Beakbane is building on the success of its previous continuous improvement initiatives and entering next phase of its Six Sigma training programme for key employees.

Six Sigma provides a set of principles that are used to analyse the way things are done in the business in order to identify and eliminate cost and waste. One of the key targets is to take out what is known as COPQ – Cost of Poor Quality.

The first phase of Beakbane’s Six Sigma training, which is provided by Capella Associates, took place last year when Manufacturing Manager Roy Legg and Team Leader Stuart Marson completed the course.

Now Product Development Team Leader James Mocroft and Customer Engineering Team Leader Sam Baskeyfield have successfully completed their training and passed the baton on to three members of the manufacturing team; Lean Engineer Steve Jinks and Leading Hands Mark Huxley and Gordon Love.

Each person on the course learns ‘on the job’ applying what they are being taught on a real project and getting real results.

Sam used his Six Sigma training in the design and introduction of a new type of metal telescopic slideway cover for a machine tool customer with the aim of making the product more reliable and the manufacturing process more capable. For James the focus was on a composite product for the rail industry.

Roy Legg, who is Manufacturing Manager at the Kidderminster-based bellows and machine protection specialist, says: “The main objective is to improve our overall manufacturing efficiency. We do this by examining and understanding data on our processes so that we can take cost out of the business by reducing waste. We really want to understand the true yield was from our production processes and real cost of poor quality in the business.

“That then allows us to use the data to improve our products and services.

“If we can take cost out of the business and improve quality our throughput time in production will improve as well, and that will also help us to improve our delivery performance.”