Best Factory Awards Countdown
Best Factory Awards 2013
Best Factory Awards Gala Lunch Date: 26/09/2014

02 October 2013

Cummins Power Generation UK

Power generation as part of Cummins Inc represents 16% of revenue generated by five global sites. The only plant in Europe is at Manston, Kent. And quite a plant it is

Winner: Export Award
Winner: Most Improved Plan

At the start of every year, the plant manager at the Manston, Kent site of Cummins Power Generation sets out a single-page list of goals. It's an important moment in defining the 12 months ahead. In 2013, the list was headed by further development of the company's safety culture. This was followed by a number of challenging targets, which included the reduction of conversion costs per standard hour, along with improved inventory turns, quality and on-time delivery (OTD), to name but a few. The onus then falls on the management team and workforce to implement, deliver and review these ambitions.

Needless to say, this year the company is performing well. For instance, both productivity and on-time delivery have been edging upwards – in fact, the latter has now hit 100%. Furthermore, a safety T-card system that engages employees in documenting safety improvement ideas and issues has led to a new culture and zero incidents.

The manufacturing of power generation equipment at Manston is continuing its unerring march towards the automotive benchmark. For instance, work instructions are now not only standardised, they are electronic and available to access at workstation touchscreens – a move that has helped drive improvements in first-time passes at test.

Ultimately, the site is aiming to boost its revenue using a number of manufacturing strategy projects through to 2015. These include ongoing standardisation and integration of records into EASE manufacturing document manager software. Here, reviewing any gaps in the manufacturing records will create targets for improvement in achieving 'standard work'. The first phase of this process has already been completed in the plant's HHP lean burn generator area, where the layout has changed from the previous bay build process to a new multi-stage flow line. A second stage project has now commenced to further improve line velocity and increase capacity.

The company is also implementing a transformation vision for its supply chain. Cummins Power Generation UK exports almost all of its products, with the Middle East, China and Australia among the prime destinations. The key strategies to manage its market-focused supply chains include the implementation of forward positioning for finished goods to enable immediate product availability. Furthermore, key products are being dual sourced to respond effectively to unplanned demand, while component kitting and product knock-down is being used to deliver the lowest total landed cost. Added to the fact that the team supports 97% of customers in their own language, this is clearly a company with a vested interest in optimising its overseas trade operations. As a consequence, it becomes a worthy winner of this year's Export Award.

Achievements of this ilk require the engagement of the entire workforce and here Cummins Power Generation excels. Among the initiatives in 2013 is an employee engagement survey, the launch of manager training sessions, the ROAR (recruit, onboard, advise, retain) affinity support group for new starters, and an increase in graduate placements as part of the company's hire-to-develop strategy.

All professional employees have a workplan which is managed through an online system, with individual strengths, development areas and likely next roles reviewed regularly. From an operator perspective, new starters get two weeks' training before being buddied with a competent person and subsequently working their way through a training matrix and gaining NVQ certification.

The result of this intensive people investment is an overall improvement in plant PPM – in fact, the site secured the group chairman's 2012 quality award as a result of its endeavours.

There's no doubting that this plant has made huge strides in recent times, showing improvements in shopfloor productivity, on-time deliveries, customer delivered quality and lead times. Ultimately then, a deserved recipient of this year's Most Improved Plant Award.

Top 3 Points
- On-time delivery now at 100%
- Bay build processes being replaced with multi-stage flow lines
- 19 languages accommodated in the plant's customer support function


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