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How we’re moulding our talented workforce to be more efficient through continuous improvement

‘Lean manufacturing’ methods and processes are being adopted throughout Fairgrieve Compression Moulding to ensure we continuously improve the way we work – and offer the best products and value to customers across the world.

New General Manager Barry Davidson is seeking to mould our specialist team to perfection, and to do so is introducing a number of continuous improvement initiatives across the business. 

This includes 5S Workplace Organisation, which is a widely recognised and successful concept to ensure workplaces become better organised, leading to improvements in safety, manufacturing efficiencies and above all a better environment for people to work. 

This forms part of a cultural change within the business following the recent acquisition of the company by Daniel Beaumont.

This simple but effective ‘Continuous Improvement’ technique has been implemented by Mr Davidson during his time working in Senior Operations positions and General Management roles with other manufacturing businesses throughout the UK, bringing hugely-impressive results.

He has previously implemented 5S and introduced lean manufacturing techniques to help generate an additional £1.5m of new business within twelve months at a state-of-the art-manufacturing site on the outskirts of London.

At another site in the North West where he instigated Continuous Improvement Processes (CIP), an improved shift pattern resulted in improved efficiencies and labour cost reductions, saving £200,000 a year.

With his vast experience working in manufacturing, he is confident the CIP process will help Fairgrieves to further reap the rewards of its industry-leading knowledge and skills.

He said: “Fairgrieves is a great business which has succeeded for more than 100 years and still has an excellent customer base across the world.

“I feel the business will greatly benefit by adopting some of the more modern manufacturing techniques to improve its performance and profitability.

“Our most important asset, our people, are extremely knowledgeable and skilled at what they do and many of our employees have spent more than 30 years working in the business and are highly respected by many of our customers who we have enjoyed great partnerships with for several decades. 

“A key strength of ours is that we are the only compression moulding specialist in the North East of England, and what is surprising is that there are still many people out there who don’t know about us.

“In the past that hasn’t been an issue, given that much of our work is repeat business and our reputation guarantees sales from those bespoke markets. 

“However the world has changed and Fairgrieves needs to take advantage of Internet based sales and marketing activities to promote the business and attract new customers from new market sectors.

Our recent significant investment in our new web page and re-branding, with the help and support of Arrival Design, is evidence that we believe we can expand our product portfolio to the UK, European and Asian markets.”

Improved organisation and efficiencies

5S is only one part of the Continuous Improvement toolset, but Mr Davidson says it is an important one for organising a factory floor to enable work to be performed efficiently, effectively, and safely.

It places a focus on putting everything where it belongs and keeping the workplace clean, which makes it easier to do a job without wasting time or risking injury.

“Whilst 5S has been around now for many years it can still have a massive impact on people, processes and ultimately profitability and it is surprising just how many companies either pay it lip service or are just too busy to give it the time of day,” added Mr Davidson.

“What I am passionate about is ensuring that the cultural and organisational changes we make last long-term. It can’t be a fad which quickly goes out of fashion. It has to be maintained. As a business we have to collectively look to improve on a continuous basis.

“Ultimately, we want to provide a much better environment to present to our customers and encourage a safer and more enjoyable environment for our staff to be part of.

“This represents a new chapter in our history at Fairgrieves and we are all committed to making it a huge success”

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