VEKA UK, a window and door PVC manufacturer, took a big risk when it made an investment in an expensive on-site mixing plant and powder feed system with a goal of reducing costs and improving productivity over the long run. The payoff has already begun, with VEKA reaping efficiency results as well as taking home the national Business Efficiency Award (now called the Innovation Award) from the EEF Future Manufacturing Awards 2015.
Above: Peter Eatough, Mixing Plant Manager, VEKA UK
The new mixing plant is the most technologically advanced of its kind in the UK and in building it VEKA pioneered a new cooling system, speeding up the cooling process during production and increasing production efficiency further. The mixing plant, found on the company’s Burnley, Lancashire site, has enabled VEKA to future-proof the business and enhance the quality of the finished product.
Judges' Comments:“An excellent story delivered with obvious passion. The construction of a new aspect of their manufacturing plant, showed a high return on investment and gave them a new revenue stream with a sizable profit. The result of the new investment also made them the most efficient manufacturing plant within their group – outperforming their German parent.”
As a longstanding member of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, VEKA knew about the Future Manufacturing Awards and had been waiting for the right opportunity to enter. This opportunity presented itself in 2015 and the Lancashire-based company ended up winning their regional award and went on to win the national award, too.
“We’re part of a large international group of companies so to win this kind of award meant we got a lot of attention and respect from our international partners.” – Gabriela Hammond, Head of HR, VEKA UK
“It was a great achievement to even be considered along with some really big businesses, and the entry process was quite stringent and comprehensive. To then go on to win at the national level was amazing,” says Gabriela Hammond, Head of HR for VEKA UK.
She says the best part of the win was being able to bring the award back to VEKA’s internal teams to demonstrate how valued and leading-edge their work was.
Gabriela explains: “The awards were a very good external benchmark to confirm that we’re doing good things.”
Think your business is a leader when it comes to innovation? How about health and safety or environmental achievement? There are eight business award categories and six apprentice award categories to enter at the EEF Future Manufacturing Awards, the most respected and rigorous awards programme in UK manufacturing. The deadline to enter is 29 July 2016.