Siemens MR Magnet Technology has identified savings of more than £35,000 in 2012 through staff training in Business Improvement Techniques as part of a lean programme.
Some of the employees at the Oxford-based company, which won three awards in the 2012 Best Factory Awards, are now in the process of gaining a nationally-recognised qualification.
Siemens is the world’s leading manufacturer of superconducting magnetic resonance imaging magnets for medical applications, such as MRI scanners.
The magnet technology division recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and employs 450 people at its Oxford site, while Siemens employs 13,520 in the UK with current revenues of £3.2 billion.
The company worked with lean business specialists Fedden USP and ran their Business Improvement Techniques (BITs) Level 2 programme on site. Having implemented lean tools and BIT at management level for some years, the company felt that the level of skill and knowledge in applying the learning had not reached its full potential, and was keen to extend the training to shop floor staff.
The 5-day off-site training programme was delivered by manufacturing specialists Colin Allaway and Grant Baker at Fedden USP and covered lean and BIT principles and theory, backed up with group exercises and mapping processes in the workplace. Selected improvement projects were evaluated, presented and received full management approval.
The programme offers on-site support and mentoring, with additional application of lean techniques, providing staff with the knowledge required to complete the NVQ and VRQ qualifications.
“It was a real privilege to engage with the Siemens team as they had already embraced the lean enterprise culture,” Colin Allaway said. “We were able to help embed the principles more thoroughly, and support the team during their increased learning and understanding phases, prior to implementation of a further step in advancing their Lean culture, and enhanced improvement activity.
“This is one of the strongest areas of the programme, and is recognised and fully supported by Siemens,” he added.
Frazer Mackay, operations manager for Siemens, said: “As a continuously improving manufacturing business, we are constantly looking for opportunities to reduce our cost base. Fedden delivered the training ‘on shift’ and so minimised any potential disruption to production and the feedback from those involved has been very positive.
“Other than the obvious cost saving benefit identified, the NVQ projects have also allowed us to embed people’s learning into our existing Lean structure and importantly we now have more people fluent in ‘Lean’ which will help us to achieve our manufacturing targets going forward.”
Siemens Magnet Technology says it is keen to embark on a second wave of training following the amount of interest in the first course and the reaction from staff.