Wintwire Limited

Wire manufacturer Wintwire is targeting growth, following a detailed rethink of production systems and controls that has enabled it to compete with lower cost rivals.

The company, from Oxspring Wire Mills, near Barnsley, makes speciality wire products in a range of shapes, including complex profiles made to customers’ specific requirements.

This project has made a real difference to our efficiency and competitiveness and given us the real potential to grow sales.

Wintwire believes it can process most malleable metals, including carbon, alloy and stainless steels, brass, copper and other non-ferrous metals, such as aluminium, gold, silver and platinum.

After growing steadily in recent years, Wintwire has been facing an increasingly
competitive environment.

Despite good levels of machinery availability, it recognised service levels and competitiveness were being undermined by production errors and the high quality costs, while capacity planning and scheduling problems were also hitting its business.

Wintwire saw it had to increase operational effectiveness and efficiency, while ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction if it was to safeguard sales and grow.

Now, with the help of consultants Brook Corporate Developments and the National Metals Technology Centre’s European Regional Development Funded Direct Company Support Scheme, the company has achieved just that.

“This project has made a real difference to our efficiency and competitiveness and given us the real potential to grow sales,” says Wintwire’s Managing Director, Marc Turner.

Brook worked with shop floor employees and back-room production staff to identify factors affecting the output of each of Wintwire’s machines.

The consultants developed a model that enabled the firm to make the right decisions about production routes, lead times and how best to use staff time to guarantee customers get the products they need when they need them.

New routines have allowed senior management to measure performance, through to delivery, and develop a culture of continuous improvement. Lean techniques have helped reduce work in progress and optimise production, while new processes to manage machine dies, die life and refurbishment are helping to control costs, while maintaining maximum availability.

New systems also ensure Wintwire’s 24 employees are fully aware of Key Performance Indicators, targets and other information underpinning the company’s strategy and objectives. Capacity planning and improved efficiencies are enabling the business to compete with lower cost rivals, safeguarding jobs and establishing firm foundations for increased sales, opening the way to the creation of new jobs.

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