Avon Rubber (UK)

"Equally dramatic improvements in performance were achieved when Avon, convinced by the Trowbridge experiment, took the major step of enacting the programme at its Melksham tyre and industrial polymers plant, the largest in the group with almost 2,300 workers. The Melksham project was so large that it had to be split into seven phases implemented over eight months, and accounted for more than half the programme's total group-wide cost. But the results were spectacular."

The programme was based on two key elements. First, intensive training to change the way that management behaved. The training, much of it on the job, involved all management levels - about 100 managers at Melksham, for instance- but particularly concerned shift and supervisory managers. Second, the installation of an operating and control system, following detailed analysis of the manufacturing process, to support the new 'active' management approach".

"The bottom line was the extent to which the efficiency programme cut Avon's unit costs. In tyres at Melksham, unit costs were reduced by no less than 41 per cent."

These are not our words. The comments are taken from a book, "A Fighting Chance," written by Andrew Lorenz, Industrial Editor of The Sunday Times. Its theme is the revival and future of the British Manufacturing Industry. The quotation is taken from Chapter 3: "Under New Management", which deals with the resurgence of Avon Rubber.

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