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Kent MP Supports MAS Business Improvement Programme
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Kent MP Supports MAS Business Improvement Programme

Kent MP Supports MAS Business Improvement Programme

Keen to show support for the manufacturing sector, Laura Sandys MP for South Thanet attended the latest MAS Kent Best Practice Club run by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) and talked openly with business leaders about the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

Kent MP Supports MAS Business Improvement Programme

MAS Kent Best Practice Club with MP Laura Sandys

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.”

To find out more about a MAS Best Practice Club in your area and about Lean Exchange, please contact us on 0845 658 9600 or email advice@mymas.org

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