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Summer Solstice at Safestyle Manufacturing

Safestyle raises the benchmark even higher in 2011As we enter the Summer the increase in raw materials prices shows no sign of easing. With the cost of all our core requirements still rising it's vital we get things right first time and every time, but if we don't we have to learn from it and stop any reoccurrence. This needs to be applied everywhere because, as you can imagine, every time an error is made it adds cost but no value. By giving our colleagues across the Safestyle business as much information as possible at every stage, and ensuring we are communicating well, it helps us improve customer satisfaction and reduce waste. We've seen some improvements on reducing waste at the factory, we now have to maintain these gains and take the next step to further improvements.

One of our main areas of focus is on getting the best quality out of our Suppliers and has been now for the best part of this year! We continue to work with our Supply chain as a whole, as we can only be as good as our weakest link. At the moment we're struggling with just a couple of key Suppliers to obtain from them the highest quality of materials/products expected in order to deliver the highest standard of products "right first time, every time" to our Installation branches. One of our main objectives at the moment is to protect the Installation branches from hitting any problems, so they can continue fitting as normal our excellent energy saving double glazing products and keep our customers happy.

Some of our production managers have been visiting the Installation branches to speak with the fit teams directly and find out what, if any, issues the teams were experiencing from a product perspective. This gave us detailed and quantitative feedback from the fit teams about any issues and also identified further improvements we could make to aid them in their daily tasks. The feedback was very positive, with a few little areas highlighted and some suggestions, usually linked to specific installations rather than repeated ongoing problems, and it was encouraging to see there are no major concerns.

We always take note of each and every single issue, fully communicating them to the Production teams, Supply Chain and of course the Quality department. We work through every action point and add them to our control plans, SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) in order to maintain the very high standards of double glazing quality we pride ourselves on, and everyone rightly expects!

While Supplier quality is still not where we expect it to be, it is still a battle we must and will win. Having said that, we all know the saying about 'people in glass houses throwing stones' as we embark on our own all-out quality drive to identify areas where we need to up our game. Operations, Quality and Engineering are now well into the quality onslaught, the likes of which the factory has never seen before. This is being driven from the top down with no stone left unturned to expose any shortcomings. We can assure you there is no-one at our Safestyle Barnsley site who is not actively involved in working on improving quality and waste reduction. Immediate changes have already been made in manufacturing following the positive feedback from Installations branches. As ever, we continue to act on feedback to improve the finished window and door product, and the voice of our customer is and always will be taken seriously.

With commodity prices continuing to rise, the Information Technology support function is doing all it can in the War on Waste. The IT dept recently completed a project which enables us to take the glass required for our panel cassettes and cut it in the mix with our regular glass batches. This ensures we create a lot less waste when cutting both glass types. We also delivered a project recently that allows us to batch part item remakes, which again means when cutting this glass we do so more efficiently. Another project which we will be looking into next is the optimisation of ancillaries.

Health & Safety is and always will be our number one priority. Our monthly Health & Safety Committee meetings are attended by Departmental Managers, Foreman and Committee reps, and this forum is an ideal opportunity for all departments can get together to swap and exchange best practice and ideas to further improve our safety record. At the start of 2011, we were predicting the year ahead. Now we are at the mid-point in the year, the summer solstice you could say, and when we look back and compare our position with that of this time in 2010 to see if the initiatives, worker involvement and leadership within the organisation has had an effect on our accident rate, we are pleased to say that compared to this time last year, our accidents have reduced by 40%! In addition, during the last week of May, the South Yorkshire Fire Officer carried out a site audit and examined all our procedures. We're pleased to report he was impressed with our standards and had no cause for concern.

Both these Health & Safety results are a good start to the year, it has been an all-round team effort and thanks to all those who have been involved and helped to achieve this. We have reached an even better standard that we will maintain and improve upon.

Finally, after receiving over 140 applications and spending hours interviewing, Safestyle Manufacturing has finally found 10 very keen, young individuals to employ as Apprentices. The chosen candidates started with us week commencing 16th May 2011 and will be working towards a Certificate in Fabrication of Glass Supporting Structures & Glazing, whilst also gaining hands-on working experience in the window and door manufacturing world.

The HR department together with Supply Chain, Finance and Quality are heading up a 'Lean Office' project, which is focusing on cost savings, process controls and our continued War on Waste. HR is also working hard to support the factory through the current 'quality drive', by maintaining the focus on in-house training and assisting in all areas where necessary.

24 June 2011

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Safestyle Manufacturing and Logistics, the UK's leading Super-fabricator of high quality, energy saving PVCu double glazing windows and doors
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