A family owned precision engineering company in Coventry has achieved a 10 per cent increase in its forward order book and has made double-digit productivity gains with the help of experts from the Manufacturing Technology Centre.
An SME team from the MTC’s Manufacturing Support Services operation worked with managers and operators from precision aerospace supplier Harris RCS and helped them make big advances in production planning, productivity and on-time schedules.
Harris RCS, a progressive, well-established company based in Exhall, Coventry, approached the MTC to help the business reduce waste, improve set-up times and improve productivity in their CNC machining operations.
MTC engineers, working with Harris RCS employees, began by replacing manual set-up processes with a digital solution. They captured data already available and made it visible to all operators so every machine could be monitored in real time. Machines are being digitally connected and a culture of continuous monitoring has been encouraged.
Harris RCS managing director Graham Harris said the solutions arrived at added to the company’s reputation for quality and efficiency.
“They took the big data we already had, made it more visible and linked our existing machine assets, building digital assets to make the processes more efficient. We are now able to handle more orders without having to bring in more resources, and we are investing in new technology where we really need it.
“More importantly, they encouraged a culture of constant improvement. There is a real buzz about the place with our people coming up with new ideas all the time. Now working with the MTC forms an integral part of our strategy for improvement and innovation to meet our customer’s evolving needs,” he said.
Dean Baker, director of the MTC’s Business Launch Centre and Manufacturing Support Services team, said the work with Harris RCS had demonstrated that as well as helping start-ups bring products to market, they could also use their expertise to improve productivity and competitiveness in established SMEs.
He said, “We are able to provide a de-risked environment for SMEs with the support of our team of engineers, and through the MTC’s membership we can give companies the opportunity to draw on the wider manufacturing community to maintain a successful and sustainable business.”
Based in the MTC’s Sopwith Building the Manufacturing Support Services team works with SMEs to improve productivity and processes. They have access to the MTC’s world-class advanced manufacturing and research facilities, as well as the MTC’s team of engineering and manufacturing experts.
The team has worked with more 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.