Loma Systems has won the EEF Future Manufacturing Award for Innovative Operating Practices and Processes, beating prestigious firms including BAE Systems and Siemens.
The company, which makes food inspection machines such as metal detectors and x-ray systems, works with major food companies such as Kraft and Unilever.
James Chrismas, marketing manager, Loma Systems, told FoodQualityNews.com the company was awarded for its ‘ToolBox’: a set of ideas that have been simplifying business practices over the last 36 months.
“An example is suppliers: we’re still producing exactly the same range of products but working with fewer suppliers, reducing the complexity of our supply chain,” he said.
“We don’t have so many invoices, we get to know our contacts, work with them on delivery times and productivity, and have a better relationship.”
The company has reorganized its production floor so that tools and materials are all near workers, and has halved its build time, Chrismas added.
“We know how many machines we will build in a week or a month.”
Loma machines inspect food for foreign bodies such as metal, glass, and bones. Checkweighers ensure products are not under or overweight.
“Product recalls are very expensive, both with the cost of the recall and the cost to brand reputation. Our products cost a fraction of that,” said Chrismas.
Earlier this year A W Curtis Bakers and Butchers was hit with an £11k penalty after a customer reported a pack of its bread buns contained a screw .
The ToolBox is based on the principle of looking at data and then concentrating on the key players - such as the major suppliers or distributors – in each department. It is used in Loma’s manufacturing, engineering and customer service departments.
Staff retention has increased by 30%, said Chrismas. “Hiring and retaining talented staff is important to the longevity of our business and of the industry,” he said.
“We rolled the ToolBox out with an e-learning course to the whole of the company. We’ve seen really big improvements with increases in efficiency,” said Chrismas. “This award is in recognition for everyone’s hard work in implementing the ToolBox and we’re absolutely delighted to win it.”
EEF, a manufacturers’ organization, has a quarter of the UK’s manufacturing businesses as members.
“The EEF Future Manufacturing Awards showcase the best of British innovation and excellence,” said Jim Davison, south east regional director, EEF. “They mark our industry’s importance, competitiveness and ability to adapt and thrive. Loma Systems is a worthy recipient of this award.”