Manfrotto UK Ltd is an Ashby-de-la-Zouch based company that manufactures accessories for the photographic industry such as screens, reflectors, diffusers and backgrounds.
The company has its divisional headquarters in Italy and, as an integral part of embracing Lean principles within the divisional Operations activity, the UK subsidiary was required to adopt a strategy based on developing an efficiency focused production process that would yield manufacturing efficiency improvement and also generate an opportunity to bring a number of products sourced overseas back to the UK.
After recently signing on as an EEF member in 2015, the Manfrotto UK team turned to the manufacturers’ organisation for help in achieving Lean.
Manfrotto Operations Manager Ken Brown explained how the process initially began with meetings with EEF’s Manufacturing Growth Lead Patrick Lee to lay out the scope of the project. Patrick then developed a Lean implementation plan that started with taking a group of 15 Manfrotto staff through a two day Lean awareness training programme.
This was then followed by a three day workshop where the awareness training was converted into practical application, focusing on the Lean production of a group of new products.
The result was an all-new, Lean-focused production cell on the Manfrotto factory floor.
The production cell was designed for there to be a shorter travel distance between the product at raw stage (above left) and at the assembly stage (above right)
Manfrotto’s Ken Brown explained:
“The cell was designed so that the distance the product has to travel from raw materials to the finished item is as compact as possible. This new cell reduces the distance that items have to travel so that there is minimum time wasted, focus is on value added activity and work flow rate is maximised.”
“The cell is now in production and the groundwork has been laid to allow Lean principles to be introduced on other products, with all other employees at Manfrotto UK having already having undertaken EEF delivered Lean Awareness training with a live, working example of what the principles look like in action”.
“Having the working cell makes the Lean theory come alive and we are fortunate to have that opportunity. Not only were we able to get essential training, but we were also able to use Patrick to oversee the development of the cell and put Lean methodology into action.”
There are a number of benefits for the business, but the key and immediate result is cost competitive, high quality production of once offshore imports back into the UK. This means the work is not outsourced; the product is not imported. The training in Lean and its application represents considerable value”.
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