TMD Friction in Hartlepool has beaten off competition from manufacturing plants around the world to win two global group awards for continuous improvement.
Every year the TMD Friction Group hold the Kaizen Awards to celebrate the success of projects implemented which have made a difference in terms of productivity, health and safety or training.
Usually held in person, this year’s awards took place virtually, with representatives from every site that had submitted projects for consideration attending.
There were four awards given out in total, with Hartlepool winning two – both categories the plant had entered, Best Use of Tools and the top award, Best Kaizen Project.
The project submitted was for a multi-employee led programme to improve overall equipment effectiveness. The project saw a six per cent uplift in productivity as a direct result of the Kaizen improvement techniques, which was recognised by the judging panel who selected the Hartlepool plant as the winner of the top award.
It is the second time in four years that a Hartlepool project team has walked away with the top award.
Michael Findlay, UK Engineering Excellence Manager at TMD Friction, said: “It’s a real honour for the team to have received the top award and for me, it demonstrates how much everyone is working together to improve production levels and create a better, more efficient, working environment.
“It was certainly a team effort, with around 30 staff members playing a part in the project and 15 of them receiving specific Kaizen techniques training to upskill.
“Our success has given us such a good foundation to build on, and since winning we have put a further 70 people through Kaizen programmes to improve various areas of the plant, including the shop floor and office, who have all undergone development training specifically to build on their understanding of the philosophy.
“I think it was this inclusive approach that the judging panel was particularly impressed with, as a key element of the Kaizen philosophy is to involve everyone in the improvement process.”
The team that developed the winning project was led by Matthew Price and consisted of Mark Wylie, Ste Rudd, Chris Grindley, Dave Metcalf, Jonny Robson, and Mark English.
Michael added: “Historically the top award has gone to an Original Equipment plant outside Europe, where they are generally more mature in their adoption and implementation of the Kaizen approach. So, for Hartlepool – an aftermarket site – to once again be chosen ahead of all other global sites is testament to the fantastic things going on here.”
Tom Russell, UK Operations Manager, said: “This award win – the second time Hartlepool has been recognised at the very top level – demonstrates that the plant is leading the way in the successful implementation of Kaizen improvement techniques. These techniques and processes are playing a significant part in the facility’s continuous growth and ambition to become thebest performing site in the TMD Friction Group portfolio.”
TMD Friction’s Hartlepool plant is the only UK production facility and has been making parts for the passenger car aftermarket since 1974.
It now employs 449 people in the North East.
The company, which manufactures brake pads for 95 per cent of the models for Europe’s aftermarket, including emergency services vehicles and many of the major distribution small trucks and vans, moved to its current base on Oakesway Trading Estate in 1998.
The past 12 months have seen 52 new products introduced at Hartlepool and two new flagship customers added to TMD Friction’s portfolio of automotive manufacturers.