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case studies

Filsol Solar Ltd

Quote

“Lighthouse Consultants helped my organisation grow to be the company I knew it could be.” John Blower, Business Development Director

www.filsol.co.uk

Established in 1981, Filsol Solar produce high efficiency solar water heating panels which they supply together with the full range of components required for an effective solar water heating system.  They also supply a range of photovoltaic solar panels and related equipment to clients seeking an electrical solar system.

 Business Situation:

With the need to reduce carbon footprint, more homes than ever are moving towards utilising solar heating and electric systems.  Filsol Solar had therefore seen significant growth in demand, in particular an order from British Gas meant their order book expanded from 50 units per month to 200 units per month.  This rapid expansion needed to be cemented with robust business management practices. 

The manufacturing process is labour intensive, with only two major machines in use and the rest manual operations.  Due to their location in South West Wales, there was limited availability of additional resources, and there was therefore a need to increase capacity without increasing staff.

Business Solution:

The Production Manager and Production Supervisor were trained in the concepts of Pull, Customer Pull and One Piece Flow.  A new layout was designed, with a two-bin replenishment system for parts.  This was then implemented by the Production teams themselves during the slower ramp-up period.

A one-day SMED blitz took place on the two key machines – the pressure testing machine and the spot welder – which are used for nearly all products.  Internal and external activities were identified, 5S was put into place for tools and equipment and changeover times were reduced significantly.  In addition, one piece flow ensured that there was a steady flow of product through the machines, rather than batched work causing alternating backlogs and downtime.

In addition, Lighthouse Business Consultants Ltd worked alongside key managers within Filsol, to formally cement the new process changes by developing a formal quality manual and human resource manual.

Results:

The key result was a 300% increase in output, from 50 to 200 units per month, using the same people, equipment and space.

Key managers within Filsol have been trained in Lean techniques to allow them to redesign their shop floor layout to single piece flow to accommodate further growth in production, while maintaining the same site, equipment and number of staff.

Completed quality management manual and HR manual, on time, within budget and delivered without disruption to company growth. The company is currently seeking recognition in ISO9001:2000 and Investors in People; and is in talks with financial advisors regarding floating on the ‘AIM’ alternative stock market. 

Categories: case studies, consultancy, increase capacity, leadership, lean, private sector

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