MAS advice helps laser cutting specialist stop fire-fighting

Posted on 5 Mar 2014 by Tim Brown
A Wrightform shopfloor worker stands next to one of their machines.

Wrightform has tapped into MAS support to improve its systems and processes, helping them to cope with rapid growth and prevent fire-fighting.

Founded in 2002, Wrightform is a subcontractor specialising in laser cutting of a wide range of materials.

The Manufacturing Challenge
Wrightform has been enjoying steady growth over the years which had started to challenge the existing systems and processes that were more suitable for a smaller business.

“The whole manufacturing system needed an overhaul from top to bottom,” said Jane Everett-Page, Deputy General Manager. “We hated letting our customers down, which in turn was letting us all down. Exceptional staff we wanted to keep were feeling demotivated, uninspired and worried for their futures. The system had to change to enable growth and stability within the company.”

MAS action
MAS Advisor John Coubrough visited the company to understand its frustrations and brought in MAS colleague Robin Cheyne to introduce the project team to the concepts of Lean, process mapping and continuous improvement through the tracking of key performance indicators.

Working with Robin, the team mapped out the current process map from customer enquiry through to despatch of goods and identified all the issues created by following that process.

Action plans were made to address root causes of the issues and a new process map was developed which also included the creation of relevant KPIs to track performance and drive continuous improvement activities.

Results
The team members brought their own areas of expertise to the project and quickly bonded together to identify all associated problems with the current state process. They went on to design a better state process and relevant KPIs that started to bring immediate benefits from a more defined and better understood process.

The results have been impressive, improving customer on time delivery by 15% and reducing the cycle time of proofs by 50%.

  • On-time delivery has improved by 15%
  • Sample proof cycle time has improved by 50%
  • Continuous improvement teams are now in place to drive change.
  • Improved communication between business functions

The introduction of a daily sunrise meeting ensured clear communication of customer requirements between the production team and all support functions

“We did it! The new buzz words around the company are; united, positive, inspirational, productive. The fire-fighting attitude has gone and peace, calm and harmony have been restored,” said Ms Everett-Page.