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Operational Efficiency

Continuous Improvement for Signage Systems


Signage Systems are a Salford-based sign manufacturer, established in 2007 in Bury, by directors Adam O’Shaughnessy and Simon Hand.

This manufacturer offers end-to-end signage solutions which include site surveys, planning, logistics and project management, assembly and installation, design, manufacture and fabrication, and post-installation maintenance.

The company has evolved more recently and incorporated ‘servitization’ into their business model, moving from a ‘product-centric’ to a ‘service-centric’ approach.

The challenge:

Adam and Simon have a history of investing heavily in employee training and up-skilling, ensuring that all employees are highly qualified and are able to deliver standards that the customers demand.

However, they’d identified inconsistencies in the way people performed similar tasks, which was impacting operational efficiency.

In addition there was an opportunity to increase productivity by optimising the use of materials across processes and refining inventory management.

The solution:

Simon said Salford Council referred us to the GC Business Growth Hub as we were interested in finding out about the Manufacturing Growth Fund grant.

Our business advisor, Geoff Crossley, arranged a meeting with us, walked the site and spent time finding out about the business.

We discussed our process pinch points in the current system and he guided us in the development of new, more efficient and transparent processes. We introduced visual management that helped maintain and reinforce the new procedures.”

Geoff is a specialist manufacturing advisor and he worked closely with Signage Systems to adopt the ‘5S’ methodology for workplace organisation – a foundation for any Lean operation as they journey towards operational excellence.

The methodology takes its name from five Japanese words that describe how to organise a work space for efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and storing the items used, maintaining the area and items, and sustaining the new order.

Geoff said: “Signage Systems were a well performing operation when I met them, but there was a golden opportunity to develop new business processes to support the continued growth they had made by implementing a servitization strategy.

“The essence of continuous improvement is to be constantly looking at places to save time and create capacity to increase productivity. These changes at Signage Systems should see them introduce two new products in 2017.”

Simon added: “Since working with the GC Business Growth Hub we have identified ways that we can improve our service and experience for our customers."

The new business systems that we’ve implemented have seen more consistency and quality in our products, while our productivity has increased."

We anticipate this will mean taking on two new employees later this year to support our continued growth.”

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