The Manufacturing Performance Masterclass - The Ideal Forum for Frank Discussion

Proving once again to be a superb forum for sharing best-practice, the annual Manufacturing Performance Masterclass (held at the Heritage Motor Centre on 15th October) brought together senior manufacturing professionals from across the UK & Ireland to discuss the future of British manufacturing...

Starting with a stirring keynote address and question and answer session with Nick Hussey - the newly appointed Director of Manufacturing Insight the day began by examining the governments masterplan to raise the profile of UK manufacturing from grass roots level.

It was a really inspiring day and I got a lot out of it
James Hilton, Maintenance Excellence Facilitator, AstraZeneca

Chairman Peter Willmott, international authority on TPM, drew on his considerable experience to introduce the concepts of the day and link the case study presentations from senior manufacturing professionals at Cadbury, DePuy, Constellation Europe, Saint-Gobain and Premier Foods, covering the diverse application of various lean theories and operational excellence concepts. With a focus on effective cost management, Willmott also directed the panel discussions which inspired a full and frank discussion of the importance of measurement in lean enterprise, and in particular the use of OEE as a vehicle for sustainable performance improvement.

Willmott explains In this difficult climate there is a tendency to continue to cut down the forest with an ever blunter axe because we no longer believe we can afford to take time out to sharpen it. Yet we all know sharpening would enable us to do a much more efficient, effective, and quicker job. The same is true for our skills and knowledge and today has proved that. I have no doubt that delegates will go back to their organisations inspired to take a fresh look at their operations. Ultimately its your people, using the right blend of sharpened tools and techniques, which make the lasting difference. Operational Excellence is all very well, but many of us need to re-check that we have the Operational Basics in place, and apply some of the concepts and tools discussed today at this Masterclass - as no matter how good we think we are weve got to continuously seize opportunities to improve, and then sustain what we're doing.

Concluding that there is no single right way of implementing operational excellence programmes, speakers and delegates agreed that an integrated approach to measurable and sustainable improvement needs to be embedded throughout the organisation - from shop-floor to boardroom. This concept was further explored during break-out sessions when a project team from Saint-Gobain Gyproc walked delegates through their shop-floor CI initiatives. Speaker Alan France, Operations Director at Idhammar Systems commented:

Leading manufacturers do not spend their time predicting the future they use innovative tools and ideas, and their people, to create it. In times of economic uncertainty, the only way to ensure plants are effective and in the best position when the health of the economy is restored, is to make every penny count hence much of the discussion focussed on the most effective ways to drive out wasted opportunity in plant and processes, and how best to reinvest the savings back into improving shop-floor equipment, activities and morale.

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