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Case Study

Fibreline Ltd: Developing a flexible capacity to meet demands

Project challenges

The MTC works with Fibreline to develop skills and communication across the business, significantly reducing lead times and improving service levels.

Business challenge

  • Process Innovation

Sector

  • Manufacturing

Technology or capability

  • Process Design

The Challenge

Founded in 1982, Fibreline pioneered the use of carded synthetic fibres in upholstery cushions and are the largest independent cushion manufacturer in the UK. Operating in the high pressure sector of B2B soft furnishings, the daily challenge is to match a variable demand with constrained resources, whilst achieving short lead times. Fibreline’s operations lacked flexibility, with specialised machinists and functional working practices. The factory layout hindered communication between areas and inventory was often difficult to locate.

MTC's Solution

Working with the operations team, the MTC mapped the current technology and essential processes to reveal where orders were delayed. The development of a multi-skilled workforce was key to improving flexibility and reducing double handling. Broadening skill sets reduced wasted time and accelerated order completion. Considering future technology opportunities, the MTC designed a new factory layout, bringing together key areas. This was designed to improve communication, allow for future technology changes and for easier movement of material. A clear inventory system was created, making component identification simple.

Fibreline Thumbnail 1

This project has resulted in some significant and positive changes. We now have a clearer production process, with improved workflow, which is understood by both the Operators and Supervisory team.

Ged Bishton, General Manager, Fibreline Ltd

The Outcome
  • With the MTC’s help, Fibreline has successfully improved employee engagement
  • Previously specialised machinists are now multi-skilled with the ability to complete more elements of the order, reducing double handling and creating more flexibility in the workforce
  • An improved factory layout and enhanced visual cues has increased communication and dramatically reduced wasted time
  • Material movement is being managed by operators and is clearly visible, allowing supervisors to focus on supporting their teams
Benefits to the Client
  • Fibreline has seen a significant improvement in lead times, resulting in better service for their clients
  • Lead time from order receipt to order completion is now tracked, measured and managed at key stages in the process
  • The team have developed in-house knowledge, which is being transferred to other business units
  • Supervisors are spending less time on micro issues, allowing them to make better use of their time

I am confident that a robust framework has now been established, allowing us to cope better with the unpredictable fluctuations of our customer demands.

Ged Bishton, General Manager, Fibreline Ltd

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