Staff training helps to streamline aerospace specialists


Investing in the future of its staff has helped aerospace specialist Zodiac Interconnect UK to streamline its manufacturing process – improving efficiency and cutting costs.

Zodiac Interconnect UK – part of global firm Zodiac Aerospace – has also been able to reduce waste, eliminate defects and encourage employees to become more engaged with the overall running of the business.

The company – which has more than 1,000 employees across Europe, America and North Africa – manufactures interconnect products and systems for harsh and safety-critical environments in the aerospace, defence, industrial and energy industries. Its expertise includes design and manufacture of wiring protection and cable management components, landing gear electrical systems and specialist pressure hoses.

Team leaders from its facility in Slough – which has 125 employees - have now completed a bespoke 12 month training programme with leading independent apprenticeship provider Skills Training UK.

By focusing on lean manufacturing processes and looking at Business Improvement Techniques (BIT) the sessions have helped to streamline production and create significant savings. In one area a new tool marking and storage system was introduced which enabled the most frequently used tools to be found quicker and easier – saving 87% in search time.

Elsewhere, procedures for handling any new jobs which came into the hose assembly line were tightened to help reduce wastage and errors, while tools were also modified to reduce the start up time of certain machines.

The training has also encouraged employees to adopt a more methodological approach to problem solving and reduced variation by making processes predictable and stable through standardisation.

Team leader Raj Sall commented: “I am more aware of my environment, not only for the safety audit but for tidiness and cleanliness to maintain a certain standard, save time and eliminate waste. By working in a team it has helped – I am not doing it on my own.”

Team leader Michael Moore added: “The BIT trainers helped make it a lot easier for me going into the role of team leader and I learnt how to handle situations. It helped me understand the techniques and the audits you need to do and it helped me with team work. I used to like doing things by myself but I can now get my team involved. I am on the health and safety committee and it has made me more aware of how things are done.”

Khurram Chaudhry, Lean manager, Zodiac Interconnect UK, said: “It’s changed our paradigm and the way the team leaders see their role is different now. Before they might say, ‘it’s too much work’ and now they say, ‘let’s collect data and do it.’ They now feel empowered to solve the problem themselves.”

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