Experts in Birmingham have helped to boost productivity at one of the world’s most famous frozen foods brands using experience from the automotive and aerospace sectors.
Industry Forum, which is based in the city, is delivering a manufacturing excellence programme at Findus Foods factories in England, Scotland and Sweden as the company looks to boost the productivity, efficiency and profitability of its manufacturing plants.
Knowledge and experience from automotive and aerospace production is being used by the Industry Forum to dramatically improve productivity in the food processing sector. Findus is the latest organisation to come to the forum for help.
A team of three Industry Forum engineers are delivering the improvement programmes at Findus plants in Grimsby, Livingston and Bjuv in Sweden. The programmes are based around the total productive maintenance process (TPM) which can have a major impact on plant and machine productivity, skills improvement, people motivation and ultimately business results.
The huge Bjuv plant turns over nearly £90 million a year and processes Findus vegetables and ready meals. The Grimsby factories produce fish products and frozen meals while the Livingston plant handles white fish and salmon.
TPM has now been adopted by some of the world’s biggest manufacturing companies such as Unilever, Findus, Wrigley, Tetra Pak and Arcor as well as companies in the automotive and aerospace sectors.
The Industry Forum, based in Birmingham Business Park, has become an acknowledged expert on TPM delivery, and is the only non-Japanese organisation to be chosen as assessors for the prestigious TPM global award presented by the Japanese Institute of Plant Maintenance.
Industry Forum director Arthur David said the world’s biggest companies were now adopting total productive maintenance processes as part of their corporate culture.
“Findus is the latest company to see the benefits, which can run into millions of pounds saved plus the benefits of a better skilled and motivated workforce and more efficient factories,” he said.
“Our latest contract with Findus is a 12 month arrangement which will enable Findus’s own people to roll out the process improvements across all of their factories. This capability transfer process has been extremely successful in other sectors,” he added.
“The manufacturing sector has reaped enormous benefits from relatively simple solutions. Improving floor and equipment layout, reducing waste, improving processes, and constantly recognising that the people doing the job have an enormous contribution to make if they have the skills and the tools to do so,” he said.
“The Industry Forum approach is applicable to any industry, and this has been central to the partnership we have forged with Findus. We are equipping the company with the ability to sustain the progress made,” he added.
The Industry Forum was set up in the mid-1990s as part of the SMMT bid to drive for competitiveness in the UK.