A Midlands manufacturer of X-ray protection equipment has halved its lead times and reduced production costs following the intervention of experts from the Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre.
An SME team from the MTC’s Manufacturing Support Services operation worked with Willenhall-based Raybloc Ltd, helping them cut lead times from 16 weeks to just eight weeks, while cutting costs by 10 per cent, removing the need for overtime and getting ISO accreditation nine months ahead of schedule. The company was also able to give its workforce a pay rise.
Following the MTC’s intervention, Raybloc manufactured and supplied doors, lead lining and X-ray screens for X-ray theatres at Birmingham’s Nightingale Hospital. The Raybloc team had everything fully fitted in less than five hours.
Raybloc, which has been supplying radiation protection products to hospitals around the world for more than 20 years, called in the MTC when they realised that, despite a bulging order book, they had lost half a million pounds worth of work over a year because of uncompetitive lead times. They needed to be more responsive, introduce appropriate new technology and improve communications within the team.
Working with Raybloc management and operators, the MTC team helped with workforce coaching and mentoring, better planning and scheduling, identifying performance indicators in line with business strategy, and advised on technology introduction and workplace organisation.
The results included lead times being slashed by half, a 10 per cent increase in sales, a 10 per cent reduction in production costs, the removal of the need for overtime, more efficient stock control and a better relationship with the supply chain.
Raybloc managing director Sean Haydon said, “The support we’ve had from the MTC has helped Raybloc achieve our objective of reducing lead times from 16 weeks to eight weeks and has improved profitability. I’ve been able to give the workforce a five per cent pay rise as a direct result of the increased output and gaining certification.”
Darren Massingham, senior advisor with the MTC’s business transformation team said, “The team at Raybloc have made tremendous progress in a short period of time. They are now in a position to get the most benefit from the new technologies they are introducing to continue to grow the business and reduce lead times further. Raybloc had issues typical in a lot of UK SMEs. I’ve been impressed by the commitment and high skill level of the employees along with the integrity, vision and passion shown by the management. I look forward to continuing the Raybloc and MTC’s working partnership”
Neill Smith, head of the MTC’s Manufacturing Support Services team, said the work with Raybloc had demonstrated how the MTC’s expertise could improve productivity and competitiveness in well-established SMEs.
He said, “We are able to work with the management and workforce of SMEs and unlock their potential. With the support of our team of engineers, Raybloc can now go on to build its business and improve its performance with a new can-do culture.”
The MTC Manufacturing Support Services team has worked with more than 500 SMEs, and at any one time has more than 150 live projects.
The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.
The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.