During the 2008 Best Factory Awards, organised on September 19th by Works Management magazine and Cranfield University School of Management, Gates Power Transmission received the award for Best Engineering Plant in the UK.
Gates Power Transmission plant in Dumfries is the world’s highest-volume manufacturer of synchronous drive belts both for automotive and industrial applications. Gates Dumfries employs 390 associates working four shifts round the clock to make 500,000 belts a week. Half of production goes into the automotive aftermarket, another quarter goes to the automotive original equipment (OE) and the rest is for industrial markets.
In the last couple of years Gates Dumfries plant has been making remarkable efforts to become a clean and lean factory. With the introduction of Gates Production System (GPS) in 2004 the amount of waste, the number of defects have improved impressively. What’s more, GPS has lead directly to operator’s greater pride in their work and their use of standard work to significantly reduce scrap. Better material flows have added further savings. The 3.5 days inventory Gates held two and a half year ago is now down to 15 hours and other improvements have reduced the need for working capital. Unit costs have fallen 3.5% as a result.
According to the BFA report Gates is a leading company in time to market, on-time performance, meeting customer expectations and cost-base reduction. ‘Gates wins its orders on quality’, says Ross Nagle, European Vice President Manufacturing Gates. He continues, ‘The levels of performance our customers get from the product leads them to buy from us’.
In addition to the Best Engineering Plant award the company has also been Highly Commended for the Supply Chain Award. Gates delivery performance in the OE market is 100% and in the automotive aftermarket some 98% plus.
The ceremony was held at the Royal Lancaster hotel in London on Friday 19th September. At this venue different companies have been awarded for their drive to be innovative, environmentally aware or focused on quality and performance throughout their organizations. In total 14 awards were presented in different categories including Best Process Plant, Best Electronics & Electrical Plant and Most Improved Plant.
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