Report - - Stanley Tools Sheffield April 2011 | Diehardlove | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Stanley Tools Sheffield April 2011


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Went here with lostexplorer and vw
Stanley is one of the world’s largest producers of hand-held tools. The Hellaby site is the largest of Stanley’s manufacturing facilities in Europe. It is located between Maltby and Rotherham near Sheffield, and is the home of Stanley Tools UK. It was built in 1974 and has grown to be one of the top five manufacturing facilities. Its 320 strong team of people turnover $76 million a year for its American parent company, ‘The Stanley Works’, and are responsible for producing the design classic, Stanley knife, among many other items.

Awarding it ‘superbrand’ status, the Superbrand organisation praised Stanley for having “produced some of the most innovative and useful tools ever madeâ€.

Stanley has been in Sheffield since 1937 when it took over the Chapman brace and drill facility at Woodside Lane. The Stanley presence subsequently grew to include premises at Ecclesfield and Hellaby, with all three locations consolidated at Hellaby two years ago. “During the past few years there has been the need for essential restructuring. “Unfortunately there were redundancies, the bulk of these were dealt with by voluntary redundancies and mostly all amicably. With this now behind us we look forward to an exciting future and the chance to make Hellaby a truly world class facility.

“Our lean manufacturing approach has improved working practices, and continues to eliminate ‘wasted effort’ in processing and administration, streamlining our operation to the extent that labour productivity has increased by four per cent year-on-year since completing the consolidation,†he added. Putting this into perspective, Hellaby produces in excess of 3.81 million components a week for the worldwide market.

The majority of Hellaby’s customers are internal. It ships directly to Stanley distribution centres in Brackmills UK, Mechelean in Belgium, Figino in Italy, Besançon in France and to Kannapolis in the US, a customer service and planning team manage the stock to meet customer demand. “Over 95 per cent of tools are manufactured to stock, although a small percentage are made to order.

“Within the factory production is mostly controlled by kanban this gives us quick response to replenish DC stocks and satisfy customer demand. Stock levels at the DCs are monitored daily to try and address any potential service issues ASAP,†Vickers explained. “Customer service is paramount – if you don’t provide good service to your customers, your credibility with them suffers and puts future business at risk.â€

Stanley’s working practices are based on continuous improvement. Lean manufacturing systems were introduced at corporate level five to six years ago. The Stanley production system (SPS) uses all the lean manufacturing tools and techniques to improve routine tasks or implement solutions to particular problems. “We’re continually reviewing processes and how we move products around to make everything more efficient,†said Vickers. “Anywhere waste is identified we try to eliminate or reduce it to speed up the process and increase productivity and, in turn, improve customer service. We try to permanently resolve any faults when they are identified.â€

SPS has achieved significant results, typically reducing tooling change over time by 80 to 95 per cent. In turn, this has reduced some lead-times from three weeks to two days; it has also allowed the introduction of one-piece of flow cell manufacturing, sending lead-times crashing from two weeks to five minutes.

“When a lean event is to be held we ask for volunteers to take part. A typical team comprises three or four operatives, an engineer, an SPS facilitator and production manager or team leader and the project could last from two or three hours or for a whole week,†he said.

Stanley’s continuous improvement approach also ties in with its stringent policy regarding safety good 5S helps identify and support an ordered and safer work environment.

“We use a scorecard to monitor EH&S (environment – health and safety) progress across Stanley worldwide and every month all sites share best practices to drive improvement.†At the year-end 2004, Hellaby was positioned third worldwide out of 47 facilities, This was achieved by performing an audit to identify shortcomings and setting up systems and programmes and regular reviews to track progress. I am very proud of all the efforts people here have made and the financial support we have had from corporate to achieve this. We’re now looking at soon-to-be-introduced health and safety legislation.â€

Vickers believes that Stanley’s lean methods supported by its application of technology and forward thinking senior management team have helped off-set some of the worldwide increase in steel prices, cheap labour outside the UK and poor interest rates. More importantly, its tools are built to last and are a preferred option by the end user plus its brand name is synonymous with quality.

“We’ll continually drive costs down to remain competitive,†he said. “I’m sure in time there will be a reversal of prices from low cost countries as the standard of living there rises. Some people say UK manufacturing is dying, personally, I don’t think so, we have to show ingenuity using technology and lean practices to ensure we remain in the game – some businesses can be short-sighted and don’t consider building for the future, going for the quick return by outsourcing