Lean raises the bar at Packaging Automation

Tags: lean manufacturing

Packaging Automation Ltd. is already renowned for its short lead times, where it consistently outperforms its rivals. However, a significant change in working practices at the company in recent years is allowing these times to be reduced even further – while helping to cut costs.

With its core principles of reducing waste and achieving greater efficiencies, lean manufacturing has resulted in cultural change throughout Packaging Automation as it seeks to reinforce its position as the leading United Kingdom manufacturer of tray sealing and filling equipment.

The company recognizes that in order to remain competitive in today’s challenging markets, businesses must be ready to recognize and adopt new working methods to contain costs and increase service levels.

Mick Davis, PA’s general manager, said: “Even though we are still in the early stages, we are already seeing the benefits of the initiative. We have analyzed all our processes and developed streamlined systems in several areas of the business. Different departments are now working together more effectively as there is a greater understanding of how all stages of processing an order fit together. Everyone is really behind the initiative, information flow has improved and teamwork has been enhanced.”

He added: “A real sense of pride has developed among the staff, with everyone working in a structured way to achieve the same clear objectives.”

Another key effect of lean manufacturing has been a reorganization of the company’s shop floor, resulting in a very clean, bright and modern working environment for staff. In recent months, many customers have been extremely impressed by the shop floor layout and level of organization – something they say they have not seen in other factories.

Packaging Automation’s customer services manager, Dave Schumacker, who is responsible for machine and tooling assembly, reiterated the positive effects the program has already brought to the company.

“Because we have introduced a more even production schedule, we have been able to reduce lead times for customers and ease pressure on staff who now have a more structured and clear way of working,” he said. “Documentation has been created and clear systems put in place which will significantly reduce build time and help us exceed our customers’ expectations.”

Production manager Kelvin Hesketh says the same principles are now being introduced into the manufacturing side of the business, and already, revised production techniques are increasing production speeds and bringing efficiencies throughout the manufacturing process.

“As we’ve consulted with staff and taken their ideas and suggestions on-board where possible, they have really bought into the process, which is vital to its success,” said Hesketh. “We are also creating a culture of continuous improvement. So, even though something works well now, everyone knows it must be sustained and improved further where possible.”

About Packaging Automation:
Packaging Automation Ltd. was established in 1963 and is the U.K.’s leading manufacturer of tray sealing machinery. Operating from state-of-the-art premises located in Knutsford, the business employs 120 people and produces a wide range of equipment. These range from simple manual units and semiautomatics through to inline, fully automated systems. The company also manufactures volumetric, filling and sealing machines, conveyors and other ancillary equipment. This level of professionalism has made Packaging Automation one of the market leaders in the supply of tray sealing solutions for a wide range of markets.