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HepcoMotion introduces lean manufacturing techniques

13 May 2009

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As well as the continual development of its products, HepcoMotion is also committed to the continual development of its manufacturing processes. And with this as the motive, the company has recently taken advantage of a programme offered by the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS). The result is the introduction of lean manufacturing techniques that have given rise to important benefits for ring slide customers.

MAS is delivered in the South West by a consortium comprising the South West of England Regional Development Agency, EEF, the region's Business Links and HERDA South West, representing the higher education institutions. It was created primarily to serve the 12,000 manufacturing businesses operating in the region that together generate £11billion for the local economy and employ nearly 300,000 people.

HepcoMotion participated in an operational leadership programme. Assistant Production Manager Chris Pengelly was the delegate and, in addition to developing his own leadership skills, the programme was designed to help him identify areas of the manufacturing process where better performance could be achieved.

Cellular manufacturing

Chris explained: "It has really opened my eyes to a different way of thinking and working." As a result it has enabled HepcoMotion to explore and then implement the concept of cellular manufacturing. The company's Manufacturing Director Barry Engstrom adds: "The results achieved speak for themselves and it has given us the confidence to extend this way of working to other areas of the business."

The purpose of the exercise was to ensure that, in line with increased demand for its ring slide products, HepcoMotion adopted lean manufacturing techniques that would ensure smarter working. An important benefit for the company has been a large reduction in value of work in progress and stock, thanks to a much tighter production cycle. Additionally there has been a 52 per cent improvement in floor space utilisation. But perhaps the most significant result from a customer's standpoint has been a four-week reduction in lead time for these products.

 
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