Narrative at Komatsu's continuous improvement masterclassAN INTEGRATED communications agency with ambitious plans for growth has benefitted from a continuous improvement masterclass at one of the UK’s leading manufacturing giants.

Narrative Integrated Communications, based in Sunderland, visited Komatsu UK’s Birtley factory to learn about the Komatsu Way, a best practice approach of the organisation’s commitment to quality circle management.

Established in 1921 as a small repair shop for mining machinery in Komatsu City, Japan, Komatsu has since grown to become a global giant, boasting a group of 144 companies worldwide that employ over 47,000 people and operate 40 manufacturing plants.

The excavator manufacturer, which employs nearly 400 staff at its Birtley operation, sells hydraulic excavators, manufactured under licence from its parent company.

Narrative, a full service marketing agency, is expert in PR, creative, advertising, digital media and strategic marketing, and has recently seen its team grow from 13 to 18 in under a year.

The team visit was facilitated by managing director, Kieron Goldsbrough who was impressed by Komatsu’s work ethic when he initially visited the factory as part of the Entrepreneur’s Forum earlier in the year.

Kieron said: “Komatsu is an international brand and has what I believe to be the right culture to take a business forward.

“The visit was a great opportunity for the team to take a behind-the-scenes look at how the whole workforce engage in continuous improvement activities including safety circles, quality circles and skills competitions in the form of a Komatsu Olympics.”

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John, who ran the masterclass alongside Derek Wilson, Quality Circle Facilitator, said: “As a global company, we’re committed to supporting smaller companies in the region and we were delighted to offer Narrative an exclusive on-site visit to witness the culture that makes Komatsu so successful.

“Best practice ensures companies remain competitive and sustain growth within their industry and I’m thrilled to see Narrative has plans to implement Komatsu’s best practice approach to help the company evolve.”

Following the factory visit, Narrative, which is a member of North East Automotive Alliance has plans to drive a number of best practice ideas in relation to quality and improvement within the workforce, after seeing first-hand how production staff are an integral part to the company’s philosophy.

Kieron added: “It was inspiring to see shopfloor workers are not simply statistics which are allocated manufacturing roles; they are encouraged to learn about other parts of production and the company itself. There is a commitment from staff to work together and push the business further forward and that’s exactly what we are aiming for at Narrative.

“We already have robust systems in place to ensure we’re operating in the most effective and efficient way and it was refreshing to learn that we’re on the right lines with a number of our practices as we position the business for strategic growth.”

For more information on Narrative Integrated Communications and its services, visit http://www.narrativecommunications.co.uk.