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Quality – a workforce-led approach

Placing an emphasis on two of the most important aspects of business activity – quality and employee safety and engagement – have helped a world leader in the manufacture of chemically bonded sand equipment build on its considerable global success. Satisfying an international customer base and committing to drive industry standards forward to meet ongoing needs, Omega Sinto Foundry Machinery Ltd has long been associated with the provision of high quality equipment, which can integrate with existing machinery and enable foundries to maximise efficiency and make improvements in their own companies. One of the main strengths of the business is an extensive network of strategic companies in all parts of the world – North America and Mexico, Malaysia, Australasia and the Far East, South Africa, Italy, Turkey and China – offering “on the ground” support and local knowledge to accompany the global expertise at head office.

At the head office in Peterborough (UK), the team is enriched with a good balance of experience and youth. Additional health and safety procedures introduced in 2020 enabled the skilled and competent workforce to continue to meet deadlines and order commitments throughout a period of uncertainty for many. Despite the enormous challenges of the past year, lead times at Omega Sinto have remained unaffected by Covid-19 restrictions, thanks to the quality of the workforce and the pro-active attitude of the management. However, it’s not just about meeting customer expectations, the company recognises that employee engagement is critical to ensure continued improvement and growth for the business in all areas.

New reporting procedures

Of particular note in recent times is the implementation of a system which requires the workshop engineers to report on any quality issues on a Monday morning. This includes engineering change recommendations, quality issues or missing parts. It sounds simple, but it is a tweak to the communication chain that has positively impacted workflow. It has had a significant impression on the continuous improvement of products. Managing director Mark Lewis explains: “With the workshop supervisor’s guidance every engineer is impelled to ensure each matter of concern – large or small – must be reported to ensure we produce the best quality machinery.

“This in turn leads to savings. By driving the reporting agenda we save time and money and avoid mistakes that are bound to happen again, this has a positive impact on budgets and build times, and importantly it has a positive effect on the engineers.”

Engineers are placed very firmly in the centre of activities at Omega Sinto, with their wellbeing acknowledged as vital to the company’s success. It is not unreasonable to make the direct link between morale and achievement. This is a notion that has been embraced at the company, where the mood on the shopfloor creates the impetus to meet board level and customer expectations and to drive the business forward. “Quality is at the heart of what we do at Omega Sinto. Without a respect and passion for our products and production solutions, we would not be able to design and manufacture equipment that is of the highest standard and that is shaping the way in which foundries can maximise their efficiency. By implementing a more direct communication method that highlights even the slightest possible problems, our engineers are able to recognise these matters and are less likely to encounter the same problem twice, which improves morale and their job satisfaction.

“All this comes back to recognising the importance of ‘quality’ throughout the production process, from concept through design to commissioning. It’s about taking the people with you throughout that process. Omega Sinto equipment is always being improved.”

Training

Other improvements include the company’s training regime. Short classes for the team have been run periodically to provide them with a better understanding of the range of products. This offers a recognised process of communication and engagement, which means the whole company is working in a cohesive manner. Lewis is particularly keen to emphasise how this can improve quality. “We are open about any issues encountered and deal with them openly as a team.”

Safety

Employees are also encouraged to offer up any relevant ideas on the Kaizen board. “Any positive change is completely relevant,” Lewis enthuses. “Of course, safety is of paramount importance to us and placing the Kaizen (Japanese term for improvement) board in the workshop it is visible and becomes integral to our work practices.”

Working as one unit has enabled the company to improve in all aspects of the business. So too has continued investment in the Peterborough site, including the recent installation of a new ten tonne gantry crane, with integrated load cell with digital display and wireless remote control. The investment will give Omega Sinto increased flexibility for the production and movement of larger machines.

Quality is not just about how a company manufactures, moreover it is the culture of that company and how it communicates with its employees, its customers and the wider industry sector. Thankfully, Omega Sinto is well aware of this and can benefit from an open and optimistic approach to ensure long-term success in a competitive market place.

Contact: Omega Sinto Foundry Machinery Ltd, Morely Way, Woodston, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire PE2 7BW, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1733 232231, email: [email protected] web: www.ofml.net