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Northern Powerhouse European Union
Operational Efficiency

Lean manufacturing increases productivity by 30% for Kids Funtime Beds

Kids Funtime Beds began in a bedroom..

Kids Funtime Beds are a mass customization bed manufacturer based in Wythenshawe, Manchester. The business produces a range of children’s beds which can be personalised to the customer’s specification.

Kids Funtime Beds was established by Managing Director Tony Leng-Smith in 2014, initially working from a converted bedroom. The business has now grown to employ 27 people at the Wythenshawe Factory.

Strive for customer satisfaction led to rework and waste

The rapid growth of the business has ensured a healthy order book, but as production increased so did rework! A keystone to the business’ success is Tony’s eye for detail, his threshold is that every bed the company manufactures is a special gift for a child so nothing should leave the factory unless it is correct - but the rework problem was beginning to affect lead times.

Tony approached GC Business Growth Hub for help and was introduced to specialist Manufacturing Advisor Geoff Crossley. Geoff conducted a Productivity Audit, walking the site and getting to know the business to understand their aspirations and their challenges. This provided the business with a set of recommendations. Geoff said:

“Kids Funtime Beds were producing a high quality unique product, but the lead times to meet the order book were becoming problematic. On walking the site the first thing I noticed was inventory in stock, spare components and work in progress.

In addition to this it became apparent that they also had problems with the quality of paint, which wasn’t drying correctly and was requiring expensive rework.”

We have seen a significant reduction in rework and inventory, which has helped us to increase production by 30%. The reduction in lead times and increased quality has seen improved customer service, and our website is now full of 5* reviews from happy customers.

Tony Leng-Smith, Managing Director

Embedding a lean culture to reduce waste in production

Tony said;

“The recommendations that Geoff made to the business at first seemed daunting as there was a lot to do, but Geoff guided us through the process and helped us prioritise the most important tasks. Whilst it has taken time the benefits outweigh this ten-fold.”

The first priority was to develop the skills of the workforce and Tony signed up Team Leader Liam Morris to The Manufacturing Institute’s Team Leader training course, to ensure that the company had the correct management skills to support future growth.

Geoff then delivered a 5S and waste elimination workshop to embed a Lean culture within the manufacturing team. He worked with Tony and the team to implement a pull system on the shopfloor designed to reduce Work in Progress.

Then followed a redesign of the preparation areas and improved efficiencies of the spray booth to rectify the issues with the paint. In addition, Geoff helped the business to review the layout and organisation of the workshop and looked at the material handling by operatives to consider how to improve flow across the business 

Tony said;

 “We have seen a significant reduction in rework and inventory, which has helped us to increase production by 30%. The reduction in lead times and increased quality has seen improved customer service, and our website is now full of 5* reviews from happy customers – which will help us to develop new business.

“At one stage we were considering moving the factory to larger premises however Lean manufacturing has enabled us to increase production and decrease rework utilising our existing factory space more efficiently.”

 

The future

Following support from the Business Growth Hub, the business has started to increase their product range and increase headcount. Tony said:

“We have invested in a new CNC machine and also taken on new staff to build our capacity and keep pace with the growth of the business. More recently we received a grant from the Manufacturing Growth Fund which has enabled us to introduce new product options to our range by developing a new production area and increasing the capacity of our paint spray facility.”

Kids Funtime Beds have also started to work with the Resource Efficiency team to identify environmental savings that the business can make.

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