Supporting superbrands: the role of high-tech suppliers
A Pittards case study

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Page 4: Manufacturing strength

As a manufacturing company, Pittards seeks to provide customers with the best quality products using the latest techniques. The manufacturing strategy of the company is to invest in state-of-the-art plant and technology to underpin world class manufacturing facilities and abilities. Pittards is accredited to ISO 9000. This is an important benchmark of high quality standards in production. At the heart of its entire business process is the Japanese quality system - 20 Keys.

This is a 20-part quality manufacturing process. At the centre of the process is a highly energetic workforce with clear goals and targets. Vital components of the 20 Keys include:

  • empowerment of the workforce: they are responsible for making decisions rather than being told what to do
  • multi-skilling, with employees being able to perform a range of jobs and to identify and solve problems for themselves
  • working in small teams, discussing and sharing ideas for improvement
  • reducing work-in-progress, so that individuals are able to concentrate on tasks in hand. Work-in-progress refers to goods that are not fully made e.g. partly finished leather. By reducing work-in-progress a business is able to reduce the amount of capital tied up in stock at any one time
  • a just-in-time system, so that materials arrive the moment they need to be worked on and are delivered when required for the next stage of production. The benefit is that stocks are not lying idle and getting in the way of vital production processes, as well as reducing waste and damage resulting from holding unnecessary stock levels
  • a system of 'kaizen' or continuous improvement, so that everyone is constantly seeking to identify small steps to improve working practices. Kaizen involves trusting and empowering all members of an organisation to contribute ideas that can improve productivity, and at the same time helping to motivate employees because of the trust that has been vested in them
  • the development of world class workers and manufacturing processes which are able to apply the latest technologies.

Pittards | Supporting superbrands: the role of high-tech suppliers
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