Product development through continuous improvement
A Corus case study

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Page 5: Outcomes

Corus developed the new steel product to help it win the Royal Navy contract. As a result, it benefited in many ways as a side effect of the changes:

  • By using its existing CI procedures to guide its research and development and testing, Corus developed the new specification of steel required at a competitive price.
  • Investment in new technologies and equipment, used alongside lean production techniques, enabled Corus to minimise levels of waste and reduce high manufacturing costs.
  • It was able to meet customer deadlines, a vital element of making a business' operations more competitive.

The steelmaking industry also benefited. Corus adopts a practice of benchmarking as part of its continuous improvement. It shares its best practice across the industry. Other steel businesses can now use the best methods of production to raise quality across the whole sector.

Quality assurance is a vital requirement of continuous improvement, especially in the shipbuilding industry. Steel products for this industry require approval by shipping classification societies, such as Lloyds Register of Shipping. This independent body carries out its own assessment of the test programme to ensure that materials meet full requirements for the shipping industry. Without this approval, Corus would be unable to use its materials for this type of job.

By meeting the higher specification, Corus gained Lloyds Register approval for the new steel plate it developed for the Royal Navy. This approval means that Corus can offer these high quality steels to other customers. This expands its customer base. Its investment in CI systems, research and development and the use of its employees' knowledge have provided Corus with a distinct competitive advantage.


Corus | Product development through continuous improvement