Improvements help Hughes Christensen save almost £560,000

Invest Northern Ireland has helped Hughes Christensen in Belfast to save £557,000.

Hughes Christensen specialises in the manufacture of drill bits which are used to drill for oil and gas throughout the world.

Assistance from Invest NI through its Business Improvement Agent (BIA) programme focused on a range of tasks which included restructuring operational departments, introducing lean manufacturing techniques, developing new human resources processes, energy saving initiatives and staff training.

The three year programme helps companies to improve their operations and increase turnover by reviewing and developing key processes and procedures. The dedicated member of staff appointed through the BIA programme works to achieve savings for the company of over three times their salary each year. This target was exceeded by the BIA at Hughes Christensen.

Commenting on the project, Ian Warke, General Manager at Hughes Christensen, said: “The savings achieved have had a hugely positive impact on turnover. We introduced new shift patterns, performance feedback procedures within teams and personal development plans which have led to more precise goal setting and increased motivation amongst our staff. The introduction of even better equipment maintenance procedures has led to a significant reduction in machine down-time.

“Our energy efficiency has also improved considerably by monitoring energy intensive operations and identifying opportunities to cut electrical costs. Also, by purchasing new machinery we have been able to reallocate manpower and increase overall productivity,” added Mr Warke.

Leslie Morrison, Invest NI’s Chief Executive, said: “The results achieved by Hughes Christensen show that even the most operationally adept companies can gain from continuous process review and improvement. It is vital that companies of all sizes consider ways to enhance their processes in order to increase turnover and realise their full potential in the longer term.”

Hughes Christensen’s participation in the BIA programme was part funded by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation.