Focused on the future

TR Fastenings, the industrial fastener manufacturing and distribution subsidiary of Trifast plc, adopted best practice benchmarking principles six months ago. Deputy chief executive John Wilson says: ‘We’d had an active continuous improvement programme fo

The company adopted the slogan ‘Fit for the Future’ as an umbrella for a number of initiatives. These include:

* having a focused direction with clear business plans from all divisions, ‘so everyone knows what we’re trying to do’.

* measuring less but making the measurements more effective: the company is concentrating on gross margins, stock turns, absenteeism, staff turnover, overdue deliveries and reject rates: ‘If we can get these right we know we’re moving forward.’

* a systems and operations board will identify best practice from the 20-plus UK sites and implement it across the group, covering everything from answering the phone to supply chain management. A monitoring system will prove each improvement has been carried out.

The company also undertakes benchmarking with its customers: ‘What they do well we want to do well too,’ says Wilson.

So far, he says, in the business processes examined, 30% of non-value-added actions have been removed, adding even more impetus to the continuous improvement process.