6 March 2018

Leading aerospace manufacturer increases productivity through Apprenticeship training

A leading manufacturer of high performance aerospace components has improved productivity by enhancing the skills of its experienced workforce, making significant financial savings.

PACE (Precision Aerospace Component Engineering), based in Braintree in Essex, manufactures high performance aerospace grade components which can be found on many of the world’s most advanced commercial airliners and military aircraft.

Eighteen months ago a new management team redefined the company’s priorities, with a clear vision of up-skilling their diverse workforce and improving efficiency in the workplace set as a priority.

The BIT Level 2 Apprenticeships were initially introduced to 25% of the workforce, helping upskill employees in the language and practices of Lean Manufacturing through a mixture of classroom based learning and practical application in the workplace through improvement projects.

Ian Binns, Commercial Director at PACE, said: “The level of skills growth achieved by Skills Training UK at PACE has assisted in promoting dramatic workplace process improvements, cultural changes, increased productivity and securing the long-term business future.”

The bespoke programme has helped employees best realise their company’s vision, developing the individual core skills needed to identify and implement workplace improvement processes.

One of the projects initiated supported the introduction of cellular working stations, which has helped improve communication and product flow around the factory. Other projects have focused on creating and developing new systems and processes to increase ‘right first time’ production rates, consistency in quality, standardisation of operations, and improved manufacturing efficiencies.

George O’Connor, Setter and Acting Team Leader at PACE, said: “The standardised work stations, new visual management systems, and new quality control measures mean we are now producing and despatching products more efficiently. Our work spaces are more productive and we are experiencing the benefits of lean.”

In addition to the financial benefits, the atmosphere in the workplace has changed dramatically with employees feeling empowered through the on-going Continuous Improvement programme. Customers too are noticing the increase in productivity rates.

Another outcome has been that key personnel have been identified for future progression in support of succession planning. Four members of the original BIT team have now advanced on to a Level 3 programme. There are further plans for the entire workforce to eventually undergo BIT training as it is now recognised as a fundamental component of PACE Ltd achieving its greater business goals and long term continued success.

David Perry, Trainer Assessor for Skills Training UK, said: “It’s been great to work with PACE. The commitment we have had from the employees involved has been excellent and the projects introduced have created real tangible improvements. We are looking forward to building on our relationship with PACE, upskilling more of the workforce to continuously improve efficiencies.”

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