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Instilling a Lean Culture in Manufacturing

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Most working processes will produce some form of waste – which in a green economy, is an issue that needs to be heavily tackled across the manufacturing sector. British Rototherm, who have long been based in Port Talbot, share how they have changed their culture with lean and their relentless approach to eliminating waste from every process.

Business News Wales spoke to Oliver Conger, the Managing Director of Rototherm and Founder of the Manufacturing Wales group, to learn more about how he discovered the concept of lean manufacturing, realising that he needed to teach his employees to see waste first before he could move forwards on their lean journey:

Lean manufacturing is defined by Twi Global as a production process based on an ideology of maximising productivity while simultaneously minimising waste within a manufacturing operation. The lean principle sees waste as anything that does not add to the value that customers are willing to pay for. The benefits of lean manufacturing include reduced lead times and operating costs and improved product quality.

In this interview, Oliver also speaks about how businesses should collaborate more to implement lean manufacturing:

“In Wales, we have got some of the best manufacturers in the world based here, I think we have got a fantastic [and] supportive community across Wales. What we can do more from, and what I am starting to see, is that collaboration. We’ve pinched, borrowed and taken ideas from so many companies [on addressing our waste management], which has helped us, and we have been so grateful for people to open their doors to our teams.”

“I think around Wales, the more that we can work collaboratively – and this was one of the real foundations of Manufacturing Wales – was about [establishing this] network. […] We just want to improve each and every day; so I think there is an enormous opportunity, I think this is a real first amongst manufacturing leaders around Wales.”

“The challenge now is working together and taking action. I see that now starting to really happen amongst many people and many organisations.”