Improving productivity

For small businesses to thrive in a global marketplace you need to be offering the right products at the right quality, price and time. Harnessing new technologies can help maximise your productivity and competitiveness.

Drawing on our experience of working with some of the biggest, most productive players in UK manufacturing, the HVM Catapult has worked with thousands of SMEs to improve productivity in operations of all types and sizes. Our team can help your business adopt new technologies to optimise everything from material handling and processing techniques to business systems.

PragmatIC, CPI

PragmatIC is a leader in ultra-low-cost flexible electronics, which enable the potential for trillions of ‘smart objects’. The business turned to our CPI team for help in fulfilling demand for applications of its new technology (FlexICs) with some of the world’s largest consumer brands. CPI expedited the launch of its unique FlexLogIC® fab-in-a-box system, which allows low capital, high volume and distributed production of FlexICs.

CPI prepared the technology for mass production, accelerating its technology development and aiding the formation of robust technology methodology. Access to CPI’s state-of-the-art facilities and expert knowledge was a key factor in the business choosing to base its new FlexLogIC fab-in-a-box in the North East, where CPI enabled the rapid growth of its new manufacturing team and supported its expanding business resource requirements.

The success of the project saw CPI and PragmatIC continue to collaborate on publicly funded R&D projects, carry out further research and development work and test PragmatIC’s new processes.

Pashley Bikes, WMG

Pashley, the British bicycle manufacturer, approached WMG to help them diversify their business and prepare to bid for a contract to develop the new TfL London Cycle Hire scheme.

To prove that they were the right partner for a bid, WMG’s experts executed the rapid prototyping of a new bicycle design to demonstrate how metal and plastic moulded parts could be used in place of traditional materials. As well as enabling Pashley to prove the new bike design’s robustness, WMG also swiftly leveraged its extensive network of UK manufacturers to anchor the supply chain for the plastic components firmly in the UK.

Completed in just two weeks, the project helped Pashley succeed in securing a five-year contract to supply the next generation of London Cycle Hire bicycles.

The success of this project was timely and has led Pashley to invest in developing their hire bike capability, with the first of many new contracts being the Edinburgh Bike Scheme.

Chafer, MTC

Chafer Machinery, a leader in technologically advanced spraying equipment, was struggling to meet delivery times whilst maintaining a quality product with its current resources. MTC helped the business reduce build hours, increase capacity and flexibility and ensure on time delivery to customers.

MTC optimised the factory layout and introduced a visual management system, giving staff greater visibility of the production plan. The digitisation and display of engineering requests allowed teams to monitor delivery to the customer, with deviations quickly identified and rectified.

As well as factory improvements, MTC created a specification for future investment in technology advising on what to buy and when to invest, with trials being completed to mitigate the risk of future investment. The workforce also entered an improvement programme, ensuring they were able to adapt to big changes within an already busy environment. With MTC support, the Chafer team were able to reduce staff hours per machine by 45%, and doubling turnover in two years without a significant increase in overhead costs.