R-TEK, a leading interior trim supplier based in Washington, Tyne & Wear, has seen significant benefit from the North East Automotive Alliance’s (NEAA) Business Excellence programme. Opportunities implemented following a best practice visit to fellow Tier 1 supplier, Calsonic Kansei based in Sunderland, has led to improved training capability that will support business performance.
A core part of the NEAA’s Business Excellence support is the sharing of best practice within its membership. R-TEK, Calsonic Kansei, as well as other Tier 1’s and OEMs in the region, such as Nissan, Komatsu, Unipres, Lear, Johnson Controls and Mecaplast, have opened up their manufacturing facilities to core members of the NEAA as part of a series of best practice workshops.
Following a ‘World Class Quality Performance’ best practice visit to Calsonic Kansei, and then subsequent follow-up meetings, R-TEK has took on-board a number of best practice ideas in relation to pre-employment training, which has already started to deliver results.
R-TEK operated a 3-stage induction programme and although already deemed fit for purpose, it was thought that this could be enhanced further by using ideas demonstrated by Calsonic Kansei’s 6-stage pre-employment training. The pre-employment induction provides a series of stages that allows the company to access participant dexterity and skills, and emphasize the importance of quality in a safe environment that simulates a real-time production line.
The collaboration has already demonstrated that key learning points have been achieved as Supervisors and Team Leaders have seen a marked improvement on new starters’ knowledge and ability.
Peter Watson, Plant Manager, R-TEK and Chair of the NEAA’s Business Excellence Strategy Group said of the collaboration: “The exchange of best practice between Tier 1 automotive companies in the North East was relatively unheard of prior to the NEAA’s activity.
“Companies are now seeing real value from the NEAA’s Business Excellence programme, which is opening doors and offering a two-way discussion across the supply chain. The Calsonic Kansei best practice visit has proven to have been great value to R-TEK’s induction process.”
John Barnett, Operations Director, Calsonic Kansei said; “I’m pleased to be a part of the NEAA’s Business Excellence activity, which has definitely won the trust of suppliers based on the principle that we share best practice for the good of the region.
“Calsonic Kansei has welcomed the opportunity to showcase our pre-employment training programme with R-TEK and are pleased to see this best practice has been implement within their business.”
The NEAA, now nearing its first year anniversary, works with over 130 member companies and is the fastest growing cluster in the UK, on course to become the largest UK automotive cluster in 2016.
The alliance has helped raise the profile of the North East automotive sector, whilst also working with industry to address common constraints and develop initiatives that offer members and the region the best opportunities. More than 100 industrialists are working together through the NEAA’s leadership team and working groups, which focus on Business Excellence, Skills and Innovation & Technology.
Paul Butler, CEO, NEAA said: “Business Excellence forms one of our core streams of activity, and our programme of best practice workshops plays a major role in the promotion of this. These visits are essential in improving the practical knowledge of the North East automotive supply chain and we encourage manufacturing companies of all sizes to engage with the cluster group to be able to attend these workshops.
“Our Business Excellence activity has been fundamental in bringing companies together and breaking down communication barriers. I am delighted to see that these visits are starting to deliver positive sharing of information that is now being implemented within other companies.
“I am very pleased with the progress that the NEAA has made over the last year and we will continue to focus our efforts in the areas of Business Excellence, Skills and Innovation & Technology, whilst also launching our Trade & Investment working group later this year.”