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Factory undergoes ‘spectacular transformation’ to further enhance production efficiencies

Fairgrieve Compression Moulding has completed a ‘spectacular transformation’ of its factory in Tyne & Wear to help further improve efficiencies as the business continues to take increasing orders.

General Manager Barry Davidson made the job a priority after being appointed last year, shortly after the business, which is more than 100 years old, had been sold to a new owner.

The project required precise planning to ensure production was not affected and that customer demands continued to be met.

Mr Davidson was full of praise for the work of his own team – and a collection of contractors involved in the job – for completing the transformation seamlessly.

Prior to the project the factory was ‘ruthlessly’ cleared of unrequired stockpiled products, with old unused machinery also shown the door.

This allowed flooring which had been in place for around five decades to be removed, consisting of vinyl floor tiles adhered to the concrete with asbestos formulated bitumen.

“This job has been a year in the making since I arrived and required considerable planning,” said Mr Davidson.

“The factory I took over was very disorganised and congested, which didn’t lend itself to good production performance, or good housekeeping and safety standards.

“We realised that we were going to have to engage the services of a number of specialist contractors who had the skills and experience to manage the job, and we couldn’t have worked with better people.

“Obviously, you can’t just shut down a factory to have a new floor laid, so it took some meticulous planning from our team to ensure we had as little downtime as possible, and that customer deliveries were unaffected.

“I can’t praise the work of Dawn Stavers, Jonathon Hutchinson and Sean Hovvels from our team enough, as they planned our continued production around the project.”

Specialist contractors removed flooring due to presence of asbestos

Mr Davidson selected Elite Surface Preparation Limited to remove the hazardous flooring waste from site, with their team, led by director James Eade, working day and night to complete the job on-time.

This allowed North-East-based flooring specialist Reprotec to get onsite and complete the floor transformation, including painting and markings.

Mr Davidson added: “I can’t praise the contractors we used enough, it has been a spectacular transformation.

“When you have a big job like this happening you of course want to be reassured that nothing is going to take longer than planned, and Reprotec’s Business Development Manager Adam Holland and Project Manager Peter Forbes stayed in close communication with us throughout the work.

“I’ve used a number of flooring contractors in the past for jobs like this but I can honestly say that Reprotec went the extra mile and delivered a first-class job. The proof is in the pudding the floor looks absolutely fantastic.”

Investment helps to improve efficiencies and staff morale

With the job complete, Mr Davidson says the five-figure investment will ensure greater production efficiencies, and help boost staff morale.

“This was a job we needed to do given our increasing orders and the need to ensure the continuing safety and welfare of our employees,” he said.  

“Also, let’s not forget, it’s nice to work in a clean working environment, and we have that now.

“Not only have our team bought into the project but they have been involved in the design of the new layout from the very beginning.

“Jonathon and Sean literally chalked out the proposed layout of the factory before the painting of walkways, production cells and Kanban areas could be completed, so watching it come together has given them so much pride and motivation.

“We have changed the way we work and in doing so have changed the culture on the shop floor. A lot can be said for a well-organised and clean environment to work in, as not only does it improve efficiencies in the workplace but it also does a lot to lift the morale of the people and keeps them motivated.

“Having a well-organised process also instills confidence in our customers who quite rightly expect high quality-standards and meticulous attention to detail.”

To ensure the investment is protected in the future, Fairgrieves has also purchased new material handling equipment fitted with non-marking tyres, from Pegasus Material Handling, and a new floor cleaning machine from GT Cleaning Machines Ltd.

“Considering the aftercare of the new floor was important, as we need to make sure we maintain it in this excellent condition,” added Mr Davidson.

“It has been a pretty significant investment at a time when other companies are having to tighten their belts, but it has been a must for us.

“Our business is continually attracting additional new enquiries from new market sectors and this shop floor transformation will only help to reinforce our reputation in the market place. I can’t wait to show potential new customers around.”

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