Abingdon: Crowcon works with Gosport company on three-year LEAN programme

Abingdon-based Crowcon Detection Instruments has begun a three-year programme of incorporating LEAN efficiency techniques into the business with the help of Gosport-based LEAN business specialist Fedden USP.

Crowcon has 225 employees and is part of Halma, a global group of life-saving technology companies with a mission to grow a safer, cleaner and healthier future for everyone, every day. In particular Crowcon specialises in the production, development and manufacture of gas detection instruments for oxygen, flammable and toxic gas hazards.

The objectives of the LEAN programme are to improve productivity and customer service levels and increase innovation, which will improve the overall bottom line of the business.

Operations director Frazer Mackay explained: “I have seen the benefits that LEAN can have on a business having worked with Fedden USP at my previous company, Siemens Magnet Technology, where we won the overall Factory of the Year 2015 prize at the Works Management Best Factory Awards. It will give Crowcon a firm strategy to follow and our plan is to offer all 108 employees in the operations division some form of LEAN training.”

Ten employees have initially undertaken the five-day LEAN Business Improvement Techniques (BITs) NVRQ Level 2 Workshop, delivered by Fedden USP in conjunction with MIT Skills. In parallel with the workshop, the delegates individually identify and run improvement projects that have been approved by the Crowncon board. Upon completion of these projects, the delegates are awarded an NVRQ national-recognised qualification based on their ability to deliver tangible improvement to operational performance.

The workshop was delivered under the Adult Apprenticeship Framework as Crowcon is progressing down a process improvement pathway, and has been able to benefit from the Apprenticeship Levy introduced by the Government in April 2017.

In addition to the BITs workshop, Fedden USP also delivered a two-day process mapping workshop and a one-day 8D problem-solving workshop to help identify improvement opportunities.

Mark Guest, production manager at Crowcon, commented: “Coaching is an important part of LEAN implementation and an aspect I particularly enjoy. The most rewarding experience is watching your team grow as they understand and embrace a new way of thinking.”

Mackay added: “I am confident that we will see a positive impact on both the business and our employees at Crowcon as LEAN starts to gather pace. It will help the company to respond to growth in an efficient and productive way and, at the same time, it will increase employee engagement throughout the business over the next two to three years.”   

Fedden USP owner and managing consultant Neil Fedden said: “I am really pleased to be working with Frazer again and in time, once we get the structures, processes, and procedures in place and running efficiently, the benefits will start to filter through to the bottom line of the business. The employees will also have much more pride in their work as they see the benefits of their improvement projects on the business and this will spur them on to greater success over the coming years.”