Brainboxes shares platform with the MAS

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Brainboxes, a leader in serial and Bluetooth connectivity, has been selected by the DTI's Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) to demonstrate the effectiveness of 'lean manufacturing' at The Manufacturer Live exhibition in Coventry, 20-21 September.

Members of the Brainboxes' team will be on hand at the exhibition to share the company's tremendous success with the process.

Brainboxes was experiencing rapid growth and needed to increase the throughput of its established products while introducing a range of newly developed wireless products based on Bluetooth technology. Realising that streamlining its production would help to achieve this, the company contacted The Manufacturing Institute, which delivers the MAS service in the North West. Together they mapped out the process from receipt of order to despatch and identified that they could: improve manufacturing throughput; improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE); reduce change-over times; reduce rework by improving 'right first time' through the use of FMEA and increase labour productivity.

By applying this process rigorously Brainboxes has managed to improve its changeover/setup times by 30 percent, reduced stocktaking days from 12 person days to five person days and increased its productivity volumes by 75 percent. All of these improvements have been seen since the company's adoption of lean manufacturing.

"At Brainboxes we asked how we could compete against the low cost economies in the east and the only way was to take on lean techniques," says Eamonn Walsh, Chairman and Technical Director of Brainboxes. "However, adopting them is not just for a week, it is a company lifestyle change. You have to apply it, then re-apply it and then do it again so you drill right down to basics. In the UK, if companies adopt the best practice of lean manufacturing methods and apply them to all manufacturing in the UK, electronics or otherwise, then the industry will be transformed for the good.  If not, unreformed manufacturing will fall by the wayside."

"Forget the GI and Atkins diets, the Lean programme will add muscle to any enterprise," advises Dr Julie Madigan, chief executive of The Manufacturing Institute. "Many of the region's manufacturers have toned up their processes through embracing lean thinking, but fewer have gone all the way to extend this good practice throughout the entire business and beyond through their supply chain. Fewer still apply lean practice to their products, which can typically cut cost by up to 25%."

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