Process Excellence Yields Bottom Line Results

After taking part in an Invest Northern Ireland business improvement programme, Cookstown firm CDE Ireland is anticipating saving almost £100,000 a year through improved processes, and boosting annual sales by £100,000 through better customer aftercare and a quality commitment.

CDE was assisted by Invest NI’s Process Excellence team which helped the firm to improve processes and embrace continuous improvement in order to increase profits and create additional capacity. The Process Excellence team helped CDE to adopt Quality Management System principles which help firms to ensure that high-quality, reliable products and services are consistently available to a customer on time.

CDE specialises in the design and manufacture of tailor-made equipment for the sand, wastewater, materials handling, recycling and quarrying industries. Since winning an Exporter of the Year award in 2003 it has expanded significantly and is now gearing up for further growth, particularly targeting export markets.

“We knew that there were areas of the business, such as production, project delivery, quality excellence and aftercare that we could improve on, so with Invest NI support we implemented controls and procedures that would improve operational efficiency to support the company’s growth objectives,” says Tony Convery, CDE’s Managing Director.

The company examined how it recorded and dealt with customer concerns, revising the system and designating a member of staff as a champion to ensure customer complaints were acted on. As a result CDE anticipates that it will increase sales by one per cent of annual revenue.

Significant other savings have been made by introducing regular meetings with subcontractors to clarify responsibilities for the cost of rework and address other concerns such as drawing control, timing and communications.

Other areas that will deliver ongoing savings include redesigning stores, benchmarking and improving design processes.

“We’ve already made substantial savings and anticipate significantly more as the improvement processes roll out through the various areas of operation. Overall, the business improvements implemented have allowed the company to maintain our leading position in what is an increasingly competitive industry,” says Tony Convery.

Victor Jordan, Invest NI’s Director of Business Improvement Services, says: “Local firms can make significant savings and boost turnover by encouraging a long-term commitment to continuous improvement, in areas including quality and reliability of processes, supplier performance and throughput from existing production facilities.

“Invest NI’s Process Excellence initiative is the perfect vehicle to help companies achieve maximum efficiency and high quality output while maintaining relentless downward pressure on operating costs.”