Manufacturer means business after help from MAS

A YORKSHIRE manufacturer and supplier of textile testing instruments is now stronger and leaner, thanks to the Manufacturing Advisory Service Yorkshire & Humber (MAS Y&H).

MAS has helped Halifax-based James H Heal & Co find new ways of driving down costs and being more competitive through market development and diversification, including supplying machinery to test diverse products such as hernia patches and wet wipes.

MAS consultant Andrew Nicholson from Nicholson Consultancy developed a long term business strategy and implemented lean/process improvement activities across the business.

As part of the introduction of ‘lean’, which is based on maximising value and minimising waste in the manufacturing process, a Kanban pull system has been introduced with the aim of reducing lead times by 50% and to date, has cut the amount of stock held by 15%.

Other benefits include set up times reducing from 33% to 17% and a 24% improvement in equipment effectiveness.

GVA has risen and further savings have been made through streamlined methods of work which is expected to increase as further improvements are made.

The company exports 90% of its instruments and consumable and its turnover of £6.5m is on target to increase to £7m this year.

Engineering director Neil Pryke said: “The catalyst for calling MAS in was to look at ways of reducing the amount of stock we were holding without compromising the quick and efficient supply of machinery to our customers.”

James H Heal can trace its roots back to 1872. When the current managing director David Repper took over from his father in 1982 he began to focus business activity on textile testing.

Today, the company supplies its equipment to textile and garment manufacturers around the globe, many of which supply retailers including Next, BHS, Marks & Spencer, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret and Louis Vuitton.

MAS Y&H is a BIS initiative providing hands-on advice and support to manufacturing businesses to improve productivity and efficiency. 

It is jointly supported by Yorkshire Forward and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is managed by YFM Business Development, part of the GLE Group – a not-for-profit enterprise development company.