046

days to deadline of 20th May 2011

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Media

The National Training Awards Press Office will send out press releases following the announcement of the regional finalists, regional ceremonies and the Gala.

The Press Office will also be happy to provide comments from spokespeople at The National Training Awards and Government for you to include in your own releases.

And don't forget to include any press releases on your website, intranet and in your company newsletter to ensure your exciting news reaches all your stakeholders.

 

Process Training Boosts Plant Revenues for Chemical Firm

Chemical manufacturer Warwick International put its operators through advanced maintenance training, dramatically improving the performance of its sodium acetate plant and boosting sales by more than one million pounds. .

Warwick International is a leading manufacturer of specialty chemicals for the detergent industry. It has 182 employees responsible for running a top-tier COMAH-regulated (Control of Major Accident Hazards) site at Mostyn, North Wales.

The company is the world’s leading supplier of TAED, an oxygen-based bleach activator, which has acetic acid as a by-product of its manufacture. In 2007, Warwick developed and launched a new product based on this acid, as an alternative to sending it off site for reprocessing, which was energy-intensive and costly.

Warwick manufactured the new product, sodium acetate, itself, but its plant was poorly designed, and despite running several programmes to improve its performance, these achieved little impact. Morale amongst the 18 operators was low regarding because they had to contend daily with the poor performance of their equipment.

The company had a new management team that realised it needed to act. The answer was to implement Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), a methodology that encourages close cross-functional teamwork to effectively and efficiently manage a plant and its equipment.

All 18 operators, maintainers and support and management staff were selected to attend the TPM training with the aim being to encourage them to engage with and take ownership of the plant.

An experienced consultant carried out the training in TPM methodologies, using a four-day course which taught the key principles of improving effectiveness and efficiency of a plant. This was based on a nine step programme that identifies waste, improves conditions and prevents problems through a continuous improvement mentality.

The sceptics in the group were slowly won over by applying the skills they learned in a mini pilot over the four days. They then had the opportunity to try out their knowledge on the plant itself.

Although morale was low, the learners were willing to change their processes for the better, and their enthusiasm increased during the training, says John Jones, Process Improvement Coordinator. "With the new knowledge and skills the teams left training buzzing with enthusiasm raring to go on their road to improvement,” he says.

The teams worked through the nine-step process, applying best practices. “They were empowered to change anything they needed to improve performance. They modified troublesome process steps and renewed previously damaged equipment. By organising the workplace to suit the tasks the plant has been transformed from a dirty and dusty plant to an environment that demonstrates real pride in the workplace. This by far exceeded our initial expectations,” says Jones.

The results were nothing less than astounding, as the plant increased its performance from 33% to 74%. The average tonnage per day also increased from between 12 - 14 tons of Sodium Acetate per day to 28, which enabled plant sales to increase by over a million pounds. This return was achieved through training that cost £45,000 in total.

The plant is now being run more efficiently, and maintenance costs are effectively managed, reducing the overheads of running the plant. Energy consumption has also reduced significantly, and the company has decided to roll out the TPM programme to the rest of the site, expecting similar results with regard to return on investment.

Jon Cooil, Warwick International Chief Engineer, says, "The provision of TPM training has seen a massive improvement in the engagement of staff, both maintenance technicians and process staff alike. It has proved to be the spark to re-energise the learning process on site. The attention to detail during the training process has led not only to improvements in plant reliability, throughput and quality, but it has also identified a number areas were safety could be improved.”

ENDS

Entry name: Warwick International Limited
Location: Dock Road, Mostyn, Holywell, Flintshire, CH8 9HE
Entry no: 101224
Region: WALES
For further information contact:
Tom York – Senior PR Executive 020 7429 2828 or tom.york@ukskills.org.uk
Antonia Lee – Marketing Manager 020 7429 2825 or antonia.lee@ukskills.org.uk

 

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