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Manufacturing award success
10th January 2011

A commitment to continuous improvement in lean production methods has earned one of County Durham’s leading electronics manufacturers a prestigious industry award.

The Peterlee-based Seaward Group is this year’s North East regional winner of the Innovative Working Practices Award organised by the EEF Manufacturers’ Organisation.

This respected annual award recognises those companies that have successfully designed and delivered new ways of working to achieve important productivity improvements.

In Seaward’s case particular mention was made of the development of a dedicated manufacturing production system and the dedication of operations staff in their efforts to improve both productivity and quality outcomes.

Ian West, Operations Director for the Seaward Group, said:”Our constant challenge in technology led markets is to maintain a competitive edge against larger multi-skilled groups and the lower production costs of overseas-based manufacturing operations.

“We have achieved this by recognising the key contribution made by our people and the development of a lean manufacturing culture.

“Our customised operations system is designed to easily identify the cause of any production problems or product failures and is based on a comprehensive monitoring and feedback system to ensure that everyone is working to the same purpose.

“All operations staff have worked hard to contribute to continuous improvement systems that have improved manufacturing pass rates and productivity levels while reducing customer returns and product faults.”

As a result of the introduction of the new Seaward Production System first time pass rates for the manufacture of complex instrumentation products has improved to 92% and customer returns have fallen to less than 2%.

Andy Tuscher, EEF’s Regional Director for the North East, said, “Seaward received its award for proving how innovative changes to cultural working practices can positively impact across all areas of the business.

“Manufacturers make a valuable contribution to the economy of the North East. Companies such as Seaward send a clear message that there are successful, highly skilled and innovative companies across here that will help drive the future wealth creation across our region".

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