Case Studies

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SSE Exam Success Case Study -
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IMPROVING OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE AT  KAUTEX

Kautex Textron CVS is an international automotive supplier based South Wales and  the global headquarters for its parent groups’ Clear Vision Systems Headlamp and Windscreen cleaning businesses.  The Company designs, tests and manufactures product for sale to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier One suppliers within the automotive markets on a global basis.   Amongst its key customers for the site is: Toyota, Jaguar, Land-Rover, Nissan, Volvo, BMW and Audi. 

Background

The automotive market increasingly demands that its supply chain companies demonstrate certain core competencies and a culture of Continuous Improvement and Lean are key elements of these auditable requirements.

In 2010 Kautex identified major opportunities for growth within the overseas automotive supply chain marketplace.  However, in order to bid for this work with potential new customers and demonstrate their ability to fulfil demanding time and quality critical contracts, there would also need to be up-skilling within the workforce in order to cope with the increased demands on the business. 

Plant Manager, Jonathan Jones, explained: “To assist in supporting these tough new customer requirements and position the company for growth, Kautex CVS recognised the need to develop its culture of Lean and Continuous Improvement to support its growth and expansion plans. This requirement could only be met by engaging the entire workforce in this crucial business requirement and in recognising that our people are going to be key to achieving new success.”

At this time the new Skills Growth Wales pilot project fund was launched by the Welsh Government for growth companies in Wales and was a timely skills investment programme that aligned with Kautex’s training and development strategy: it was grant aid to support demand-led business skills that directly links training support to business growth.

Recommendation/Solution

Due to their expertise in performance improvement underpinned by accredited lean programmes, Track Training Limited was appointed as the preferred supplier for the delivery of Kautex’s organisational training and development needs.  

According to Jones, “the key to Track’s selection was their offer of a practical solutions-based approach underpinned by their use of tutors with hands on industry experience. They also had core expertise in Lean (up to Six Sigma level) and understood our needs for a whole company approach, detailed diagnostics and a nationally accredited Business Improvement Techniques qualification.  We were very impressed with their professional approach, client base and testimonies that endorsed their offer”.

Following an extensive review of business processes with Track Training lean consultants a range of measures were recommended that included the up-skilling of manufacturing teams to introduce a Business Improvement Techniques NVQ Diploma at Level 2 that included a range of process mapping units and lean skills that would drive efficiency gains and begin the process of embedding and sustaining a continuous improvement culture, leading to increased profitability and turnover.

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Results

Kautex Textron identified 189 employees to benefit from a skills investment programme linked to their performance plans and in March 2011 the training contract was awarded to Track Training Limited in Bridgend to help Kautex introduce a culture of continuous improvement and lean skills with a nationally accredited Business Improvement Techniques (B-IT) Diploma at level 2.   The focus of ther demand-led skills solutions programme has been to support growth and expansion plans through the introduction of sustainable manufacturing capabilities and the reduction of operating costs to help service existing contracts more efficiently and remain competitive whilst also increasing international market share.

In December 2011 Kautex Plant Manager Jonathan Jones advised: “We are 60% through our Lean Culture Implementation Programme and the B-IT training programme and are already making an impact on our key business metrics; it has assisted infrastructure development and increased our productivity, responsiveness and competitiveness. The development of engagement of our wider workforce is enabling CVS to clearly focus on the needs of our customers and positioning the business to remain as a key supplier within its market segment.”

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“We are very happy with Track Training Limited’s on-going commitment to delivery and training performance as the company continues to embed a continuous improvement culture within our business, supporting our on-going strategic growth plans.

Endorsed January 2012
Author: V.Compton

 

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