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H O T E L , October 2009 Vol 12 Issue 9




The Manufacturer annual directors conference will help manufacturers succeed in these troubled times and arm them with the knowledge they need to succeed with agility in an uncertain future. An inspiring programme of presentations, workshops and debate sessions from a select group of exemplary organisations. This agenda will be headlined by some of the industry’s most prominent role-models. Individuals committed to galvanising support for a resilient and vibrant manufacturing future. Speakers at the event include: Stephen Radley –

Ian Rice –

Chief Economist,

Operations Director,



Mike Gregory, CBE

Paul Christodoulou,

Head of the Institute for

Global Manufacturing Strategist,


the Institute for Manufacturing

Agenda summary:

Low carbon vehicles are on the move


Economist’s Insight

Navigating the emerging industrial landscape

The value of Operational Excellence today


Pierfrancesco Manenti,

Lead Technologist for High Value

Stream 1 Your supply chain. Lessons in responsiveness from a maintenance supply chain. Home or Away? Manufacturing in the right place. Supply Chain Opportunities in Nuclear – Is it for you?

EMEA Research Director for

Manufacturing, Technology

Stream 2 Your customer

Manufacturing Insights, IDC

Strategy Board

Keivan Zokaei,

Catherine McDermott;

Be Indispensible. The latest in service and support. Lotus Motivate, Innovate! Add Value, 111 year case study

m a nag i n gwa s t e f o r S u c c e s s

Director of MSc in Lean

Distribution Director,

Stream 3 Your sustainability

Progress and barriers in reducing waste

Operations. Lean Enterprise


University of Cambridge

Robin Wilson,

Kevin Eyre;

Comply and Compete. Competitive Sustainable Manufacturing. Lean is Green. Delivering Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Professor Peter Hines,

Managing Consultant,

Stream 4 Your workforce

Professor of Supply Chain


Inside Distribution: Argos and Continuous Improvement. MX Award for Best Partnership between Business and education. Skills- Cross Sector, Retraining, Strategic

Research Centre, Cardiff University

Management and Chairman. Lean Enterprise Research Centre,

Andy Woods,

Cardiff University

Managing Director, Adnams

David Peake,

Panel Discussion and debate


Managing Director,

Closing Keynote: The importance of a collaborative market place- creating synergies and industry ecosystems working together for a more secure and stable future

Manager, IMSERV

Operations and Maintenance Is it time to switch to robots?

The Manufacturer Directors Conference and The Manufacturer of the Year Awards In association with:

See enclosed programme to book your place and for more information on the sessions and speaker’s or go to

w w w. t h e m a n u f a c t u r e r. c o m / d i r e c t o r s c o n f e r e n c e October 2009 Vol 12 Issue 9

Carbon and Energy Product

Keeping the workforce committed to lean


Charles Morgan,

Matt Davis,

World class manufacturing

Placement, Continuity

Commercial Director,

Morgan Motor Cars

Special report

Interview Will King

King of Shaves

Source of Supply

Editor’s comment

Scrappage extension a real boost amid conference banter At the annual Labour Party Conference in Brighton, Lord Peter Mandelson’s speech on September 28, packed with silver-tongued rhetoric and without the burden of the spending pledges of his Prime Minister’s speech the following day, earned the biggest plaudits. The Business Secretary was afforded a standing ovation by his peers, an event that a few years ago would, by Lord Mandelson’s own admission, have sounded more far-fetched than Gordon Brown now winning his re-election battle. Mandelson’s address was punctuated liberally with references to manufacturing. He advocated support for low carbon technology, a focus on the ‘D’ part of R&D, and “more real engineering and less financial engineering” in the economy. On low carbon, our lead story looks at some of the British companies making great strides in low carbon vehicle engineering. But the trump card Mandelson played was an extension of the car scrappage scheme — to cover another 100,000 cars and vans. This set the PM up nicely the following day to deliver the crux of his argument why the Labour Party should remain in power. David Cameron and his disciples were, said Brown, one of the only political parties in the world to “get it wrong” by believing that markets will naturally right themselves if given a chance. “Only one party thought it was best to do nothing,” said Brown. “Only one party with pretensions to government made the wrong choice; the Conservative Party of Britain.” It is the turn of the Conservative Party next at their conference this week, and The Manufacturer eagerly awaits their retaliation to Labour’s broadside. It will be their declarations of actions that affect the manufacturing sector that will be of the greatest interest to us all. Congratulations to all the companies shortlisted for The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2009. The full list published on page 55. The judges say the standard this year was extremely high. This is testament to the sector that despite, and arguably because of, some of the most challenging business conditions in living memory, manufacturers continue to be more innovative and more efficient than ever. The Manufacturer Directors Conference 2009 running before the Awards is really shaping up. We have speakers from organisations including Lotus, Morgan Motors, Adnams, EEF, the Technology Strategy Board and Cambridge University. In our humble opinion both events are a ‘must attend’ for any manufacturer, so we really look forward to meeting you there on November 12. Mark Young and Will Stirling, The Manufacturer

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



Sales Director

Project Director – Matt Chilton

Henry Anson

Associate Editors Tim Brown


Chief Executive Officer

Editor – Will Stirling

Ed Machin

Mark Young


Art Editor – Martin Mitchell

Matt Chilton


Claire Woollard

Nick Hussey

Britannia House 45-53 Prince of Wales Road Norwich, NR1 1BL T +44 (0)1603 671300 F + 44 (0)1603 618758

Assistant Designer – Alex Cole

ISSN 1477-3201 BPA audit applied for June 2009. Copyright © SayOne Media 2009.


News and features 04 News

Manufacturing news

13 Manufacturing appointments On the move

Find out who’s heading where in manufacturing

15 Just Jones

Learning to work together

Dan Jones reports on collaborative performance in lean thinking

17 Economics

Activism: let’s work together

EEF’s Steve Radley plans ahead for a future with more confidence

20 Interview

An audience with a King

King of Shaves founder Will King on taking on the global shaving market’s giants

26 Lead story

Charged up - Green vehicle sector gets moving

Opportunities in low carbon vehicle manufacture are growing as companies develop electric powertrains, low weight frames and energy reclaiming systems

32 Design and innovation

IP management goes on the offensive

PA Consulting Group discusses the three key emerging trends in IP management

Robot calibrator gets boost from IP management

Protecting IP is essential in a recession, says Coller IP Management

36 World class manufacturing

The challenges of keeping a workforce committed to lean

Cardiff University’s Professor Peter Hines explores how multi-site organisations can develop a durable lean approach

38 Special feature Royal Bank of Scotland Commodities on the up

Commodity prices are on a roll and 2010 looks to see the return of real demand growth

40 Employee of the month

Matthew Byrom of Siemens Standard Drives


m a nag i n gwa s t e f o r S u c c e s s Manufacturers are playing an important role in moving Britain towards a resource-efficient low carbon economy. But, as Colin Chinery reports, this transition is not without major barriers and support deficiencies.


Contents IT in manufacturing

IT News 41

Keeping you abreast of what’s new in manufacturing IT

Look out for Reactorsaurus 50

Dounreay Site Restoration on a virtual environment where life-size CAD models are put through rigorous operational tests

Lean’s positive effect on manufacturing 53

Lean, collaborative product development and data management will provide biggest benefits to manufacturers in the near future

Supply chain and logistics 58

ECLIPS provides support for supply chain planning decisions

Gay Sutton on the ECLIPS research project to synchronise the supply chain

Opperations and maintenance 62

Why it’s time for the UK to switch to robots

ABB explains why UK manufacturing companies should consider robotics and how they can encourage Britain to compete better in global markets

Manufacturinginaction Factory of the month

Air Bearings 78

A culture of continuous improvement remains central to Air Bearings’ position as best of breed in the manufacturing of drilling spindles

Organic recycling – Solvent 85

Resource Management

Performance engineering –

Cosworth 90 Sub-sea cabling – JDR Cable 92 Systems NVH – DTR VMS 94 Product design, engineering and manufacturing – Contechs 96 Rigid tube assemblies – Iracroft 100 Food and beverage – Welsh 105

Country Foods



Scrappage Scheme extended

Construction equipment maker JCB will extend its annual autumn shutdown by one week at its factories in Wrexham and Staffs in response to revised order inflows. The production lines at JCB Transmissions plants in Wrexham will halt temporarily from the beginning of next week (October 5). The company said it will also schedule week long breaks at its Staffordshire facilities in Cheadle, Rocester and Rugely.

West Bromwich manufacturing company, Brockhouse Group Limited, which specialises in forged steel components, is forging ahead as a world-class facility with support from the

Manufacturing Advisory Service

– West Midlands. MAS-WM has worked with the company on a series of improvements which have enabled them to increase efficiency while reducing their gas consumption as well as providing strategic advice to ensure Brockhouse remains as competitive as any forge in the world.

Zurich-based bank Credit Suisse has identified aerospace component supplier Meggitt as ripe for takeover and says BAE Systems is a potential buyer. Asked for its merger and acquisitions predictions by The Guardian the bank pointed to Meggitt’s share price rise of 7.6p to 228.4p and said this makes it attractive for a takeover bid, “Consolidation of aerospace suppliers is an ongoing theme across the industry and we see Meggitt as one of the best prizes in the industry,” said the bank.

The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) and the Defence Manufacturers Association have officially merged as of October 1 and will now operate as ADS – Aerospace, Defence and Security. The organisation, chaired by SBAC boss Ian Godden, will represent over 800 UK firms, pooled from the two separate bodies’ memberships. DMA’s boss Rees Ward will be chief executive.


Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has announced an extension to the car scrappage scheme in a Labour Party Conference speech which heavily advocated an increased emphasis on manufacturing. The original £300m pot for the scrappage scheme – which offers a £2,000 discount to buyers of new cars when they scrap a car over ten years old (£1,000 each from govt and the manufacturer) – is set to run dry next week. But Mandelson has this afternoon announced that another 100,000 sales will be catered for through the programme. He and Chancellor Alistair Darling had been lobbied by trade bodies including EEF, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT); and the British Chambers of Commerce to not let the programme end. The organisations warned that the increased demand inspired by the scheme would not remain without it. And their pressure has paid off. “Our car scrappage scheme has been so successful the money is running out,” said Mandelson. “The industry has asked that the scheme be topped up. Conference, we cannot do everything but that does not mean doing nothing. So today I am extending our popular car scrappage scheme with extra money for an additional 100,000 cars and vans.” The scheme has also been extended to include vans that were made before 2002. Continuing his speech at the Brighton conference, Mandelson said voters should not forget that the Tory party, guided by leader David Cameron and shadow chancellor George Osborne, was against implementing the Scrappage Scheme, as it was a raft of other

recession relieving initiatives. “I hope these two can find the humility to acknowledge that at every point Tory policy would not just have put the recovery at risk but have made this recession deeper, longer and far far worse,” said Mandelson. “I tell you. Withdrawing our help for the economy now as Mr Osborne demands would choke off recovery before it has even properly begun.” Mandelson’s announcement was received warmly by those that had called for it. “It will help to stimulate demand, giving more consumers access to it, and create a bridge to a period when economic growth is strengthened and more sustainable,” said SMMT chief Paul Everitt. “The additional 100,000 vehicles should help to counter the likely negative impacts of a return to the higher rate of VAT and the introduction of first year VED rates.” Mandelson’s focus on manufacturing did not stop with automotive though, as he called for “less financial engineering and more real engineering. Some people think that Britain is a post-industrial country that doesn’t make anything anymore,” he said. “Well, someone needs to tell them that we are still the world’s sixth biggest manufacturer. And we will remain a modern manufacturing nation as long as I and the Government remain in our jobs. We’re one of the world’s biggest investors in Research & Development. But we still do the R better than the D and that must change.” He identified low carbon cars and aircraft, plastic electronics, life sciences, industrial biotechnology, and renewables as key areas that the UK should focus on.

ManufacturingNews Brown offers Trident reduction During the recent UN security council nuclear non-proliferation conference hosted by Barack Obama, Gordon Brown told the congregation that he is prepared to scale back Britain’s Trident nuclear submarine deterrent. Most likely the move would involve commissioning only three rather than the original four submarines. The deal would form part of a “global bargain” to reduce the world’s nuclear arsenal and would cut billions from the UK defence budget over the next decade. Environment conservation campaigners Greenpeace says that the move does not go far enough and has called for the cancellation of the entire Trident program. The pressure group says its research shows the cost of Trident will amount to £34bn – roughly double the £15-20bn

that government has estimated. It says overall scrapping the Trident Scheme could save the country almost £100bn including the cost of upkeep over the next 30 years. Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “Any government which renews Trident would be wasting £100bn and a rare and precious opportunity to make the world a safer place.” But Matthew Knowles, spokesman for ADS – the UK’s aerospace, defence and security trade body, says that Greenpeace “demonstrate a lack of awareness in these issues by calling for delays to vital national security projects, which will increase their costs not save money. Further, defence expenditure can and should be used as a path out of recession via the 300,000 people who work in the industry across the UK.”

Call to drive the next industrial revolution Industrialists, academics and government should join forces to drive a new industrial revolution which would help tackle climate change, says a new report. The authors of Towards a Sustainable Industrial System are calling for an industrial equivalent of the human genome project in order to help business address the threat of global warming. Some of the world’s leading manufacturing experts have combined to produce the report published by the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing. The ambitious venture aims to understand how essential elements of industrial systems – resources, processes

and organisation – could be integrated to reduce environmental impacts while maintaining acceptable standards of living without damaging the planet. A global co-operative research effort would provide an opportunity to pool expertise in industrial design, production research and regulation. The project would help speed change through the rapid sharing and application of environmentallysound manufacturing practices as well the systematic development of new green technologies and approaches. The report is designed to highlight the benefits and opportunities which can flow from a more integrated approach to industrial sustainability. It recommends a radical integrated approach to the analysis and design of industrial systems, many of which have grown in piecemeal fashion with little regard for overall impact. Significant work has taken place targeting elements of the system, such as the use of raw materials, adopting frugal production processes and paying close attention to reuse and recycling. But these can be dramatically enhanced if applied in the context of a broader view of the industrial system.

Newsinbrief UK based MB Aerospace Holdings is celebrating securing an £18.4m ($30m) contract extension from US aircraft maker Boeing. The company, which has sites in Motherwell, Derby and Burnley, supplies torpedoes and deck launching equipment to Boeing which in turns supplies a full anti-ship harpoon defence programme to the US Navy.

Manufacturing pay settlements have remained at the historically low level of 0.3% with nearly four out of five manufacturing companies now freezing pay, according to the latest figures from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation. EEF’s pay data for the 3 months to the end of September shows that the average level of pay settlements remained at 0.3%, the same as the figure for the previous 3 months to the end of August. This is the lowest level of pay settlements reported by manufacturers since EEF’s survey began in 1987.

It has been the butt of comedians’ jokes for many a year – but now the rural county of Norfolk is fighting back with a bold campaign to champion itself as a world class business destination – with particular focus on the engineering industry. A seven-month campaign will use television commercials, video and on-line activity, including social media, to turn the old stereotype ‘Normal for Norfolk’ – a phrase formerly used to denigrate the county and its habitants – on its head.

Whether a person’s interests lie in science, engineering, marketing, logistics, law, cooking or IT, a new film from the Scottish Food and Drink Federation, ‘A World of Opportunities’ shows that the food and drink industry can offer an exciting and rewarding career. There is currently a shortage of engineers, technologists and food scientists, and the industry is urging people considering their future career to think about training for a role in these areas.


Newsinbrief The ribbon has now officially been cut on a new £600,000 engineering research facility at the University of Strathclyde. The Leonardo Centre will provide research functionality in operations management, design and manufacture. It will be synchronised with the trathclyde Institute of Operations Management and the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) – a collaboration between the University, Scottish Enterprise and engineering firms including Boeing, Mettis Aerospace and Rolls-Royce.

More than £1m has been secured by local automotive suppliers keen to fight back from the current downturn in the car industry. The Automotive Response Programme, funded by Advantage West Midlands and delivered by the Manufacturing Advisory ServiceWM, has given 47 companies grants to access specialist expertise to help with business consolidation, refinancing, new product introduction, and restructuring.

F1 bosses back UKTI’s Brazilian business drive UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is driving a UK showcase event that will bring together UK and Brazilian advanced engineering companies in Sao Paulo on the eve of the penultimate race weekend of what has proved to be a fascinating year for F1 motor racing. The event, backed by Nick Fry of Brawn GP, leaders in the constructors’ championship and Patrick Head of Williams F1, provides a platform for UK advanced engineering companies to showcase their expertise and in which to form successful partnerships with Brazilian companies. As well as leading Brazilian companies such as Embraer, international participants currently include Fiat and Caterpillar among a list of more than 50 key players. UKTI is inviting UK engineering companies to be part of this opportunity to showcase UK capability. The event will take place on 15 October in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s business hub.# UKTI has attracted internationally-renowned UK engineering role models to participate in the event, including Patrick Head, co-founder of the

US drug maker Baxter has fallen behind in its production of swine flu vaccines, with the UK government in receipt of lower-than-agreed quantities as a result. Baxter Healthcare is one of two pharmaceutical firms to be given contracts by Whitehall to supply emergency flu vaccines in response to the global pandemic that began in Mexico earlier this year. The other is GlaxoSmithKline.

Irish manufacturing output in July was up 9% on the same period a year earlier, thanks largely to increased production in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. The basic pharmaceutical products and preparation industry was in fact up by a massive 68% but poor performance in almost every other sector bar chemicals (up 27%) meant overall Ireland’s manufacturing output increase remained substantially more modest.


legendary Williams F1 team, and Nick Fry, CEO of Brawn GP, whose championship leading performance in its debut year epitomises the strength and expertise of UK innovation in advanced engineering. The Formula 1 bosses will be joined by other engineering experts from UK-based companies such as Delcam and from Manchester University. Delcam’s Head of Marketing, Peter Dickin said: “Delcam has been represented in Brazil for more than 20 years but has been primarily focussed on the automotive and toolmaking sectors. The UK-Brazil partnership mission provides us with an ideal platform to raise our profile in other engineering sectors...” In addition to trade and investment opportunities, there is a desire within the Brazilian engineering sector to build partnerships with UK companies willing to make a sustained commitment to the Brazilian market. The theme of the showcase is efficiency, reflecting the global drive to introduce more effective manufacturing processes to target carbon reduction. According to Margaret Porteous, UKTI’s Director of Advanced Engineering and Energy, the Brazilian event “offers an ideal networking platform for leading Brazilian manufacturers and technology companies looking to the UK to provide bespoke solutions and to source potential partners for the future.”

EEF wants formula for minimum wage EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, is calling for a formula to be devised so that future increments to the national minimum wage can be anticipated and prepared for by employers. The organisation, in submitting evidence to the Low Pay Commission’s consultation, said that though most of its members pay their own employees rates that exceed the national minimum wage (NMW), many are affected by it through the services they outsource.

David Yeandle is EEF’s head of employment policy. “In these difficult economic times, it is even more important for manufacturers to have greater certainty about future increases in the NMW and the potential direct and indirect impact on their business,” he said. “Increases in line with basic rates of pay across the economy will help to achieve this objective and ensure that future increases in the NMW reflect the economic circumstances of the time.”

ManufacturingNews Deep cuts at Eli Lilly Global pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly has announced plans to cut 13.6% of its workforce in response to the loss of key patents and the lower drug prices as a result of US healthcare reforms. It is currently unknown if any of the 5,500 redundancies will be felt at the company’s European headquarters in Windlesham, Surrey or its manufacturing plant in Speke, on Merseyside. Most of the losses are thought to be likely incurred at the main headquarters in Indianna, USA, which is home to 14,000 employees “While our financial performance during the past five years has been strong, we will soon enter the most challenging period in our company’s history,” said Eli Lilly chairman and chief executive John Lechleiter.

The company will restructure its business into five factions: cancer; diabetes; emerging markets; established markets; and animal health. “We must take new measures now that will make us leaner, more focused, more customer-oriented and more competitive,” added Lechleiter. “The changes we’re making will simplify our organisation, clarify accountability and authority and speed decision-making.” Eli Lilly specialises in mental health drugs and is the inventor of Prozac. Its other key drugs include heroin substitute Methadone and Viagra competing Cialis. The company was the first mass producer of Penicillin which it manufactured at its Merseyside plant.

Pfizer fined American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer –– the largest medicine maker in the world in terms of sales –– has been ordered to pay a record $2.3bn (£1.3bn) settlement over fraud relating to the marketing of four of its drugs. The company was found guilty of using improper sales tactics in the marketing of its Bextra, Geodon, Zyvox and Lyrica products. It was found to have promoted “off-label” uses for the drugs, the practice of encouraging use of medicine for ailments other than those approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. “Off-labelling” means medicines are prescribed without properly being tested in that particular context and the side-effects of their use for such disorders is often unclear. Pfizer, it was claimed,

endowed lavish corporate hospitality upon doctors and health care officials in order to peddle its wares for extended purposes. The allegations came to light through 11 whistleblowers, all thought to be former employees, who reported their concerns over the company’s actions to the authorities. The 11 revealed they had been pressured by Pfizer to mis-sell the drugs. The fine comprises a $1.3bn criminal charge –– branded the biggest of its kind in history –– and $1bn civil fees. Of the latter, over $100m is to be disseminated across the whistleblowers themselves, including $50m for one former employee that there is scope to be part of Newcastle University’s pharmaceutical work, either by offering work placements or by sponsoring research programmes.

Sharing the wealth GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is being implored by charities and health organisations to share its HIV medicine making competence by joining a patent pool with rival manufacturers. The pool is being put together by a group called Unitaid with the idea of making cheaper copies of current medicines which are more affordable for third world countries. GSK has been presented with a letter signed by

a 15-strong consortium which includes the Stop Aids Campaign, Unicef and Christian Aid. An excerpt from the letter read: ‘GSK’s insistence that a patent pool for HIV is unnecessary is surprising given the woeful lack of innovation into HIV treatments suitable for children and the obvious need for new safer and more effective fixed dose combinations for adults.’

Newsinbrief Gordon Brown introduced a new national investment corporation which he says will be set up to provide finance for growing manufacturers. The Prime Minister says that a £1 billion innovation fund will back the creativity and inventions that are essential to the economy. The news was welcomed by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, which pointed out that it had itself called for the manifestation of such an initiative in its Manufacturing Our Future guidance report in July this year.

US drug maker Johnson & Johnson has acquired an 18 per cent stake in its Dutch counterpart Crucell in a move which it hopes will lead it to developing a universal flu vaccine. Crucell has demonstrated the development of antibodies which can fight a broad range of influenza strains, including bird and swine flu.

Climate change secretary Ed Miliband has announced a £20m government backed venture capital investment fund for research

and development of clean energy technology. The allocation, announced

yesterday, is the latest instalment of £405 million announced in the Budget for low carbon. It will be available for R&D in areas such as wave, tidal, fuel cells, solar and energy.

Toyota is recalling 3.2m US cars because there are fears over accelerator pedals sticking to floor mats and causing fatal accidents. The Japanese efficiency guru has made the decision to recall the vehicles, which span eight models, after 100 reported incidents which have led to 17 injuries and five deaths.

Canadian train maker Bombardier has announced a $4bn deal to supply China’s railway ministry with 80 high speed trains through its Chinese joint venture. Bombardier Sifang Transportation Ltd will deliver the 236mph (380kph) maximum speed trains between 2012 and 2014. It will manufacture the units in China but will carry out project and engineering management in Europe.


With efficiency drives representing an ever more central aspect of thriving manufacturing operations, Lean business solutions must accommodate the values, processes, and organisational culture that both drives waste reduction and increases customer value. eBECS, an industry leading specialist which utilises Microsoft Dynamics AX in the design and delivery of world class lean and agile business solutions throughout the extended supply chain, terms such a framework ‘Lean ERP’.


ollowing the purchase in 2007 by Microsoft of Lean Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics AX from eBECS, the partners jointly created the Lean Centre of Excellence. The Centre is designed, says Andrew Rumney, solutions director, eBECS: “To serve as an educational outreach and training facility for organisations that require training on Lean capabilities within Microsoft Dynamics AX so as to further Lean initiatives within their companies.” To effect the organisational transformations central to creating a culture of Lean, the Centre serves the Microsoft partner community for extensive sales and implementation training. This is coupled with workshops for current Dynamics customers and those companies considering the implementation of Lean Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics AX. Crucially, however, the collaborative venture recognises that a successful Lean implementation does not rest on providing the right software tools alone. Of equal importance are the

Andrew Rumney, solutions director, eBECS


skills of the team that architect and deliver any given solution. Explains Rumney: “To maximise the considerable benefits of a Lean solution, it should not simply ‘fit’ the current processes of an organisation. Conversely, Lean thinking must represent an evolving solution based on defining value, establishing flow, and running an enterprise based on pull techniques.” The Centre’s genesis can be traced to 2001 and the release of the company’s first Lean-specific software. In 2003, eBECS developed its Lean Enterprise for Microsoft Dynamics AX, the first genuine Lean ERP solution true to waste minimisation principles. Accordingly, the pioneering nature of such functionalities was recognised by eBECS’ winning the Microsoft Overall Excellence award – the Lean Enterprise solution was subsequently purchased by Microsoft to form part of its standard Dynamics AX solution. eBECS is further enhancing the solution under its appointment as the Microsoft Dynamics Lean Centre of Excellence. For example, says Rumney: “This year sees eBECS focus its attention on the next release of Dynamics, where we shall attack and “lean out” areas such as engineering change management and lean accounting with more focus of industry verticals. In addition, there will be thrusts towards a more visual system with even less complexity.” Similarly, eBECS continues to provide customers across manufacturing, distribution, and the

extended supply chain with expertise on how they can utlise Lean and Agile solutions to reduce waste, increase response times, and maximise value to their customers. Indeed, says eBECS director Stephen Wilson: “The company has developed a complete series of Lean Manufacturing modules designed to complement and enhance the functionality of the Microsoft Business solutions programme. Manufacturers are thus provided with comprehensive lean functionality while co-existing with the traditional MRP world.” As a result, organisations are able to implement solution sets including Kanban, lean order schedules, vendormanaged inventory, and Heijunka board scheduling through the additional functionality provided by eBECS within Lean Manufacturing II and III. Moreover, the Vendor Portal addresses many of the more advanced vertical requirements of a Lean Enterprise for the automotive, aerospace & defence, high tech, and medical devices and equipment manufacture sectors. Says Rumney: “Ultimately, the Lean Centre of Excellence represents a collaboration between partners that recognise Lean as no longer being simply a manual improvement programme. Indeed, both Microsoft and eBECS acknowledge that contemporary Lean operations represent an institutionalised, seamless solution which is crucial in supporting an organisation’s culture of total waste reduction.”

Newsinbrief Advantage West Midlands (AWM) has submitted a planning proposal to Rugby Borough Council for a 1.3m sq ft High Technology Park. The scheme will house the government’s long-awaited Manufacturing Technology Centre, attracting £130m of investment to the region. The centre in Coventry will be backed by AWM and Emda, as well as Rolls-Royce, Airbus and local universities.


BAE Systems is reportedly set to face prosecution following an extensive by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into allegations that the defence giant bribed foreign officials for contracts. The allegations relate to contracts BAE won from Tanzania, the Czech Republic, South Africa, and Romania. The SFO began to investigate allegations that the company had paid millions to secure those contracts after a similar investigation into a 1980’s deal with Saudi Arabia had to be dropped in 2007 due to a potential breach of national security. BAE missed a deadline last night to settle the new cases under a guilty plea bargain and the SFO will reportedly now announce this morning that it will seek prosecution for the under the 2001 Prevention of Corruption Act. BAE said it did not recognise the deadline. The company released a statement in reaction to the news in which it claimed it “has at all times acted responsibly in its dealings with the SFO”. BAE “continues to expend considerable effort seeking to resolve, at the earliest opportunity, the historical matters under investigation by the SFO,” the statement read. “If the Director of the SFO obtains the consent that he seeks from the Attorney General and proceedings are commenced, the company will deal with any issues raised in those proceedings at the appropriate time and, if necessary, in court.” The UK biggest manufacturer, which employs over 100,000 people globally, could have between £500m and £1bn confiscated, according to the BBC. The final decision over whether or not BAE will have to face the charges will lay with the attorney general, Baroness Scotland.


Energy in focus The Energy Event 2009, The UK’s annual exhibition and conference focused on energy procurement, management and efficiency was held at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, on September 9th and 10th. Sponsored by O2 in partnership with ASL holdings, the event featured over 100 exhibitors from all facets of the energy sector including manufacturers of energy efficient equipment, energy providers and energy consultants. The busy event was also well attended with crowd figures up 25% on last year. The Energy Services Directive, the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) and the ongoing nuclear power debate were top of the agenda for 2009’s event with these

important topics being explored in depth, debated and interpreted. The impending introduction of the CRC meant that products such as energy measurement devices were highly represented at the event while expert advice on energy efficiency and legislation was freely available. Engineering ingenuity was also on display from a multitude of UK companies specialising in reducing energy consumption. Of particular interest were a new energy efficient air compressor from Atlas Copco, which recovers 100% of electrical input energy in the form of hot water and FLIR Systems, who presented their infrared thermography technology as a tool for detecting construction failures and energy leaks.

Microsoft Dynamics confirms its long term commitment to the UK’s manufacturing sector Microsoft Dynamics is pleased to announce a unique long term commitment to the UK’s manufacturing sector through a significant new strategic partnership agreement with SayOne Media publishers of the sector’s premiere magazine – The Manufacturer. The partnership is founded on a completely new and unique media agreement that provides Microsoft with unrivalled and measurable return on investment, true sector penetration and the vital agility required in the rapidly changing landscape. For SayOne it provides the stability and commitment that enables the long term investment and planning that are required to deliver to client requirements in this difficult environment. Commenting on the deal Microsoft’s head of Dynamics Marketing Steve Dunbar said “we are committed to a strategic long term relationship with The Manufacturer to showcase the

industry-specific innovation in Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) technologies from Microsoft and our partners. Our aim is to support the growth of UK Manufacturers with truly world class solutions to aid their global competitiveness. This is a unique agreement and we are delighted to be partnering with SayOne. For SayOne Media CEO Nick Hussey stated “Whilst the financial details and nature of the relationship will not be disclosed I am pleased to confirm we are delighted to have signed this agreement. It really is that first step on our path to revolutionise the way media assets are bought and sold. This totally new and imaginative approach was developed in association with Microsoft and it is to their credit that they had the vision to see just what could be achieved and quite how broken and ineffective existing media deals are.

ManufacturingNews Datesfor yourdiary


October 7-8 The Working Building’s 2009 conference and

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says the UK will emerge from recession with humble growth in quarters 3 and 4 of this year but the organisation is warning that recovery next year will be fragile.

13 The Manufacturing Advisory Service is holding a workshop focusing on how to profit from green thinking throughout your business. For more information contact Anna Nilsson at

The CBI says the UK will post 0.3% quarter on quarter growth from July to September and 0.4% growth for the October to December period. That will bring to UK GDP to recede by 4.3% overall this year before growing by 0.9% in 2010. The growth this quarter will bring to and end five straight quarters of contraction. The organisation expects the weak value of sterling will finally provide some consolation next year by making UK goods more appealing to foreign markets and pushing exports up by 1.7% in 2010.

exhibition is taking place at London Olympia. For more information contact Sarah Tanner on 020 7921 8066 or

14-15 The 4th annual Manufacturing Technology Ireland Exhibition is being held at the National Centre, 15 MPM 09, a one day conference focusing on how

But CBI director-general Richard Lambert said that though growth enabled by quantitative easing, a weak pound and a recovering global economy is likely to see the UK move out of recession this quarter, “it is difficult to see where demand growth will come from”.

20-22 The British Wind Energy Association is

“Firms that have run down their stocks will now be starting to raise output to meet demand, and consumers are likely to bring forward spending before VAT rises,” he conceded, “but once these two boosts are out of the way there is no clear driver of robust economic growth into 2010.”

29-31 The inaugural Internal Security India

Employment prospects remain bleak despite the recovery indicators and the CBI says it expects unemployment to peak at around three million out of work in quarter two next year.

Dublin. For more information, call 0178 488 0890.

to cut your manufacturing costs whilst also improving operations, is being held at the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire.

holding its 31st annual conference at the ACC Liverpool.

conference takes place from October 29-31 at the Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India.

November 12 The Manufacturer of the Year Awards is being held at the Tower of London hotel. To book your place at the awards contact David Alstin on 01603 671307 or

12 The Manufacturing Advisory Service is holding a Manufacturing Conference 2009 focusing on innovation in product and design and technology at Rudding Park, Harrogate. For further information or to book contact Karen Dowd on 0113 368 5264 or 15-19 UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) will be part of the

UK Pavilion at the Dubai Airshow.

December 1-2 UKTI will be at Aerosolutions Bordeaux, to be held at Palais Des Congres.

Though the worst of the recession is now confined to history manufacturers still face a rocky road to recovery according to the latest survey by EEF in conjunction with BDO Stoy Hayward. Introducing the Engineering Outlook report for quarter three, the two organisations described recovery prospects next year as ‘anaemic’ despite manufacturers reporting better cash flow and fewer firms now facing falls in output and orders. This is because those firms still do not plan to increase capital expenditure and are still cutting staff, albeit at a slower rate. Tight credit conditions and market uncertainty were touted as reasons for negative intentions. Overall, EEF and BDO expect manufacturing growth of 0.5% next year following a 10.5% decline in 2009. Economists are predicting that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will revise up its estimate that gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0.7pc in the second quarter, following upward revisions of industrial production and construction output data. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee predicted an upward revision to the figures at its September meeting, made public in the minutes. Economists at Investec and IHS Global Insight are expecting the ONS to say the economy shrank by 0.6pc in the second quarter. Most believe that the recession is now over following a wave of positive data over recent weeks from sectors including manufacturing and services. If the economy did start growing again in the third quarter the recession will be officially declared over on Friday October 23, when the ONS publishes its first estimate of GDP for that period.


ManufacturingAppointments UK Appointments Sandvik Materials Technology Adam Nicholas

Adam Nicholas is the new commercial sales representative for Sandvik Materials Technology. His new role sees him calling on key, mid, and transactional customers, in addition to developing new accounts.

Adam will cover one of the company’s largest customer areas in the UK — including West Midlands, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Avon, South Wales, and Lincolnshire, as well as Scotland.

Cheesman Products Peter Upton

Cheesman Products has announced the appointment of Peter Upton as manager of client relations for the company’s automotive business unit. He will be responsible for the partnerships Cheesman Products maintains

with vehicle manufacturers and aftermarket companies throughout UK and Europe. Upton was formally the sales and marketing manager for QuickSilver Exhaust Systems’ global specialty equipment business.

Hansatech EMS Limited Tom Collett

Hansatech EMS Limited, UK specialists in bespoke electronic contract manufacturing and assembly services, has announced the appointment of Tom Collett to the position of new business development manager.

Collett will leverage his 35 year sales engineering background within the component and EMS industry to sign new customers in growth markets such as medical, consumer, aerospace, defence, and industrial lighting.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is pleased to announce the appointment of Catherine Hutt as business development manager responsible for electric vehicles. Hutt joins SMMT from Modec, the UK-based electric commercial vehicle manufacturer. Her role will include managing the newly created Electric Vehicle Group to encourage high-level industry discussion and consensus views aimed at influencing political and public attitudes towards the new technology. SolutionsPT Limited, an operating company of the Pantek Group, has announced that John Bailey has been appointed chairman and Phil Gillard moves to the newly created role of SolutionsPT general manager. Bailey, who founded the first Pantek Company in September 1985, has previously managed SolutionsPT on a day to day basis. Gillard initially joined SolutionsPT as business development manager in May of this year. Wesupply, a provider of business-to-business supply chain solutions, has announced the appointment of Keith Deane as chief executive officer. Deane brings more than 30 years of IT industry leadership and experience to Wesupply, his most recent role being president, EMEA at Infor. Prior to joining Infor, Keith held executive leadership positions at webMethods and BEA Systems. Renault UK has hired Chris Hawken as its new marketing communications manager. Hawken will oversee a team of 16, his role encompassing all activities related to Renault brand marketing – ranging from national advertising and promotions, digital, web, and CRM activity for both the car and van ranges.

Tulip has appointed Steve Murrells into the newly created role of chief executive officer for its UK operation. He brings a wealth of industry experience gained in a variety of positions, including Tesco as commercial director for fresh foods. Cooked poultry specialist Kookaburra has appointed Tony Gilroy as managing director of its Peterlee operation. Gilroy joins the company after 11 years at the helm of the Challenger Foods — now part of the 2 Sisters Group — operation in Sunderland, where he was site director. Prior to this, he spent 16 years with Kerry Foods in Durham. Unilever announced that Adam Mallalieu has joined the company as chief security officer. Mallalieu previously held the post of director of safety, health & environment, and Corporate Security for the National Grid, following a military career spanning over 22 years.

International Appointments Boeing Commercial Airplanes chairman, president and CEO Jim McNerney named Jim Albaugh to succeed current president and CEO Scott Carson, who is retiring at the end of the year. Dennis Muilenburg is to succeed Albaugh as president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). Both positions are effective from September 1 2009.

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


JustJones Learning to work together Collaborative performance remains central to effective lean thinking. Why, therefore, do many modern management systems ignore such principles?


our trip to Japan to launch The Machine that Changed the World in 1990, the Chairman of Toyota, Dr. Soichiro Toyoda, told me: “The only competitors we really fear are the Germans, if they ever learn to work together”. I have used this quote many times since to provoke and challenge German audiences. However, I am coming to think this represents a profound comment about all of us that throws light on a fundamental threshold with lean practice that we ignore at our peril. Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to think that those who master the art of getting people from different perspectives to really work together to significantly improve performance or solve a clearly defined problem will be the winners in the next decade. Turning a blind eye to these opportunities is not simply due to the growing individualisation of our society, but because our modern management systems measure and incentivise departmental or business unit performance – on the false assumption that keeping every asset busy adds up to the optimum performance of the whole. Time and again lean thinkers demonstrate this falls considerably short of what is possible. I was reminded about this when talking to a meeting of plant managers from a global multinational. While they are making good progress with lean inside their plants — reducing throughput time from 30 days to 4 days, for instance — they readily admitted that their supply chains were still between 200 and 300 days long. But, crucially, that was the responsibility of another department! It did not take long to demonstrate how it would be possible to reduce the 200-300 days for most of their products to 20-30 days, thus saving enormous amounts of cash tied up in inventories. Moreover, the extra cost of managing the armies of planners correcting forecasts would further reduce outgoings, quite apart from the capital saved in not having to build more capacity. I am certain they could increase sales by responding to every customer on-time every-time with no invoice errors. We will see, however, whether their top management has the vision to give the responsibility for achieving this to a value stream manager leading a cross-departmental team, and stand willing to resolve the inevitable conflicts between departmental objectives and the needs of the supply chain. This is no different in principle from our current experiment making a value stream manager responsible for the door to door flow of emergency

patients through a hospital. Such a remit undeniably challenges existing management structures and behaviours. However, department heads and senior clinicians are becoming more convinced that it is the only way to link up lean improvement activities across the hospital, thus reaching their performance targets. Beyond the discharge lounge of the hospital, however, lies another challenge. Many patients need packages of care to be in place before they can be discharged. Yet this involves several different government organisations, who inevitably have their own interests and procedures. Getting these aligned is a major distraction for discharge nurses and a significant reason for patients having to stay in hospital longer than necessary.

extra cost of managing the armies “the of planners correcting forecasts would further reduce outgoings, quite apart from the capital saved in not having to build more capacity

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

Many years ago there was a movement for “joined up government” that seems to have disappeared. Nonetheless, I recently heard a story from a group of local government agencies and departments who had linked up to address the growing problem of the long term unemployed in their area. With top management support, they brought together a team which started by collectively defining the specific problem to be solved for this group, then looked at all the steps of the process of getting them the support they needed, and finally how this would change the way they needed to work together across their organisations to deliver such a mandate. In all kinds of situations lean can help to define the problem or performance gap to be closed. It can similarly help to design the right processes to solve or close it, and can help to focus the work of everyone involved most effectively using lean visual project management. This is the only way to break through the constraints of our current management systems and organisational boundaries and realise the full potential of lean. end

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Energy advice that’s always to the point.

We can’t predict the future, or make the energy markets less volatile, but we can give you expert advice on protecting your business from energy price risk. With our expert team of risk specialists, we can defend your energy budget in a rising market and maximise your savings if prices should fall. To hear more about our proven credentials and impressive track record, call us today on 01527 511 757. EIC. Why risk using anyone else? ‘EIC’ is the trading name for ‘EIC Limited’ and ‘EIC Energy Trading Limited.’ EIC Energy Trading Limited is an appointed representative of Sturgeon Ventures who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Economics Activism: let’s work together


attention is therefore likely to turn to reducing the share of government borrowing from its potential peak of 12% of GDP. A stronger than expected recovery would help the government to make faster inroads into the deficit but this will not allow it to put off making difficult decisions on tax and spending. Nor would financial markets allow this. Given growing business concerns over the competitiveness of our tax regime, the bulk of the adjustment will need to fall on public spending. We could well be looking at a sustained reduction in the share of public spending as a share of the economy. In many ways business would welcome this, particularly if it led to a renewed drive to improve public sector efficiency and action to tackle the disparity between public and private sector pension entitlements. At the same, though, it would raise questions over the future of a new industrial policy. Inevitably, budgets for investment in research and development, new technologies, higher education and skills will be under severe pressure. And the Government will find it more difficult to invest in our infrastructure, delaying much needed improvements and reducing the flow of orders to the private sector. Does this mean that the desire for a more active approach to industrial policy is unlikely to survive much beyond the end of this year? We believe that such a pessimistic conclusion is far from inevitable. Indeed if the government can deliver on the promises in the New Industry New Jobs plan, it will actually help to make the public sector efficient and to reduce the scale of its borrowing. But this will not be easy and it will require a substantial change in the culture of government and in how it works with business.

Spend wisely

The activism that business is seeking from government isn’t about spending large additional amounts of money. It’s about using it more intelligently and with greater transparency. A key part of this is making sure that the different arms of government work together more effectively. This is much easier to say than deliver but it is essential and one thing that would help would be to put an end to the frequent mergers and carve ups of different government departments. However, the progress that has been made with nuclear power shows what is possible. Different parts of government have come together to address issues such as

planning, licensing, decommissioning and waste disposal and the Office for Nuclear Development has been set up to take forward concerns such as skills and supply chains. Equally critical is the way that the government procures goods and services from the private sector. Businesses working in industries such as defence, security and the health service need much greater clarity about what the needs and the budget of government (often their major customer) are likely to be. This can help them to plan ahead and commit the investments needed to make the next generation of equipment. At the simplest level,

the Government can deliver on the “ Ifpromises in the New Industry New Jobs plan, it will actually help to make the public sector efficient and to reduce the scale of its borrowing

Steve Radley, chief economist, EEF

This month has brought better news — activity on the high street and in the housing market has picked up, and surveys of businesses and consumers point to increased confidence about the future. While we are not out of the woods, we can start planning ahead for the future with a bit more confidence.

smoothing the flow of orders would avoid the repeated episodes of feast and famine that killed off much of our railway equipment industry. Greater transparency would help to prevent cost overruns, to reduce costs and to deliver more innovative solutions. Two recent issues illustrate how progress is being made in some areas but also how much more there is to be done. On the credit side, the Home Office’s new science and technology strategy for counter-terrorism set out a clear statement of the government’s needs and the technologies in which industry should be investing. This will give companies the confidence to invest in research and development and the stability to start planning sorties into export markets. On the debit side, the Gray report on defence procurement points to deep-rooted failings such as ‘sclerotic acquisition systems’ that contribute to major delays and expenditure running ahead of budget. Looking ahead Britain cannot afford to miss out on the business opportunities presented by the challenges of a fast changing society. end

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The big picture The green industrial revolution Professor Mike Gregory Institute for Manufacturing

The first industrial revolution, despite its harshness for the pioneers, raised the quality of life for people in industrialised nations by making them more productive. An unintended consequence, however, was to lay the foundations for an industrial system which would begin to damage the environment. Now is the time to drive a new, ‘greener’ industrial revolution which will bring improved living standards to people around the world without compromising its long term survival.


of us now accept that industrialisation had unintended and serious consequences for the environment. But while industry might have been part of the problem it can now also be part of the solution. The need to address climate change is real. With the emerging economies of India and China rapidly catching (some would say overtaking) the West as manufacturing powerhouses, the issue of sustainability is not going to go away. Current estimates suggest we’re consuming the resources of 1.3 planets. But being aware of green issues isn’t environmental campaigning, it also makes good business sense.

estimates suggest we’re “Current consuming the resources of 1.3 planets. Being aware of green issues isn’t environmental campaigning, it also makes good business sense

The move towards sustainability is a major opportunity for UK manufacturers. For companies that learn to do more with less, the potential is huge. Industrial organisations that predict and plan for a sustainable future are likely to survive into the next generation. Learning how to use significantly less material and energy to create the same or better customer value, while creating little or no waste, is not only a sensible long term strategy but a compelling argument in today’s volatile world. Such businesses will be more resilient to some of the forces bearing upon them.

Revolutionary signs

This way of thinking is already gaining currency. Brewer Adnams introduced new production equipment which reduced energy bills by a third and slashed water consumption by 60%. It is not alone. Xerox changed its manufacturing processes and is expected to make $4m of savings a year in the UK, Toyota made environmental and financial savings by managing to send zero waste to landfill. And there are plenty more examples. So there is evidence the ‘green’ industrial revolution may already be underway. Some businesses have already begun to make big steps toward reducing their environmental impact. By carefully using raw materials, adopting frugal production processes, optimising logistics and paying close attention to reuse and recycling, firms — some of whom are multinationals — are paying close attention to sustainability as a pressing business issue. But while these initiatives target particular elements of the system, their impact can be dramatically enhanced if applied in the context of a broader view of the industrial system. Collaboration can achieve this. Industrialists, academics and government need to work together to examine the industrial activity as a whole. We need to increase our understanding of how the essential elements of the industrial system — resources, processes and organisation — can be optimised to preserve precious resources while maintaining and indeed enhancing standards of living.

Government has also recognised the need for a sustainable manufacturing base. In July it launched its Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, which outlined policies it hoped would ensure British businesses and workers are equipped to maximise the economic opportunities and minimise the costs of the transition to a low carbon economy.

Global co-operation between industry, academe and government offers the potential to pool expertise in design, production, research and regulation to enable the rapid sharing and application of environmentally sound manufacturing practices but also the systematic development of new technologies and approaches.

A radical and integrated approach to the analysis and design of industrial systems, many of which have grown up piecemeal over the years, is what we need now.

Yes, talk of change and new ways of thinking can be disturbing. It must have appeared so to those manufacturing pioneers of the 19th century. But they saw change as opportunity and we all benefitted. Now might be the time for us to embrace this particular Victorian value. end

So how can we work towards this new industrial revolution? We already possess many of the skills


necessary. For years industrialists and leading academics have focused on efficiencies and technologies to speed production and save money. Now we can utilise that expertise to address issues surrounding climate change, making efficiencies to save energy and resources.

The IfM has published a new report on sustainable industry. Called Towards a Sustainable Industrial System, it can be accessed at

with a King An audience

Will King is punctual, laid back and dressed-down. There has been a lot of press coverage lately about the man behind the King of Shaves shaving brand, but I had not read much of it and was expecting to meet a ‘typical’ successful businessman in a sharp suit. Will King is not a typical anything. Having been made redundant in 1991 he started his own business marketing American clothing in the UK.


Interview Will King, King of Shaves

quickly became interested in developing a new shaving medium, a shaving oil. Maverick and unconventional, despite misgivings from some quarters who thought he was mad, he launched a small business during the previous recession that dared to take on the undisputed might of the twin global shaving colossi Gillette and Schick-Wilkinson Sword. Fast-forward 16 years and today King of Shaves (KoS) is an international company with a multi-million pound turnover, second only to Gillette in the UK shaving preparation market and has — with the new Azor razor — what King expects to be a 10% market share of the highly valuable system razor market in the UK by the end of 2009. But it could all have been so different. Scanning the opening chapters of Will King’s new book, How to Build a Great Business in Tough Times, what strikes you is that here is a guy from a pretty unremarkable background, with unspectacular academic results, who was bullied at school, who could have led a pretty ordinary life. Two things changed all that: sailing and shaving. Sailing made the young King realise he was good at something, and that he could love ‘the satisfaction of success’, as he sailed competitively and won events. Shaving, perhaps more by accident than design, became his focus and raison d’etre. He figured oil would be a good medium as a shaving lubricant — “oil lubricates machinery, so why not skin?”. The initial motivation was not to get rich but to perfect something. Indeed, in his book he says “few entrepreneurs set out to make loads of cash at any cost.. the most successful entrepreneurs view cash generation as simply a by-product of doing something extremely well.” While some entrepreneurs might disagree, King does not strike you as someone motivated purely by success and money. Discussing the rationale for a shaving oil, and the unique selling points of the Azor razor, it is clear he is a deep thinker, motivated by the desire to carry out his ideas for the sake of proving them right or wrong. The book’s first chapters paint the picture of a very modest man with a somewhat troubled school life. How did he become the King of Shaves?

The Eureka moment

Being made redundant galvanised King’s resolve to pursue something closer to his heart than selling advertising. He has sensitive skin and had always suffered from shaving rash. Shaving foam was the dominant male grooming product, which “was fit for purpose but certainly not great,” King says. Essentials oils were just getting a foothold with brands like Tisserand and Body Shop. Knowing a bit about the lubricious qualities of oils from his engineering studies, he summised that oil would relieve the pain of shaving. And so it proved. “Foam is an aerated mass of surfactant, most of which is not in contact with the skin and does not lubricate. Oil is great because it spreads out over the skin surface and lubricates.” With time on his hands, he started to mix up shaving oil formulas, which trashed his bathroom and tested his girlfriend’s patience for several months. The trick was to perfect the oil formula to function as a good lubricant while not gunging-up the razor so it would rinse under a running tap. He hand bottled the first 10,000 bottles himself owing to cash-flow constraints (i.e none).

The marketing strategy was short penetration, long reputation — he targeted Harrods as the first stockist. King knew the volume would come from a retailer like Boots and went specifically after them.

Building a brand

For further marketing, King relied mainly on word of mouth. This was pre-internet and there was no advertising budget. If you used the product and didn’t get razor burn, he says: “Men are funny creatures, when they come across something that’s great or horrific, often they feel the need to share that experience with their mates. And that’s exactly what happened.” The King of Shaves shaving oil brand, which was simply one product for the first two years on a Boots and Harrods shelf, grew by word of mouth. The internet arrived in 1995 and it grew by ‘word of mouse’ — one of numerous ‘Willisms’ King has coined, several of which are wry takes on established business management jargon. Other big retailers like Tesco and Sainsbury came on board. At this point Knowledge Merchants International (KMI), the company he cofounded with business partner Herbie Dayal, realised their KoS product was becoming a brand and introduced a second shaving oil, also made in the UK by contract manufacturers, which had added aloe and vitamin E and therefore better for the skin. In 1996 KMI introduced a low foam shaving gel based on aloe, with oil held in microcapsules, designed to apply a thin coating of aloe-rich foam on the face with oil mixed in, so “you don’t have to look like Santa Claus.”

Virtually Integrated Businees”] We “[on own everything; the trade marks, the patents, the design ideas, the marketing, the command and control part of the business. But then we own nothing; we don’t have a factory, we work with partner companies who are able to fill up their lines with our products


Buoyed by the success of the shaving oil, further innovations and products followed. In 1996 KMI released its AlphaGel — which has won about 20 consumer awards since then — and a skincare range, by which time KMI had a “critical mass” of eight products on the shelves of Boots. In 1998 the company signed a fragrance deal with design brand Ted Baker, which while largely made in the UK, had a specific manufacturing requirement that made KMI source the glass bottles from a French company. “The minimum quantities on those are 25,000-50,000 units and you simply can’t get them made in the UK, whereas you can in northern France because of the wine bottle industry,” says King. Probably the biggest event for King’s company in recent years, in June 2008 KMI launched the Azor razor


— the first system razor to be designed, developed and majority manufactured in the UK for 100 years. As a manufacturing proposition this was a quantum leap from making software like oils and consumed five years of King’s life. “People expected it to be called King of Blades, as we owned that trademark as well. Ninety per cent of the manufacture of the razor and packaging is done in the UK, some components like the blades need to be imported, again because the manufacture simply doesn’t exist in the UK,” says King. The Azor is being sold in Australia, Japan, the US, Spain and elsewhere, and will be launched in South Africa in October. King expects it to occupy 10% of the UK system razor (razors with replaceable heads) market by the end of the year, a remarkable achievement given its nascence in a market so dominated by Gillette and Schick-Wilkinson Sword, companies with a combined market capitalisation of $62bn (at April 2009).

Manufacturing learning curve

Biography Will King



Born Lowestoft, Suffolk


BEng Hons in Mechanical Engineering, Portsmouth Polytechnic


First job, selling advertising space for Marketing Magazine


Made redundant in downturn


Starts venture to market Body Glove wetsuit products and begins experimenting with shaving oil formulas in kitchen sink


Founds Knowledge Merchants International (KMI), parent company to King of Shaves (KoS) brand. Begins writing novel, We Three Kings. Posts profit/loss account of £300 sales against £30,000 debt


Company turnover hits £1m, increasing year-on-year


With Hiten Dayal secures fragrance licensing deal with Ted Baker plc


Sells first KoS products in America. Signs licensing deal with Soho barber, Fish 2003. KoS is first company to create mainstream line of ‘male cosmetics’, called XCD


KoS voted ‘Best Wet Shaving Product 2005’ by FHM


Launches the first British made, engineered and designed system razor in over 100 years. KMI is awarded Company of the Year award in the CBI Growing Business Awards.

KMI Ltd — which demerged to form King of Shaves Ltd earlier this year — is what Will calls a ‘virtually integrated business’. “We own everything; the trade marks, the patents, the design ideas, the marketing, the command and control part of the business. But then we own nothing; we don’t have a factory, we work with partner companies who are able to fill up their lines with our products and we don’t have to worry about having our own factory, stocking our inventory and running down lines 24/7 — which is what manufacturing is all about.” The virtually integrated model allows King of Shaves to be very flat, with 20 employees, while making millions of units of products (see box on UPL). Making the Azor system razor put King into completely new territory. Shaving hardware had become increasingly technical and innovative, with vibrating heads, trimmers and up to six blades to offer an even closer shave than the 5-blade precursor. But was the shaving performance really improving, commensurate with the price? (Gillette’s 4-blade Fusion used to retail for nearly twice the cost of a 3-blade Mach 3 but was never as successful). With the shaving software business, King was well-placed to investigate the razor market, but this feature-versus-value conundrum appealed to his inquisitive as well as his business mind. The ability to ask why, and to question the accepted wisdom is a strong character trait that pops up throughout his book. But getting into this market would not be easy — global system razor technology is ringfenced by about 20,000 patents, he says. In the end, Azor was such a challenge King stepped back from his day-to-day job as CEO of KMI to focus on it. The investment was very high, partly because of the tooling needed. “It’s got to be a 32-up tool or a 64-up tool to make the handle and plastic components. I basically spent five years learning how to design and make this product,” he says. He set up a project team, Project Tomahawk, which sucked in the best engineering knowledge they could find from around the world. He appointed a project director who came from software company Oracle, a managing director Andy Hill, a chairman (Dayal) and “immersed myself in the nuances of developing a razor that would shave people as close, and last longer and cost less, than the competition. And it just took a lot of time — and a lot of faith from the shareholders and belief from the team that it would launch.”

Interview Will King, King of Shaves

The contract manufacturer King of Shaves does not manufacture inhouse but contract manufactures. As orders for KoS products grew, King and partner Herbie Dayal needed a reliable and innovative manufacturer to make new product lines.

highly. “We have a long-standing relationship based on mutual respect and honesty. If something becomes an issue, it will be put on the table and it is discussed honestly on both sides. There’s a level of integrity from both sides that I find unusual in business these days,” he says.

Through Peter Wallis, a consultant who had worked on the shaving oil production, in 1995 they were introduced to Mike Peters, owner of a leading contract manufacturer Universal Products Manufacturing (Lytham) Ltd (UPL), in Lytham, Lancs. Peters agreed to help the pair develop and produce their AlphaGel and new skincare range. In his book King says that, fourteen years on, he is “delighted that Mike and UPL continues to be one of our key partners today, always willing to go the extra mile to develop new products and ideas, even if they don’t hit the shelves or sell what we expect of them.” Today UPL makes about 90% of KoS software, i.e. shaving oils and gels. Peters values the relationship

Nevertheless, working with King is not always straightforward, and Peters laughs at the timing of one request. About 10 years ago, having spent a fortune on a special vacuum tank to remove unwanted air from creams and gels, King asks UPL to develop a shaving gel... with bubbles in it. They developed the gel for KoS. “It’s a pleasure to do business with Will, but it can be hard work,” says Peters. “A conversation with him about, for example bubbles in gel, can change direction 10 times before we return to the actual gel. He has a massive flow of energy and creativity but frankly it can be exhausting! To sum Will King up in three words: energy, integrity and charisma.”

The Shaving bond

Shaving overseas

The easiest thing to say at this point, if you’re still reading and are interested in the King of Shaves story, is “read Will King’s book”. It’s a page-turner and there is value, humour and humanity on every page. It is a guide for budding entrepreneurs to try the Will King take on life and business, and the chapter on the development of the Azor alone is a worthwhile guide on getting radical (in terms of ambition) product from conception to market. Looking ahead, King has high expectations for KoS oil, gel, skincare and Azor products in the US. In November, he is off to launch the Azor in South Africa and there are several auxiliary projects ticking

are funny creatures, when they “Men come across something that’s great or horrific, often they feel the need to share that experience with their mates. And that’s exactly what happened

King of Shaves is not a publically listed company but it does have shareholders, or rather bondholders. Earlier this year, King wanted to raise about £5m for marketing without taking equity out of the company or drawing debt finance. The solution was the innovative shaving bond. This is a three year, fixed interest rate, nontransferable, non-convertible savings bond, paying 6% per annum. It was open to the public, issued in 2008 and subscription is now closed. Individuals could apply for up to £5,000 worth of Shaving Bonds in multiples of £1,000. Bond investors received a limited edition Shaving Bond certificate, as well as exclusive, free King of Shaves products for the duration of the Bond. The Bond proceeds will be used entirely on marketing the King of Shaves shaving brand. It was a novel and imaginative way to raise capital without involving a bank — a broker helped run the book, and King of Shaves underwrites the money. King subscribes to the view that people naturally mistrust the novel and the different, he says that is why some quarters of the media and financial press criticized the mini-bond as a gimmick. Without knowing the whole story, the Bond is fully subscribed so it can’t have been a total flop.

over which is occupying his time and imagination. Will King is a man who came from humble roots, got stung, and devoted his time and labour to soothing that sting, building one or two international brands along the way. He is a one-time loner, maverick, marketeer, designer, manufacturer, dog lover and yachtsman rolled into one — someone who questions the natural order who was confident and/or belligerent enough to try out a fresh angle on a product group widely accepted as untouchable. He is also a Suffolk boy, so he can’t be too bad. Happy sailing, Will. end

Watch Will King talking to TM at


Conferences– Why bother?

In the lead up to The Manufacturer Directors Conference 2009 Jane Gray, senior researcher at The Manufacturer, asks the conference speakers what motivated them to take part in the event given the current business environment. Knowing the pressures manufacturers are under to cut costs and deliver value within tight constraints, why do our speakers feel that this event is still an investment in terms of time and knowledge?


with one voice, participants in this year’s conference have emphasized the special importance of intra-industry communication during recession in order, as Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) Julian Hunt expressed it ‘to help businesses improve their competitiveness despite the uncertainties caused by the changing economic and political landscape’. As Communications Director Julian realises the true value of being able to ‘play a role in important debates such as the transition to a low carbon economy, using R&D to respond to societal and consumer demands for new products, and concerns about the UK’s future skills base’. This last aspect is an area of particular importance to The Technology Strategy Board and their Lead Technologist, Robin Wilson will be clarifying how their allocation of £24m this year ‘confirms the high level of interest’ in sectors such as ‘Pharmaceuticals, Aerospace, Bioscience, Transport, Machinery, Medical and Precision Equipment , for innovative, collaborative R&D projects’. Fostering a growing appreciation for the value of partnership and collaboration across industry Professor Peter Hines views the conference as a chance to ‘link goals’ and ‘share in leading edge thought’ while Ian Rice, operations director at cabling giant, Draka, affirmed that the ‘opportunity to share and learn best practice’ is not to be missed. Another key attraction for speakers has been the opportunity set example and gain feedback. Kevin Eyre (SA Partners)


and Catherine McDermott (Argos) are extremely keen to be a part of our interdisciplinary event and return useful lessons to manufacturing on the ‘thoughtful, context specific implementation of continuous improvement’ in their distribution environment and to show the massive remunerations that can come from successfully creating a ’virtuous circle between behaviours and processes’. At the heart of this key networking and knowledge sharing event is the urgent requirement to create a sustainable recovery strategy for industry. Paul Chistodoulou of Cambridge University’s Manufacturing Institute emphasised this critical need saying ‘the key themes of the last era are no longer sufficient to achieve a competitive position- this event provides an opportunity to hear leading thinking on themes that will shape the post-recession era’. Speaking for Adnams breweries, managing director Andy Wood stresses that there is a need for ‘ideas generation’ in industry and he sees the conference as the logical focus point for all businesses looking to move forward out of these difficult economic times by continuing to innovate and ‘challenge the status quo’. Below some of our keynote speakers expand on their feelings about the critical issues facing business and industry over the short and longer-term future and express why they feel The Manufacturer Directors Conference is an appropriate forum in which to address them.

12th November 2009 Tower Hotel, London Stephen Radley – Chief Economist, EEF

Allan Cook – CEO, Cobham plc

“In a climate where there has been so much uncertainty around the economy it is important that business can gain access to a clear view of what developments there have been and are likely to be. In addition I value events like this because they are interactive- I get to hear what manufacturers are thinking and learn about their experiences.

“I have been in this industry a long time now and, without sounding too sycophantic!- I have a genuine passion for it. Aerospace and defence is foremost for me of course but the industry as a whole has given a lot to me and I see events like this as my opportunity to give something back.

Over the past year there has been an understandable trend in business to focus on day to day survival. However I think the most important message I could give at the moment is that it is now necessary to look to the future. Despite the problems raised by the recession the last 5 years have shown many positive signs for manufacturing and I would like to contrast the immediate, difficult environment with the more up-beat prospects of the medium term future and show the various areas in which new opportunities are appearing for manufacturers- for instance opportunity to adapt intelligently to climate change- not just cope with it and the many opportunities in new markets available in China and Asia.”

Pierfancesco Manenti – EMEA Research Director, IDC Manufacturing Insight “The majority of manufacturers have a lot of questions at the moment- largely focusing on ‘how do we prepare for what comes next?’- This is an extremely hard question to answer but, undoubtedly the best way to approach the problem is to gather together- hear research, hear case studies, discuss the challenges. During the economic crisis many companies have become inward looking and have focused on internal improvements that can be made in order to survive in the short term. This is understandable but companies really need to start looking out as well, to compare their position with others. The most important thing that companies can do at the moment is to look for the opportunities for recalibration that the economic crisis has made and I hope that my presentation will show the various ways in which companies can connect the goal of operational excellence with the need to recover and look at the available strategies. Everyone accepts that there is now a need to transform and change but the question we need to answer is how to change.”

Times are hard now, as we are all aware, and- honestly- we don’t have any real control over macro events like recession. We can however, converse and work together to find the best ways to cope with them. Speaking personally I find it very hard to see past the urgent need for investment in R&D and skills development at the moment. Traditionally this has been where UK manufacturing has excelled; past investment in skills, knowledge, technical ability have been the basis of our greatest manufacturing successes and they will be all the more important in the future. We must have the capability to constantly create and push the competitive edge and this can only be done by drawing in new talent- new ideas. When I have a captive audience I see an opportunity to communicate that message. If I can inspire 5% of those listening to go back to the work place and talk to a local school or take on an apprentice then I feel satisfied. If I inspire 50% I’m ecstatic. You only get out what you put in to an event and so I have to be committed and to believe it is worthwhile in order to gain any satisfaction from the experience.”

Charles Morgan – Managing Director, Morgan Motorcars “For me personally I see this as a great opportunity to show the pioneering work we are doing with a much smaller budget than some of the large companies in the car industry. We are a small but flourishing example of innovative British manufacturing and a proof that small companies can really benefit throughout tough times by being creative within their niche areas. Smaller companies may not be able to invest in developing the mass marketable new technologies that the big players are interested in but they have the scope to be inventive in much quirkier ways.”

Be bothered! Visit


up Charged

Green vehicle sector gets moving

Opportunities in low carbon vehicle manufacturing are growing. Despite barriers including the cost of investment and the uncertainty over the range of LCVs and a nationwide charging infrastructure, several government-sponsored initiatives and demand from more carbonconscious customers are making more companies think about electric power, low weight frames and energy reclaiming systems. Will Stirling reports.


designers and manufacturers with appropriate skills cannot ignore the opportunities in low carbon vehicle (LCV) development. The Climate Change Act 2008 has set a target to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Transport contributes between 21%-24% of the overall domestic UK carbon emissions, and the Government has acknowledged the scale of the problem with the publication of Low Carbon Transport: A Greener Future, a key component of The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, that sets a course towards a low carbon transport system of the future. Clearly, cars, vans and other commercial vehicles will play a big part in a decarbonised transport system. The Low Carbon Transport report claims that road vehicles will be vastly more fuel efficient by 2022, where it has set fiveyearly carbon budgets out to. The report says: “This will primarily be delivered through advances in the efficiency of the internal combustion engine [and]... new ultra-low emission vehicles will have made their transition onto the mass-market.” The EU’s New Car CO2 Regulation, which government agreed in 2008, is establishing a framework for action by industry to develop lower emitting vehicles, while recognising the diversity and competitiveness of the car market across Europe. But the challenge of a low carbon vehicle mass market cannot be overstated. It is a race against time, and real, proven technology breakthroughs that help to reduce emissions and conserve energy — such as kinetic energy regenerative systems (KERS), which capture and reuse energy from decelerating vehicles — take time to become commercially viable in a mass market. Apart


from numerous mechanical challenges, electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in electric hybrids (PHEV) need a viable charging infrastructure. Several initiatives are researching the viability of different charging infrastructure systems. One is run by the Energies Technologies Institute (ETI), a company formed from six UK industry members including BP and Rolls-Royce, and the Government, which links projects and partnerships that create reliable clean energy. In July it launched its Plug-in Vehicle Economics and Infrastructure Project, part of a wider plan called Electrification of Transport within UK Test Bed, which has £400m of government funding committed. Part of the Infrastructure Project, the Joined-Cities Plan, will assess how EV and PHEV charging points would work within and between a large city network, to test the feasibility of long distance driving linked by cities. Potential obstacles include ensuring the gauge of charging points made by different suppliers for different regional authorities are compatible for all electric vehicles, regardless of make and size of powertrain.

The long game

While electric vehicles, hybrids and fuel cell technology are not new, the purely technical challenges of bringing these types of powertrain to a mass market are high. EVs are restricted by their range, and larger batteries mean more weight, affecting range and increasing running costs (electric charge). With very few exceptions, the consumer cost of an EV is invariably greater than a petrol or diesel powered vehicle, and can be twice the cost in the case of some commercial vehicles. David Shemmans, CEO of advanced engineering firm Ricardo, and Richard Parry-Jones, chair of the New

Leadstory Automotive Innovation and Growth Team, an steering group launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, both illustrated the timelines for mass market uptake of low carbon vehicles over the next 40 years based on a report commissioned by BIS. They show that mass market EV technology will not be available in the UK until 2020, and fuel cell vehicle technology will not become mainstream until 2025. Another hurdle is to accurately predict how consumers will react to an LCV alternative to petrol/diesel (or IC, internal combustion). The ETI is attempting to address this with an extensive evaluation of consumer attitudes and behaviours in buying and using plug-in vehicles and their infrastructure, so global manufacturers are better informed about the UK market. The Technology Strategy Board is linking its own programme of tests to assess the engineering capability of and consumer confidence with LCVs. “LCVs offer tremendous opportunities for UK innovators in areas such as batteries, supercapacitors, fuel cells, flywheels, electric motors, control systems and the systems engineering to join such technologies together — in all of which the UK has areas of real excellence,” says Adam Chase, director of sustainable energy business consulting firm E4tech. However, there are undoubtedly challenges for any UK company wanting to play a role in LCV innovation. “The absence of big UK vehicle companies presents a challenge to a degree, compared with some other countries. The LCV market is also young, uncertain and, to a large extent, regulation-

driven. Furthermore the number of technical options means that companies without an obvious niche may be better off waiting until some options are more fully evaluated before they place their bets,” he adds.

LCVs take the stage

Despite the obstacles, the LCV movement is gaining traction. At the Low Carbon Vehicle Show 2009 at Milbrook in September, hosted by the Centre of Excellence Activities, over 150 exhibitors and 80 demonstrator vehicles displayed their low carbon vehicles, components, research, infrastructure plans and more. Exhibitors ranged from university engineering departments presenting solar powered cars, to small innovative design and manufacturing companies, to the multinational big boys like Nissan, Mitsubishi and BMW, here showing the MINI-E. Smaller firms included Flybrid – makers of a versatile flywheel-based KERS system — MIRA, vehicle engineering specialists working with Jaguar Land Rover and Caparo on the Limo Green low emission XJ variant (see below), and Zytec Automotive, manufacturers of a range of electric powertrains for EV and hybrid vehicles. Several exhibitors were showing technologies that reduce weight to lower emissions, rather than focusing on a low carbon drivetrain. The following companies are British manufacturers making or developing LCV products in the UK, except for Nissan, which intends to build a new factory for the manufacture of lithium ion car batteries in Sunderland.

Axon Automotive Less is more where CO2 is concerned, according to manufacturer Axon Automotive, which has developed a car with help from the Government’s Foresight Vehicle Programme and projects at Cranfield University.

The small car maker has created a low emission vehicle that achieves its environmental benefit mainly from its super light construction, using globally patented carbon fibre chassis technology and an efficient 500cc petrol engine which provides 100mpg fuel economy and low CO2 emissions. The composition of the frame and simplicity of the vehicle’s glider (shell) gives it extreme lightness, which reduces fuel consumption, while it is still strong enough to meet the necessary Department for Transport safety standards. The car contains no heavy batteries, it experiences less energy loss on braking or accelerating and achieves 20% less CO2 emissions than comparably-sized internal combustion (IC) cars — it was specifically tested against the VW Blue Motion Polo — and 30% less than the Toyota Prius. Axon’s aim is quite simple: to manufacture the most fuel-efficient cars in Europe. Company founder Dr Steve Cousins says: “We’ve heard about the affordability of CO2 reduction

technologies — you have an option of where you put your money. If you spend less than a certain sum, you can put it into light weighting like we do, and very good performance from a small but very efficient British engine. The combination of these two give you groundbreaking CO2 reductions, showing you don’t have to be electric to be a low carbon.” Axon is receiving support from the Technology Strategy Board and launched its prototype city car at the Eden Green Car show, Cornwall in 2008. The first vehicle is expected be on the market in 2011.


Stevens Vehicles

Not exhibiting at the LCV Show, Stevens Vehicles is a company that manufactures in the UK and, like Axon, its vehicles are based on a design for low environmental impact that is economically accessible to produce.

The brainchild of automotive industry expert Professor Tony Stevens and son Peter Stevens takes a holistic approach to vehicle design, not only reducing the environmental impact of the automobile during use, through an efficient drivetrain and minimal vehicle mass, but also in its manufacture — 50% reduction in manufacturing pollution compared to a major (international) manufacturer, says Prof Stevens. Apart from its low environmental impact, the most important aspect of Stevens Vehicles business model is the application of a manufacturing philosophy resulting in a design that allows the vehicle to be produced locally from local materials with minimal manufacturing set-up cost. “Clearly within the motor industry the giants are in trouble

because they have to invest too much,” says Stevens Senior. “Even the best in Europe can only bring a new model in for about £500m. We can have a small city in China making our vehicles for its own population and never need an enormous introductory capital expenditure.”

Jaguar Land Rover Jaguar Land Rover, alongside Caparo, Lotus Engineering and MIRA, was displaying the Limo Green hybrid, an electric Jaguar XJ variant with onboard petrol generator (Lotus) and plug-in capability for a 30 mile range.


The car is a concept model developed with Technology Strategy Board funding from its first LCV competition, which JLR is considering rolling out as a production model (to be decided in 2010) if and when more expensive parts of its technology come down. If this happens it would take two to three years before seeing the car on the road. “The TSB part-funded this and brought the partners together, without whom it wouldn’t have got off ground,” says Martin Watkinson of MIRA, the engineering firm which co-produced the electric motor. “We all knew each other but it was a bit leftfield for Jaguar mainstream so the route to funding through TSB and the match-making service it provided between the three companies was key.” Watkinson estimates that, were a production model built, 80%-90% of the car would be made in the UK.

The car uses a 145kw, 295lb ft electric motor to power it for up to 30 miles. Once the electric charge runs out, a 1.2 litre petrol unit provides back up power and recharges the battery to allow a combined range of 600 miles. Combined fuel economy is 57mpg, while CO2 emissions are sub 120g/km and its top speed is 112mph.

Leadstory Liberty Electric Cars A low emission car option should not be exclusive to drivers of small cars and sports cars, a point emphatically made by Barry Shrier, the American co-founder of Liberty Electric Cars.

Liberty’s business model is the conversion of a limited range of premium branded cars from piston engine to high performance, zero emission electric, similar to the Mercedes/ AMG partnership, where AMG convert factory Mercedes cars for higher performance. “As a business we are leveraging the global brand equity of famous cars to an electric platform,” says Shrier. The company currently fits electric engines to Range Rover models only, but intends to expand the concept to more models. Liberty chose this model because it is “commercially sensible”, as the cost of launching a new car brand in any country is Eu50-Eu100m, says Shrier. Engines are not retrofitted — customers specify a Liberty from Land Rover dealer showrooms and bare gliders are fitted out with the electric modifications at Liberty’s Newcastle manufacturing facility. “Consumers want green cars,” Shrier says. “Why don’t manufacturers make green cars?” He is convinced top-of-the-

market car customers want this choice and are prepared to pay for it. The cars carry a hefty premium over the IC (petrol/diesel) version: if the equivalent spec Range Rover retails for about £70,000, an all-electric one with will set you back about £90,000 at the moment. Manufacturing opportunities: Shrier is bullish about Liberty’s future. Based on today’s order book and forecasts, “we will create a minimum of 500 new jobs in the next five years for the vehicle programme alone,” he says, implying this figure could be higher if one includes support and marketing jobs.


Nissan hit the low carbon vehicle headlines in July when it announced its intention to extend its factory in Wearside near Sunderland to make batteries for electric cars. The batteries are destined for the Renault Nissan Alliance and Nissan’s new LEAF electric car, which will be in production in Japan by late-2010. It is almost certain Nissan will build a production facility for the LEAF in Europe, and industry watchers

have commented the battery plant puts Sunderland as a front runner location for this facility. While it had no demo vehicle at the LCV2009 Show, Nissan’s circular stand on the outside Steering Pad area was a monument to detailed research into LCVs and the driving behaviour of consumers – its research says that 10% of all vehicles on public roads will be electric by 2020. “Our research shows that driving distance is the main trigger for an electric vehicle,” says Redmer van de Meer, European marketing manager at Nissan. “In order not to rely on a supplier that can’t deliver long range batteries, we’ve made this joint venture with NEC Tokin, two companies which have years of experience in battery technology.” Ninety two per cent of people, according to Nissan’s research, on standard week day trips do not go further than 100 miles, making some electric cars viable for normal

consumer or they will fail. “At the moment they’re comparing this (LEAF) car to any other normal, C segment vehicle in the market. They don’t want to have the steering wheel in the middle and two seats on the left and the right. You can go crazy with new designs, but people need comparable configuration and performance to what they’re used to.”

usage patterns. van de Meer stresses that LCV cars cannot compromise the


Commercial vehicles Modec

Coventry-based Modec imports its battery cells from China but manufactures nearly the entire remainder of the vehicle in the UK.

miles on one charge. National sales manager Paul O’Dowd is pleased with the vehicles unique selling points. “Our research shows clients picked out the unique entry system, [which also accesses the vehicle box], the unique cab design for good all round visibility and the ability to put different types of proposition on the rear of our chassis, as being very attractive features.” Modec vans are accessed through a sliding door into a rear-cab anteroom, which can benefit when working in very narrow streets and the lack of other access points improves the vehicle’s structural strength.

The vehicle is mainly designed for the distribution sector or the “back-to-base” operational vehicle sector for inner city use and can travel up to 100

The company is enjoying success having won contracts with UPS and Fedex for inner city operations. O’Dowd says Modec vehicles


Saint, commercial director at Optare. “Our vehicles can be a tonne or more lighter than a comparable vehicle based on a third party chassis. Optare’s aim is to keep the vehicle low in weight but heavy duty, delivering high performance and class-leading fuel efficiency.”

The drivetrain is fully zero emission. Before then, Optare — whose core market is midibuses of 20-35 seats suited best for high frequency and rural applications — introduced a hybrid electric bus in 2008, but low weight has been a feature of its products for the last decade. “Our philosophy has always been to build vehicles that are fully integral in design. By virtue of that we have been able to design out a lot of excess weight,” says Glenn

While the vehicles are more expensive than comparable diesel-powered buses (a standard diesel Optare Solo is about £100,000, while the full electric Solo is about £180,000), fuel costs are considered to be half those of a similar size diesel bus and the relative simplicity of the propulsion system is said to generate much lower maintenance costs. The robustness of the main components, allied to Solo’s durable integral construction,

Smith Electric Vehicles


are ideal for such companies because “the mileage they cover on a day-to-day basis is relatively low and with the types of driving undertaken, they enjoy the additional benefit of regenerative braking due to the constant stop-start nature of the work.” The company is also developing a new, tipper body rear configuration which is suitable for local authorities’ waste disposal services. Modec is part of the Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demo Programme (see p31) and has entered into a joint venture with US company Navistar who have recently been awarded a grant of $39.2m from the US federal government electric vehicle initiative and plan to convert Modec vehicles to US road regulations.

In April bus manufacturer Optare launched Optare Solo EV, the UK’s first practical, full size (33 seat plus standees), battery powered bus.

Like Liberty, Smith Electric Vehicles hails from North East England, the location for Britain’s Low Carbon Economic Area dedicated to ultra-LCVs.

Smith Vehicles is a well-known name in the LCV market, having started operations in 1920, then making EVs for applications like milk floats and airport buggies through the 1960s and 1990s. It is now the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial EVs. It has three signature models, the 7.5t Newton truck (launched 2006) now selling in the US, the Edison, the world’s first sub-3.5t zero emission van and minibus, and the Ampere, a 2.3t light van. All use either variants of standard Ford Transit or Avia truck chasses, so many spare parts are generic and therefore low cost. While the ONE North East, the regional development agency, is working on an electric vehicle charging system, Smith’s sales director Kevin Harkin supports this but says it is of no consequence to commercial

is expected to result in a longer lifespan for the Solo EV than a diesel. Savings in annual running costs alone are estimated to be in excess of £8,000 a year compared to a dieselpowered equivalent. “By introducing these new Eco Drive strategies we can offer operators a choice of technologies to suit their circumstances and deliver even better fuel returns and cleaner emissions,” says Saint. vehicles. “Ourselves and the likes of Modec operate on a single charge model. This vehicle has a 40KW battery pack, and will do up to 100 miles on one charge. In the general urban operating cycle, it’s difficult to travel more than 50 miles in a city in one shift, so there’s more than enough mileage capacity for that vehicle. Our other model will be able to extend that by 25%.” The company will open a US manufacturing facility in Kansas by December. Smith Electric Vehicles US Corp qualifies for $10m in grant funding as part of a slew of EV funding from the US Dept of Energy in August. “The UK market is fairly slow, so we are targeting countries embracing electric vehicles, like the US, the Netherlands and Hong Kong” says Smith’s Dan Jenkins.

Leadstory Supporting low carbon vehicle manufacture The UK vehicle manufacturing sector has become increasingly aware of the economic opportunities that an emerging low carbon vehicles market offers, and one organisation that is engaging with business to help support innovation in vehicle technology is the Government–backed Technology Strategy Board.


Neville Jackson, Group Technical Director, Ricardo UK Ltd said: “Over the past few years, access to funding for innovation has changed dramatically. Since the establishment of the Technology Strategy Board in 2007 there has been a marked improvement in industry engagement and access to government funding.” The Technology Strategy Board is a player in a collective effort to make low carbon vehicles technology a widespread reality. This shared goal is being pursued by business, government departments and UK bodies responsible for promoting innovative technologies that reduce carbon emissions. The organisation, sponsored by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), is a national body established in 2007 to invest in business innovation. Chief Executive Iain Gray said: “We work with business to encourage innovation despite the risks that this might pose. By providing investment in areas of innovation where real business opportunities lie, we not only encourage individual businesses to thrive but also contribute to the UK’s overall economic prosperity.“ Since 2007 the Technology Strategy Board has invested in £58m in 32 low carbon vehicles research and development projects, with a total value of over £120m. Many of the Technology Strategy Board’s partner organisations have played an integral part in this investment programme, with significant amounts of co-funding from the Department for Transport (DfT), One North East, Advantage West Midlands (AWM), the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). In the two years since it was established, the Technology Strategy Board has placed itself at the heart of a national structure designed to support innovation in the vehicle industry. The Low Carbon Innovation Platform was established in 2007 bringing the industry, government, and major players together in a focused way and creating a key support for the sector. The aim has been to promote Low Carbon Vehicle research, development, and demonstration in the UK, so that the sector is best placed to benefit from the growing demand for low carbon vehicles. In the same year, the Technology Strategy Board ran a £23m competition (del. call) co-funded by the Department

for Transport (DfT) for Low Carbon Vehicles with a five to seven-year route to market. This generated £52m of innovative development work on a number of exciting projects, involving over 50 businesses and academic partners. In 2008 the Integrated Delivery Programme (IDP), a five-year plan to integrate the whole innovation chain in the area of low carbon vehicles, was established. This programme is designed to pull new ideas from basic science, through research and development, and into demonstration. The organisation is expecting a total of £250m to be invested in this programme over the next five years and it is co-funded by the Department for Transport (DfT), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Advantage West Midlands and One North East. This year the Technology Strategy Board has run three competitions for R&D funding under the Integrated Delivery Programme banner, focusing on the development of electrical systems for low carbon vehicles, Proof of Concept and Collaborative Research &Development in areas informed by the New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (NAIGT) report, and a third £3m Strategic Research Competition run and funded by EPSRC. 2009 also saw the launch of the Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme, a project that involves vehicles being tested in the real world. In all, 340 vehicles have been funded to the tune of £25m, with demonstrator projects taking place over the next eighteen months in seven regional areas across the UK. Iain Gray said: “We were delighted to be able to support strong projects involving Mitsubishi; Nissan; BMW Group; Jaguar Land Rover; Allied Vehicles and Lightning Electric Vehicles, among others. It was important that the projects should provide charging points. Partners therefore included both energy providers and charging point manufacturers and approximately 500 charging points will be installed .This is the largest coordinated trial of its type, and will provide real-world data to help the industry move towards mass-market usage. Announced recently, the Energy Technologies Institute’s joined-cities project will build further on this work.” end

For more information about the Technology Strategy Board and its work on Low Carbon Vehicles please visit:


IP management

goes on the offensive Patent agencies, a barometer of IP management, are not seeing a fall in business and companies appear to be spending more on managing intellectual property, despite the downturn. Ian Rhodes, John Duncan and Simon Flower of PA Consulting Group discuss the three key emerging trends in IP management.


management is driven by business activity and business need. While it is not absolutely synonymous with patent activity, patent volume is a good indicator of levels of PI activity. One might expect patent volumes — filings and approvals or litigations — to be down as a result of the economic downturn and a drop in business activity, but evidence from patent agencies suggests companies seem to be spending more on IP management. In fact The Times (July 22) stated that the World Intellectual Property Organisation received a record number of IP applications last year, and that a survey indicated that 80% of businesses were predicting that their licensing activity was expected to increase or remain steady during recessionary trading. But the messages are mixed. While the total number of patents continued to increase in 2008, the rate of increase, as noted in April 2009 by Europolitics Information portal, was slowing markedly, especially when compared with the final months of 2007. The European Patent Office was even predicting that the year-to-year increase (+3.6%) in patent applications might slow to a complete halt as companies’ revised spending plans finally hitting patent applications. The drivers and demographics of IP management and patent activity appear to be changing. While the patent filings from the world’s largest companies appears to have declined sharply, they are increasing their efforts to sue those who infringe their intellectual property rights as the downturn continues, according to new research


(The Independent, June 8). At the same time, the nature of the patents that they submit is changing as they seek to compete through new business models. Meanwhile, the overall growth in patents and IP management is coming from small firms and individuals. We see three important trends that are driving IP management activity: Convergence towards product-service as a business imperative. Collaboration between organisations operating across broader geographical locations and value chains. Competition intensifying and driving new approaches to firstto-market product launches.

Product-service as a business imperative

More and more manufacturers seek to differentiate their products by selling integrated services. This strategy increases a company’s differentiation and value proposition, and can even entail a change to the organisation’s business model. Examples of “product-service systems” (PPS) vary from sector to sector but include the Apple iPod, in

Design and innovation

itself a good piece of product IP. In combination with the service of downloading music through iTunes it has become an immensely powerful business innovation. The same type of product-service system approach is now emerging in some medical applications where the healthcare payer wants to pay a single provider of an overall solution rather than to have to deal separately with several providers. PPS has obvious implications in terms of IP management. Patents need to cover a combination of product and process IP to clarify the overall commercial value proposition and protect both the technology within products and the commercial delivery of connected services.

Collaboration between organisations operating across geographical locations and value chains

The downturn heightens the need for collaboration due to a greater focus on containing expenditure. This applies during both the creation and exploitation of IP: To contain expenditure on new product development, companies outplace more development activities to networks of partners or suppliers and gain access to new technologies and additional expertise without taking the full risk (and ongoing cost) associated with their ownership. Advanced IT platforms are available to support such collaboration — e.g. product lifecycle management allows IP to be segmented with access to it appropriately managed and controlled. To expand business into new territories companies collaborate with others using their IP to structure licenses or Joint Ventures to gain new channels to market. Such expansion can be achieved without the levels of capital investment needed to set up subsidiaries or to make acquisitions. In the absence of an agreement, innovations stemming from collaboration will usually be jointly owned. This means that the scope and coverage of relevant patent protection needs to be comprehensive and carefully considered. In doing so, companies need to frame their IP in terms of not only its technology aspects but also any commercial features, for example services, that may be promoted by partners and distributors in different markets. A collaborative approach triggers the need for more and better IP management. In fact IP management is playing a new and more powerful role in the business now that it is being used offensively and to structure today’s relationships – it is not just a defensive, barrier-to-entry as it has been in the past.

Competition driving new approaches to first-to-market product launches

Over recent years the world has seen a huge movement of manufacturing capability to Asia, most especially China, which itself has a poor track record in recognising intellectual property. Manufacturing in the West has had to adapt to survive. As a consequence smaller, high value manufacturing (HVM) companies have emerged.

These firms seek to protect their IP through retention of strategic capabilities in the West and drive first-tomarket products that attract a premium price delivered through local distribution networks. Strix is a good example of a company that is protecting its IP by keeping its core manufacturing capability out of China. Known as an Embedded Product Enhancer, Strix produces about two thirds of the worlds control switches for electric kettles. While Strix assembles the switches in China with a number of non-critical parts, the key components made from secret materials are stamped out in a factory on the Isle of Man. Strix’s example helps to explain why the upturn in patents is coming from smaller and medium sized companies — despite being a world leader, their sales last year were approximately £85m. Smaller HVM companies in the West therefore deliver their first-to-market products through local networks at a premium price. By the time Eastern competitors catch up, the product can be shipped to Asia for manufacturing itself, thereby lowering its production cost to remain competitive, while the network is in a position to launch its next new market-making product.

Summary – Open innovation

The three mutually reinforcing trends are driving the realisation that IP management is a necessary and important competitive differentiator, and IP is playing a more central and important role in many (admittedly not all) businesses. IP is no longer just a barrier-toentry devise once others have realised the basis for your success. Fifteen years ago a professor at London Business School told PA Consulting that having the best people and some relevant IP would be the route to sustainable success for many companies in the future, and that every other source of competitive advantage can be rapidly commoditised in an increasingly competitive, fast-moving world. If there is a unifying theme here perhaps it is that of open innovation. Open innovation assumes firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas (collaboration), and different paths to market (product launches), as they look to advance their value proposition (product-service system). There is a link here as well to the changing patent demographics with increased patent traffic from small firms as noted above. As the UK IPO Insight magazine (November 2008) puts it in describing the new world of “open relationships”: The tight controls in the old imperial model of research and development are being loosened. The need now is to find clever ideas wherever they may be located. For entrepreneurs and innovators, this opens new routes to market for their specialist knowledge. For companies, it means learning to accept the blurring of organisational boundaries and working on a more collaborative basis. The result should be a whole series of mechanisms for developing valueadded solutions. end

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Autodesk® Inventor® software creates a single digital model that enables you to design, visualise and simulate your products. Inventor helps you to reduce product costs and get innovative designs to market faster. Learn how Inventor can take your designs beyond 3D at


Model was designed using Inventor Image is courtesy of Engineering Center LTD, Russia Autodesk, Autodesk Inventor and Inventor are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates 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 any time without notice and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document. © 2009 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.


Design and innovation

Robot calibrator gets boost from IP management

Jackie Maguire CEO, Coller IP Management

Protecting IP is essential in a recession, as Coller IP Management found out with industrial robot upgrade specialists Absolute Robotics.


is tough for organisations across all sectors in a downturn and for many companies it is a fight for survival. But it is vital to ensure that aspects of the business such as registering and updating intellectual property do not get neglected — after all, when business is hard to come by the last thing you want is someone stealing your branding or ideas and leaving, putting your survival at risk even further. It is also important for companies to remember that if you are planning to move into different areas of business, your IP needs to change with you. Too often organisations file a patent application and think that that is all they need to do. IP resides not merely in a particular invention, but in the entire way you do business. An organisation’s business plan and its IP need to evolve in tandem and it can be all too easy for them to get out of step. The need to protect IP applies to both new companies and well-established ones. An example of an organisation that has recently sought IP protection is Absolute Robotics. Based in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, Absolute Robotics was set up three years ago to develop a concept that upgrades standard industrial robots to make them suitable for advanced manufacturing and aerospace applications. Robots lose accuracy because of the distortion and expansion of their joints due to the effects of temperature and stiffness. Absolute Robotics developed a method that measures those changes in-line, in real-time and with a very high degree of accuracy. The heart of the system is a new measurement device that uses laser beams and imaging sensors in an entirely novel way to locate the position and orientation of two systems of axes relative to one another.

Calibration without interruption

Imagine a laser sensor that measures distance between two items at a fixed relationship to each other; a laser beam (a laser pointer) and a camera. The next step is to separate the camera from the laser and associate each item with a different set of axes. Then disregard the lens of the camera and calibrate the imaging sensor with respect to one set of axes — and finally determine the vector equation of the laser beam with respect to the other set of axes. This is the principle of the new measurement device. This concept can be used to calibrate robots in-line under their actual working conditions, over their entire working envelope (cycle) and without interference with the robot’s tools or its productivity cycle. It is also a more general solution because it is not robot- or applicationspecific. Any robot can be calibrated in absolute space without modification and robots can be networked together in absolute space too. This concept allows inline manufacturing to be integrated with in-line quality assurance to achieve zero scrap condition. Absolute Robotics sensibly decided to ensure that the intellectual property of such a new concept would be fully protected from the beginning — a step which some organisations miss out and often regret later. The company worked with Coller IP Management (CIPM), an IP consultancy that helps organisations understand the value of their intellectual property and how to protect and manage it effectively. CIPM prepared and applied for the required patent applications on behalf of Absolute Robotics and helped them to evaluate the search reports on the inventions to enable the distinctive and innovative features to be identified. Andreas Demopolous, MD of Absolute Robotics says, “The process of preparing the patent applications was quite painless. The concepts are now open to interested parties and investors for commercial exploitation via exclusive partnerships and licensing agreements.” Absolute Robotics is currently presenting the concept to interested parties and some are evaluating it. The next step for the company is to form a partnership with appropriate relevant businesses and create a working prototype. Absolute Robotics thinks that this is most likely to be an in-line measurement application and sees its main future role as the technical integrator of the various technologies involved. end

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Staying Lean

The challenges of keeping a workforce committed In the first of a two part series, Professor Peter Hines, chairman of the Lean Enterprise Research Centre at Cardiff University and consultancy S A Partners, explores how multi-site organisations can develop a durable lean approach.


the last 20 years of our lean journey the type of questions we are asked has evolved from “where do I start?” and “who should I involve?” to more pragmatic questions like: How long is it before the benefits start fading away? Why do people seem to have lost their enthusiasm for Lean here? How do you ensure continued buy-in from the workforce?

The challenges in staying lean are often rooted in a preoccupation with lean tools and a need to have a fast-track ‘hero story’ that can be produced by taking a kaizen blitz approach, rather than careful


and systematic culture change, which is slower in producing noticeable results but far more durable. Thinking of lean application in terms of an iceberg analogy to describe that it’s not what you see but it’s generally what you don’t see that’s most important, and during recent pilgrimages to Japan we learnt a lot about uncovering these unseen factors. We went to a series of manufacturing firms and what we saw on the shop floor was marvellous — we saw 5S, kanban, TPM, flow — all the typical lean tools and techniques that you read about in the many textbooks. But in addition to these tools and techniques and processbased management, we discovered that below this ‘tip of the iceberg’ there were three key people-related areas under the water that need to be acknowledged:

1 2

Strategy and alignment: A coherent strategy, vision and purpose that is fully communicated and deployed throughout the organisation.

Leadership: Characterised by guiding vision, passion and integrity. A leader must have high energy levels, be innovative, focus on people, inspire trust, have a long range perspective and challenge the status quo.


Behaviour and engagement: The engagement of people on a lean journey is essential. It will predict their behaviour and your ultimate success.

The lean journey of Cogent Power, the manufacturer of electrical steels headquartered in Newport, Gwent, is a fine example of an enterprise which has sustainably implemented lean through acknowledging the importance of the above factors. Cogent Power began implementing lean in late 2003 to improve its competitiveness in the marketplace and help turn around its financial performance. Today the company has a transformed approach, with a renewed customer focus that has led to exponential sales growth and a culture of continuous improvement.

Worldclass manufacturing

When the lean project began, the culture and philosophy of the company was based on a traditional mindset driven by a culture of machine and labour efficiency. The main operational key performance indicator (KPI) was tonnes of output produced and as a result there were high levels of inventory but poor levels of delivery performance. In the first part of this article we take a look at how Cogent Power tackled the first two ‘underwater issues’ in the Sustainable Lean Iceberg framework, Strategy and alignment and Leadership.

Strategy and alignment

A successful strategy should begin with: A realistic assessment of the current situation A coherent vision of the future An understanding of the transition required to bridge from the present to the future Alignment then makes sure that everybody understands the strategy, and that everything they do contributes to the success of achieving the organisational goals. This can be checked by looking how KPIs monitor and measure progress. A link between the KPIs, the strategy and the lean improvement projects is vital to sustainable success if there is no link there will be waste and if the link is not worked on and understood with employees then there will be lack of clarity. Cogent Power uses ‘business cockpits’ to deploy and sustain the management process. The business cockpits are visual management systems used to display, everything that is important to running the business in all areas and at all levels. They show issues, improvement project plans, performance measures and key financial reports. They drive the day-to-day business. The cockpits measure performance indicators such as OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), OTIF (on-time in-full), direct costs etc with particular relevance to each department. Here they have all the information that the team leaders need to manage their sections and set targets, and the information that process or functional managers need to manage their departments and the senior managers need to manage the business. Each has a clear link to the others. The cockpits are reviewed and updated regularly.


Poor leadership can be identified as a top differentiating factor between success and failure in sustaining lean change. A common stumbling block for leadership is that it suffers from confusion with management.

Many people talk about managing transformations rather than leading change. Leaders, should foster change whereas managers stabilise the organisation and assure that the changes are well implemented. Leadership is not confined to the top level of an organisation; leaders can emerge at all levels and part of the role of managers is to recognise and develop potential leaders so that they can contribute to the business goals. Cogent’s lean strategy included the reorganisation of the management team into a formidable force; highly respected, hugely influential and based on the belief that it is the responsibility of all managers within the organisation to spend time with front-line workers; going to the place where the action is happening. This ‘Gemba’ management is a critical element of lean leadership, and crucial to sustaining lean.

in staying lean are often “Challenges rooted in preoccupation with lean tools and a need to have a fast-track ‘hero story’, which can be produced by taking a kaizen blitz approach, rather than careful and systematic culture change

In order to meet the challenges posed by substantial pre-tax losses from global operations, a static order book with emphasis on lower margin products etc, a new managing director was appointed in 2003 to lead the business turnaround. He implemented a new organisational structure, based around a head office in the UK and three operating divisions: Electrical Steels, laminations and transformers.

Leadership is important at every stage of lean transformation, but particularly at the start and during the ‘it isn’t worth it’ phase when management typically becomes extremely unhappy as the benefits often appear smaller than the pain of gaining them, usually somewhere between 18 and 24 months after starting a transformation. It was during this period that Cogent Power recognised that the middle managers were struggling due to a top-down and bottom-up approach that neglected the middle managers, who were being asked to manage the lean transition but did not have the same level of skills as the people they were managing. To reengage the middle managers a lean management training programme was developed called ‘Living the Lean Lifestyle’. This programme focused on giving managers new skills that emphasised the change in roles and responsibilities expected of the entire leadership community as it went forward. The programme challenged individuals to continuously push themselves and their teams out of the ‘comfort zone’ and into the ‘stretch zone’ with an emphasis on the importance of values and behaviours needed to lead the organisation into the next phase of maturity. This provided fresh impetus at just the right moment for the programme. end For the rest of this article and Professor Hines’ conclusions visit The Manufacturer website: 1 This article is an abridged summary of the book Staying Lean: Thriving, Not Just Surviving by Peter Hines, Pauline Found, Gary Griffiths and Richard Harrison at the Lean Enterprise Research Centre, Cardiff University, 2008

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Commodities on the up

Commodity prices are on a roll and 2010 looks to see the return of real demand growth, notes Nick Moore Head of Commodity Strategy, RBS Global Banking & Markets.


a year 2009 has turned out to be for commodities! The oil price has doubled from its lows to trade back around the US$70/bbl marker while the price of copper used in electrical wiring and construction has risen a majestic 120% since end 2008 to US$6,400/tonne. But it hasn’t stopped there. Lead used in vehicle batteries has risen over 130%, nickel used in stainless steel by 60% and aluminium used in packaging and transport by 25%. Even gold is trading close to record highs in excess of US$1,000/oz with silver, platinum and palladium at levels not seen in over 12 months The performance of key broad based commodity indices since end 2008 reflects this renewed excitement with the GSCI Index up 6%; the DJ/UBS up 9% and the RJ/CRB index up 14%. The metal specific LMEX which tracks the industrial metals quoted on the London Metal Exchange has risen a handsome 72%. The chart below shows the percentage rise in a range of commodity prices since their price cycle lows, many of which occurred in Q4’08.

Percentage rises in spot commodity prices since their cycle lows

It may surprise many of our readers that commodity prices could have been doing so well in the teeth of the worst global recession since the 1930s. The point to consider is that there has been a dislocation between actual economic growth and the expectations of where the business cycle is going in the months ahead. Actuality follows expectation. The financial community has been engaged in a battle royale over the shape of the recovery from the recession. The debate has moved on from whether there will be an economic Depression (there will not) to an acknowledgement that the recovery is underway. Governments around the world are lining up to declare the end to their recessions. These include the US, Germany, France, Sweden, Japan and of course the UK. But note that one key country never actually went into recession, China. China, the workshop of the world, is already booming and back on course to register yoy GDP growth of 8% in 2009 and 2010. The debate is now the alphabet soup of what shape and form the recovery will take. Will it be V; W; L; U square root shaped – the important thing to note is that we do have recovery. Since end 2008 commodities have been on a roll and 9 months into the year are enjoying what can only be described as their very own “V” shaped recovery. The RBS Base Metal Price Index rose in August by over 17% mom, one of the strongest month-on-month gains in over 40 years. What has been a strong theme has been the weakness of the trade weighted US dollar index which at around 76 ends September at a fresh 12 month low. Commodities are priced in US dollars so as a general rule the weaker the dollar the stronger the price of commodities. Manufacturers in strong currency regions such as Europe and Japan will see immediate benefit. The chart below show the wonderful inverse relationship between the RBS Base Metals Price Index against the trade-weighted US dollar.

Source: LME and RBS


Specialfeature Royal Bank of Scotland

The RBS Base Metal Price Index and the trade weighted US dollar index. Weaker dollar good news for metals

Total LME warehouse metal inventories at record levels but to start declining in 2010.

Source: London Metal Exchange and RBS

Source: LME, Bloomberg and RBS The IMF recently upgraded its world GDP forecast to 2.9% and at RBS we forecast a snap back from -0.8% in 2009 to plus 3.6% in 2010. Already a host of financial and consumer sentiment indicators as well as manufacturing surveys are pointing the way to recovery. Certainly the world’s key economies have achieved stabilisation, now to climb the sunny uplands. Headwinds certainly remain these include higher taxes to pay for the financial mess and bail outs. The spectre of the burden of long term unemployed, massive cuts in public capital spending by governments around the world to help balance the books and a realisation that the on-going trend rate of growth will be markedly lower than that to which we have become accustomed. Finally, the weakness of sterling is both a threat and an opportunity and manufacturers will be anxiously eyeing the strong euro. We think that even better prices are on their way and that will require commodity consumers to not tarry in getting hedging strategies and purchasing in place. The big theme for the next few months is likely to be positioning ahead of 2010 when real growth in manufacturing demand is expected to return. This will for many consumers require a restocking episode to rebuild depleted inventory. Purchasing on a hand-to-mouth basis is fine when demand has fallen off a cliff, but perhaps not so smart when the rebound occurs. The shared experience of many manufacturers all boosting their working inventory needs will likely result in a surprisingly robust yoy increase in commodity consumption. One of the key factors to watch will be the path of inventories held in LME registered warehouses. These have risen to all time record highs, bloated by aluminium which accounts for 80% of the total volume. Inventories of aluminium are at record levels, those of nickel at over 14 year highs whilst copper inventories having been heavily eroded have crept up to 3 month highs. We expect 2010 to show a marked reduction in the inventory burden as demand recovers and consumers embark upon re-stocking. This should be supportive for commodity prices.

There have been 4 key features in 2009 which have supported the rise in commodity prices. These bridges across the recession have been; 1. Monetary and fiscal stimulus 2. Hefty supply cutbacks by producers 3. Massive Chinese stockpiling of commodities and 4. Cash-for-clunkers schemes boosting automobile sales. Overlay the weaker US dollar and increased appetite for risk and no wonder we have had such a good year for commodities. So what about the future? Commodity prices can no longer be viewed as bargain basement or dripping roast. Most metals in 2008 lost 30-60% of their value but have since recaptured over half their price losses. As such the value and accumulation trade is now completed. Well done to manufacturers who managed to buy forward earlier this year. Admittedly, entry into the commodity space in Q4 08 was only for the brave hearted and all about the bottom of the cycle trade. Not a crowded trade, but one where given the oversold nature of commodities, investors were attracted by value and the opportunity to accumulate exposure. Commodity markets are now entering the twilight zone where the baton has to be handed over to genuine demand pull as the business cycle recovers and it becomes more and more about momentum and value stretch. This becomes a more crowded trade. Near term October 12th sees the annual London Metal Exchange Week affectionately known as the mating season. Thousands of commodity producers and consumers will be converging upon London to discuss the outlook for their products and purchasing needs, many of them with our traders and sales people at RBS Sempra Commodities. LME week also provides a great opportunity for crystal ball gazing into 2010. The RBS view is that world GDP growth in 2010 will exceed 3.5% yoy with upside risks to that forecast. We think that the end effect of billions of rescue dollars poured into the financial system will be rising inflation (that’s what gold is telling you) and will become an issue for the world’s central banks. Interest rates will likely be initially slow to rise as central banks will be keen not to act prematurely and trample those fabled green shoots. Thereafter, rates could rise surprisingly aggressively with interest rates in the US perhaps ending 2010 at 3% and 1.50% for the UK. Share markets around the world are blossoming, the FTSE 100 is above 5,150 and the S&P 500 above 1,050. Appetite for risk has returned and with one eye upon set backs to growth we would urge manufactures to view China as the canary in the mine. China is leading the rest of the world out of recession and manufacturers should be locking in raw material prices right now and certainly on any significant (~15-20%) pullback in commodity prices. So all in all a much more rosy outlook, but not without its thorns. end

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Matthew Byrom Siemens Standard Drives Matthew Byrom joined Siemens Standard Drives as a quick fix to earn some cash. Five years later, having taken the ranking ladder two rungs at a time, he is now responsible for making sure the business is as efficient as it needs to be – and a little bit more on top, writes Mark Young.


Byrom is Business Excellence Champion for Siemens Standard Drives in Congleton, Cheshire. The business is a UK subsidiary of the European engineering conglomerate and makes drives and motion controls for a broad range of applications including cars, lifts and factory machinery. Matthew’s job is to implement continuous improvement techniques like EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management), Siemens Production System and value stream mapping. But a large part of his job is merely promoting a lean culture. Says Matthew: “It’s my job to get people on board and make them understand that if we don’t continuously improve this business it will no longer be Siemens in the UK, it will be Siemens in China.”

But Byrom never envisioned himself as a key cog in a faction of one of the world’s largest engineering companies to begin with. He joined Siemens Congleton putting together cardboard boxes with the aim of grafting only enough to save money for a trip to Ibiza with his pals. CV in brief – Matthew Byrom But once on the inside his perspective quickly Education to date: changed and he says he 2001-2004: BSc (Hons) Geography, was “over-awed” by the University of Central Lancashire scale and intricacy of the 2006-2008: MSc Manufacturing manufacturing operation. Leadership, Lancaster Business School in partnership with The He has since propelled Manufacturing Institute. himself up the ladder in Dissertation: An investigation into a manner which suggests the impact of a changing product he dines on rocket fuel – portfolioon manufacturing strategy at earning five promotions, Siemens Congleton completing a graduate Employment: training programme, May 2004 – February 2005: Temporary and achieving a Masters Production Operator (Summer Placement) degree, all in the five February 2005 – March 2005: Shift years since those humble Leader – MM4 Final Assembly beginnings. And he says he’s not stopping until he March 2005 – October 2005: Shift Leader – Low volume products and reaches the very top. New Product Introduction Matthew began his assault October 2005 – October 2007: on the ranks at Congleton Siemens Graduate Development Program – Operations Graduate nine months after beginning his temporary October 2007 – 04/2008: Project/ job by landing a role as Benchmarking Co-ordinator shift leader, overseeing April 2008 – to date: Business a team of 15 and Excellence Champion implementing continuous


improvement initiatives in the final assembly process. He then quickly moved on to a similar position in the low volume products and new product introduction part of the business. Seven months later he joined the Siemens Graduate Development Program as an Operations Graduate and completed a Masters Degree alongside it in Manufacturing Leadership. The latter course was orchestrated by the Manufacturing Institute and run through Lancaster Business School. Part of the graduate programme saw Matt complete placements at all Siemens’ UK sites to learn how each part of the business works. He also completed a series of month long placements in different departments at Congleton including Operations, Quality, Design, Purchasing and Finance. Of the MSc, Matthew says: “The Masters was much less formal than my first degree and there was a good mix of academic and industry tutors who really brought the subject matter to life. The dissertation phase was also very helpful. It provided an opportunity to work cross functionally on an area of interest to me – leadership – something I would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise.” Upon finishing the course two years later Matthew spent six months as a Project/Benchmarking Coordinator before the Business Excellence team was created and he began the role he occupies today. Matthew’s proudest achievement in his professional career is his success as part of a winning two-man EFQM Submission Team in 2007. During a six month period he and his colleague created a 170 page submission document. Matthew was responsible for the Leadership, People, People Results and Society Results section. The submission document resulted in a week-long site visit assessment for Siemens Congleton during which Matthew was the key contact for the assessment team, arranging interviews and ensuring all the resources required were in place. Siemens Congleton went on to be finalists and prize winners in the People and People Involvement category. Though he has come a long (separate) way from where he started on the bottom rung of the ladder, Matthew’s ambition supersedes his successes to date. Short term he wants to move into the process side of the business and focus his efforts on managing production. But that is only part of a grander scheme. Matthew says his aim is to be top dog, running his own UK Siemens site. That eventuality may, by Matthew’s own concession, be a few years off yet but based on his rise through the ranks thus far only a fool would wager against him. end

IT in manufacturing

ITnews... CAD

PTC targets key barriers to productivity with Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0 Released in September, Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0 represents the next release of PTC’s 3D CAD/CAM/CAE software and a key component of the PTC Product Development System. Pro/ENGINEER, the world’s first parametric CAD solution, offers new capabilities and over 330 enhancements aimed at improving productivity, enriching the user experience, and providing the freedom to design without barriers. Features include:

Design changes made faster and with greater ease

Real time, dynamic editing, and disruption-free design enable users to overcome the traditional barriers to blueprint modification. As a result, Pro/ ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0 allows up to 70% faster changes with enhanced direct surface editing.

Accelerate time to productivity by up to 10X

User experience enhancements such as graphical browsing, intuitive UI enhancements, streamlined tasks, and faster performance improve design efficiency and reduce time to market – from concept through production. Users can create simplified sub-assemblies, place forms, and create molded parts up to 80% faster; analyse weldments up to 10X faster; and create facing toolpaths 5X faster.

Similarly, the Pro/ENGINEER Advanced Rendering Extension includes high performance rendering technology from mental images – this new integration provides ease of use through quality material presets and real-world illumination models.

Design in a multiCAD environment

Wildfire 5.0 sets high standards for CAD interoperability. With increased native support for other CAD systems and non-geometric data exchange, designers can address the time-consuming and error-prone challenges of working with CAD data from multiple systems.

Seamless integration of Pro/ ENGINEER applications

Pro/ENGINEER Spark Analysis Extension is the only commercially available product that helps analyse and optimise the electromechanical clearance and creepage properties of designs, PTC claims. Continued technology leadership and enhancements to industry leading modules such as digital rights management, ECAD-MCAD collaboration, and the newly introduced digital human modeling solution will enable users to save significant time and costs associate d with wasteful physical prototyping, production rework, and field failures.

Increased collaboration efficiency with breakthrough social product development capabilities.

Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0, the first CAD solution enabled for social product development, will help users remove the communication barriers preventing them from finding the right people and resources at the right time. The integration between Pro/ENGINEER and Windchill ProductPoint — built on Microsoft SharePoint social computing technologies — will help users find and reuse their design community’s collective knowledge and improve process productivity. “Particularly during challenging economic times, customers demand and expect technology leaders like PTC to provide solutions that will help them to address barriers to productivity that can inhibit them from efficiently creating great products,” said Brian Shepherd, executive vice president, product development at PTC.

Autodesk announces a new AutoCAD Plant 3D 2010 Software Autodesk has announced a new software product that brings the benefits of model-based design to mainstream plant design projects. Purpose-built for the design, modeling, and documentation of process plants, AutoCAD Plant 3D makes modern 3D design more affordable and accessible to project teams of all sizes. Built on the AutoCAD platform, AutoCAD Plant 3D allows teams

to increase productivity and improve accuracy and coordination of shared information. “Since AutoCAD Plant 3D leverages the familiarity of AutoCAD and the popularity of the .dwg file format, project teams can get up and running quickly, more easily share design information, and finish projects faster – with potentially significant savings in time and cost,” says Mark Strassman, vice president, AEC Plant Solutions Group at Autodesk, Inc.


ITnews... ITNIBS New career centre to make finding SAP jobs easier

Menzies Distribution uses IBM to power expansion

SAP has launched a new offering to provide members of the SAP community network a convenient way to find SAP experts and job openings around the world.

IBM and Menzies Distribution has announced the latest addition of IBM servers to the Menzies Distribution IT infrastructure. The company has a market share of approximately 43%, delivering 4.8m newspapers (5.1m on Sundays) and 2.6m magazines daily to approximately 26,000 retail customers nationwide.

The centre will help companies by focusing on positions that are SAP-centric and facilitating targeted recruitment of qualified people quickly and efficiently. It also allows job seekers to find new opportunities and market their SAP skills to prospective employers in the collaborative environment of the SAP community network.

Says Alan Sutherland, technical services manager, Menzies Distribution Ltd: “We have chosen IBM because we believe they are the clear market leaders in this arena and we have confidence that they will join us successfully through this massive change.”

Openda launches QX Mobile Openda has announced the launch and availability of QX Mobile. QX Mobile extends a companies’ order processing, invoicing, stock tracking, and CRM applications into the field to improve accuracy and speed of processing. Using hand held devices such as the Symbol Technologies rugged PDA, QX Mobile allows an order to be entered manually or via scanner, checked, and fulfilled against available vehicle stock, Proof of Delivery capture, and invoice production all in the customer’s premises with full synchronisation back to the head office.

Building Operational Excellence

Suiko What™ Instil practices to give long term sustainable change to deliver significant financial benefits Contact us Bath Brewery, Toll Bridge Road, Bath, BA17DE United Kingdom Tel +44(0)1225 852400 Fax: +44(0)1225 858224 Email


IT in



Infor supplies to ABF AB World Foods, a division of Associated British Foods (ABF) has completed the first phase deployment of Infor Supply Chain Management (SCM). Infor SCM Demand Planning, Infor SCM Inventory Planner and Infor SCM Replenishment Planner will help AB World Foods build a foundation for managing its global supply chain, enabling the food manufacturer to predict and shape customer demand with greater accuracy.

Linkam Scientific Instruments selects Epicor Epicor Software Corporation announced that UK-based Linkam Scientific Instruments has chosen the next-generation Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution from Epicor to replace a variety of its internal systems and processes.

Prior to the implementation of Infor SCM, divisions of AB World Foods such as G Costa used spreadsheets based on retrospective sales performance over the previous two months. This process provided a flat forecast of demand and did not take into consideration the different demand patterns for various types of products. Consequently AB World Foods suffered expensive overstocking of some brands and inadequate supplies of others. Infor ERP Visual was selected because of the software’s ability to support manufacturing environments of complex production processes with a high level of customisation.


Siemens showcase joint PLM and production systems solutions Siemens will exhibit its PLM software, production systems, and equipment at EMO Milano 2009, a trade fair held bi-annually for the world production of machine tools, systems, robots, and automation products.

Nuclear plant to save millions with Dassault Systemes PLM Dassault Systèmes has announced that Entergy Corp — the second largest nuclear power operator in the US — is leveraging Dassault Systèmes solutions for 3D digital modeling, planning, and simulation of maintenance tasks.

Says Richard Lloyd, production manager, Linkam: “After narrowing down our list to three major vendors, we chose Epicor ERP because it was simply the most comprehensive solution, including the integration between CRM and Microsoft Office Outlook, as well as the ability for us to streamline our production.”

The software covers requirements for sophisticated PLM tasks across a range of industries, beginning with product development using CAD/CAM systems and the generation of programs for parts via optimisation of the post processor and the CNC parameters, and extends to online and offline simulations for controlling and optimising the manufacturing process on the PC.

Entergy implemented a combination of Dassault Systèmes technologies to prepare for these upcoming maintenance tasks, including CATIA for modeling the plant and DELMIA to simulate the actual project work. BCP Engineers & Consultants served as the prime contractor for the projects, with Entergy planning to use ENOVIA from Dassault Systèmes for managing assets and engineering projects.

“Functionality such as bar coding, work orders, and workshop scheduling will help improve our manufacturing processes. The fact that Epicor is used in large organisations gives us the confidence that the solution has the scope to grow with us as we grow the business.”

“Now more than ever manufacturers need tools to enhance productivity, competitiveness and profitability,” says Dr. Helmuth Ludwig, president, Siemens PLM Software. Siemens’ solutions, which connect the virtual and physical worlds, deliver the tools to enable right first time manufacturing, improved utilisation of equipment, and enhanced product quality.”

Says John Mahoney, innovations leader for Entergy’s Nuclear Operations: “Combining scanning and modeling with up-to-date, advanced planning allows processes that could dramatically reduce the old industry-wide steam generator replacement average of 78.5 days. In some cases that time could be reduced by nearly 20%.”

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Environment top concern

for manufacturers


The Manufacturer has released the ‘Low Carbon Report’, which reveals that the development of a low carbon economy is not only a key issue for manufacturers but can assist them to cut costs. The report shows that that the majority of low carbon initiatives introduced by manufacturers have generated cost savings. However, the report also highlights the majority of manufacturers are focusing on reducing the energy costs of their existing equipment, prior to incorporating renewable energy resources into their operations. The survey also suggests that some green initiatives require further development to become universally viable.

Sponsored by

The Manufactuer ‘Low Carbon Report’ is designed to act as a comprehensive resource on the topic of low carbon as it relates to manufacturers. The report covers in depth:

Survey of UK manufacturers with analysis from the Cardiff University Lean Enterprise Research Centre • Low carbon legislation/ regulations • Intellectual property as it relates to green technologies • Low carbon case studies • Input from industry experts Sponsored by

The report surveyed over 100 manufacturers from a wide range of industries and with varying energy budgets – from less than £100,000 per annum to over £1,000,000 – the results of which were analysed in depth by Professor Peter Hines from the Cardiff University Lean Enterprise Research Centre. The majority of the manufacturing sector’s investments in low carbon initiatives have resulted in cost savings. 87% of manufacturers have experienced savings through the implementation of carbon emission reduction strategies. 75% of manufacturers have experienced savings through accurate monitoring of energy consumption. Of those that reduced waste and water consumption, more than 80% have experienced economic benefits. Some of the other key findings of the report include that 72% of manufacturers replace equipment when it reaches the end of its life, despite the availability of funding to replace old equipment before it begins wasting energy. Also more than 30% of companies are still unsure about impending environmental legislation and feel that not enough guidance is readily available. The report also includes a number of case studies and commentary from industry experts including Carbon Trust, British Gas Business and UKTI on how manufacturers can contribute to the low carbon economy. Importantly, the report also includes a detailed breakdown of the most important impending legislation and regulations and is designed to act as a guide for manufacturers unsure of how these changes will impact on their business. Jeff Whittingham, Director of Business Solutions, British Gas Business, commented on the results of the report: “This report highlights that cost saving is the key motivator among manufacturers for implementing energy efficiency measures, particularly at this time. The Energy360 team at British Gas Business has worked with many organisations to develop an energy management strategy that is central to their core business, helping them reap the financial benefits and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. From our extensive experience working with manufacturing businesses we know that savings of 10% or more are highly achievable.” Hugh Jones, Director, Solutions, the Carbon Trust commented on the results of the report. “It’s encouraging to see manufacturers looking to the low carbon economy as a way to cut unnecessary costs through energy efficiency. Whilst awareness of energy efficiency is on the rise, it’s also clear that many companies do not yet recognise that using old, inefficient equipment is a major energy burden on the bottom line. We’d urge all small and medium-sized manufacturers to take advantage of the interest-free loans available from the Carbon Trust to replace mission critical equipment with new, energy saving models, as a key way to reduce costs.”

The report can be downloaded free from For further information contact: Tim Brown, email


Industrial manufacturer realises growth with Microsoft ERP System Wheelabrator Group specialises in designing and manufacturing custom surface preparation and finishing solutions for a range of industries. As Wheelabrator grew rapidly, executives sought to standardise IT infrastructure and centralize global operations. After evaluating several enterprise resource planning systems, the company selected Microsoft Dynamics® AX. Wheelabrator worked with Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Columbus IT and industry specialists from Microsoft Gold Certified Partner To-Increase to tailor a deployment template for Microsoft Dynamics AX for Industrial Equipment Manufacturing. The team deployed the solution at six Wheelabrator facilities in the United Kingdom before rolling it out internationally. Now, Wheelabrator gains increased efficiency and improved visibility into operations and benefits from greater capacity for growth.

Situation Celebrating 100 years of operation in 2008, Wheelabrator Group is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of surface preparation equipment and technologies. The company engineers and builds custom surface cleaning and finishing equipment in seven manufacturing facilities across Europe and North America, including highly specialised airblast, peening and wheelblast equipment and industrial painting systems for customers in industries ranging from construction to aerospace. In 1973, Wheelabrator Group embarked on a journey of growth through acquisition. Over the past 35 years, the company has added 10 manufacturing companies to its portfolio, all of which have been rebranded to carry the Wheelabrator name. Such expansion gave rise to several operational challenges, given that each of the newly acquired companies relied on its own localised IT infrastructure. In this environment, coordinating business processes — from quote bid and installation to production scheduling and project costing — became extremely complex. In addition, disparate systems made capturing consolidated business data and communicating real-time inventory information to vendors, suppliers, and customers practically impossible. Lack of system integration also precluded the use of an automated workflow, meaning that employees often relied on time-consuming manual processes to manage production tasks and track order status. Moreover, the company’s business model only intensified the impact of these challenges. Customers engage Wheelabrator to create bespoke pieces of equipment or to modify or refurbish existing machines. Instead of relying on a series of repeatable manufacturing processes, therefore, the company needed to continuously adapt its production environment to accommodate frequent change requests. In meeting customer delivery targets, the business routinely relies on parallel engineering and manufacturing. In this scenario, production staff begin building equipment while engineers design and test new components. In many cases, the local production management systems


used at newly assimilated Wheelabrator subsidiaries lacked the flexibility to synchronise these complex processes, occasionally leading to project delays and cost overruns. For Wheelabrator’s executive team, such factors underscored the need to standardise the company’s global operations on a worldclass enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. They required a solution which offered built-in project-management capabilities for manufacturing, integration with existing line-of-business and industry specific systems, and cost-effective customisations to meet complex process/flow requirements and future growth needs.

Solution Over a period of six months, Wheelabrator executives evaluated a range of tier one ERP solutions based on four main selection criteria: Comprehensive manufacturing project management functionality Specialty engineering system integration and cost-effective solution modification Ability to centrally administer the solution and deploy it internationally Support from industry experts and a clear product road map After a thorough, broad-based comparison, company leaders narrowed the list to three prospective solutions – SAP B1, Baan, and Microsoft Dynamics AX. The company ultimately chose Microsoft Dynamics AX and implemented the software for Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, which builds on the standard functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX to meet unique industry challenges. “We determined that Microsoft Dynamics AX for Industrial Equipment Manufacturing was an excellent match to our requirements,” says Phillip Hawthorne, CIO, Wheelabrator. “The support for our engineer to order business model and overall flexibility of the solution made Microsoft Dynamics AX for Industrial Equipment Management a good fit for our needs.”

1. Developing the Wheelabrator Core Model Wheelabrator turned to Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Columbus IT, global experts in delivering manufacturing industry solutions. In close collaboration with industry specialists from Microsoft Gold Certified Partner To-Increase, the Columbus IT team assisted Wheelabrator in implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX for Industrial Equipment Manufacturing at its six operational facilities in the United Kingdom. Wheelabrator worked with the Columbus IT team to create the Wheelabrator core model for Microsoft Dynamics AX, a deployment template designed to transform the Wheelabrator business process flow to make it more efficient. The goal for the Wheelabrator core model was to facilitate the shift from a standard, linear production process to a more flexible, project-oriented environment. Taking advantage of the built-in projectmanufacturing capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics AX for Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, the Wheelabrator core model improves the flow of information across all lines of business, making it easier for managers to track items throughout the production life cycle. “We’ve

known for some time that a project-based approach makes more sense to handle custom manufacturing,” says Hawthorne.

2. Integrating Design and Manufacturing To streamline its production process and accelerate delivery to customers, Wheelabrator required a tighter link between its engineering and manufacturing processes. This enables engineers to design and test while production staff assemble equipment on the shop floor. Because engineers and production managers work in the same system, they can exchange information quicker than was previously possible, improving the efficiency and accuracy of the production process. “Given the evolutionary nature of custom manufacturing, the ability to quickly implement change requests is essential,” states Hawthorne.

3. Tracking Project Costs Wheelabrator relies on the core model to track project costs more efficiently, from the original quote to the delivery of equipment to a customer. This means that production personnel can easily identify and address process inefficiencies. Further, managers can quickly access current production data to increase the effectiveness of inventory planning and management efforts. “With improved visibility into all of our projects, we have a much more realistic and accurate picture of the total cost of any given project,” says Hawthorne. “This gives us more precise insight and helps us make accurate decisions around when to subcontract out a portion of a project.”

4. Implementing the Core Model Globally In addition to the UK implementation, Wheelabrator worked with Columbus IT to implement the core model at its facilities in Germany, taking advantage of the multi-site, multi-language capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics AX to streamline the deployment process. “The flexibility of Microsoft Dynamics AX made it cost effective to localise the customisations that we developed for the UK deployment,” says Hawthorne. With help from Columbus IT and To-Increase, Wheelabrator achieved an average deployment time of six months. “The industry expertise of the team from Columbus IT and To-Increase played a major role in helping us enhance and extend the built-in functionality of Microsoft Dynamics AX to meet our needs,” says Hawthorne. As Wheelabrator continues its phased rollout of the core model to additional subsidiaries in Europe, the company is evaluating implementations in several other regions throughout its global network.

Benefits With Microsoft Dynamics AX for Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, Wheelabrator has centralised its IT infrastructure to increase operational efficiency and improve visibility while expanding its capacity for growth and streamlining its global operations. “The Wheelabrator core model built on Microsoft Dynamics AX for Industrial Equipment Manufacturing is the key to restructuring our global operation to be more efficient and responsive to our customers,” says Hawthorne.

1. Increased Operational Efficiency Wheelabrator expects to achieve shorter cycle times by using Microsoft Dynamics AX for Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, resulting in faster product delivery. The system serves as a single point of entry for multiple

roles throughout the organisation, from sales to customer service, thus enabling employees to share business intelligence or communicate project-status information in less time. “Because people from all of our major departments work in the same system, they can collaborate and exchange critical business information with ease,” says Hawthorne.

2. Enhanced Visibility Wheelabrator now has a single view of multiple facilities and easy access to detailed information across departments within a single location. The Wheelabrator and Columbus IT teams structured the Wheelabrator core model around a project-based approach to manufacturing so that managers can easily find summary information on any given project and drill down to access details. This facilitates responsive customer interaction and speeds up the process of troubleshooting and resolving technical problems. Using the Wheelabrator core model, the company has also gained increased visibility into project costs, enabling improved budget forecasting and resource allocation. “Microsoft Dynamics AX for Industrial Equipment Manufacturing gives us a much clearer picture of all the input costs across our supply chain,” says Hawthorne.

3. Greater Capacity for Growth By developing the Wheelabrator core model for Microsoft Dynamics AX for Industrial Equipment Manufacturing and deploying it at several international locations, the company has strengthened its capacity for continued growth. Now, as Wheelabrator executives evaluate the prospect of expanding into new markets, they can compare the costs associated with implementing the solution with expected revenues from that location to make better-informed decisions.

Microsoft Dynamics Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems that your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success.

Columbus IT Columbus IT are a consultancy led provider of first class software and business solutions for the manufacturing and distribution sector. As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Columbus IT has a team of highly skilled consultants with a deep-rooted knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics with over 6000 successful implementations globally. Columbus IT operates out of 3 offices in the UK, with over 40 offices Worldwide. Columbus IT UK customers have won Microsoft’s coveted Excellence in Manufacturing & Distribution awards for the last two years running, proving Columbus IT have a first class consultancy team focused on driving real business benefits to their customers.

For more information about Columbus IT and Microsoft Dynamics: Email: Freephone: 0800 0433 054


12/11/2009 The Tower Hotel, London

THE SHORTLIST Once again the quality and quantity of entries to The Manufacturer of the Year Awards has been outstanding. Quite rightly UK manufacturers are proud to promote their successes and demonstrate that the industry has a resilient and vibrant future, despite the current challenging climate. Our judges have worked very hard to ensure the companies which have been shortlisted truly reflect world class excellence and best practice standards, meeting the criteria set for each respective award precisely. The judges complimented the overall field as a whole, remarking that despite the pressures companies have faced this year, the standard of entries has been remarkable. We would like to thank everybody that entered this year and are delighted to announce that the following companies have been short listed:

Leadership and Strategy Drallim Industries Inspirepac Kerrygold Foods Pentagon Chemicals Seven Seas Design and Innovation Advanced Recycling Systems Alumet Systems Blueberry Foods e2v technologies Glen Dimplex Home Appliances Hozelock Nazeing Glassworks World Class Manufacturing e2v technologies Elekta Howard Hunt Group Sheffield Forgemasters International People, Skills and Productivity Alumet Systems Chesapeake Branded Packaging C-MAC MicroTechnology Drallim Industries Ginsters Hozelock IT in Manufacturing Drallim Industries Flambeau Europlast Hansatech EMS Hozelock Pentagon Chemicals Renthal Witwood Food Products Supply Chain and Logistics e2v technologies Hozelock Pentagon Chemicals

The winners will be unveiled at The Manufacturer of the Year Awards ceremony at London’s Tower Hill Hotel on November 12th. Book your table now! Contact David Alstin on 01603 671307 or email

Operations and Maintenance e2v technologies Ginsters Linpac Packaging Linpac Storage Systems Sustainable Manufacturing Avon Metals Boss Design Kerrygold Foods Lush Manufacturing McCormick UK Paul Fabrications Pentagon Chemicals SME Manufacturer of the year Alumet Systems Avon Metals Drallim Industries Hawkshead Relish Company Hi-Technology Group Pentagon Chemicals Automotive Michelin Tyres Morgan Motor Company Aerospace and Defence Alumet Systems Thales Training & Simulation Food and Beverage Cranswick Country Foods Ginsters Hawkshead Relish Company Linpac Packaging Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Catalent Pharma Solutions Seven Seas Export Manufacturer of the Year Boss Design Sheffield Forgemasters International

Look out for

Reactorsaurus! A former nuclear research establishment is due to be decommissioned. Robotlike machines are being created to roam the plant and do the jobs that no human can. They have been created in a virtual environment where life-size CAD models are put through rigorous operational tests. TM talks to Dounreay Site Restoration’s Jared Fraser.


deconstructing a nuclear reactor. It may sound like a chapter from a science fiction novel but it is reality for the former UK centre of fast reactor research in Dounreay, Scotland. Engineers working for Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL), the company responsible for decommissioning the plant, are breaking new ground in digital design, visualisation and animation in product design. Their aim is to produce a Reactor Dismantling Manipulator (RDM) robot, nicknamed the Reactorsaurus, which will be used to help dismantle Dounreay’s Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFR). A PFR is a fast neutron reactor designed to breed, or produce, fuel by producing more fissile material than it consumes But the technical specification of the robot — and the dangerous nature of the tasks it will perform — mean its capabilities and actions must be rehearsed thoroughly before physical trials, so a life-size prototype of the RDM must be made before the operational version. The contract for the construction of RDM will be awarded later this year. The RDM and the reactor have already been modelled using 3D design software Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD Electrical and Autodesk 3ds Max. DSRL’s engineering manager Jared Fraser says the construction of both the mock-up and the actual manipulator should be faster and more straightforward than it would have been without the 3D CAD model. “Much of the work and troubleshooting has been done already on screen,” he says.


IT in


Robots love the jobs you hate

Dounreay’s PFR was the last fast breeder reactor in the UK. Its dismantling is a long and complex process which has already involved building the world’s biggest destruction plant for liquid metal, involving the elimination of 1,500 tonnes of liquid sodium, and the development of a new effluent treatment plant. But the physical dismantling of the inside of the reactor is at the heart of the challenge and as this is clearly an area off-limits to people, Fraser and his team created a remote-controlled device to do the work. The result is a 75 tonne machine which moves on rails and is activated from a central control room. It has two remotely-operated manipulators and robotic arms incorporating specialist cutting and handling tools. These must reach down into the reactor via a 3.7 metre space and then extend to access the furthest recesses.

One of the main challenges in the design was to check whether the RDM would fit inside the small penetration in the reactor. By creating a digital model of the reactor using data from old drawings, the team could accurately simulate the RDM’s entry. “One of the benefits of having a complete digital prototype of the RDM and the reactor is that this one model can be used for many purposes — we don’t have to keep re-creating data for testing and analysis or create an animation to demonstrate what we’re doing,” says Fraser.

People can see in 3D

Several factors — the sensitive nature of DSRL’s work, the number of stakeholders, the sheer size and expense of the decommissioning task — means it is vital that the team can communicate its work in a way that everybody understands. “If you run somebody through a set of 2D drawings, they may find them difficult to interpret. But if you show them a couple of 3D images, pan around and simulate movement to show how everything works, people become far more engaged with what you’re saying,” Fraser says. His team has even used the 3D model to produce a seven minute animation that shows stakeholders exactly how the company plans to dismantle the reactor using the RDM. To do this they stripped back the Inventor model and migrated it to Autodesk 3ds Max, a design visualisation tool. DSRL worked closely with Imass through the project. “We were modelling such a large object with thousands

you show them 3D images, pan around “Ifand simulate movement to show how everything works, people become far more engaged with what you’re saying Jared Fraser, Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd

Colin Watson of Imass, which supplied the design software, says the modelling of the manipulator and the reactor represents a new benchmark in digital prototyping and the modelling of large assemblies. Fraser and his team used Autodesk Inventor with Ansys Design Space to simulate loadings and to carry out finite element analysis (FEA). The depth of FEA needed on this project was such that it was outsourced to a specialist company, Wilde FEA. Using a 3D digital model means different solutions can be tested quickly and the results fed directly back into the model. Whenever a change is made, the entire model and all linked drawings and documents are updated automatically.

of components but whenever we hit a challenge, the Imass team was there for us,” says Fraser. “They even held special workshops to help us.” Although the design phase is only the beginning of this long and complex project, Fraser believes that much of the groundwork has already been done. “The contract for the mock-up has gone to tender and we have been able to give potential manufacturers a DWF [computer file] of around 400 drawings so they can see dimensions, parts and what the finished device should look like. Hopefully, many potential pitfalls have already been identified and put right on screen.” After the next phase, the development of the RDM itself will also be put out to tender. It is estimated that it will cost around £3 million to build and will be commissioned in 2013. It will take three years to complete the destruction of the reactor, which will then be decontaminated and decommissioned. By the time the RDM embarks on its task of stripping out the reactor, these virtual environments, digital prototypes and robots could be commonplace — and not just on projects as sensitive as this one. It is hoped that, in finessing this complex task of destruction and decommissioning, breakthrough ideas and methodologies will be developed that will help create future industrial designs. end

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The Manufacturer half page AW.indd 1

29/5/09 13:03:31

IT for Lean – is your system really holding you back? Before you even think about systems to help in your lean project, have you clearly defined your goals and communicated your vision throughout the organisation? Does everybody really understand what ‘Lean’ is?


ontinuously improving towards the ideal by the relentless reduction of waste” is just one definition that is frequently quoted, but what is the “ideal”? Eli Goldratt in “The Goal” tells us the goal of a business is to make money both now and in the future, by simultaneously increasing throughput and operating expense, is this the ideal? It is certainly one to target in the current economic climate !

What should you measure... Are you delivering what the customer wants, on time and free of defects ? Do you respond immediately to problems ? How effectively are they resolved ? How can you increase value by focusing on reducing waste ? Each of these questions poses an information challenge to your business. Frequently system generated enquiries


and reports are hard to digest and lack focus; management report packs are produced weekly, circulated and filed (and often forgetten).

Where is the continuous improvement ? Today’s business management software packages have a wealth of information management tools, including traditional report writers, interactive workspaces and portals, graphical trending, RSS feeds and alerting systems. With timely, accurate and well presented information your teams can address more effectively the issues in their departments. Typically these will include: Overproduction – resulting from sub-optimal rules for batch sizes, aggregation, EOQ policies and reorder levels Excessive lead times - transit between operations, long set

up times, waiting times due to unbalanced work loads Recognising waste in the value stream is an on-going challenge for all businesses, indeed Henry Ford noted this back in 1926 …. “One of the most noteworthy accomplishments in keeping the price of (our) products low is the gradual shortening of the production cycle. The longer an article is in the process of manufacture and the more it is moved about, the greater is its ultimate cost.” Ask yourself whether your system is providing what you need? It may be quite a while since you implemented the business system software in your organisation. Do you need better information to help run your business? Steve Tattum – Product Manager

At Sage we work hard to give you better insights into your business. Give us a call on 0845 1119988 to find out what we’re doing and how we can help.

IT in


Lean has a profound, positive effect on manufacturing Lean, and more collaborative product development and data management will provide the biggest benefits to manufacturers in the next five years, say directors at software company Gartner. Marc Halpern (left), research director and Dan Miklovic, research vice president set out their interpretation of lean and why it is so important.


has identified that lean, Six Sigma manufacturing, design data management, product content management, product requirements management, product portfolio and programme management, and collaborative product development should be manufacturers’ top priorities over the next five years. These will have the greatest positive impact on the business performance of manufacturers through 2014. Lean is the most fundamental and has the broadest impact. It establishes a value basis for all decisions and activities within a manufacturing company. It goes beyond the vaunted reductions in cost and inventory commonly associated with lean. It fundamentally impacts the basis for all decision making, from defining products to be developed, through design, production, service, sales and more. It is the most of these areas to execute, because it requires cultural change at every organisational level, from senior executives to the maintenance staff. Manufacturers that have adopted lean correctly are achieving major business performance improvements. Lean manufacturing seeks to achieve a value-based, problem-solving approach for every activity in the manufacturing value chain. Lean is a manufacturing management and production control system for eliminating waste, but not by arbitrarily cutting costs. Lean is about developing critical production linkages with customer or market demands for value, and continually redefining processes that best serve that demand for value with a minimum of wasted steps — building of inventory is foremost among the sources of waste. Lean assumes change is constant and necessary for improvement; therefore, it posits a system of decentralised problem resolution, team-based decision making, and interdependent, coordinated and transparent asset use that fosters great agility.

Manage data, support lean

Given these goals, lean manufacturing systems consist of a set of tools, including value stream mapping, root cause problem resolution and line balancing for “onepiece flow”; kanban-based material “pull” systems based on just-in-time (JIT) production concepts; visual manufacturing tools such as andon boards for problem flagging and resolution, as well as heijunka boards for production team monitoring of yield versus task time; error-proofing assembly techniques; and work instructions. Also, lean is a continuous process

improvement technique so that IT supports kaizen definitions and processes. The ongoing change among decentralised work teams is also relevant. Design data management, product content management, product requirements management, product portfolio and programme management, and collaborative product development are a few of the applications that can support lean in multiple product lifecycle activities. However, lean manufacturing systems lag in the manufacturing system marketplace, which is dominated by “batch and queue”-style operations supported primarily by manufacturing resource planning (MRP) solutions and their predominant production control and management techniques. Many companies: 1) have not adopted lean principles and their corresponding systems; or 2) have deployed a lean system component, JIT, without the complete vision, change programme and management controls and then abandoned their lean initiatives after encountering cultural resistance and technical problems. Speed of adoption varies by industry, with the automotive and electronics industries being far more advanced (two years to mainstream adoption) and process industries just beginning to adopt lean (in reality five to ten years from mainstream adoption). While many point solutions may exist for lean operations, manufacturers need to deploy technology according to a broader lean transformation strategy, as well as business and technology plans. Isolated applications will not return adequate benefits. IT may be deployed in incremental or staged implementations as long as the right process and system interfaces are identified and achieved along the road map, and the higher-order principles of lean manufacturing are not violated. A holistic lean manufacturing operations suite, representing all the IT ramifications of lean, does not exist today. Users must look at technologies, software providers and home grown solutions that offer the best path to integration. Because lean is a continuous improvement methodology grounded in identifying root causes for waste and ongoing elimination of non-value adding activities, users must consider their abilities to rapidly deploy and revise applications according to the hands-on needs of operators in the process as a key to success. Still in adolescence, lean manufacturing currently has a market penetration of between five and 20% in the UK. Ultimately, although it remains up to five years away, its impact will be transformational. end

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Empowering the Planner Is the fresh food sector showing us the way to be truly Lean and Agile?


uch has been written about lean manufacturing over the years and one of the major ‘wastes’ that lean manufacturing initiatives target is inventory in all its forms, raw materials, WIP and finished goods. If you have read what has been written, or paid for a lean practitioner to advise you, you will have inevitably concluded that IT will play no part in any lean initiative, and that Visual Production Control (VPC), typically in the form of kanbans and supermarkets, is the only way forward. We can all learn by looking at how other people solve their problems, and then developing a solution for ourselves based on their experience, but in manufacturing it is rare to get this type of ‘cross pollination’ between different verticals. For example, how often do staff or consultants move between, say, food and precision machining? They are typically seen as having no commonality and no one would consider experience of one sector to be useful in the other. Preactor International is proud of the broad spread of its user base, and unlike most manufacturing professionals we are in a position to compare the different planning, scheduling and production control techniques used in different verticals. One of those sectors is fresh food, and using the inventory definition this sector has always been lean, because they have no choice. When you have products and raw materials whose shelf lives can be measured in hours or a few days, carrying significant inventory has never been an option. On top of the intrinsic lack of inventory extreme agility is often also required. Say you are running a bakery and you have to deliver many different products, with shelf lives measurable in hours, to many outlets. The agility required to make your entire product portfolio each day is then compounded by the fact that the delivery trucks will leave at intervals during the day, but each requires the complete range of products. You probably cannot afford to make a whole day’s worth of, say, cream horns in one batch, because you will not then have the capacity to make all the other products required for the first delivery truck. So now you require the agility to cycle through your complete product portfolio several times each the day. All of this is then compounded by the variability in demand caused by factors as fickle as the weather, so the production schedule you used yesterday, will probably not work today. So if you visit one of these companies will you find the kanbans etc. which are seen to characterise lean processes? No, the use of VPC is rare in these industries for the simple reason that kanbans are WIP, and VPC essentially creates a make to stock process. Any variation in demand will soon lead to WIP that is shelf life expired. So how do they cope with controlling these ultra lean


processes and the variable demand? The answer is that they aim for the ultimate lean implementation, Make to Order (MTO), and in many cases the food sector is bucking the trend for empowering shop floor personnel to make scheduling decisions, and is empowering the planner instead. Is this a good idea? If you use VPC scheduling decisions are based on empty kanbans. The emptying of a kanban triggers it to be refilled by the operators at the upstream process. This works well with stable demand and reasonable shelf life products, however the operators are working in isolation because they have no other visibility of other processes, late arriving orders, etc., nor do they have visibility of company wide key performance indicators (KPIs) such as minimising late deliveries, minimising production costs and so on. Variations in demand will cause problems that the operator cannot be aware of. An empowered planner, on the other hand, can see the whole picture and will make scheduling decisions, such as changes in priorities for customers, based on company wide KPIs. With the whole picture the planner can make the trade offs that are bound to be required, e.g. utilisation (large batches) vs. delivery performance (small batches), and variations in demand are handled easily. Ultimately the shop floor has only to cope with a single KPI – schedule adherence, safe in the knowledge that the company KPIs have been taken care of by the planner.

How do we empower the planner? Simple, we give them the tool no lean practitioner will mention, a computerised Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) system. This will use a finite capacity model, that takes into account both resource and material availability, to rapidly produce a good schedule for the plant that meets the company KPIs. If necessary the planner can quickly perform multiple ‘what ifs’ on the schedule, comparing the results to determine the best compromise for the KPIs. The APS will dynamically aggregate the small batches of the same or similar products that an MTO environment inherently produces, so in our bakery we can balance our attempts to keep batch sizes up with the needs of delivery performance. The aggregation will be re-calculated each time we re-schedule, so we are sure that our process utilisation is as good as it can be under the current conditions. The planner will re-schedule as often as required by process disruptions and demand changes, often several times per day. In the most planner empowered plants the APS becomes an intrinsic part of the production control system, and no schedule decisions are made without first testing them on the APS. When

an issue arises the planning and production staff will gather round the APS to resolve the problem whilst still striving to meet the company KPIs. Case studies from the fresh food sector show the impact that APS systems are having on what are already lean processes. 50% reductions in WIP and lead time have been reported, along with less ‘shorting’ of the customers requirements. Whilst not all the techniques used in the fresh food sector can be applied to more general manufacturing, we can certainly learn from their use of APS software to make lean processes even leaner. One company that has comprehensively benefited from APS technology is Geest Limited, part of the Bakkavör group, and one of the leading fresh prepared foods and produce companies in the UK. Its business focuses entirely on fresh foods and the development and marketing of products for its various customer brands. With orders arriving on a daily basis to deliver to customers the next day, each company within the Group constitutes a sizeable operation requiring state-of-the-art planning and scheduling. This is why Geest relies on Preactor International’s APS software for its planning and scheduling software needs across all its companies. Our relationship with Geest stretches back ten years to when Preactor was first established as a company. Since then, each Geest plant has become a solid example of how varying best-of-breed solutions can work together with a central MRP system to deliver the required level of results. Prior to sourcing and implementing Preactor, many Geest sites had relied on Excel-based software for their planning and scheduling requirements. “It was hard to support a truly beneficial spreadsheet in this way because everyone involved in the scheduling process tended to add their own individuality to the system,” explained Richard Thorold, Planning Manager at salads producer Wingland Foods. Paul Cope, Planning Supervisor at Yorkshire Fresh Salads, agreed. “If someone, say, changed some of the standard data in the Bills of Materials (BOM) in our Protean MRP software system these changes wouldn’t automatically show on the Excel spreadsheet. It had to be manually adjusted.” Tilmanstone Salads also used to rely on an Excel spread sheet as its scheduling software tool prior to implementing Preactor. On the whole, this proved to be a reliable and versatile system, and Excel continues to be used to some degree for order boards at the new site in Eythorne, Dover. However, the company believed that its system’s data integrity could be improved by moving to APS software.

For Bourne Salads, Preactor APS is now thought of as “the hub” of the entire planning process, according to Planning Manager, John Bennett. Bourne can reschedule and model “what-if” scenarios and is able to react to situations quickly and effectively Preactor APS can also investigate different strategies concerning workflow during peak weeks where potential bottlenecks become critical. Its ability to plan in routine maintenance and hygiene requirements is also of considerable benefit. Tilmanstone Salads’ Senior Planner Debbie Macrae commented: “The software allows us to see clearly what is lined up for the future and how the past would or could have been. This means we can easily tell if we have a potential bottleneck or other constraint that will need addressing.” In addition, Macrae commented that Preactor APS’s Gantt chart ‘drag and drop’ function means scheduling adjustments can be made within seconds on screen. For Thorold at Wingland Foods, Preactor APS guarantees that the company’s schedulers can work in a uniform manner, while not having to get bogged down in other IS issues. Here, as in other Geest plants, Preactor APS helps to define any manufacturing processes and schedule them in a way that are technically and legally required. “For example, we need to highlight a product that includes nuts within the mixture,” explained Thorold. “So, by having a set of prioritised rules already set up in Preactor APS there is a consistent approach to scheduling and a simplified method of training our team.” Geest’s Planning Product Manager Jon Ling concludes, “Preactor APS’s flexibility in meeting the planning requirements of our distinct businesses with their very different production methods and constraints, its reliability and ease of use, make it a key planning system for Geest.”

Published in association with: PREACTOR INTERNATIONAL Tel: +44 1249 650316 Email:


Total recall – Product traceability How many times have you seen, or for that matter been involved in, a product recall?


ith ever increasing levels of press and public focus, manufacturing companies simply have to have some kind of product tracking system. The number of high-profile product recalls in the last few years has served both to raise the awareness and reduce the public tolerance of manufacturers that are not able to identify efficiently where their products have gone and how quickly they can reclaim them. The ability to recall a product is not just limited to food products, as the recent international recall of some 18 million toys on safety grounds by the US toymaker Mattel and recalls by Savlon and Durex have proved. All these high-profile product recalls highlight the impact they can have on a business. This is not limited to the cost of recalling the product, replacement or refund costs, but also entails major damage to reputation. So how can a business prevent a product recall, and how can it contain the negative impact when implementing a product recall is the only option? Tracking within the supply chain has to be robust. This starts with understanding and recording where and how each ingredient/ component is produced, where and how it is transported from and to, and where and how the finished product is sold.

The legal bit

In Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28th January 2002 updated in General Food Regulations of 2004, the law defines traceability and food distributor responsibilities as:

Article 18 Traceability To this end, such operators shall have in place systems and procedures which allow for this information to be made available to the competent authorities on demand. Food and feed business operators shall have in place systems and procedures to identify the other businesses to which their products have been supplied. This information shall be made available to the competent authorities on demand. Food or feed which is placed on the market or is likely to be placed on the market in the community shall be adequately labelled or identified to facilitate its traceability, through relevant documentation or information in accordance with the relevant requirements of more specific provisions.

Article 19 Responsibilities for food: food business operators If a food business operator considers or has reason to believe that a food which it has imported, produced, processed, manufactured or distributed is not in compliance with the food


safety requirements, it shall immediately initiate procedures to withdraw the food in question from the market where the food has left the immediate control of that initial food business operator and inform the competent authorities thereof. Where the product may have reached the consumer, the operator shall effectively and accurately inform the consumers of the reason for its withdrawal, and if necessary, recall from consumers’ products already supplied to them when other measures are not sufficient to achieve a high level of health protection.

Traceability is not negotiable

Traceability is a mandatory requirement throughout the supply chain. The design is optional – for example, paper, electronic or bar coding – but the functionality must be demonstrable. A full product tracking system has to address and record 100% of all stages of a product’s life. In some businesses, the amount of data this can generate is enormous. Furthermore the large majority of coding and labelling currently configured is manual, with human error inevitable.

What to expect from software

The application of technology to support complex processes with ever smaller margins requires operational agility and tight controls. Expanding the use of information technology is the best way to add greater value and support more cost-effective operations. With suitable software, the ability to automate at each touch point streamlines the many diverse processes. It is possible to automate from order capture to raw product entering the supply chain or finished product being purchased by the customer. Business intelligence becomes cohesive and comprehensive as information is automatically fed to the appropriate applications and processes. This allows suppliers to communicate internally and externally of the distribution centre with key partners and customers. The recent years have driven suppliers’ communication abilities to the limits, with key customers demanding advance delivery notification (ADN) with full serial shipping container code (SSCC) information. SSCC ensures that: Logistics units are identified with a number that is unique

worldwide through a common vendor numbering scheme that uses the EAN.UCC company prefix so that the number cannot be duplicated

Information can be exchanged between trading partners

effectively by bar coding logistic units and electronic business transactions

Global standards can be adhered to Standards apply through

the entire supply chain, from raw materials supplier to manufacturer to distributor/wholesaler to end user/retailer


The benefits of SSCC usage are clear, but the technology is not. With most customers demanding the information provided by SSCC to speed up their receipt process and supply chains, the only solution is to have the right technological solution. As there is no standard means of sending information and protocols vary, it makes sense to have a system that can be flexible and adaptable, and as far as possible futureproof. The recent trials and implementations of RFID mean it will be only a matter of time before its adoption is universal, and supply chain systems will have to evolve to accommodate this new technology. In the same way, technology that can track containers coming in and out of a site is proving to be extremely beneficial. It helps calculate and monitor the cost of lost crates, barrels, shipping containers and pallets, which can mean the difference between profit and loss. A good enterprise resource planning (ERP) system has the ability to offer significant benefits across a business and can – or perhaps should – form the basis of a product tracking system. One point to consider is whether the system can maintain the identity of a unit through a change in form. Many systems fall short because of their inability to track the identity of a unit through packaging, storage and shipment. This capability is necessary to maintain the genealogy of the inputs across the spectrum of food production. The benefits of a good ERP system are well documented. Perhaps less known are the abilities to track products fully and allow all interested parties to have full visibility of product location. The success of an IT implementation project can largely be down to two factors. One is obvious: the IT provider. The other, not always obvious or understood, is the company itself trying to adopt product tracking. Change within the business is not always managed and lack of defined accountabilities and a clear communication programme lead to poor project success. Like any IT implementation project, the process starts with a clearly defined methodology and a good diagnostic phase. The diagnostic phase documents high-level business processes and defines the requirements. It identifies major gaps and provides a high-level solution approach with recommendations. This is followed by the analysis phase, identifying functional fits, producing a project charter and documenting the functional requirements. The analysis phase leads to the design and then development. The deployment phase puts the solution through testing, user training and full acceptance. Successful IT projects rely on strict project methodology and will deliver successful projects. There are very few perfect projects, but there are many successful projects.

Case study

The Poupart Group is a UK fresh produce company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Argent Group Europe Ltd, one of the largest

privately owned food and food-related groups in the country. The group comprises three product-specific marketing divisions supplying supermarkets: BerryWorld for soft-fruit, OrchardWorld for top fruit and Poupart Citrus for citrus. A fourth marketing division is Poupart Imports, which concentrates on supplying the general nonsupermarket trade with an extensive fresh produce range. As a quickly growing business, the Poupart Group implemented an ERP system to allow web-based transactions for customers and third-party suppliers, and to improve business intelligence and product tracking. All product transactions are tracked down to consignment and individual line or lot level. All item lines are automatically assigned a unique code to identify the receipt of this consignment. This mandatory code is carried through the system on all sales from the particular consignment line – that is, allocated on the sales order line, then carried through to the sales shipment and finally on to the sales invoice. Repacking of fruit is also traced, so whenever it is sold, the company can identify the originating product. Additionally, any ad hoc stock adjustments are identified and linked to the relevant code, showing exactly to which specific consignment line the stock adjustment relates. Having a system in place that ensures all entries are tracked back to the consignment line allows full cost control. Costs can also be assigned, for example, for freight, duty and quality control, whether they relate to the consignment as a whole or to the individual line level. An example would be freight, for which the system can use the tracked information to apportion the cost automatically, based on a number of factors, such as weight or number of pallets. The consignment code and line codes are implemented as dimensions in the general ledger, giving full flexibility on reporting financial information.

Legally and morally compliant

Tightly integrated tools can help supply companies to achieve more efficient processes and lower operational costs while providing great service. By assessing and incorporating the necessary component into your ERP system, you can feel confident that your business is legally and morally compliant.When the necessity to initiate a product recall is thrust upon a business, it is some comfort to know that the system employed is 100% efficient, and that the impact on the customer and the business is limited. The reputation of a business will never be enhanced by a product recall, but when it is professionally handled, liability can be limited.

About Tectura

Tectura is a global services company providing Microsoft-based ERP, CRM, and technology solutions to mid-market companies, larger enterprises and their divisions. It works with food and drink wholesalers and distributors to provide fully integrated business management systems based on Microsoft Dynamics™. These systems provide product recall, stock control, warehouse optimisation and real-time financial reporting at any stage of operations. Further information, web site:


Good fit: As around 80% of its product range is new each season, lingerie manufacturer Van de Velde was a good candidate for the ECLIPS research project

ECLIPS provides support for supply chain planning decisions For many years synchronising the supply chain has been a dream rather than a reality. Gay Sutton reports on the ECLIPS research project — led by supply chain consultancy Möbius — which aims to solve this problem and provide a reliable forecasting tool for products at the beginning and end of their lifecycle.



supply chains are continuing to evolve, becoming longer and more complex, particularly where elements of production or distribution are outsourced. But in many cases, the concept of fully centralised control is a dream rather than a reality. Even for mature products where the demand is stable, inventory can be tied up and ‘hidden’ at the boundaries between suppliers. Finding a way to manage the entire supply chain for these mature products and eradicate these pockets of inventory could yield significant savings. For certain products, product life cycles have also been shortening noticeably. And although there are some great solutions on the market for forecasting demand in mature products, when it comes to short lifecycle, newly introduced or end-of-life products, manufacturers simply don’t have the support and

Supplychain and logistcs

The ECLIPS project

In an effort to develop solutions to these two problems, supply chain consultancy Möbius embarked on a research project just over three years ago. They drew together a consortium of five partners: manufacturers Pliva-Lachema Diagnostika and Huntsman Advanced Materials; academic partner Riga Technical University; and two expert partners, the information system and data integration company LoQutus, and optimisation specialist Eurodecision. Part-funded by the European Commission under the Sixth EU Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development, the ECLIPS project (Extended Collaborative Integrated Lifecycle Planning System) was then born. Its aim was to develop and test new tools that would enable manufacturers to better control the supply chain for mature products and forecast demand at the two extreme ends of the lifecycle. Three years on, the project has been tested in reallife manufacturing environments and has reached its conclusion. So now, it is time to reveal the findings and share with the wider supply chain community the knowledge that has been gained.

Product forecasting — now and then

In most organisations, forecasts for the sales behaviour of new or end-of-life products are made primarily by reviewing the behaviour of similar products that have already gone through these stages. “What we have done with the ECLIPS program is to automate this thinking using artificial intelligence techniques,” explains Möbius consultant Bram Desmet. “This has resulted in tools which are applicable both for introduction of products and for end of life.” The ECLIPS consortium’s two industry partners manufacture stable mature products, and only 5% of their products are introduced new each year, so the hunt was on to find a suitable company interested in being part of the trial. Lingerie manufacturer Van de Velde was an ideal fit. Around 80% of its product range is new each season. If sales forecasts are too high the company is stuck with obsolete inventories that are difficult to resell because cheap products on the market undermine their luxury branding. Lead times are between three and six months as fabric is cut in Belgium, sent to the Middle East for stitching and then returned to Belgium for finishing.

Therefore, if sales forecasts are too low, the company cannot respond quickly enough to meet demand and margin is lost. Improving the forecasting is therefore businesscritical for Van de Velde and the company had been attempting to do this for some 10 years. However, during the initial stage of the project, ECLIPS failed to predict the total volumes of the product — a critical detail for Van de Velde. Further research was done using innovative clustering and identification techniques, and this delivered the desired results.

One of the interesting and valuable things to emerge from the project is that ECLIPS has also been able to predict which products will be commercially successful and which are likely to flop. “It’s clear that it is unnatural for a manager to state in a product forecast that his product was not likely to sell well,” Desmet says. “ECLIPS provides an independent assessment of a product’s potential, allowing the company to challenge its product managers and avoid the cost of significant obsolete stock.”

aim was to develop and “ The test new tools that would enable manufacturers to better control the supply chain for mature products and forecast demand at the two extreme ends of the lifecycle.

backup of an effective forecasting package — mainly because most of them project the future based on demand over the previous year or two. This leaves companies very vulnerable to fluctuations in demand and the risk of significant losses.

Mature product management — cruise control

The concept that Möbius developed to eradicate inventory build-up between the steps in the supply chains of a mature product was Multi Echelon Cyclic Planning (MECP). “We think of this as the cruise control of supply chain planning,” explains Desmet. “We are convinced that for mature products, imposing a constraint to produce or distribute regularly and restraining the natural flexibility within the supply chain will optimise its efficiency, reduce intermediate inventories and significantly reduce overall costs.” The theory is that MECP defines the production or distribution cycles for each step in the supply chain and then synchronises those steps, creating a


manufacturing and supply chain operations. Both presented interesting challenges that made them an excellent test for the viability of the MECP tools.

single regular production cycle that moves material seamlessly from end to end through the supply chain, eradicating intermediate inventories. In practice, ECLIPS sits above the company’s ERP or APS system, downloading information from each of the systems in the supply chain to identify the cycle times at each step. It then calculates a master cycle time and loads it back into the individual systems, achieving synchronicity throughout. The two European ECLIPS consortium manufacturing partners, Huntsman Advanced Materials and PlivaLachema Diagnosticka, provided access to very different

Huntsman manufactures basic and specialty chemicals, and produces synthetic and formulated polymer systems for customers requiring high performance materials. These are then packaged and shipped through a global distribution system. Many of the company’s suppliers are also multinational organisations with strict security policies regarding downloading and uploading to the ERP system, and this has added an extra layer of technical complexity to the implementation. “In addition to this, Huntsman is also constrained to batch manufacturing,” Desmet adds. “The primary question was, if we tried to enforce a certain cycle onto production or distribution, how would this conflict with the batch requirements? We therefore concluded that this would be a challenging environment to test the concept. And if it worked here, it would add value in other global batch-oriented manufacturing companies.”

Lead times at Van de Velde are between three and six months — if sales forecasts are too low, the company cannot respond quickly enough to meet demand and margin is lost. The company had been trying to improve forecasting for 10 years


Supply chain and logistcs

Three liquid resin base products, which are differentiated into some 30 finished products, were selected for the pilot. As go-live date approached, two were dropped and replaced at a later date by two alternative products.

The second manufacturer to implement the MECP tools was the small Czech company PlivaLachema Diagnosticka, which presented a strongly contrasting operational environment. Manufacturing was on a microscopic rather than macroscopic level and warehousing capacity was small, so it presented a very different set of challenges. Pliva manufactures a range of quick clinical analysis products for use in surgeries and laboratories, and for self-testing purposes. Three products from the diagnostic strip product family of blood and urine testers were chosen for the pilot project, and the full supply chain from the preparation of the active components and manufacture of the strips through to warehousing and distribution was analysed and synchronised. “After a six month trial, Pliva achieved a 20% reduction of inventory primarily due to the full reduction of intermediate stock,” Desmet says. The implementation and pilots at both firms were all part of the development of the ECLIPS tools, and these were constantly tweaked and improved throughout the period. “The benefits we had anticipated before beginning the project have been proven in real life in two very different environments,” Desmet concludes. However, the ECLIPS software is still very much in the prototype state.

In the initial stages, ECLIPS failed to predict total volumes of the product. Further research was done using clustering and identification techniques, which delivered the desired results.

we tried to enforce a certain cycle “ Ifonto production or distribution, how would this conflict with the batch requirements? We therefore concluded that this would be a challenging environment to test the concept

After a six month trial period, intermediate inventories no longer accumulated at the boundaries between steps in the supply chain, but were consumed as soon as they became available. Interestingly, the implementation also gave Huntsman’s planners some valuable insights into the flow throughout the supply chain. “Many supply chains are only managed and optimised at the first step which results in a lack of visibility throughout the supply chain and a failure to understand how the different steps relate to each other,” Desmet says. “As we started implementing MECP and began analysing products at different steps — using, for example, the simulation tool to see how we could optimise the chain of steps rather than an individual step — that insight grew.”

Bram Desmet, Möbius

Fully developing and producing the software commercially is not Möbius’s objective. However the company is considering two possible options which would ultimately bring this new capability onto the market. The first option is to partner with an IT company interested in developing the software from a prototype to finished product. The second is to provide a service, whereby customers would provide the data and Möbius would provide either the synchronised supply chain cycle or the volume forecast. Both options are currently under careful scrutiny but no decisions have yet been made. end

Taking the next step

Having established the validity of these two new techniques through successful pilot schemes in three manufacturing environments, Möbius is now considering its next move. “We’re currently evaluating how we will exploit the results of the project,” Desmet says. “We have gathered a considerable wealth of knowledge, and built effective analysis tooling which we can use in future work with our clients. But we are consultants, not software providers.”

Bram Desmet Möbius consultant

For more information please email:


Why it’s time for the UK to

switch to robots The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) and the United Nations Economic Commission Europe (UNECE) predicts the robotics industry will be worth £38 billion by 2025 creating an innovation-driven and export-orientated industry. Nigel Platt, marketing manager for ABB’s UK robotics business, explains why UK manufacturing companies should consider robotics and how they can encourage global competition on our shores.


the European robotics market expected to grow by 3.6% within the next twelve months, UK manufacturers need to consider automated solutions to transform productivity and profitability and to help ensure the long term sustainability of the UK’s manufacturing industry. Many of the problems that have delayed the uptake of robotic technology have now been addressed, to offer all industries and businesses, of all sizes, the technology to unlock new levels of productivity, performance and profitability through faster, flexible and more accurate production, including: The manufacturing value of automated cells has already been recognised, with over £35m being spent annually on robotics research at 250 universities and research institutes across Europe. Ulf Dahlsten, Director of ‘Emerging Technologies and Infrastructures – Applications’ at the European Union (EU) urged EU businesses back in 2005 to turn their robotics research into viable products much more quickly, and to push robots into new market areas.


In 2007, the popularity of robotics in Asia stagnated, America grew by 12%, while the use of industrial robots in Europe increased by 10%. However, sales to the United Kingdom again declined, placing the UK amongst the lowest adopters of robotic technology in recent years. In the UK, there are currently between 50-75 robots for every 10,000 workers, putting us substantially behind our competitors in France, Spain, Germany, China and Japan – where the demand for robots continued to grow, with a further 38,100 units were sold. The most successful sector to use robotics within the UK are those manufacturers in the automotive industry, where automated technology currently accounts for 60% of the United Kingdom’s operational stock of robots. As investment from the metal, rubber and plastics and food and beverage industries increases, manufacturers from all sectors are beginning to recognise the importance of delivering enhanced levels of performance and productivity. Robots have been proved to be capable of delivering such benefits, as well as higher levels of output, product quality and flexibility amongst the benefits reported.

Operations and maintenance

Given these benefits then, why are UK companies being so slow to embrace the technology?

The reluctance to embrace robotic technology could be considered a consequence of the general uncertainty about manufactured goods in the UK, which in turn affects the willingness of manufacturers to make longer term investments. Without investment, businesses may be resigned to outsourcing overseas. However, the predictability of robotic technology makes it an ideal solution to this dilemma. By delivering consistent performance with minimal overheads, robots can help companies to more confidently predict factors such as cost of production, turnaround times, output levels and product quality, which can in turn be used to inform future investment This is where robots come in. Financially affordable and offering long term savings, robots can fulfil a major role in helping boost the competitiveness of UK industrial companies, particularly SMEs.

Reduced operating costs

Robots offer consistent performances with minimal overheads helping companies to more confidently predict factors such as the cost of production, turnaround times, output levels and product quality. Taken together, improvements in these areas can result in a surprisingly fast return on investment.

The manufacturing value of “automated cells has already been recognised, with over £35m being spent annually on robotics research at 250 universities and research institutes across Europe

Consider, for example, that the cost of a six-axis industrial robot has dropped by 50% over the past 15 years, enabling robots to offer a typical hourly operating expense of just £5. At the same time, according to recent statistics from the International Federation of Robotics, the average cost of a manual worker in the UK has risen to around £10.71 per hour. Robots can also eliminate the additional costs associated with manual workers, in terms of training, health and safety and employee administration. Furthermore, with no requirement for minimum lighting or heating levels, robots offer a great opportunity to cut energy bills. Current estimates point to a potential saving of 8 per cent for every 1ºC in heating levels, and up to 20% by turning off unnecessary lighting.

Improved product quality and consistency

Ensuring consistently high quality finishing of materials, robots provide inherent accuracy and this repeatability means a high quality finish for every product is

produced. This is further supported by less errors caused by human factors such as tiredness, distraction or the effects of repetitive or tedious tasks.

Improved quality of work for employees

By using robots in dusty, hot or hazardous environments, companies can improve the working conditions for their human employees. Teaching staff how to use the robots can improve staff motivation, as employees recognise the chance to learn valuable programming skills and carry out work that is more stimulating.

Increased production output rates

Unlike human employees, robots need little supervision and can be left running overnight and during weekends. This enables manufacturers to achieve true 24 hours production to increase output levels and meet client order deadlines.

Increased product manufacturing flexibility

Robots can also introduce a new degree of flexibility to a manufacturer’s production line. Once the processes you require are programmed into the robot controller, manufacturers can quickly switch from one to another. A massive financial benefit, this enables manufacturers to maximise the money they are spending on robotics equipment by ensuring the cells are used for more than one process.

Reduced material waste and increased yield

Manufacturers can be assured that with the improved accuracy from using robots also ensures that companies can have more products finished first time to the standard required by the customers. As a result of this, the amount of waste produced because of poor-quality or inconsistent finishing is dramatically reduced.

Compliance with safety rules and improved workplace health and safety

Enabled with the ability to take over jobs in dusty, hot or hazardous environments, robots can also take charge of unpleasant, arduous or healththreatening tasks currently handled by manual workers. Robots can decrease the likelihood of accidents caused by contact with machine tools or other potentially hazardous product machinery or processes. Robots can also help to eliminate staff ailments associated with repetitive or intensive processes, e.g.


Operations and maintenance

repetitive strain injuries (RSI), which costs UK industry over £300 million each year in lost productivity.

Reduced labour turnover and difficulty of recruiting skilled workers

Despite the UK having the second highest employment rate in Europe, 4 out of 10 companies often find it difficult to recruit skilled workers. Highly skilled manual workers are now harder and more expensive to employ. Here, robots can provide an ideal alternative. Once programmed, robots can begin work with none of the costs associated with recruitment or ongoing training and can provide great flexibility, in terms of work patterns and the ability to handle different production tasks.

Reduced capital costs

With less manual labour needed, fewer costs relating to sickness, accidents and insurance are occurred. With robots, businesses can reduce the cost of consumables used and reduce wastage dramatically.

Space savings in high value manufacturing areas

Robots can be placed on shelf systems, on walls or even on ceilings offering the most flexible solutions for save spacing in high value manufacturing areas. The robots can be programmed to work in confined spaces ensuring manufacturers don’t lose valuable floor space.

Simple technology

Holding back the use of robots in manufacturing, is the belief that the technology is too sophisticated for most basic manufacturing applications. Robot technology is mature. It is well tried and tested and the variety of robots available means that virtually any manufacturing line can benefit from the technology. It is no longer the

Teaching staff how to use the “ robots can improve staff motivation, as employees recognise the chance to learn valuable programming skills and carry out work that is more stimulating

domain of large scale manufacturers like the automotive sector, a pivotal part of the UK manufacturing industry, but is now available to all businesses, including small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) – who often do not realise they are potentially the greatest benefactor.

Proven to work

As an example, ABB highlights Cornish SME, Characteristix, which makes badges, magnets and key rings along with other moulded plastic items. Characterisitix realised that if the company did not evolve its way of working, then the businsess would close against stiff competition from low cost Far East manufacturers.


It transformed its labour intensive moulding and printing process into a fully automated system. The result is a self-contained manufacturing cell that creates virtually finished products from raw materials. The manufacturing cell - comprising of an ABB six-axis IRB 140 robot, plastic injection moulding machine, beam robot, conveyors, and pneumatic printing press - is helping Characteristix retain a competitive edge, even when pitted against the Far East ‘giants’ of the industry. Not only has the cell ramped up production, but it has brought interest and variety to much of the production workforce. “Many of our staff, who were previously employed on manual labouring tasks, have risen to the challenge of robot-based manufacturing, readily participating in robot programming and operator tuition to enhance their skills,” says Andy Knight of Characteristix. As a result of introducing robots into the product line, Characteristix has noted a huge decrease in downtime and improve efficiency and costs reduced by 5%. Now, at the factory in Cornwall, 33,000 pieces are produced per day, up more than 100% since installing the ABB robots.

A robotic future

As robots become ever more affordable, ABB provides a range of alternatives to buying a brand new robot, including second hand refurbishment, leasing or applying for a grant to help financially. With companies across the world acknowledging the power of robotics to improve productivity, profitability and encourage long term sustainability, we are confident that the use of robots in industry, as predicted, will continue to expand. end

For further information on the benefits of integrating robots into your production process, please email or call 01908 350 300 quoting the reference ‘The Manufacturer/Robotics’.

m a nag i n gwa s t e f o r S u c c e s s

Manufacturers are playing an important role in moving Britain towards a resource-efficient low carbon economy. But, as Colin Chinery reports, this transition is not without major barriers and support deficiencies.


Dr Alan McLenaghan of Saint-Gobain Glass UK. The company now generates less than 10% of the waste it produced in 2001


revention, re-use, recycle, energy recovery — the resource efficiency mantra is clear. Yet over 90% of materials used to make goods are not present in saleable products and 80% of products are discarded after first use. And the cost of this waste to a typical manufacturer is as high as 4% of annual turnover, says Envirowise, the government-supported free environmental consultation and advice body. Yet while Envirowise estimates environmental best practice could cut these costs by as much as 50%, Britain is missing out on resource efficiency savings of £6.4bn a year, according to the manufacturers organisation EEF. “Many companies underestimate the true cost of inefficient business processes because of a lack of understanding of environmental costs,” says EEF’s senior climate and environmental policy adviser, Vanessa Fandrich. And to be uninformed is damaging, perhaps critically so when raw material and energy costs, and uncertainties over future supplies, are serious challenges to competitiveness. Factor in increasing waste disposal charges and antipollution measures, and companies miscalculate waste costs at their peril.

Challenge and opportunity Yet out of this threat come great opportunities; big cost savings plus market edge. Firms taking a lead on implementing a resource-efficient business model are benefiting from increased competitive


advantage, differentiation from rivals, and better access to markets, contacts and capital. Other gains include reduced risk through legislative compliance, and a closer relationship with suppliers procured through waste management can lead to reduced risk of supply chain failures. As a 200-year old manufacturing company, one of the biggest challenges facing the management of the new look Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL), following a management buyout in 2005, has been to create new manufacturing procedures to increase efficiency, reduce the cost of production and lower energy consumption. “Success in achieving this wholesale revision across our key manufacturing departments — materials and components for the power generation industry — has enabled us to capitalise on and compete within key international markets,” says chief executive Graham Honeyman. From bankruptcy and near-closure in 2003, followed by the MBO, SFIL now has a record profit performance, a sales turnover of more than £100m and a £120m order book. Meanwhile a heavy investment programme post-MBO has seen all company profits reinvested into the plant to create more economical production processes. “Measurable returns include investment in new pulse-fired burners to upgrade the company’s furnaces, which use natural gas to heat steel components, providing up to 30% more efficiency than other types of burners and reducing a key production consumable,” says Honeyman.

m a nag i n gwa s t e f o r S u c c e s s

Looking into the glass

Was te & Resources Action P r o g r a m m e ( WRA P )

For Dr Alan McLenaghan, managing director of SaintThis body funds research projects that could Gobain Glass UK, a Sunday Times Green Company* pave the way for the manufacturing industry to in 2008 and 2009, reduce waste, use more recycled materials and manufacturing sustainably make better use of resources. is a priority “of absolute and utmost importance.” Contacts: Switchboard: 01295 819 900, Helpline: 0808 100 2040. Based near Selby, North Yorkshire, SaintGobain Glass UK (SG) “So now SG gets back 40% of the spacers pioneered the return discarded. And if we can’t re-use the spacer we put of broken glass from customers for use in its it in our cardboard-specific recycle rather than in our furnace, reducing the use of raw materials and customers’ general waste skips,” he says. gas consumption. “For me this is an example of a large Its resource efficiency strategy ranges company such as us — who are able to work on from waste segregation colour-coded bins and waste segregation streams due to the volumes maximising the reuse of glass, to the use of energy of materials we use — offering the service to our efficient lights and educating its 191 staff in green customers who individually are too small to attract behaviour via emails, notice boards and the intranet. interest from waste management companies.” “It’s not just about what we do, it’s about our products and minimising the overall impact. Waste has been cut from seven thousand tonnes a year to less than 500 tonnes, based on the performance of the first eight months of 2009. This is partly the The landfill tax continues economy and the slow down, but mainly more to rise, and if we had done about re-use, and recycling. “But that’s just one element. The second nothing, generating the same is the actual products we are producing; primarily levels of waste now as we were saving energy or resource.” in 2001/2002 our annual waste McLenaghan cites examples such as self cleaning glasses — saving water and using less management bill would be detergent — and low emissivity glasses that reduce £600k. In fact it’s £100k the need for heating (emissivity is the power of a Dr Alan McLenaghan, Saint-Gobain Glass UK material to emit heat relative to its surface area).

Lean initiatives SG has a three-pronged waste strategy. “Firstly we ask: ‘Do we need to use this material in the first place?’ Our lean initiatives, as part of our world class manufacturing approach, have eliminated 12 items previously used and deemed to be, after the lean work, unnecessary. “We’ve done a lot of work on lean projects— for example re-using cardboard spacers that were formerly used just once and thrown away and so cutting demand by 30%. Customers would put these spacers in landfill skips and effectively pay £100 to have half a tonne of cardboard removed. We said, ‘how about putting them back on the glass delivery vehicle?’

Scrap = profit As McLenaghan says, instead of a cost SG is now paid for its scrap metal, which this year totals over £45,000. “A seven tonne skip costs about £100 to have on site. The landfill tax continues to rise, and if we had done nothing, generating the same levels of waste now as we were in 2001/2002 our annual waste management bill would be £600k. In fact it’s £100k, the same as in 2001, but we are generating less than 10% of the waste we did then”. The major barrier to greater resource efficiency in manufacturing is often a lack of this vision of internal environmental costs, according to a recent report from EEF and Barclays Commercial,


m a nag i n gwa s t e f o r S u c c e s s

‘Resource Efficiency — Business Benefits from Sustainable Resource Management.’ Inefficiencies in the ways in which waste is produced and energy and water consumed are frequently overlooked.


M a n u f a c t u r i n g Adv i s o r y Service MAS specialists work with manufacturers to produce a process review, develop product standards and line balancing to improve resource efficiency.

Yet a recent Defra study shows British They can help companies to identify and realise major improvements by integrating existing and new practices while maximising the industry could save £6.4bn annually company’s potential. through good housekeeping, low cost or no cost resource efficiency, Assistance comes in the form of practical workshops and involvement with with the biggest opportunities in organisations such as the Carbon Trust. For example, since its inception MAS has worked with manufacturers to ensure that an energy analysis energy efficiency and waste. The has been carried out to identify the exact percentage of energy consumed Carbon Trust, for example, estimates by their processes as well as identifying possible energy reductions. that 30%-50% of energy used by compressed air systems is caused by MAS practitioners have also assisted companies who are prepared to air leakage that could be prevented sign a Climate Change Agreement (CCA) with Defra which can reduce their Climate Change Levy by up to 80% in return for meeting energy through better maintenance. reduction targets. “We recently worked with a company that, through a few The types of companies eligible for such agreements has expanded since comparatively simple steps, was 2005. MAS has also been able to offer assistance to ensure that energy reduction targets are met. able to reduce waste disposal costs from £750,000 per annum to £200,000,” says John Wilkinson, Contacts: Main switchboard 0845 658 9600 manufacturing consultant and Phil Seeney technology consultant at PA Consulting Group. “And there was Aisin Europe Manufacturing UK of the added bonus of further savings on purchased Birmingham saved £59,000 in a year by a 10% cut in materials, i.e. over £500,000 straight to the bottom scrap produced from its car door frame production line. None of the steps was complex, but each process. Minimising the material length used for required management focus, some simple analysis bending and saw tooling to grip cut material costs and sustained cross-functional implementation.” by 5p per part net of lost scrap value. And one North West England pharmaceutical manufacturer cut costs by more than £100,000 after waste and environmental management company Remsol discovered that stainless steel manufacturing vessels were washed and sanitised when each one still contained up to five litres of valuable product, instead of being cleaned when empty. The cause? Incompatibility of lids and tanks. With the correct lids fitted to the correct tanks, only minor residues of finished product were lost to waste. And capturing larger quantities of finished product led to more and earlier seasonal product placements in key markets, with opportunity cost savings of more than £1m a year. Suffolk brewer Adnams’ companywide recycling scheme is a relatively simple




How much can you save? Rethink Waste is a free initiative developed by Envirowise, with support from EEF, to help manufacturers reduce waste, improve resource efficiency and save money. For more information and to register for Rethink Waste visit:

E n v i row i s e – R e t h i n k Wa s t e Envirowise offers businesses of all sizes and sectors a wide range of free, independent and practical advice designed to genuinely improve their processes, profitability and competitiveness.

Optimise existing processes

Adnams created an innovative lightweight bottle that was recognised as a big step forward in beer Since 1994 Envirowise has helped UK businesses save over £1 billion. Its packaging. This change services include: alone represents a reduction of 415 tonnes • The Envirowise Advice Line — Tel 0800 585794 of CO2 per year — the • An encyclopaedic website of valuable and relevant information equivalent of 138 cars off the road, which almost • Over 200 events each year, from Product Design Workshops to offsets employee car use. major exhibitions “Operating in Envirowise has this month launched Rethink Waste, a new initiative values driven way is to help manufacturers change their approach to waste and make not a soft option and cost savings which could add up to £1,000 per employee. Rethink like all commercial Waste is a programme delivered in three online modules which guide participating companies through key areas such as collecting organisations we have to benchmarking data, developing an action plan and implementing a make tough decisions,” waste saving strategy in order to improve resource efficiency. says Wood. “It’s how we handle the inputs to, and outputs from, those Contacts: Companies can register for Rethink Waste at www. from October 1, 2009. Registrations close on tough decisions that sets December 31 and the course begins early in 2010. us apart from many of our competitors.” Wood argues there is little excuse for businesses not to act responsibly. measure, embracing paper, packaging, electrical “A little investment of time and resources can make a equipment, vehicle batteries and tyres, mobile significant and sustainable impact. At the same time phones and glass. Cooking oil from its hotel businesses can enhance their reputation, strengthen kitchens is converted into biodiesel and spent brand and shareholder value while improving grains from the brewing process recycled as pig business performance.” and cattle feed.

New, leaner, more efficient processes As the EEF/Barclays study points out, the regulatory framework needs to incentivise resource efficiency, “not just increase the cost to business

“Our waste supplier separates and recycles 95 per cent of waste rather than putting it into landfill and we increase the longevity of the tyres on our HGVs by swapping them over regularly,” says managing director Andy Wood.


Sheffield Forgemasters’ new automated burning booth reduces the time for processing forging discards and foundry heads, as well as general recyclable scrap for re-melting. “Previously, limited processing capacity meant scrap was re-used three or four times a year,” says Graham Honeyman. “This has increased to more than 20 cycles per year, reducing the amount of inventory held and raw materials that need to be bought in,” A programme of process re-engineering has increased manufacturing efficiency at SFIL. Hollow ingot development, for example, will enable an ingot to be cast in a near-final state. This reduces subsequent forging operations and the number of heating cycles for ingots, saving natural gas and lowering carbon emissions.

m a nag i n gwa s t e f o r S u c c e s s

At the same time, internal benchmarking monitors strategic supplies: energy, scrap and alloys. From 1999 to 2008, SFIL reduced its energy consumption by 20% per tonne of output, with a corresponding reduction in its carbon footprint. Quantifiable CO² savings are in excess of 50,000 tonnes. Production at Ford Dagenham topped a million engines last year and the company’s aim is to send zero used fluids off site for waste treatment. “To help achieve this we converted to vegetable oil-based machining coolants over five years ago,” says Ford UK’s Oliver Rowe. “As well as being from a renewable source, a lower concentration is required and the sustainable oil is less hazardous to handle. The vegetable oil’s re-useable, swarf [waste metal from the machining process] is filtered out and compacted to produce briquettes for resale, with potential savings of up to £400,000 a year.”



A partnership between the UK environmental regulators: the Environment Agency in England and Wales, SEPA in Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

“Designing products It provides free environmental guidance for small and medium-sized for re-use, recycling, businesses throughout the UK. re-manufacturing, all this is growing in the Contacts: England and Wales: Call the Environment Agency UK and there are great National Customer Contact Centre on: 08708 506 506, email: opportunities not only from resource efficiency and environmental perspectives Northern Ireland: Email: but also in business Scotland: Call SEPA on: 01786 457700 opportunities through customer relations,” says EEF’s Vanessa Fandrich. But green product design opportunities can be “limited, and an incredibly difficult thing” WRAP or the new body providing umbrella advice next to achieve. Manufacturers, says Fandrich, deliver year, need to focus on this far more.” WRAP is the Waste what the customer asks for and consumer demand and Resources Action Programme. is driven by price. The EEF/Barclays study sees a great disparity between drivers on equal design and drivers on end of “Given the choice of a £50 product that is energy life management. “There is no incentive for companies efficient over a period of time, and one that is not energy to re-design their products, and legislation could be efficient and costs £10, the majority will go for the latter. better used. What we see, particularly with this focus Upfront costs, especially during a recession, are the main on end of life, is the assumption that one size fits all. drivers. With greater consumer awareness of the lifetime We say that by encouraging equal design and fostering costs of a product, manufacturers will very quickly innovation we have real opportunities to become world follow and innovate. But without demand then it is very leaders in some of these areas.” difficult. Companies may need support and we think


Energy — a wasting opportunity While the potential for energy from waste is acknowledged as a key tool in managing the issue of landfill, together with the development of a sustainable energy infrastructure, it continues to face enormous economic, technical and social challenges.

Over 90% of materials used to make goods are not present in saleable products and 80% of products are discarded after first use The production of biofuels from waste in a combustion plant or by composting or chemical processes is popular in other European countries. But there are only around 50 plants in Britain, a shortfall criticised in a recent report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which argues that biomass technology could provide a fifth of the nation’s electricity. It is, says IMechE, “absolutely crucial” for waste to be used for energy if Britain is to meet its target of getting 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020. But public opposition to incineration remains fierce.

Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd: investment in new pulse-fired burners to upgrade furnaces delivers 30% more energy efficiency than other burner types


Each year Britain produces some 272 million tonnes of waste, 40% of it from industry and commerce. Almost half of all waste goes to landfill. But while local authorities have a statutory responsibility to ensure that all municipal waste is managed effectively, there is no such duty on any public body to provide such facilities for commercial and industrial waste. “The lack of supportive infrastructure on waste is very bad in many areas,” says EEF’s Fandrich. “We see a lot of companies wanting A Business Link service designed to support to get engaged and do small and medium-sized enterprises in the East more and just not getting of England. cost-effective services. So many companies As part of the project, the company will be asked to complete a tell me they would simple diagnostic tool, either online or face-to-face with a business advisor. This takes the form of a series of questions that look at how re-cycle if there was the organisation manages its energy consumption, waste, carbon an available service in emissions and general environmental impact. their area. All too often there is no alternative The results of this process will determine the advice the company is given and where necessary it will be referred to other organisations for to landfill with all its specialist assistance. rising cost implications. The incentives to do something different are Contacts: Call: 08457 17 16 15 simply not there.”

Th e B u s i n e s s R e s o u r c e Efficiency Project


m a nag i n gwa s t e f o r S u c c e s s

N at i o n a l I n d u s t r i a l Sy m b i o s i s P r o g r a m m e NISP is the world’s only national industrial symbiosis initiative. It is a free business opportunity programme that identifies mutually profitable links between its member companies so that previously unused or discarded resources from one are recovered, reprocessed and reused by others. NISP uses the industrial symbiosis approach asking companies to collaborate and share information, knowledge, expertise and resources to improve their commercial and environmental performance. NISP is nationally coordinated and regionally delivered with 12 regional offices throughout the UK. Membership of NISP is free regardless of company size, turnover or sector. Contacts: Call: 0845 094 9501, Fax: 0845 094 9502, Email:

Astonishingly, the definition of waste and resultant complexity and confusion are such a form of barrier to recycling and recovery, making it in the words of the EEF, “uneconomic to recycle materials even when they have a potential value as a fuel or feedstock for other industries.” So while the benefits of effective waste management and resource efficiency are accepted, a deficient infrastructure of support, funding and advice is a big factor that is frustrating its objectives. Government-sponsored delivery bodies have helped several companies identify improvement opportunities, but as EEF argues, these need to be better co-ordinated to achieve the maximum affect at lower costs for companies and taxpayers. Many products are now covered by several pieces of legislation that each address different product aspects. For example, an electrical equipment manufacturer might be covered by WEEE, the RoHS Packaging and Batteries Directives, and now the Eco-design of Energy-using Products Directive and the REACH regulations.

Better co-ordination a must “There is an urgent need,” says EEF “for greater coordination between these regulations to remove

unnecessary burdens on business and to provide clarity to facilitate investment.” It is a complaint amplified in a recent survey of their membership. While manufacturers in general are seeing a positive environmental impact on performance, compliance is immensely costly and time-consuming. “What we want is the environment and regulation policy framework targeting outcome, and focused on achieving environmental improvements in line with economic objectives,” says Fandrich. “One of the biggest barriers especially for smaller companies is the lack of knowledge. At present they are often struggling to keep their businesses afloat, struggling with environmental legislation, and spending increasing time on the paperwork and associated administrative burden. “And yes there is a positive effect in many areas but it is not necessarily focusing attention on the greatest opportunities possible through environmental improvement.” In reality, and despite ministerial rhetoric, UK policy on waste takes the form of a largely policing and enforcing operation with minimal innovative encouragement. As the EEF/Barclays study points out, the regulatory framework needs to incentivise resource efficiency, “not just increase the cost to business.” end


Avanade: Technology’s best-kept secret Some things are just made for each other. Whether it’s the collaboration of two superstar strikers in a football team, or a joint venture between two market-leaders: when a combination fits, the results are impressive and the partnership effective.


hat’s precisely what Avanade is: a dream partnership. Harnessing the consulting know-how of Accenture and the technological expertise of Microsoft, Avanade has been described as business’s best-kept secret. Avanade, the world’s largest business technology services company, solely dedicated to the Microsoft platform, was created in April 2000 as a joint venture of Accenture and Microsoft to merge the strengths of both companies. Avanade provides business technology services that connect insight, innovation and expertise to help customers realise results, all built on Microsoft’s leading edge technology. Avanade’s services and solutions help organisations in all industries improve performance, productivity and sales. The consultancy has now helped over 3,000 customers accomplish their business objectives using a combination of the low total cost of ownership Microsoft platform and proven strategic methods.

What does it do?

Avanade helps customers realise business results to:



Improve sales, service and customer loyalty to deliver the best possible experience for your customers


Create new products and services that differentiate, build competitive advantage and contribute to growth


Improve operational efficiency – consolidate, simplify and create agile IT infrastructures that support strategic business applications and reduce total cost of ownership


Optimise collaboration across all groups and boundaries—help establish optimal relationships with key influencers including customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders, and employees.

The Avanade partnership enables Accenture to provide a greater level of technical knowledge than its competitors due to the links forged with Microsoft. And as Avanade offers an in-depth understanding of Microsoft products, the venture adds a competitive edge to Accenture’s own market position. Avanade also extends Microsoft’s consulting practice capabilities into a broader market, thanks to a more comprehensive project delivery.


As client portfolios go, Avanade is impressive to say the least from major blue-chip companies such as Lloyds Bank, Tesco and Unilever to smaller organisations such as Vasanta and the Williams F1 team. Avanade can deliver no matter how big the organisation.

What’s next?

And in the future, this burgeoning consultancy looks set to take advantage of a host of opportunities emerging as business’s bestkept secret gets out. Avanade is steering its business towards ‘cost-out initiatives’, employing Microsoft technologies like AX, Microsoft’s ERP product, in a divisional hub and spoke model with large corporate ERP’s such as SAP; or Business Productivity Online Suite, a hosted messaging and collaboration solution designed to give your business streamlined communication with high availability,

comprehensive security, and simplified IT management at reduced costs. But over the longer term, Avanade is looking towards cloud computing and the prospects of virtualisation. With Microsoft as its parent, Avanade has a distinct advantage over its competitors, as it can anchor its systems integration services to the Hyper-V virtualisation software and Azure cloud platform. Yet although the Microsoft technology consulting market represents a significant opportunity, it’s not infinite and Avanade knows this. Never one to be without a strategy, the technology consultancy already has a plan in place to combat any future limitations on its business. Rather than sacrifice its Microsofttechnology orientation and risk losing its special focus, Avanade believes its future success will lie in retaining this USP.

Case study – Avanade optimises business processes at Unilever Unilever has traditionally had a complex, silobased organisational structure, resulting in the duplication of functions, business processes and reporting systems across its many offices and production plants. But this had a negative impact on the company’s efficiency and productivity, driving up overheads and making it unable to respond quickly to competitive threat or new market opportunities. In response, the company launched the ‘One Unilever’ programme for a fitter, smarter business. A critical component of the programme was the implementation of information management and business intelligence systems designed to break

down the country and operating unit silos, using CRM and ERP solutions. Avanade and Accenture were brought in to assess the situation across Europe. They recommended where best practice could be applied and, where appropriate, business processes could be restructured. Project Sirius, a two-stage programme involving the implementation of ERP and CRM solutions, was then introduced and delivered by Avanade to 15 countries. The aim was to make Unilever a simplified organisation to work within, with a single converged IT platform. It would also standardise business processes across the three operating regions of the company: Africa, Middle East and Turkey, Europe and Americas. Its goal was to increase revenue growth and operational abilities. The model has enabled the consolidation of functions – such as HR, IT and finance – across various neighbouring countries. These shared services are bringing efficiencies, which have exceeded the original business case expectations, and have contributed to £1 billion cost savings resulting from the wider ‘One Unilever’ programme.

For further information on Avanade visit: or call +44 (0)20 7025 1172.





Manufacturinginaction Putting UK manufacturers under the spotlight Air Bearings

Factory of the month


A culture of continuous improvement remains central to Air Bearings Ltd’s position as best of breed in the manufacturing of drilling spindles.

Solvent Resource Management Organic recycling


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


Performance engineering


The twenty-first century finds Cosworth as a leading supplier to sectors including aerospace, defence, marine, OEM automotive, performance aftermarket and energy generation.

JDR Cable Systems Sub-sea cabling


JDR Cable Systems on the company’s rapid ascent in to best in class manufacturing of subsea cables for the offshore renewable sector.



TM investigates the range of products designed by DTR VMS Ltd, in the noise, vibration and harshness sector


Product dsign, engineering and manufacturing


Contechs on the company’s unique manufacturing philosophy and the minimal impact of the recession on their market.


Rigid tube assembly


Iracroft Ltd focus on rapid delivery and exploring new markets in the manufacture of rigid tube assemblies

Welsh Country Foods Food and beverage


With fewer people eating out due to economic climate, UK meat producers, have seen sales of lamb and beef remain buoyant


Smooth runnlng for Air Bearings

A culture of continuous improvement remains central to Air Bearings Ltd’s position as best of breed in the manufacture of drilling spindles. TM assistant editor Edward Machin investigates how a cellular shop floor has transformed the company’s daily operations.


Factory of the month Air Bearings

Established in 1993, Dorset-based Air Bearings Ltd are the world’s leading provider of air bearing solutions, specialising in the design, manufacture, and service of drilling spindles for applications such as ultra high speed PCB drilling, precision grinding, and non-ferrous turning and milling. In 1996, Air Bearings entered into a partnership with a large Japanese multinational specialising in high-technology services. Given their significant global market share, the fact that Air Bearings represent the prime supplier of spindles for its PCB drilling machines has been particularly judicious, says Gary Waldron, Manufacturing Manager, Air Bearings. “We export weekly to Japan, with our end customers located across Asia, but particularly in China, Korea, and Japan. However, Air Bearings remains, for all intents and purposes, an autonomous organisation. While there are certain corporate mandates which we are understandably required to follow, we have the considerable benefits of retaining our parent company as a customer, yet largely dictate our own sphere of operations,” he says.

Continuous improvement

Air Bearings design spindles that run up to 350,000 revolutions per minute, and with tolerances significantly finer than those found in traditional manufacturing, often within the half micron range. As a result: “It remains crucial that we undertake a robust range of quality control, testing, and certification procedures to ensure the optimal running of our processes,” says Waldron. Indeed, the company regularly benchmarks both machine availability and quality as part of a larger culture of continuous improvement.

While there are certain corporate mandates which we are understandably required to follow, we have the considerable benefits of retaining our parent company as a customer, yet largely dictate our own sphere of operations

“Central to our continuous improvement process is the active engagement of our staff in all that we do. Given that many have been with the company since its inception, we greatly value the knowledge and experience they have of our technologies, processes, and aspirations.” Says Waldron The company promotes a flat structure, with management actively engaged with shop floor activities. Explains Waldron: “While obviously our roles are delineated to an extent, we feel it important to engage with our workforce wherever possible. Indeed, for staff to be genuinely involved in our company they must be made aware of what we are seeking to achieve. More than that, however, they need to sense that their voice and contributions are fundamental to our successes – past, present, and future.” A further impetus behind much of the company’s efficiency drives has been its regular contact with the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS), a government funded organisation created to advise manufacturers with productivity and best practice initiatives. Says Waldron: “Air


eMerge Information Technology Limited eMerge are proud to support Air Bearings in their use of the Priority ERP solution


ormed in 2001, eMerge Information Technology Limited is part of the Medatech Group who supply, implement, configure and support Priority – a crossindustry ERP solution. Responsible for over 1500 customers worldwide its continued success is based on the ability for Priority to be tailored to each customer’s unique requirements without jeopardising its future upgradeability – all modifications will work with future releases without the need for further programming. The result is maximum functionality for the lowest TCO. Priority comes complete with Customer Service and Project Management modules as standard alongside tools such as


Executive Information Systems. These are not third-party interfaces; they’re coded directly into Priority. It has full integration/synchronisation with Microsoft applications including Outlook and Project. It is fully webcompliant enabling business portals to be built ranging from small intranets to complete e-commerce solutions. Priority has been used on mobile devices (phones, PDAs, etc.) for many years. In addition it has a special SFDC module for reporting, wirelessly and via barcode, your shop-floor transactions. It can be used in either a Windows or UNIX environment with database options for Oracle and MS-SQL.

eMerge take pleasure in providing and supporting their customers with a longterm ERP solution. If you would like some more information please contact eMerge:

Published in association with: eMerge IT Limited

Speedwell House, Speedwell Close Chandler’s Ford Industrial Estate Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire, SO53 4BT

Tel: 0845 230 6740 Fax: 0845 230 6750 Email:

Factory of the month Air Bearings

Bearings initially engaged with SWMAS in 2008. After a three month consultation period in which we set out our latest continuous improvement benchmarks, SWMAS advised us as to the most efficient ways to implement them.” “These consultations have been invaluable, in that SWMAS acts as both an external resource and sounding board for the processes which will keep Air Bearings ahead of the chasing pack. Moreover, the sessions serve to further reinforce our company ethos, as we actively seek to engage with impartial bodies who are passionate about continuous improvement.”

Central to our continuous improvement process is the active engagement of our staff in much that we do. Given that many have been with the company since its inception, we greatly value the knowledge and experience they have of our technologies, processes, and aspirations

A hard Cell?

In line with the company’s total efficiency drive, in 2007 Air Bearings began a move from process based manufacturing to cellular operations. Explains Waldron: “Originally the floor was structured so as to position the turning, milling, and grinding in distinct and separate locations. However, to manufacture our products with maximum efficiency we structured the floor so as to accommodate five cells, each designed to produce complete components.”


APT Leading The Way Components less than 1mm to 42mm diameter, from simple to complex, APT Leicester have been providing its customers with the finest high-precision turned parts for more than 50 years.


rom its climate-controlled factory, APT Leicester blends traditional working values with contemporary flexibility to produce bar and chuck work up to 80mm diameter, from raw materials such as: Stainless & Ferrous Steels Aluminium Brass Plastics High Temperature Alloys

It is no coincidence, APT’s exceptional reputation stems from a willingness to lead the way in providing the highest standards of quality, service and value, establishing APT as one of the UK’s premium manufacturers, engineers and suppliers across all industry sectors, including: Aerospace Electronics


Medical Motor Sport Security Power Generation

effective and problem free engineering solutions in a highly competitive environment.

APT make the most of the very latest high precision, modern, CNC Multi-Axis Turning Centres and Vertical Machining Centres and continued investment in people, machinery, equipment and IT systems has placed APT at the forefront of the UK turned parts industry. This is a customer focused, vibrant business, and all APT’s customers will experience and benefit from a commitment to ongoing training schemes that ensure staff, apprentices and management are equipped with the necessary skills required to deliver cost

Published in association with: APT LEICESTER Tel: 0116 287 0051 Email:

Factory of the month Air Bearings

While the process remains ongoing, the initial benefits were immediate, with both lead times and cost reducing, together with a noticeable rise in employee engagement. More significantly, the company’s decision to approach cellular manufacturing lead it to Lean. Somewhat unusually, however, says Waldron: “Lean is an area that we almost approached backwards. Indeed, we felt that the cellular operations the company is in the process of implementing on the floor should represent merely one aspect of a wider efficiency drive.” For example, the continuing development of 5S — a workplace organisational methodology to increase efficiency, safety, and staff moral — has been central to Air Bearings’ move into both cellular and Lean operations. In spite of its being a “deceptively simple” process, Waldron asserts that 5S will make a considerable difference not only to the company as a whole, but within the cells themselves. “While our Lean journey is still in its infancy, the effect it has had on the cellular structure is noticeable. However, we are keen not to get ahead of ourselves,” he says. As a result, the company installs cells individually, creating another only after a thorough review of the support, efficiency, and processing benchmarks for the previous one has been undertaken. Air Bearings initially targeted early 2010 for completion of the five cells. “In fact,” says Waldron, “we are expecting to go live across the shop floor by November of this year. That is not to say that the process ends there; far from it. It will be a case of consolidation, ongoing refinement, and regularly benchmarking the cells against one another. In other words, continuous improvement.”


Air Bearings

Cutting edge technologies

With only a very limited number of similar companies, Air Bearings Ltd operates globally in the sub-sector of air bearing based PCB drill production and is one of only two manufacturers working at such high tolerances. As a result, research and development remains a vital aspect of the company’s remit. Says Waldron: “We commit a significant amount of both time and money to exploring new technology, processes, and intellectual properties, with approximately 25% of our total staff working under engineering manager Jevan Smith and R & D manager Dr Ralf DuPont ” He continues: “Given that we are — to a large extent — the sole market operator for sub-micron, high-tech air bearing solutions, it makes sense that we keep our R&D primarily in-house.” As such, the department undertakes ‘pure’ research into new materials and processes, together with the methods by which it applies those processes to prototype spindles and related products. Indeed, the economic downturn has seen Air Bearings actually increase

its investment in R&D activities. Says Waldron: “It would be incorrect to claim that the financial climate has entirely bypassed Air Bearings Ltd.” That being said, the company’s ongoing commitment to research, product development, and ultra high specification technologies means that it is ideally placed to continue operating as a best in class manufacturer when the economy does upsurge.

The department undertakes ‘pure’ research into new materials and processes, together with the methods by which it applies those processes to prototype spindles and related products

“Moreover, the affiliation with our parent company means that we have the capacity to engage in pioneering independent research, secure in the knowledge that our owners not only condone such practices, but actively encourage us to do so.” “After all,” says Waldron, “the achievements of Air Bearings Ltd are largely down to our workforce. Without the dedicated staff that ensure our continued successes, any advances we make in research and development, cellular manufacturing, or Lean operations would be impossible.” end


Organic recycling SRM

Recycling? Problem Solvent Consolidating its market lead while enforcing best environmental practice is all in a day’s work for Solvent Resource Management Limited (SRM). As Tim Brown discovered from operations director, Tony Walmsley and commercial director, Richard Butcher. Solvents are used in industries including chemical, pharmaceutical, agro-chemical, printers, paint production and in everyday items such as paint, cosmetics or cleaners. The solvent market has changed dramatically over the past two decades. Infamous chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were once the overwhelming solvent choice for many market segments. Today, there are heavy restrictions on CFCs and chlorinated solvent use due to environmental concerns including ozone depletion. Over the same period, waste minimisation and sustainability have become everyday parlance and the waste hierarchy has become enshrined in environmental legislation. Solvent recycling is very much in tune with achieving such aims and meeting these directives. 85

Kidds Transport LTD Kidds Transport began life in 1957 to handle haulage for a group of manufacturers in Lancaster, More than half a century later we are still doing haulage, as part of a package of complimentary services for all sorts of businesses throughout the UK.


t’s no accident that we’re still here, from the beginning we set out to do the job properly, providing a fast, flexible and dependable service. We’re not interested in cutting corners for short term gain we’re in for the long haul. Being members of the FTA, RHA, UKWA we can ensure that we are right up to the minute with industry best practice, as well as setting standards with ISO 9001:2000. We operate a large and diverse fleet of modern vehicles from small express vans to 44 ton articulated trucks, this gives us flexibility to provide; transport throughout


mainland UK; multi drop deliveries; express deliveries and groupage facilities; timed deliveries and the movement of hazardous goods, bulk and packages. We also operate nearly 100,000 square feet of clean, dry warehousing, racked and free standing at our depot, which is secure, staffed and monitored by CCTV 24 hours a day. We provide order picking and repacking services, labelling, container stuffing and destuffing, palletized shrink wrapping and bonding. We have great experience in the transportation of hazardous goods, whether

your shipment moves by vacuum tank, general product tanker or other freight vehicle, our priority is to ensure it arrives safely and on time.

Published in association with: KIDDS TRANSPORT LTD Tel: 01524 34334 Email:

Organic recycling SRM

UK based Solvent Resource Management Limited (SRM) operates one such solvent recycling business. As one of the largest organic waste material recyclers in Europe, SRM processes nearly 400,000 tonnes each year, employs over 300 people on seven sites and has an annual turnover of approaching £40 million. “Our biggest product line is solvent recovery,” says Walmsley, “which involves taking in waste solvents and recovering them back to solvents that can be sold and re-used within the market as equivalent or similar to virgin products.”

SRM treats waste in accordance with the European waste hierarchy and recycles or disposes of it by the best practicable environmental option. The company is committed to respecting and protecting the environment and preventing pollution. In doing so its activities are covered by an environmental management system certified to the requirements of ISO 14001.

The company has developed rapidly over recent years through organic growth and strategic acquisition. One sign of this is the development of its European activity and SRM now employs multi-lingual agents in all the main markets in Europe. It is committed to providing customers with a specialised waste management service in the chemical and waste-toenergy markets in which it operates. It handles material in any quantities and has the capacity to handle entire shiploads.

Impressively, the environmental advantages of engaging in solvent recycling are matched by the commercial reward. According to Butcher: “The main drivers for companies using us, as well as wanting to be environmentally friendly, is the commercial benefit. As in, they can get paid for the waste rather than having to pay to dispose of it and then we can unlock the value within that waste... in some cases up to several thousand pounds per ton.”

SRM is able to use the organic waste from its solvent recycling process to create an alternative energy substitute for use in cement and lime kilns The recycling method encompasses a distilling process which relies on the different boiling points of the waste components to separate the different end products. According to Walmsley, the process is extremely effective and solvents can be returned to market in near virgin state for almost indefinite re-use.

SRM Ltd at a glance Location

Middleton Road, Morecambe, Lancashire.


Organic material recycling.






SRM was established in 2000 from the acquisition and merger of 2 independent recycling companies, namely CMR and SolRec. In 2003, SRM acquired a further distillation facility from Croda. Profuel and MRM operations were set-up in 2003 and 2008 respectively.

Geographical areas of operation:

UK, Ireland and Western Europe

“Very often there is more than just one solvent component in the waste stream that can be recycled. The distillation process separates individual components which can either be returned to the originator or sold on the open market. We can recycle many different solvents including alcohols, hydrocarbons, acetones, acetates as well as more exotic chemicals such as tetrahydrofuran (THF), dimethylformamide (DMF), pyridine and acetic acid.” As part of Heidelberg Cement, the worldwide building materials group, SRM has access to a valuable international network of expertise and experience. SRM’s customer service centre is based at Morecambe in Lancashire. From here it co-ordinates operations for its sites in Morecambe, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, Knottingley in West Yorkshire, Rye in East Sussex and Ketton in Rutland.


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


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


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

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

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

Organic recycling SRM

bottom regular reviews across all operational areas of the business and all active projects are reviewed quarterly by the board of directors. Furthermore, our CI approach has been successfully adapted to meet the needs of our customers through the introduction of Stream Improvement Plans (SIPS) with many of them.”

It is this connection with the cement industry that provides the second major element of SRM’s business model. The manufacture of cement and lime is very energy intensive. SRM is able to use the organic waste from its solvent recycling process to create an alternative energy substitute for use in cement and lime kilns. The substitute fuel, called Cemfuel, replaces the need to burn coal and in some cases has achieved a reduction in emissions. Not only is there an environmental benefit but in the same way as with the solvent recycling, there is also an economic benefit as the Cemfuel is a cheaper energy source than coal.

Our CI approach has been successfully adapted to meet the needs of our customers through the introduction of Stream Improvement Plans

As an environmentally sensitive and economically sensible operation, SRM demonstrates the kind of initiative that will be vital as the world moves towards a low carbon economy. By focusing on the needs of a particular niche market, SRM have developed an effective means of contributing both to the effective operation of industries producing organic waste while also providing an effective alternative fuel for the cement industry. The company’s rapid growth is testament to its market comprehension and its future outlook is promising as the organic waste and alternative fuel markets grow and the company’s capabilities continue to expand. end

The company also incorporates two further products. Profuel is another alternative fuel for cement kilns which is made from paper and plastic predominantly from municipal inputs. Companies take municipal waste, treat it, sort it and if it can’t be directly re-cycled, SRM can convert it into another calorific substitute alternative fuel. SRM’s sister company, MRM, runs their Alternative Raw Material program which takes minerals and inorganic materials and recycle them as alternative raw materials within the cement industry. It is without a doubt that SRM’s active continual improvement program has contributed to their holistic and highly successful approach to recycling. Part of the continual development and improvement in the business is demonstrably as a result of their project based approach to problem solving and the well organised project reviewing process. “Everybody is actively engaged in a continuous improvement effort,” says Butcher. “This includes top to


Cosworth Founded in 1958, and with an unparalleled pedigree in performance engineering in the world of Formula 1 motorsport, the twenty-first century finds Cosworth as a leading supplier in a diverse range of sectors including, aerospace, defence, marine, OEM automotive, performance aftermarket and energy generation. Cosworth’s

world class engineering and manufacturing expertise provide performance solutions based on a sound understanding from first principles. This expertise has delivered championship winning engines for Formula 1, Indy 500 and Le Mans, powering cars driven by racing legends Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and Michael Schumacher.


leading the race to diversify

With such a distinguished history in motor racing, the Northampton-headquartered business could be forgiven for resting on its laurels. However a robust strategy of diversification and global development has been pursued by the business, which has accelerated since its split from Ford in 2004. The Cosworth Group was formed when current owners, Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven, combined the mechanical engineering and precision manufacturing expertise available in Cosworth’s Northampton and Torrance (CA, USA) facilities with the advanced electronics capabilities of Pi Research – now known as Cosworth Electronics. The resulting synergies within the Cosworth Group has enabled it to transfer technologies and domain expertise to provide vertically integrated solutions for the likes of Rolls Royce and Aston Martin. “Although Cosworth’s reputation was originally built on our considerable achievements in the world of motorsport,” says Jog Lall, General Manager and Director of Cosworth’s Northampton campus, “our expertise in design and prototyping, precision manufacturing, and performance optimisation are hugely relevant to the aerospace, defence, marine, and energy generation industries.”

Complete solutions

Since implementing its ambitious diversification strategy, the Cosworth Group has provided a raft of industry-leading solutions

Performance engineering Cosworth

Explains Lall: “Cosworth are able to undertake every step in the path from concept generation, simulation and design, through prototype creation and testing, to niche volume manufacture, allowing the business to work with customers as a development solutions provider. Our on-site, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities play a key part in providing vertically integrated solutions.” With technologies such as integrated CAD/CAM systems with Vericut machine simulation, versatile 5 axis machining centres, and processing capabilities for aluminium, titanium, magnesium, and steel, Cosworth is well equipped to provide manufacturing services that reduce setup time and minimise handling for ‘Right First time’ results.

Blue chip choice

In 2008, Rolls Royce awarded Cosworth the contract to supply components for the Deltic engine, a complex design manufactured from non-ferrous materials, and used by the Royal Navy in its minesweeping vessels. The project relied on Cosworth’s ability to provide cutting edge, cost effective solutions for cast, forged, and machined-fromsolid complex components produced to AS9100 standards. In order to ensure the end result components were of exceptional quality, advanced reverse engineering techniques such as 3D optical and CT (computed tomography) scanning procedures were used to ensure conformance compliance. All parts were supplied to the customer with full traceability, including First Article Inspection Reports and material Certificates of Conformance. Similarly, the company’s groundbreaking AE1 single cylinder engine — a lightweight, heavy-fuel engine designed for use in unmanned vehicles — has been chosen for use in the BAE Systems’ Talisman, a battery powered unmanned underwater vehicle, and by ArcturusUAV in its pioneering aerial system. Cementing the firm’s assent into the aerospace and defence elite, and a mere five years after its launch in the sector, the US Navy has contracted Cosworth as part of its Ultra Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle programme, the final stage of a two year, multi-million dollar project to prove the readiness of technology for transition to STUAS/Tier II UAV programmes.

original incarnation as a racing engine workshop, its forty years of expertise in automotive design is still winning Cosworth illustrious vehicle contracts, the design and manufacture of engine for Aston Martin’s new supercar the One-77 being one such project. “Aston approached us with a basic starting premise, to which a number of critical adjustments in engine length, cost reduction, and improved power output were needed,” says Bruce Wood, Cosworth’s Technical Director. “We are delighted to have delivered to Aston’s specifications, even exceeding these in certain areas of the remit. The project — as with the majority that we undertake — is indicative of the ability that our Cosworth design, engineering, and manufacturing teams have to develop and deliver a performance solution on time and on budget.”

that draw on the Group’s impressive engineering and manufacturing capabilities.

Our on-site, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities play a key part in providing vertically integrated solutions

Given the Cosworth Group’s thriving sector diversification, Lall understandably remains confident about the future: “Without doubt, the prudent operation and commercial sense which underpins the company has been a critical factor in our success to date. Coupled with investigating those opportunities to take our world class engineering and high precision manufacturing capabilities to customers in adjacent markets, this strategy has enabled us to make the transition from an — albeit very successful — automotive specialist to a global provider of aerospace, defence, marine, and energy solutions.” Indeed, the company has recently opened offices in India, aiming to replicate its success in this rapidly expanding market. Such will, says Lall: “Allow Cosworth to establish a footprint within the territory, while simultaneously providing direct access to the quality and skill of our engineering expertise.” While the venture is aimed initially at the automotive aftermarket, Cosworth seeks also to leverage its not inconsiderable success in the aerospace and defence sectors, given that there has been significant activity in the Indian market since the turn of the decade. Concludes Lall: “Our latest expansions demonstrate that Cosworth’s unique mix of engineering expertise and state of the art manufacturing capabilities are of real value to customers in today’s global marketplace. This mix of innovative capabilities has positioned Cosworth as a key solutions supplier across each sector in which we operate, whether it be our traditional automotive expertise, or those adjacent markets which have driven the company into the twentyfirst century.” end

Indeed, whilst the firm has successfully diversified into sectors other than its


Blowi n g in the wind TM assistant editor Edward Machin meets JDR Cable Systems’ managing director, Patrick Phelan, to discuss the company’s rapid ascent into best in class manufacturing of subsea cables for the offshore renewable sector. Established in 1966, JDR Cable Systems design and manufacture custom engineered cable and umbilical systems for a range of subsea infrastructures. Originally producing hoses and cables for the offshore diving industry, the company’s portfolio now includes the production of subsea power cables for the oil and gas sectors; marine seismic data acquisition cables and umbilicals; sub sea production umbilicals; workover control system umbilical reeler packages and tactical sonar array cable systems. Moreover, JDR has leveraged its considerable success in oil and gas — built on the back of the first North Sea boom — to adjacent markets, namely the burgeoning offshore renewable sector. Indeed, says managing director Patrick Phelan: “JDR is especially proud of the fact that in recent


years the company has developed into a leading supplier of subsea power cables for flagship renewable energy projects.”


The genesis of JDR’s entry into the offshore renewable sector began in 2004, with the implementation of a company divergence strategy recognising that much of the burden for future global energy production lay in renewable means. Nonetheless, says Phelan: “We are one of the very few British companies to have both invested heavily in renewables and taken a major role in the industry, due to the fact that the supply chain is largely located in mainland Europe.” Such prescience soon paid dividends, however, with JDR winning the prestigious Beatrice Wind Farm Demonstrator contract to design, manufacture, and test the composite subsea power cables required to bring the power generated from two offshore wind turbines back to a pre-existing oil and gas production platform. “Naturally we were delighted with our involvement in a project pioneering the development of deepwater windfarms, especially given JDR’s relatively recent entry into the renewables market,” says Phelan. Equally, it presented the company with a platform from which to tender for the inter-turbine array cables for the world’s largest offshore wind farm, which JDR was ultimately successful in winning in 2008. Located 23km off the Suffolk coast, the Greater Gabbard project is the first UK offshore wind farm to be built outside of territorial waters, using 140 wind turbines to generate over 500 megawatts of renewable energy. Says Phelan: “Our remit is to supply the project’s inter-array subsea power cables and associated terminations, over 200km in total, thus providing the critical link between the 3.6MW turbine generators and the Gabbard and Galloper offshore substations. With the Greater Gabbard project due to be completed in 2011, JDR supplied phase one from our facility in Littleport, Cambridgshire, with phase two currently being produced at our deepwater quayside manufacturing facility in Hartlepool.” Opened in July 2009, the purpose-built, 100,000 sq foot facility is the only site in the UK designed specifically to manufacture subsea power cables for both the oil and gas and offshore renewable energy markets.

Subsea cabling JDR Cable Systems

Summarises Phelan: “That JDR regularly wins contracts of such magnitude is testament to our unrivalled experience in designing world class offshore oil and gas subsea cable systems. Coupled with our cable handling, protection, installation aids, and termination engineering capabilities, the company is unique in the sector in that we combine considerable expertise in the manufacture of both subsea power cables and umbilicals, renewable or otherwise.”

Centres of excellence

JDR delineates its operations and engineering teams into two distinct brands; Umbilical Systems and Subsea Power Cables. Each unit comprises research and development, pre-order system development, and post-order design teams. Says Phelan: “Such a structure allows JDR to retain our focus on developing ever more sophisticated products while concurrently working with customers across each stage of the manufacture, implementation, and design life processes.” Manufacturing of these products is carried out at three sites – Littleport for products up to 100 tonnes, Hartlepool up to 2,200 tonnes, and for the Asia Pacific market the company has a quayside factory in Thailand producing umbilicals up to 300 tonnes. He continues: “Each site has its own general manager, manufacturing manager, and safety & quality manager. The facilities thus retain a considerable degree of both autonomy and local ownership over quality and delivery costs.” Moreover, as individual centres of excellence, JDR undertakes the majority of its staff development training in-house within a detailed framework of internal accreditation. An emphasis on world class training is, says Phelan, recognition that JDR’s

operational standards, product quality, and lifespan reliability are paramount, given the highly testing environments in which its devices are placed. Indeed, a culture of fastidious benchmarking and quality control has remained central to the company since its inception. He explains: “Because JDR initially provided umbilicals to the diving industry, we are only too aware that human life can be dependent on the precision and reliability of our products. Equally, the margin for error in manufacturing power cables and related infrastructure to be positioned up to 2000m below the surface for a period of 25 years is non-existent.” Moreover, while the benefits of renewable energy are substantial, wind power must be generated in the most cost efficient manner possible. Says Phelan: “Central to the renewables market is a dependence on minimising capital costs and optimising long term reliability, such that maintenance expenditure is reduced.” Accordingly, JDR transposes the best practices which have seen the company succeed in the oil and gas markets to its work in offshore renewables, thus greatly reducing installation costs. An offshore windfarm may have 150 turbines, requiring a total of 300 cables ends. Traditionally an end could take up to a day to install, whereas JDR’s purpose designed

JDR is especially proud of the fact that in recent years the company has developed into a leading supplier of subsea power cables for flagship renewable energy projects

Having diversified with considerable success into sectors beyond its original incarnation, JDR’s thirty five years expertise in the oil and gas industries continues to win it the most illustrious of marine cable contracts. In July 2009, the company was selected as lead contractor for the supply of sub sea power cables to the world’s first large scale wave project, Wave Hub, located off the Cornwall coast. Jointly funded by the South West RDA and the Department of Trade and Industry, the hub will create an electrical ‘socket’ on the seabed, allowing energy development companies to trial up to four systems at any one time in a location with proven wave energy.

termination system enables this to be done within two hours, thus reducing installation time by a factor of ten. Coupled with the company’s unparalleled heritage, that it significantly minimises installation cycles is, says Phelan: “One of the reasons why JDR continues to win contracts for the most pioneering renewables market projects.”


Central to JDR’s capacity to work to world class turnaround times is an organisational embracing of lean operations. The company began its lean journey in 2007, enabled by support from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS). Says Phelan: “Phase one of JDR’s journey was largely focused on 5S, which has since been fully implemented. However, we identified that 5S would not maximise the considerable benefits of a lean culture if working in isolation. Phase two thus concerns the optimisation of our information management systems, particularly with regard to the company’s integrated ERP system – Visual Manufacturing.” The company has also acquired the PROQUIS software solution to further refine its quality and reliability management; document charting; workflow; and continuous improvement processes. “The system allows efficient management of all workflow within the organisation so that revision, project change, and manufacturing procedure control can be carried out across our global operations.” says Phelan. “Taken together, such advancements will enable JDR Cable Systems to continue supplying subsea cables, umbilicals, and related products for the most celebrated offshore projects, renewables and otherwise.” end


Good Good Good

vibrations TM investigates the range of products designed by DTR VMS Ltd, a best of breed manufacturer in the NVH sector

Wiltshire-based DTR VMS Ltd is a full service supplier, designing and manufacturing advanced technical products to address noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) and improve vehicle comfort. The company’s product portfolio includes engine and suspension mounts, mass dampers, tank track pads, and other vibration management products, supplied to leading global automotive and defence customers in Europe and North America. DTR VMS Ltd’s anti-vibration business employs more than 300 people, with manufacturing plants in Wiltshire, South Korea, and China. Moreover, the organisation has technical centers in Jinju, South Korea and Taylor, Michigan. DTR VMS is a division of Dong Ah Tire & Rubber Co Ltd, a global developer and supplier of vibration management systems, automotive batteries, inner tubes, rubber products, and carbon master batch. Dong Ah Tire & Rubber Corporation is headquartered in Yusan, South Korea, with more than 3,000 employees and annual sales of more than $500 million. In January 2009, Dong Ah Tire & Rubber Corporation changed the name of the


Vibration Management Systems (VMS) business unit it acquired from Avon Automotive to DTR VMS Limited. Regarding the rename, Sang-Hun Kim, Dong Ah Tire & Rubber`s president and CEO, said: “The name is designed to place the new business unit under a single DTR – Dong Ah Tire & Rubber identity and underscores the continued growth of our company. I am confident that DTR VMS Limited will enable us to build on our strengths and align our performance even more closely with our customers’ expectations and demands.”


DTR VMS manufactures rubber and hydraulic mounts, thus providing both low cost and advanced mounting solutions for gearbox (longitudinal) and petrol or diesel engine (transverse and longitudinal) installations. Accordingly, its products include hydraulic mounts in passive, semi-active, active, dual isolation, and durabrush applications. Passive mounts are designed to provide improved ride and comfort while maintaining acoustic isolation and a high degree of tuneability. Semi active mounts provide improved idle refinement without compromise for diesel of fuel stratified engines, while DTR’s dual isolation installations offer high frequency noise performance without sacrificing the benefits of a conventional hydraulic mount. The company’s durabrush product range offers vertical or horizontal fix, hydraulically damped, high amplitude brushes. Manufactured for use in differential and gearbox mounts, they offer high amplitude decoupling and dynamic tuning thanks to DTR’s patented ‘nose’ feature. Similarly, its design incorporates a snubber protection ‘SPS’ system, high impact bypass,




DTR designs and manufactures two bushes for suspension applications: the Single Bonded Bush and the Multi Bonded Bush. The former provides a low cost pivot solution for suspension arms, while the latter offers a pivot solution with multidirectional stiffness control for multilink sports suspension, control arm, and rear steer applications. The company’s chassis range include the aforementioned hydraulic durabush, subframe multi bonded bush, and dynamic absorbers. Subframe bushes offer DTR’s patented plastic outerclip design, ultimately providing significant weight and cost savings while enabling significant push out load capacity for use in subframe and chassis applications. Dynamic absorbers offer an extremely

fast to market time, combined with the safety conscious design which has come to typify the DTR VMS approach to its products.


DTR is a world class supplier for the defence sector, with its product selection including CVRT track bushes, Stormer track links, and the Warrior track pad. CVRT bushes are primarily used on single pin track systems, although DTR also manufactures double pin track systems for use on track tanks.

DTR VMS Ltd’s anti-vibration business employs more than 300 people, with manufacturing plants in Wiltshire, South Korea, and China

inertia channels, and compression of the product’s main rubber elements. Finally, the company’s active mount represents the first fully closed loop active mount in production, with vibrational cancellation up to 750Hz – resultantly enabling enhancement of vehicle ‘soundtrack’.

Stormer track links are similarly designed for both single and double pin track systems, and used in Terrier and Challenger 2 applications, the latter of which is widely accepted as the world’s most reliable main battle tank. The Warrior track pad is designed for CET, Terrier, and Trojan tank tracks, thus further cementing the company’s position as a best of breed manufacturer for the defence markets. end


Innovative i n t e r i o r s Contechs is a specialist company providing a complete niche product design, engineering & manufacturing solution to bluechip OEM’s. Tim Brown talks to Managing Director Peter Jarvis and Operations Director Stuart Wakefield about their innovative manufacturing philosophy and the minimal impact of the recession on their market. 96


consists of three sites in Basildon, Poole and Warwick and primarily focuses on the manufacture of exclusive interior products for the automotive and marine industries. “We’re very much targeted in terms of the business strategy of the company,” says Wakefield. “We concentrate on niche, low volume products but that are very high-end. Think Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicles or Sunseeker. The low volume niche clients are the people we are really focusing on.” One might have thought that the luxury market would have been one of the hardest hit markets as result of the recession with only essential industries such as food publicised as being relatively protected. Despite this, Jarvis says that Contechs has been relatively secure throughout the year, despite the

Product DE&M Contechs

the marine side of our business, we have seen a slow-down in some products but with our intermediate to large products, we’ve seen growth. For the moment, I’m bold enough to say that we are on target to achieve our budget for 2009 which is a pretty big thing for us because we didn’t necessarily believe that it would be possible at the beginning of the year.” While the design and manufacture of luxury interiors for the domestic automotive and marine markets are the company’s mainstay offering, the company knows that its market is not infallible. As a result, Contechs plans to extend its reach further afield to both instigate growth and safeguard against future market declines. Part of the company’s strategy now is to focus on growing the export side of the business to get a more balanced portfolio. Much of this, the company hopes to make possible by incorporating improved manufacturing efficiency and thereby allow exporting to be more economically viable. This will be achieved particularly through the use modular design concepts where the exterior cosmetics of product are individual but the seat undertone or, “DNA of the seat” as Wakefield refers to it, will be universal.

Peter Jarvis, Director, Contech

We’ve grown fairly rapidly in the marine side and now we just need to start looking at balancing the portfolio; both in terms of products and also in our customer base

“The trimming side of the business in the marine sector has been going for about four years, says Jarvis, “whereas the design consultancy side of the business was established in 1997. We’ve grown fairly rapidly in the marine side and now we just need to start looking at balancing the portfolio; both in terms of products and also in our customer base. We are now fairly broad in terms of our service offering, we really need to make sure that we start to promote our services to a wider audience and embed the robust systems that enable us to deliver repeatable consistent quality.”

recession, and despite a less than positive outlook at the beginning of the year. “Early on we were quite conscious about our budget and became very reserved about the market sectors we operate in. The first half of the year we saw a drop off in sales, but in quarter three has to date seen a steady slow increase. “I would say that Sales revenues have dropped by about 10% overall,” says Jarvis, “which is pretty good considering other markets and other areas of the automotive sector. We’ve generally seen since 1997, year on year growth. Within

Contechs’ holistic approach to manufacturing is what they believe differentiates them within the market. “We’ll get asked to design a seat or complete cockpit, we’ll then do the concept, we’ll make prototypes, we’ll do all feasibility, tooling and product designs, do all the testing, and then fully release the seat or system. We are a true full service supplier in a niche market sector. When you look at our competition, there aren’t many, if any, that can offer the range of services we are able offer under one roof. We are now a full service supplier from cradle to grave for niche low volume products.” Contechs continuing excellent reputation and a passion for achieving the highest levels of excellent was a key differentiator on being awarded a special assignment to complete the King of Jordan’s 94ft Yacht. This project is scheduled to be completed by November 2009. Having recently partnered with the DTI and Coventry University to undertake a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), Contechs will, over the next two years, commission two fulltime associates to assist them with their manufacturing processes. The ultimate objective, according to Jarvis, is to generate an academic report based around the subject matter


Product DE&M Contechs

quality and customer satisfaction rounds out the Contechs approach to continual improvement. The implementation of further improvements following the findings from their KTP will undoubtedly assist Contechs to further improve their

We’re very much targeted in terms of the business strategy of the company, we concentrate on niche, low volume products but that are very high-end Stuart Wakefield, Operations Director, Contech

of low volume, high variety. “That topic has not been published in detail before,” says Jarvis. “We’ve got lean manufacturing processes now in place that are being continually improved, that enable us to be a lot more efficient in the way we do our day to day business. In a way we mirror companies like Toyota and Bentley; we benchmark the volume production systems and then tailor / improving them specifically for low volume, high variety production runs. This allows Contechs to generate repeatable quality at lower costs. This is a win-win for the niche low volume market we operate in. This is the reason why we have been able to diversify so successfully over the past four years.”

efficiency and productivity. This combined with their reputation for quality products secured through their exclusive client list and subsequent awarded recognition, Contechs’ desire for client expansion is a very realistic goal. The question is which exclusive client will be the next to receive the Contechs’ touch? end

Contechs at a glance Location

Basildon, Essex; Warwick, Warwickshire; and Poole, Dorset.


Niche product design, engineering & manufacturing solutions.






Contechs Consulting Ltd was formed in 1997 to offer specialist design and engineering services to OEMs and their first/second tier l suppliers.

Geographical areas of operation:

UK, mainland Europe and the Middle east

Implementing such an innovative manufacturing principle such as low volume, high variety has clearly been a success for Contechs. In 2007 Sunseeker, the luxury boat builder awarded Contechs best new supplier in 2007 and, in 2008 Contechs won best supplier out of a pool of 3,500 businesses. The implementation of a weekly meetings which analyse their key performance indicators such as rejects,


Bendi n g over backwards to maintain consistency

Iracroft Ltd, specialists in the manufacture of rigid tube assemblies for pneumatic, hydraulic and coolant applications, focuses on rapid delivery and is exploring new markets, Ruari McCallion learned from Tom Maddocks.


Rigid tube assemblies Iracroft Ltd

It is, as they say, something of a ‘no-brainer’ that when customers want something, they probably want it immediately – if not sooner. It isn’t always possible or practical to achieve, especially if the product is low-volume or something special. However, Iracroft Ltd, which is based in Blandford Forum, in Dorset, has made a habit of striking that delicate balance – providing high-quality engineering services in a fraction of the norm in its business.

“We do hold some stock but not an overwhelming amount,” he said. “We operate kanban systems for our larger customers and hold partially-finished products for others.” Iracroft has been working with its suppliers to develop a chain that is responsive itself, and an adaptable workforce to flex to meet demand.

“We are very responsive, fast reacting and our lead times are much shorter than the industry standard of four to six weeks,” said Tom Maddocks, business development manager. “We seek to deliver – and to higher standards – within a week.”

Maddocks’ division was established as a consequence of his secondment in a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) with the University of Portsmouth. The project sought to identify ways in which Iracroft could best leverage its existing assets to diversify its activities and enter new market sectors. He found that it excelled – and differentiated itself – in three areas. The first was its ability to react quickly and achieve rapid turnaround, which is based on the fact that it is quite vertically-integrated. It outsources virtually no manufacturing, with the exception of volume components. It even invested in its own plating facility in Poole, a few miles away.

“Over the past 30-odd years, we have become very skilled in tube work, in bending and treating to cope with the needs of hydraulic systems,” said Maddocks. “When you simply bend a tube you get a condition called ‘necking’ – the diameter reduces and that affects pressure levels. Flow rates are also affected by internal welds. We have developed techniques that greatly reduce those changes – including eliminating internal welds – and enable pressures to remain constant.” The company has invested significantly in automated welding systems, which keep production costs down, are more reliable and give better flow. It holds ISO 9001:2000 and 14001:2004 and, not surprisingly, the combination of high quality and short lead times has attracted some high-profile customers. Managing supplies and production so that it can respond, but without tying up working capital in excessive stock levels, requires quite a lot of thought and management.

We do hold some stock but not an overwhelming amount,we operate kanban systems for our larger customers and hold partially-finished products for others Tom Maddocks, business development manager, Iracroft

The centre of Blandford Forum looks like the sort of place a film company would select for the setting of a costume drama. Its Regency and Georgian terraces hark back to the time when it became an important base for the Army, during the Napoleonic Wars. But the Blandford Heights Industrial Park, on its outskirts, speaks of a different future for the town. Iracroft specialises in the manufacture and supply of rigid tube assemblies for high pressure pneumatic, hydraulic and coolant applications. While its customers are all located in the UK, its products are likely to be found on equipment, such as diggers and backhoe loaders that are exported across Europe and further afield. The company is quite large in its field, with annual turnover around £13-£15 million. At core, it specialises in bending tubes and fabricating assemblies, which sounds simple enough but there is more to the company than that.

“We get the bulk of our work done in standard hours but we use overtime during periods of high demand,” said Maddocks. “A lot of our work is linked to the construction industry and that has obviously taken a hit during the downturn. What we have done is to transfer skills and people from the core business to my division.”

The second area of differentiation is prototyping and new product development. Not only is this essential in bringing new lines to market, it benefits existing customers because the habit of building-in correct specifications from outset is ingrained in Iracroft and it is second nature for it to design and engineer for cost-effective manufacture. The approach is so embedded that the company didn’t realise what an advantage it is. Its third advantage is its strong customer relationships, which come through a variety of channels, including logistics, quality and production, as well as sales. While this can present management with some hurdles to overcome it is, again, so well established that the company takes it in its stride. Building on these three areas of strength, the recommendation was to extend operations into stainless steel, initially into the marine leisure industry, by which is meant premium-level boats – a particular niche in which the UK has a very strong presence. Items such as ladders, gates, hand rails and radar masts represent a small – and relatively straightforward – selection of the potentially hundreds of applications for tubing in that industry. Combining Iracroft’s enhanced material capabilities with its established expertise means that the expansion has led to further opportunities. “We investigated the gas industry and other high-specification sectors, as well,” said Maddocks. “The recession has meant that marine leisure has shrunk but we’re doing well with the semiconductor industry and in supplying equipment connected to environmental legislation.” As these industries need stainless steel, Iracroft has invested in equipment, premises and training of personnel and the experience has been something of a two-way street.



Rigid tube assemblies Iracroft Ltd

“We took the time to learn about these industries but we were able to take new technologies and techniques into them, too,” he said. “We’ve been active in our new markets for only 18 months but we have found a lot of success in focusing on the exhaust gas treatment industry.’Necking’ isn’t such an issue our technique of avoiding internal welds helps in this industry, also. We have been able to build a complete assembly unit in one hit. As we use a lot of automated welding systems, we’re able to deliver cheaper and, at the same time, enable our customers to sustain better flow rates. CO2 gas levels are being regulated and companies have environmental targets to hit. The systems we provide pipework for help to achieve them.” If you are involved in cleaning gases then there are other openings, as well, and that’s how Iracroft found itself supplying the semiconductor industry. “A lot of our products have ended up on treatment machines for people like Intel,” Maddocks explained. “Atmospheric quality is vital in the manufacture of computer chips. The products we supply to our customers are used to filter the air in clean rooms – these are very high specification and high quality products. It’s not just in semiconductors that clean air is needed, of course; there are opportunities in other industries, as well.” Exactly what those new markets will be is not for public consumption as yet but one can speculate and one wouldn’t be far wrong, with the more obvious candidates.

The recession has meant that marine leisure has shrunk but we’re doing well with the semiconductor industry and in supplying equipment connected to environmental legislation

Iracroft’s capabilities extend from quarter-inch pipe to four inches and on to 10, in the case of straight assemblies. While its traditional markets may be going through their difficulties, the company’s flexibility and responsiveness – and its courage in investing in stainless steel capabilities – are enabling the new division to show some very encouraging results. “My segment contributed just shy of £200,000 in its first year. We expect that will increase by probably 25 per cent this year,’ said Maddocks. “It’s very much about quality, rather than quantity; the batches are very small – rarely into double figures. The market is likely to grow further. We have taken on a couple of new people and we are doing really well – our order book has grown 100 per cent in the last couple of months. We’re looking strong up to Christmas this year and we hope that will continue into 2010.” Realistically, Iracroft has barely scratched the surface of its potential in stainless steel tubing production. “We’re looking for the growth to come initially from expanding our existing gas treatment accounts, rather than from new customers.” A lot of its competition is really very small – jobshops, rather than the comprehensive services Iracroft offers. “We’re winning where our competitors simply can’t fulfil orders. We will be using our responsiveness to develop new orders and to look across all the sectors in which we’re active,” he said. “The stainless steel project was established as an 18-month investigation to assess the potential. As things are going well we expect to reassess and re-establish our business plan over the next 18 months. Our arms are open: we are looking for and welcome new customers.” end


Eardley International So. You have your product. You have your buyer. What’s next? Oh yes. Transport. Where’s the Yellow Pages? Google it! Phone a friend. Except…


our goods are important so why settle for an ‘off the shelf’ transport solution? At Eardley International we believe that delivering your goods is just one part of our job. Yes, as with other aspects of your supply chain, you must obtain the best quality service for the best price: fundamentally you want your goods to arrive in perfect condition and on time. But by building and maintaining a close relationship with a third party logistics (3PL) specialist whilst developing your supply network, you can streamline your operation, ensure effective delivery patterns and create a transport protocol that is robust and consistent.


Nowhere is this more important than in the primary industries where seasonality, market prices, legislative restrictions and a fickle public palate makes planning the supply and delivery of goods a daily, sometimes hourly, challenge. Eardley International has extensive experience in time-critical, temperature controlled logistics throughout Europe and prides itself on taking responsibility for all aspects of the transportation process by being flexible, imaginative and resourceful. Communication is key to effective logistics and we are always available to our clients. Your job is to manufacture the product: our job is to do everything else.

Trust your 3PL provider to give you the best transport solution. Trust Eardley International.

Published in association with: Eardley International Tel: +44 (0)1576 300 500 Email: Web:

Food and beverage Welsh Country Foods

The successful taste of Welsh lamb

Fewer people are eating out these days due to the economic climate, choosing instead to buy good quality food to take home to cook. This has been good news for UK meat producers as it has kept sales of lamb and beef products in particular, very buoyant.

One such producer is Welsh Country Foods which is part of

Vion UK, sitting within the Vion Food Group Ltd. This division produces and processes high quality beef, lamb, pork, bacon and chicken as well as a wide range of convenience products such as sausages, cooked meats and added value cooked chicken. The business is primarily focused on the UK retail market, some of the key customers being supermarkets such as Asda Some people think that the finest food to emerge from Wales is its lamb. Indeed the unique heritage, character and reputation of Welsh lamb and Welsh beef have been recognised by the European Commission (EC) and have been awarded the coveted status of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). PGI puts Welsh lamb and Welsh beef on a par with other excellent regional European products like Parma ham, from Italy. This protected food name scheme was developed by the EC to encourage diverse agricultural production; protect product names from misuse and imitation, and to help consumers by giving them information concerning the specific character of the products. PGI is one of the protected designation within this scheme.


Welsh Country Foods

equipment. For further information please visit our web site at:

However whilst over the years, engineers have tried to automate every stage of the slaughter process, there are still limitations to what is achievable. For example, the variety of breeds and size of sheep in the UK makes it very difficult to automate the stunning phase. On the other hand, for quite some time removing the skin from the carcass has been done by machine.


With a supermarket as a principle customer, a product where at least a third of the weight has to be thrown away with no value whatsoever and major factors such as fuel costs all out of its control, the only way to remain competitive for Welsh Country Foods is to improve productivity and eliminate waste inside the plant. For example, the company undertook one initiative which involved working with the University of Cardiff and the Red Meat Industry Forum on a value chain analysis from farm to plate.

PGI puts Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef on a par with other excellent regional European products like Parma Ham, from Italy

Welsh Country Foods, as well as the site in Gaerwen Anglesey, where the slaughtering and primal butchery takes place, also has a state-of-the-art retail packing and distribution plant in Cheshire. Probably Weldpar Cymru Wales the most automated of its kind in Europe, primal meat arrives in RFID Over the last 5 years we at tagged crates from which Weldpar Cymru Wales point almost everything have been supplying associated with handling the meat is done by Welsh Country Foods with robots. Orders are picked Welding and Engineering and packed automatically, Plant and Consumeables boxed and held in a high for their maintenance bay warehouse capable department. Along with of holding approximately 3000 pallets before giving technical advise and they are despatched back up on our products to regional distribution we also carry out annual centres. The factory has inspections on their one of the fastest line oxygen and acetylene gas speeds in the world.

The company has taken a step by step approach to achieving a ‘bottom to top and top to bottom’ buy in to change, to ensure delivery of considerable efficiency savings, investment in both in new plant and machinery, whilst also recognising the importance of the work force. To this end, the site has worked hard to improve working conditions to make the workplace more competitive within the recruitment market. Health and safety has also been on the agenda – working alongside engineering, production and HR to create a better working environment. Factory operatives have been trained to do every job on the line with regular rotation to vary the work involved. These and other equally important initiatives, has enable Welsh Country Foods to deliver continuity of service and a consistent quality product to their customers. end




South Wales ◆ £35-40,000 + Benefits Reporting into the Head of Procurement, you will be responsible for the procurement of capital goods and services. You will be involved in the development of contracting strategies, drafting invitations to tender, the negotiation and implementation of contracts and framework agreements. You will be expected to drive and facilitate the organisation’s capital procurement plan, ensuring that key stakeholders are involved in shaping and delivering the requirements of the capital programme. The successful candidate will be commercially aware with tact, diplomacy and the ability to take risks where required. You will have strong working knowledge of capital project


procurement, ideally within the public sector and have used SAP and e-sourcing systems within your previous roles. You will have excellent communication and analytical skills both orally and written and be able to demonstrate strong negotiation skills and networking. Experience of working with EU Directives would be advantageous. The ideal candidate will have previous background experience in this sector of work and working knowledge of NEC3 Form of Contract. Our client is looking for candidates from the construction industry so please do not apply unless you have this industry background.

Source of Supply

B O b

Ws O lie N app K te O ird ra

r ly Ea

1 2 T H


2 0 0 9


H O T E L , October 2009 Vol 12 Issue 9




The Manufacturer annual directors conference will help manufacturers succeed in these troubled times and arm them with the knowledge they need to succeed with agility in an uncertain future. An inspiring programme of presentations, workshops and debate sessions from a select group of exemplary organisations. This agenda will be headlined by some of the industry’s most prominent role-models. Individuals committed to galvanising support for a resilient and vibrant manufacturing future. Speakers at the event include: Stephen Radley –

Ian Rice –

Chief Economist,

Operations Director,



Mike Gregory, CBE

Paul Christodoulou,

Head of the Institute for

Global Manufacturing Strategist,


the Institute for Manufacturing

Agenda summary:

Low carbon vehicles are on the move


Economist’s Insight

Navigating the emerging industrial landscape

The value of Operational Excellence today


Pierfrancesco Manenti,

Lead Technologist for High Value

Stream 1 Your supply chain. Lessons in responsiveness from a maintenance supply chain. Home or Away? Manufacturing in the right place. Supply Chain Opportunities in Nuclear – Is it for you?

EMEA Research Director for

Manufacturing, Technology

Stream 2 Your customer

Manufacturing Insights, IDC

Strategy Board

Keivan Zokaei,

Catherine McDermott;

Be Indispensible. The latest in service and support. Lotus Motivate, Innovate! Add Value, 111 year case study

m a nag i n gwa s t e f o r S u c c e s s

Director of MSc in Lean

Distribution Director,

Stream 3 Your sustainability

Progress and barriers in reducing waste

Operations. Lean Enterprise


University of Cambridge

Robin Wilson,

Kevin Eyre;

Comply and Compete. Competitive Sustainable Manufacturing. Lean is Green. Delivering Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Professor Peter Hines,

Managing Consultant,

Stream 4 Your workforce

Professor of Supply Chain


Inside Distribution: Argos and Continuous Improvement. MX Award for Best Partnership between Business and education. Skills- Cross Sector, Retraining, Strategic

Research Centre, Cardiff University

Management and Chairman. Lean Enterprise Research Centre,

Andy Woods,

Cardiff University

Managing Director, Adnams

David Peake,

Panel Discussion and debate


Managing Director,

Closing Keynote: The importance of a collaborative market place- creating synergies and industry ecosystems working together for a more secure and stable future

Manager, IMSERV

Operations and Maintenance Is it time to switch to robots?

The Manufacturer Directors Conference and The Manufacturer of the Year Awards In association with:

See enclosed programme to book your place and for more information on the sessions and speaker’s or go to

w w w. t h e m a n u f a c t u r e r. c o m / d i r e c t o r s c o n f e r e n c e October 2009 Vol 12 Issue 9

Carbon and Energy Product

Keeping the workforce committed to lean


Charles Morgan,

Matt Davis,

World class manufacturing

Placement, Continuity

Commercial Director,

Morgan Motor Cars

Special report

Interview Will King

King of Shaves

The Manufacturer - October 2009 Edition  

The Manufacturer Magazine - October 2009 edition

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