News Archive

01 January 2010

Top Marks for School Furniture Manufacturer

- EAL qualifications help British Thornton ESF Ltd. get its homework right -

British Thornton is reaping the rewards of encouraging its staff to go for back to the classroom. Almost half of the workforce at British Thornton ESF Ltd has completed Level 2 National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) in Business Improvement Techniques (B-IT) as part of a wider plan to improve the company's business capacity.

LeanManufacturing.jpgQualifications in B-IT are widely recognised in the business community as effective tools for maintaining productivity and competitiveness. Available at Level 2, 3, and 4, they use philosophies of lean manufacturing to promote proactive, rather than reactive, adjustments to support bottom line business performance. British Thornton has already recorded measurable business benefits as a result of the B-IT training. These include a lead time reduction of 25% on major product lines and significant increases in 'on time' delivery and product quality. The introduction of working practices has also helped to monitor production areas more closely and has led to an improved evaluation of new machinery.

Even physical changes to the layout of certain workspaces have had a notable impact. Their workers have been encouraged to think about how they organise their time and working environment. This has led to shadow boards to remind people to replace tools and new racking systems.

The old racking system relied on pallets being stacked on top of each other. This meant that if boards were needed from the bottom pallet, each pallet sitting higher up the stack had to be lifted away and temporarily re-stacked. The whole process had to be reversed to return the stack to its rightful place. Something as simple as new racking allows boards to be lifted off the shelf in one move saving time and energy.

An added bonus is that the whole work area now looks much tidier too. With such positive results, British Thornton has already made committed to more project work that will complement and underpin its progress to date.