Improving productivity in manufacturing and mainenance

Our clients business is the management and reprocessing of nuclear fuel and decommissioning of nuclear facilities.  Employing 11,000 people at their site, they required assistance in designing and delivering a training programme that would enable the business and it’s supply base to deliver improved processes at a rapid pace with self-sufficiency. There was a clear requirement to enable a change in attitude from ‘why we can’t’ to ‘why can’t we’.

Our Approach

Due to the nature of the complex processes in the organisation, they felt that building Six Sigma capability in house would deliver not only step change but assist with sustainability by having internal resource capable of on-going and continuous improvement.  By closely working with the client a training programme was designed and material jointly developed for basic (Yellow Belt), intermediate (Green Belt) and more advanced (Black Belt) training with a view to tackling both simple through to complex problems using appropriate tools and personnel. Each belt was supported within their Business Unit by a client improvement expert and reviews were held with and ICN Coach.  The close marrying of client and ICN expertise enabled efficient skills transfer and the rapid progression of projects to completion and then on to Six Sigma certification via the ICN process.

We worked with the client to ‘head off’ issues that had held back successful change in previous projects.  As the Client Internal Improvement Team was not perceived ‘well’ we worked with them to focus on ‘selling’ and delivering real, demonstrable benefits. These were promoted via Client communications infrastructure. In the past, a number of projects had not being completed, so we ensured that thorough planning took place to build commitment and visibility of what was needed to achieve success and Sponsors were trained and commitment gained by programming presence into workshops to support the projects

Client Benefits

The improvement projects were varied but they included

  • Improved control of Measurement Test Equipment – reduced MTE, improved process for managing MTE - savings £750,000
  • Increased Maintenance Team Productivity – reduced time to plan and organise work, appropriate time focus for complex jobs – savings  £850,000
  • Improved productivity of drum manufacture – balanced line, reduced work in progress, pull systems, self-inspection – savings £500,000

Over the 2 year period £5m has been saved. Individuals have been certified at all levels of Six Sigma expertise, across a wide range of Operating and Support units. Many projects have focussed on the supply chain and produced the added benefit of a ‘capable’ supply base able to produce and share savings achieved by removing waste.  The company is well on the way to being able to ‘grow’ and develop it’s own personnel into the Improvement Practitioners of tomorrow.