Lean revolution

GKN Wheels, the offshore wheel making division of GKN Group, has implemented several lean practices to streamline its operations including an electronic data interchange system and visual management systems. These have enabled faster order fulfilment, among other benefits. TM talks to company spokesman Colin Hales

Rethinking the rule book

Bob Doak of W. L. Gore & Associates (UK) discusses how a high degree of creativity and innovation through flat hierarchies and unorthodox leadership concepts is what makes Gore so successful

There’s no place like home

Contrary to some views, British electronics manufacturing has not been killed off by the cheap cost base of Asia and low cost economies. Offshoring of UK competitors to Asia has presented opportunities to the companies that remained here, and a few well placed firms now provide the essential high quality, low volume products UK customers want that are less feasible to produce in some countries. TM talks to David Taylor of ACW Technology about staying at home.

Give Manufacturers Some Credit

As companies who face falling demand for their products restructure to survive the recession, access to credit is imperative to allow controlled downsizing and to minimize redundancies. Will Stirling examines which borrowing options are available to manufacturers and asks if the Government’s loan guarantee schemes have made credit as accessible as some companies hope.

British Gas roundtable report

At a dinner hosted by British Gas Business and The Manufacturer magazine, several representatives of manufacturing firms across the UK met with Jeff Whittingham and Tim Hooper of British Gas Business to discuss the most pressing issues affecting manufacturers today – and how a new way of managing energy usage could deliver significant cost savings. Becky Done reports

Seconds Out

The lines between in-built and best-of-breed advanced planning and scheduling (APS) systems are becoming increasingly blurred. So how do they fare against one another?

Blueprinting excellence: how to avoid a skills gap

Bob Gibbon, managing director at the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing, explains why an economic downturn is the right time for employers to undertake an organisational skills audit, identify where the gaps are and invest in the training of its existing staff to ensure that those gaps are plugged