Driving production and efficiency improvements at PhotoBox

Diana Srinivasan, Business Partner in HR, PhotoBox, says:

“The Business Improvement Techniques training works for us as it complements our internal quality improvement programme. I was impressed by how well Skills Training UK were able to identify our business needs straightaway and have worked with us to tailor the training around our busy periods.

“The training itself is the perfect balance between classroom and practical learning and the trainers do a fantastic job of incorporating their own experiences, using real life examples that people can relate to and remember.”

PhotoBox is part of PhotoBox Group, one of Europe’s leading online B2C personalisation businesses. The Group incorporates five brands - Photobox, Moonpig, Sticky9, Paper Shaker and Hofmann - offering customers personalised products and gifts, including personalised greeting cards and over 600 personalised photo-based products to choose from.

Quality is key to every product the Group produces, ensuring customer satisfaction and building repeat orders. In the UK this work is carried out in a 55,000 sq feet production facility in West London with approximately 150 permanent production staff. Departments within the facility are continually expanding and changing to keep up with demand and the business is susceptible to intense periods of demand around Christmas and other holidays. Maintaining quality and efficiency at all times is key to its success.

Skills Training UK have worked with PhotoBox since 2012 on the Business Improvement Techniques (BIT) programme to help upskill their production teams, concentrating on ways to improve quality and efficiency. Specific workplace organisation improvements have been made as a result of the training, in particular in the visual management of key departments to improve productivity and work flow and to reduce waste.

Each team completing the BIT training undertakes three different projects in the workplace to improve cost, quality and delivery. The introduction of a standardised approach to packing and despatch of products is one project which has improved efficiency across the entire production facility and has improved individual performance. Designated packing booths within each department have cut down the time needed to transport finished goods across the facility. Other projects have improved the systemisation of job ordering and prioritisation.

Diana Srinivasan continued:

“There’s been a real mind-set change here in being more organised and efficient. The projects undertaken have really focussed on improving quality and efficiency – our production quality is the best it’s ever been. The BIT is enabling our staff to drive through changes in their work areas which complement our overarching quality improvement strategy and are helping to make PhotoBox a much leaner business.”

Of PhotoBox’s 150 permanent production staff, 24 have completed the BIT training, with a third cohort planned. The training has been incorporated into the annual development programme for the production business and supports an internal quality improvement programme which has been rolled out across the company.

For further information about Skills Training UK and the BIT employee development programmes call 0208 903 4713.

For further information on PhotoBox Group, see group.photobox.com.

Learner case study

Rita Vaicikauskaite, Shift Leader

Rita has worked at PhotoBox since 2010, starting as an Operator and progressing to Shift Leader. She is in the final stages of completing the Level 3 BIT with Skills Training UK, after completing the Level 2 qualifica

tion.

Rita says: “I really enjoy the training - I’ve learned so much about different processes and work flow and how to be more efficient. I’m more aware of how to limit defects and improve quality now, which makes doing my job a lot easier.

“I’ve also learnt how to communicate with my managers to address problems properly which has led to several improvements, such as how we organise and prioritise our jobs and keeping our stock closer to our work area. This has really helped to create a better working environment and the managers have commented that we’re working better and staff seem happier.

“I’m much more confident now and encourage my department to meet regularly which has been really helpful in improving communication and time planning. Otherwise we rarely get a chance to sit down and talk as a team because of the shift patterns. The training has helped me to see that things can be improved all the time and that communication is really important.”

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