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Sigmatex wins skills investment award

Sigmatex wins skills investment award

Sigmatex, one of the world’s leading converters of Carbon Fibre, has won an industry award for investment in people.

As a supplier of woven carbon fibre textiles to automotive as well as aerospace, construction, defence, industrial, marine, space, ports and leisure Sigmatex triumphed in the Northern Automotive Alliance Business Awards.

The company which was selected for Sharing in Growth participant in 2015, won the People and Skills Award for SMEs thanks to much of the work carried out on the programme.

The award was presented to Sigmatex HR Manager Helen Symonds by actor Robert Llewellyn.

Said Helen: “Sigmatex truly believes that its people are its greatest asset. A highly skilled workforce is key to our success and in a niche market, requiring a specific specialist skillset that is not common place within our local demographic, this presents us with a significant challenge.

“We have been established as a carbon fibre textile weaver for more than 30 years and we have created a comprehensive learning programme for all our new weavers, using a structured on-the-job training programme that has been created internally by our in-house weaving experts. Supported by a thorough testing programme, we ensure all our weavers and technicians are trained to the highest possible standard.”

L-R Actor Robert Llewellyn, Helen Symonds and award sponsor Mike Dickinson
L-R Actor Robert Llewellyn, Helen Symonds and award sponsor Mike Dickinson

Working with Sharing in Growth, Sigmatex put in place an employee development framework. Through quarterly setting of individual objectives against the overall business objectives, employees, together with their line managers, accurately identify the learning needed for that individual to be able to contribute to the overall business and department objectives, whilst tailoring their own specific learning applicable to their role and space within the organisation.

Continued Helen: “We encourage learning around our subjects through many resources from loom technology manuals to on-line webinars and podcasts. In a business that must remain at the forefront of technology, learning and development is at the top of our business agenda.”

Supported by Sharing in Growth Sigmatex’s Business Plan Deployment activity, utilising Hoshin Kanri, identified productivity improvement as one of its strategic goals and uncovered the need to improve skills such as applying an 8D to focus on specific quality issues and root cause analysis, as well as Total Preventative Maintenance.

The team learned the importance of a holistic maintenance process and the impact to the business productivity. They were taught how to apply a structured approach to productivity improvements and the relationship to quality.  They learned the methodology of PDCA – Plan, Do, Check, Act, applying this newly acquired skill to their day to day operations.

The team’s engagement was visibly noticeable as they applied their learning to other improvement activities such as 6S audit so their newly acquired skills were shared through the business.

Concluded Helen: “The productivity improvement activity which has involved loom speed increases has already seen an increase in PPM from 5% to 14.2% which equates to a saving over the past 12 months of circa £200k as well as a 15% improvement in productivity in focus areas.”

There was also a positive impact on employee engagement and morale as measured through quarterly surveys.

Teams from Sigmatex also undertook Sharing in Growth’s Business Improvement Techniques NVQs which have supported sustainable improvements around a Kanban system and improvements in packaging.