Lean Manufacturing apprenticeships help future proof Flowserve’s workforce

November 7th, 2018

A leading manufacturer of pumps, valves and seals has improved productivity by developing the skills of its experienced workforce and encouraging them to make small changes within the business.

Flowserve’s Flow Control manufacturing facility based in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, employs over 100 staff and manufactures high-performance products for oil and gas, maritime and general industry.

The company identified the need to increase motivation, improve productivity and create a culture of continuous improvement. It partnered with independent training company Skills Training UK who developed a training programme in Lean Manufacturing which suited their business needs.

The course was designed around the Business Improvement Techniques (BIT) Level 2 and 3 Apprenticeships, which upskilled employees in the language and practices of Lean Manufacturing through a mixture of classroom based learning and practical application of improvement projects.

The employees were encouraged to look at the way they operated and identify where gains could be made to increase productivity, save time, and improve overall operations.

One project involved replacing a small silo of waste materials with a larger and more effective silo that resulted in fewer halts to production, a cleaner shop floor and better efficiency leading to an initial first year saving of £25,000.

Tony Pontremoli, 55, Quality Engineer at Flowserve, who was involved directly with the waste management project, said: “The training has given me the knowledge and tools to improve systems and procedures by getting me to think about the root cause of problems and to think about what could be done differently.”

Other projects have included project mapping of key manufacturing processes to identify potential time and cost savings.

Natalie Clark, HR Officer at Flowserve, said: “We are already seeing lasting benefits from the training programmes which have not only upskilled and created a more motivated workforce, but have created tangible financial benefits that will have a permanent effect on our future.”

Flowserve has now enrolled employees on to additional training programmes covering project management and customer service.

Alongside design and delivery of Apprenticeship programmes, Skills Training UK worked in partnership with Flowserve to help them understand how to use and make the best use of their Apprenticeship Levy.

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced as a 0.5% tax for employers with an annual income over £3 million which has to be be spent on Apprenticeship training.

Stephen Crawley, Chief Operating Officer, Skills Training UK, said: “The Flowserve management team have really understood the importance of continuous improvement in the workplace and we have helped them open their eyes to the opportunities with funding, and the importance of utilising the levy tax which they are paying.

“It’s fantastic that we are already seeing excellent results and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with Flowserve to help establish them as a cut above the rest in operational excellence.”

To find out more about Flowserve visit https://www.flowserve.com/en