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Operational Efficiency

Operational improvements boost sales by over £200K for Abbey England

The Business

Abbey England Ltd are the leading manufacturer and supplier of saddlery and harness goods. The manufacturing division produce bespoke items which are used on a variety of products including belts, satchels, rucksacks, handbags, vintage cars, yachts, horse harnesses, and carriages.

The business operates across three sites in Knutsford, Cheshire employing 48 people (January 2018) with a turnover of £5m.

The Challenge

Abbey England approached the Cheshire and Warrington Manufacturing Growth Fund for support to achieve their ambitious growth plans. Richard Brown, Managing Director at Abbey England said:

“We had recently bought out one of our suppliers and needed to integrate this new business seamlessly with our existing portfolio. I felt this was the opportunity to drive up efficiency and introduce best practice manufacturing techniques and processes across all of our sites. The increased capacity would be a key driver of us realising an increase to sales by £218k in 2018.”

Richard met with Phil Anders, Specialist Manufacturing Advisor for the Cheshire and Warrington region, and he recommended that Abbey England apply for a grant from the Manufacturing Growth Fund to deliver an operational improvement project.

Richard said:

“We met with Phil and he helped us to put together a project scope and brief which would realise our ambitions. The project was designed to improve the layout of the warehouse / production facilities and to improve the flow of materials, information and communication through the process. This would integrate our existing systems, to provide us with real-time data and help us to achieve operational excellence.

“It was vital that the project included a plan involving the workforce so that they could contribute to the project. This would ensure their buy-in and help to sustain the changes in the long-term.”

The Solution

Abbey England were awarded a grant of £3k from the Cheshire and Warrington Manufacturing Growth Fund to bring in a Lean Manufacturing and Supply Chain specialist to deliver the project which began in January 2018.

Richard said:

“This project has helped us to move towards operational excellence through the implementation of best practice models and lean manufacturing techniques to improve our systems. This has provided us with seamless integration across all sites.

“We’re delighted with the support we received from Phil. I’m confident that we’ll now achieve our sales targets this year, and we’re in a great position to win new business as a result. We are planning to recruit a new Production Operative, and I anticipate this will see us grow further in the future.”

Phil said:

“Abbey England were smart to invest in their business infrastructure. By getting this right, and rolling out the measures across the entire workforce, they are in the best possible position to grow the business whilst keeping waste to a minimum and improving communications for the workforce.”

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Phil Anders

Phil Anders, Manufacturing Advisor

Phil has over 20 years experience, supporting business growth for small and medium manufacturing enterprises.

Formerly delivering the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), Phil is well versed in working with manufacturers to identify growth opportunities and implementing operational improvement plans. A Six Sigma Green belt, Phil is a lean manufacturing expert with specialisms in continuous improvement, waste minimisation and quality management.

To view Phil's full profile including technical capabilities and industry experience, please click here.

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