Focus on operational excellence driven by customer-first approach

Pneumatics expert PCL is continuing to drive forward efficiency and flexibility for customers with a £550k investment into lean manufacturing and new product development.

Throughout the pandemic and beyond, PCL has been successfully implementing a programme of Operational Excellence aimed at driving forward efficiency, improving business operations, and enhancing performance and safety.

In terms of capital expenditure, this has involved:

  • Installation of three carousel storage units to create space, improved stock accuracy and a safe and organised factory floor.
  • Mobile warehouse implementation planned for the fourth quarter of 2022, using scanners for improved accuracy and reduced process errors.
  • Upgrade of ERP system for increased functionality and improved processes.
  • Auto bagging machines for reduced time and costs and increased capacity.
  • Touch screen PC for line side Standard Operating Procedures and quality plans.
  • Investment into increased machine capacity and capability – including
  • a new lathe, machine upgrades, SPC dataloggers and tool regrinding machine.
  • Significant investment in New Product Development.

PCL’s drive for operational excellence has included extensive training for the team, using 5S methodology to improve workplace efficiency and eliminate waste, and Kaizen strategy to create a continuous improvement culture. This has included:

  • A re-organisation of structure and key recruitments in the warehouse and product development, including the formation of new Distribution and Procurement teams.
  • Development of Leadership and Operational Excellence programme.
  • Striving for a lean and visual factory – including implementation of Kanban’s visual management systems.
  • Introduction of monthly team meetings for clear communications, covering business / department performance and continuous improvement plan reviews.
  • Supplier performance management put into practice with balanced scorecards –  working with and developing partnerships.

This exciting restructure to enable further expansion is being spearheaded by Operations Director Dean Battersby, who was brought in by PCL in 2020 to drive improvements in all areas of the operations, particularly around creating a more agile operation that is reactive to customer demands.

Dean said: “We have made substantial progress over the last two years, with an investment of £550k seeing changes across the board. Like most businesses we had a challenging 2020 but still managed to achieve our forecast. In 2021 we again exceeded our sales targets and launched new products. In 2022 we are planning further growth and continue to meet our monthly targets, including a healthy ratio of new products. Further investments into new machinery and products are planned for 2023. We are developing quicker, more responsive and competitive ways to progress from idea into the marketplace and will continue to do whatever we can to meet and exceed customer expectations, improving delivery performance whilst maintaining the high quality of the PCL brand.

“Supply chains will continue to be a challenge post-pandemic, and we are actively working with suppliers to develop and, where required, expand our supplier base. However, we are investing in new equipment and machines towards increasing capacity and an additional shift to manufacturing more of our components in-house.”

Dean concluded: “We are proud to be one of the best examples of a manufacturing company in Sheffield and Yorkshire, and putting the customer first is our top priority. We look forward to successful times ahead, working in partnership with our customers and suppliers to help their businesses grow alongside ours.”