,” explains Corcoran. “So far this year we’ve contributed some money to a local trust and on Valentine’s Day they planted [around] 900 trees in a local community forest. We also sponsored the Christmas tree and lights in the Highworth Market Square – things like that.” Demonstrating a responsible attitude towards the local community also extends to health and safety, as Corcoran explains: “We own part of the road outside our facility so we paid for traffic calming to be put there. There hasn’t been a survey done but I would imagine that’s cut traffic down on what was originally a rat run by about 90%. It’s certainly raised our profile in the local community – we are on the edge of the town; we’re in an area where you wouldn’t actually know what goes on round here – so we adopt a good neighbour policy [whereby] anything we’re doing on-site, we talk to our neighbours about,” he explains. With such a positive and proactive approach to this debilitating period for the wider economy, it is unsurprising that Stone remains optimistic about future prospects for TS Tech. “We’re reviewing how we measure our business and obviously we’re looking to be back into production in June as a much stronger organisation, able to weather any future downturn in the market,” he concludes. end


Vanquishi n g the vandals TM talks to anti-vandal unit manufacturer Ultra Secure about overcoming the effects of the housing slump and the importance of maintaining a flexible approach. Commercial vandalism and theft, defying recession, is booming, and driven by a criminal audacity and sophistication that is an innovative spur to Ultra Secure Products, Britain’s leading supplier of anti-vandal units. Based near Hull, Ultra manufactures a comprehensive range of anti-vandal site accommodation, mostly for major hire companies supplying the construction sector and other industries. Aimed at securing valuable information and equipment away from thieves and wreckers, these range from offices and stores, to mess facilities, kitchen units and toilets – “anything the customer wants and in whatever size and internal configuration,” says managing director Charlie Watson, a 56-year-old Scot with a degree in engineering and an extensive management background in Britain and abroad.

Challenging times

But the construction industry is a major victim of both criminals and slump, and six months of downsizing has seen Ultra’s turnover halved from around £17m two years ago to £8.5m, with a workforce cut from 220 to 75.


“In terms of demand for the traditional Ultra products, the recession has impacted on us quite severely, but I’m happy to say that over the last two years we’ve developed some fairly specialised products where there is still a significant demand in the marketplace,” says Watson. These are primarily in the anti-blast unit field, with Ultra supplying petrochemical and similar sites where risk of explosion and employee safety are constant issues. The company is also expanding in the development of fire-rated units, driven by the increasing development of brownfield sites and related high-density safety legislation. Ultra describes itself as a traditional business manufacturing straightforward products. Operating from an extensive site at Gilberdyke in the Humber Gateway, products range from single on-site units to 50-plus linked units, and in sizes up to 40ft by 12 x 12 high; as well as modular bays that can be joined to form large open-plan spaces.

Innovation is key

“We continually have to develop new ways to lock things up and protect, as the vandalism and theft becomes more blatant and refined. In terms of locking mechanisms we are making our units both stronger and more foolproof.” Asked to recall a notable client horror story, Watson says no one case is outstanding, rather a pattern of smash-and-grab. “It’s where they will borrow a bulldozer from the same site and use it to bash in or remove the side of the doors of an accommodation unit.

Security units Ultra Secure Products

“We have a relatively simple product to build,” he continues. “The key is in the scheduling of the units and in keeping their lead times down as they go through the plant. This means we can be very flexible in meeting the varying demands of the customers, in terms of both delivery times and internal specification.” Typically, customers are looking to a two- to four-week lead time from placement of order to delivery but often, expectations are more exacting. “We can have an enquiry on Monday and the order Wednesday, with a demand for the product to be supplied towards the end of the following week. “These lead times are very short and demanding, driven primarily by the fact that this type of product very typically is secured by the end customer from a hire company. “And since on-site accommodation costs can be high, the construction companies wait until the last minute before making a commitment, with the hire operators having little time to respond to their requirements. Hairy? Well, yes – in terms

of having to work cleverly and intensively 100 per cent of the time – but it’s a very enjoyable industry to work in.”

Skilled for success

Watson says a critical contribution to Ultra’s success is ensuring its workforce is flexible, and individual skills sets enhanced. “We work very hard in keeping our workforce informed on the state of the business, future development, the changing marketplace and the requirements the business has of them.” To this end, the Gilberdyke training programmes and rewards systems encourage individual competence and flexibility. Parallel with this, close employee involvement in lean, aimed at reductions in lead time, inventory and finished product time, has produced significant advantages in working capital control. “This is one of the biggest challenges in a traditional business like ours,” says Watson. “Over the last two years it has allowed us to halve the working capital for the same amount of throughput – a huge amount, especially when times are hard.” His advice to SMEs in the worst recession since the 1930s? “Look at those areas that actually add value, and eliminate those which are a comfort blanket and nice to have. “You absolutely have to take out all these non-value adding areas. Recession or no, the survivors are those who concentrate on developing products the customers want, and providing good and valuable customer service. Everything else is pretty meaningless.” end



rewards An emphasis on excellence and quality have propelled Pinneys of Scotland from a mail-order company to Royal Warrant-holders, as TM finds out.


Food and beverage Pinneys of Scotland

With an annual turnover of around £50m, Pinneys caters for the UK and European retail markets. Not only a supplier of smoked salmon, it also sells natural wet fish and fish-based delicatessen products such as pâté and terrines, as well as ready meals, including for Marks and Spencer’s Cook! range – in the past up to 90% of Pinneys’ output has landed on Marks and Spencer’s shelves. That Pinneys supplies to a major retailer so renowned for quality, where competition to do so is fierce, is surely a further testament to the calibre of its range of products. Quality is clearly a key factor in Pinneys’ success and as such, its products are manufactured at state-of-the-art facilities

under the strictest quality criteria; in addition, the company only uses farmed Scottish salmon from approved Scottish fish farms. The Seafood Company itself operates according to its independently-verified sustainable seafood approach ‘Fish for Life’, which strives to make an active contribution towards long-term seafood sustainability.

With an annual turnover of around £50m, Pinneys caters for the UK and European retail markets. Not only a supplier of smoked salmon, it also sells natural wet fish and fish-based delicatessen products such as pâté and terrines, as well as ready meals, including for Marks and Spencer’s Cook! range

Pinneys of Scotland, based in Annan, Dumfrieshire, was established in 1976 when it began producing smoked salmon for mail order. Now part of the Seafood Company, whose headquarters are based in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, Pinneys holds a Royal Warrant to supply smoked salmon to Her Majesty the Queen.

In March this year, Pinneys was sold to The Seafood Company by European convenience foods group Uniq. Pinneys had been part of Uniq since 1999. The move will undoubtedly further firm up Pinneys’ already strong foothold in the marketplace. end


An in-depth knowledge of its market coupled with a forward-thinking, innovative strategy has ensured that Benson Group stays ahead of the game, as TM finds out. Benson Group is the UK’s fastest growing food packaging company. With a staff base of 790, it has been manufacturing packaging products for over 85 years and is currently headquartered in the Midlands. Annual sales now total £85m, with clients including GlaxoSmithKline, Northern Foods and Greencore, as well as leading supermarkets. The company has two manufacturing facilities in northeast England, with food manufacturers counting for the majority of customers for these sites and the company headquarters. Pharmaceutical customers are served by the fourth site, Medica Packaging, which is based in Crewe. Benson’s defined strategy when it comes to quality products comes down to what it calls the “three ps” – protection, preservation and promotion. All of the packaging manufactured by Benson Group aims to excel within all three areas. Food manufacturing clients come to Benson for chilled, frozen, ambient and


cereal product packaging. It is one of the largest suppliers of cartons for the chilled food sector in the UK and is able to employ an in-depth knowledge of this area’s specific requirements. Chilled food preservation, for example, is obviously key – and this is something that Benson appreciates and incorporates into the services it offers. The company is clearly committed to ensuring it is at the cutting edge of developments in its industry, and an investment of over £25m across its sites since 2000 goes a long way to demonstrating this. The company’s expertise is wide-ranging. It offers packaging design from scratch at the Leicester, Gateshead and Newcastle sites, making use of its full CAD capabilities. By using its design experience it is able to work closely with the customer to maximise the individual product’s shelf appeal. At its Medica packaging facility, the company supplies to the consumer, generic, clinical and research markets, supplying a diverse range of customers within these individual sectors. It has even branched out into supplying patient information leaflets; in addition, it has a place on the Braille Medicines Forum and uses its own in-house expertise to ensure this issue is kept at the forefront of the company’s development plans as both legislation and opportunities develop. Brand protection is also an important part of Medica’s operations and its experienced staff have a thorough understanding of anti-counterfeiting and

Packaging Benson Group

Working closely with its customers has always been a key element of Benson’s success. Having access to customers’ sales and product forecast information for example, can ensure that orders for existing, new or re-designed packaging are anticipated ahead of time. This also enables the company to propose efficient production solutions to all of its clients. Clearly well-respected within its industry, Benson won the Packaging Company of the Year Award, as well as the Cartonboard Packaging Award at last year’s UK Packaging Awards at Grosvenor House on Park Lane in London. Speaking after the event, group chairman Andrew Benson commented: “Benson Group has enjoyed unparalleled growth since 2002, when the business had an £11 million turnover. This year, the company expects turnover to have reached £85 million, which has been achieved through both organic growth and astute acquisition. This fantastic performance has been due to a highly professional management team, with a vision for what we needed to become as a business, and a great set of employees on the production floor.”

In addition to its environmentally-conscious stance towards doing business, the company is also aware of its position within the local community – for example, it sponsors the U14 team at the local Ashyby Rugby Club. “We are always keen to give something back to the community, and children’s sport is a great way to do that,” explains Mark Kerridge, Benson Group’s managing director. “Jonathan, one of our sales executives, is a huge fan, and dedicates a lot of his spare time to the rugby club, and we are delighted to help out with sponsorship money for kit and equipment.” Last year the company was also involved with the Diamond Jubilee Horse of the Year when it sponsored the Small Show Hunter of the Year event.

We are always keen to give something back to the community, and children’s sport is a great way to do that

developments within this area – obviously a key consideration for pharmaceutical companies, as is a firm emphasis on health and safety underpinned by the Group’s OHSAS 18001 standard accreditation.

Mark Kerridge, Benson Group’s managing director

It is clear that as packaging requirements expand and technologies evolve, Benson Group will evolve as well. The company has proved itself to excel in the marketplace and has clearly got the knowledge base, expertise and vision to capitalise on its success thus far. end

Being environmentally-conscious is perhaps not the first thing that is naturally associated with a packaging company; but Benson is working hard to reverse this stereotype. It is widely accepted that cartonboard is an environmentally-friendly form of packaging; furthermore, the group uses only FSC- and PEFC-approved suppliers when making its purchases for the manufacture of its packaging – that is, any new wood used in the process is sourced from responsibly managed forests. The company is also making great strides in working towards ISO 14001-accreditation and its headquarters was the first carton business in the country to eliminate benzophenone from inks and varnishes. In addition, it uses emissions-efficient delivery vehicles – another demonstration of how seriously it takes environmental issues. The company is rightly proud of its many certifications of quality and high standards; these include the FSC Chain of Custody, the ISO9000 quality management standard, Investors in People and category B within the British Retail Consortium / Institute of Packaging (BRC/IOP) Global Standard for Packaging – all proof of Benson’s commitment towards creating and maintaining quality across all sectors of the business, not purely its manufacturing operations.







Source of Supply Doing more to help business use less.

Our Account Managers do fantastic things to cut energy costs for manufacturing.



&INDOUTMOREATpoweringefďŹ or call 0845 076 3655 today.

Three inspirational days that could transform your business May 2009 Vol 12 Issue 4

The UK/US Shingo Summit provides operational and enterprise leaders with three days of hands-on workshops, best practice factory tours, hard-hitting presentations and inspirational speakers from both sides of the Atlantic. Whether you are lean enlightened or a lean beginner, you will witness the ʻhowʼ and ʻwhyʼ of those making exceptional gains in operational excellence – businesses that are turning todayʼs economic challenges into productivity and profit.

Winds of

Discover how to take lean beyond the shop-floor and into the whole enterprise – from the boardroom to the back office. Learn about the underlying principles behind The Shingo Prize philosophy and approach, regarded as ʻThe Nobel Prizeʼ for operational excellence and internationally recognised as the blueprint for lean transformation.

Steven Spear, Ph.D.

Max Brown

Author of ‘Chasing the Rabbit’ and ’Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System’

Speaker ‘Carrot Philosophy’

Norman Bodek

John Bicheno

Author of numerous lean books and articles on the Toyota Production System

Author of ‘The New Lean Toolbox’

Robert D. Miller

Drew Locher

Senior Lecturer Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Director O.C. Tanner Company

President PCS Inc.

Can renewables energize British industry?

Senior Research Fellow Lean Enterprise Research Centre, Cardiff Business School

Executive Director, The Shingo Prize, Utah State University

Principal Change Management Associates Author of ‘The Complete Lean Enterprise – Value Stream Mapping for Office and Administratice Processes’

Jerry M. Wright, P.E.

Professor Peter Hines

Vice President, Lean and Enterprise Excellence DJO, LLC

Chairman Lean Enterprise Research Centre Author of ‘Staying Lean’

Lead story

Shingo Prize recipient

Green economy needs green skills

Design and innovation University links with industry

Supply chain

Freight forwarding economics May 2009 Vol 12 Issue 4

Best practice factory tours include:







Melanie Leech Director General, Food and Drink Federation

C a he of t ll f ld he or o Y en in n N ear trie sid ov A s e em wa : Th fo b rd e rm e s M or r 12 200 an e 9 u in in L ar fac fo o e tu rm nd be re at on in r io . g n Se e

Manchester skyline photo courtesy of MEN Media

The Manufacturer - May Edition  

The Manufacturer magazine May edition

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