When Luke Stevens joined an Easter egg factory in Shropshire last year as part of an industry placement, he knew he would gain much-needed experience for his future career.
But the 19-year-old's short stay proved invaluablefor Telford-based Magna Specialist Confectioners, which can now boast savings of £250,000 a year, thanks to Luke's contribution to a project which improved the company's efficiency.
The Bristol University mechanical engineering student applied for the Year in Industry (YINI) placement, and was recruited by the company's operations manager.
He was asked to study the reduction of waste but moved on to a more complex project when Magna decided to change its stock-holding regime. Luke's new project looked at the reconfiguration of the company's warehouse, which included the removal of all stock and racking and concentrated on warehouse repairs.
Company supply chain manager Bob Tummons originally declined the offer of a YINI student because he felt the degree of supervision needed for a student would outweigh any benefit.
But he was pleasantly surprised by Luke's ability to work without as much guidance as he expected.
"I found what a very bright young man could do, given very precise briefing, was impressive indeed." he said. "He led the consolidation and rationalisation of stocks, then worked with engineering and contractors to plan the reconfiguration of the warehouse. Having played his part in removing two-thirds of our stock capacity, he then ran the new scheduling systems required to allow us to operate on a JIT-basis.
"We have reduced our stock management costs by at least £250,000 per annum." Luke said: "It has given me something to talk about at interviews and I now appreciate logistics, which has enabled me to run the logistics side to events at university. I have got big contacts in business now, including Cadbury and Nestle."