Knowlton Project Support

MP Supports MAS Business Improvement Programme

Keen to show support for the manufacturing sector, Laura Sandys MP for South Thanet attended the latest Kent Best Practice Club facilitated by Mark Knowlton.

Laura talked openly with business leaders about the challenges and
opportunities facing the sector.

The MAS Kent Best Practice Club, a collaborative network of
local leading manufacturers, has been meeting up since 2006 on a quarterly
basis, sharing best practice tips in lean manufacturing and advice for
continuous improvement. 

Laura said: “I am absolutely passionate about supporting
our local businesses and we are extremely lucky to have so many key
manufacturers located in the heart of Thanet.

“It was fantastic to be able to share what
the Government is doing to help support and boost manufacturing which is of
huge value to the UK’s economy. It was also great to hear about the brilliant
innovations and new approaches that these businesses are taking.”

It was highlighted that with the official opening this week
of the world’s largest offshore wind farm, London Array, just a few miles off
the Kent coast, the renewables energy sector and wind energy supply chain are
areas where local businesses could access big opportunities, both on the
service side and through tier 2 and 3 supply chain connections.

Laura also heard presentations from two local manufacturers
that had recently worked together on a ‘Lean Exchange’ as part of their continuous
improvement journeys. Representatives from Silent Gliss Ltd and FUJIFILM
Speciality Ink Systems (SIS) Ltd, based in Broadstairs, spent two days at each
other’s company to exchange ideas for implementation based on their own lean
continuous improvement journeys.

A key opportunity identified for Silent Gliss, a blinds
manufacturer,  involved establishing an
in-house lean induction course tailored to introduce and re-introduce staff and
operators to the value of lean, ensuring it remains a focus throughout the site
at all times – essential when trying to achieve complete buy-in to change and
improvement from all employees.

FUJIFILM SIS, a digital ink manufacturer, identified the
need to place emphasis on core company values by introducing and reminding all
staff members about those values with very visual reminders within each
manufacturing cell area. The introduction of six weekly review meetings
involving production, sales and IT ensures that all three departments are now
in tune with one another, providing a level playing field in the pursuit of
ongoing improvement.

The MAS Kent Best Practice Club is facilitated by MAS
Advisor Mark Knowlton, who is passionate about collaborative working in order
to achieve results. Mark said: “In
addition to meeting four times a year as a group, members are also encouraged
to stay in contact between meetings, working together to discuss issues and the
challenges that are faced on a daily basis as part of running a busy
manufacturing plant.

“The Lean Exchange
programme offers a similar approach to working but  more in-depth across a set time period and on
a smaller, intimate level – it is an inexpensive way to achieving long term
lean growth, offering good direction indicators whilst reenergising lean initiatives
and lifting team member spirits. Both companies that choose to take part
however,  must be at similar level of
lean development in order for both to benefit from the exchange.”

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