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Latest Insights From a standing start to Cranfield best factory in less than 18 months

Entering the Cranfield Best Factory awards was all about benchmarking against the best

Tharsus’ new factory at Cowley Road in Blyth was commissioned in April 2012 and marked the next step in the development of the business.

From a standing start to Cranfield best factory in less than 18 months

Our original vision was to create a truly flexible facility with design and development collocated with manufacturing, in line with modern production principles, to ensure an on-going feedback loop and a smooth transition from engineering and prototyping to assembly.

The factory, with its cell-based layout, has been critical to the successful introduction of Tharsus’ original equipment design and manufacture service.

It’s a clear demonstration that the approach works. Having redeveloped Safetykleen’s M190 parts washer from the ground up in less than 4 months, the time from commissioning the factory to full production volume was an impressive 6 weeks.

One aspect that makes the factory so valuable but also presents its challenges, is that it can be completely reconfigured to accommodate a wide variety of product and volume requirements.

Control is critical, so Mike Hutchinson and his team have worked hard to ensure that everyone takes ownership of improvements and adopts the flexible approach required in terms of both attitude and skills.

Improvement is a key principle and cell efficiency has increased greatly as footprint has reduced.

Honoured to be recognised by Cranfield Best Factory judges

Being recognised by such a respected organisation as Cranfield School of Management is an honour but it’s also an indication that flexibility is matched by robust and effective processes.

The team has made rapid progress and that means we’re confident that we can take on more interesting and varied challenges to bring products to market for an even greater variety of customers.

The products and equipment that have already been produced include parts washers, baggage scanners, library kiosks, EV charging points, industrial wipe dispensers and advertising lightboxes.

And our design team is now developing a weed control system and a glass recycling unit alongside a number of exciting projects that are currently under wraps.

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