9 August, 2022

Brammer awards success for Unilever

22 May, 2015

Global supplier of fast-moving consumer goods, Unilever, has won the Production Efficiency award at the Manufacturing Forum and Awards hosted by Brammer, the UK distributor of industrial maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) products and services, and Buck & Hickman, the UK distributor of tools, maintenance and health & safety products.

Now in its eighth year, the event was held at the Silverstone Wing, part of the legendary Silverstone race track, and attended by more than 200 senior industry executives. It was hosted by news anchor Sasha Twining, who has presented high profile daytime shows for both Sky News and the BBC.

The awards recognise manufacturing companies who have achieved outstanding results and were judged independently by editors of leading industry trade journals.

Diverter replacement

At its Fabergé factory in Leeds, Unilever wanted to develop a cost-effective means of restoring a roller system to full capacity at speed to avoid disruptions to production.

Investigations by Brammer’s technical personnel revealed that a number of rollers and slates had been damaged beyond repair. They determined that this was due to inadequate tension control, along with programming issues, which had led to the chain on the drive and outfeed roller being stretched which, in turn, had caused it to be caught and jammed in the diverter.

Based on route cause analysis coupled with previous experience and expertise, Brammer decided the best solution would be to replace the diverter.

In order to prevent the issue from recurring, Brammer simultaneously developed a three-month training module specifically for Unilever's engineers, designed to complement Unilever's lean manufacturing policies and strategy. Brammer delivered this training as the new diverter was installed.

Brammer and Unilever have established that savings of 16 per cent have been achieved, and further work is being done to quantify the savings generated by reductions in downtime. Based on current assumptions, each shutdown is believed to have cost Unilever more than £11,000 – and by working with Brammer, Unilever will have saved at least £77,000 every week in downtime prevention. Across the range of benefits, savings were found to be £640,640.

Furthermore, Brammer's training has equipped Unilever staff to work in a more efficient way, in particular through the use of root cause analysis – entrenching smarter working and the possibility for even greater cost savings in the year to come.

Root cause

Tracey Wilson, site training & development advisor at Unilever, commented: “It’s a great pleasure to have received this award, especially after having worked so closely with Brammer to achieve what we did. The cost saving achieved was great for our company, but the real value is in the training we developed with Brammer, which taught the team how to identify the root cause of the problems before they result in a setback to our production.”

Ian Ritchie, managing director of Brammer UK and Buck & Hickman, said: “This year’s Awards once again showcased those who have achieved outstanding results and it was fantastic to see so many companies continuing to demonstrate best practice. The substantial savings being enjoyed by Unilever represent a fantastic result through a cost-effective solution from Brammer – a clear indication of the strength of the partnership between the two companies.”

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