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Bolton firm cuts waste with lean manufacturing

A manufacturer of air handling ventilation ductwork has reduced waste while boosting productivity by a fifth by embedding lean manufacturing principles in its operations.

A manufacturer of air handling ventilation ductwork has reduced waste while boosting productivity by a fifth by embedding lean manufacturing principles in its operations.

Pure Fabs in Horwich sought support from Greater Manchester’s Business Growth Hub to develop its factory capacity in the face of unpredictable product demand. 

“Supplying the construction and refit sector means that we have to be flexible and quickly respond to changing demands. We were frequently pulling ‘work in progress’ off production to focus on a batch which the client required immediately – which was creating waste”, said Pete Connor, director at Pure Fabs.

Lean manufacturing

A productivity audit from a specialist manufacturing advisor at the Business Growth Hub led to improving standardisation and implementing lean manufacturing processes following the ‘5S’ concept, focusing on waste reduction. 

As a result, Pure Fabs have increased productivity by 20 per cent and taken subcontracted work back in house, as well as employing an additional five full time members of staff.

Transformation

“The focus on 5S has revolutionised the business, we analyse every detail now. I now know exactly how much waste we create as a business, and we’ve been able to reduce that by 7 per cent”, Pete Connor said. 

“There’s been a total culture change, it’s not been easy and it’s by no means complete, but we’re now a team committed to continuous improvement.”

Free productivity audits are available to SMEs in Greater Manchester from the Business Growth Hub, alongside specialist advice to improve energy efficiency or develop new products, packaging or processes for higher environmental performance.