A key part of my job is to get out and visit other industries and see what good looks like and how we at British Steel can learn.
I have taken many of our staff to see our customers and we’ve brought back many great ideas.
However, I still haven't achieved the Holy Grail for British Steel by finding an industry that is equally as ‘heavy engineering’ as we are. Most I have seen tend to be automotive or light industry related. They’re predominantly ‘clean’ industries where pieces are assembled rather than made from raw materials. They’re not what I would call big engineering.
None have the thousands of tonnes of raw material we have which is often out in the open and exposed to the elements. None have the serious bits of engineering kit we have which are lovingly maintained by groups of hard-working engineers. None have the rolling processes which can be upwards of a mile long and contained within huge buildings.
I’m told there are businesses abroad (certainly Japanese and Austrian) which are excellent, but I’m looking for something slightly closer to home! I’m not sure whether I would get a foreign trip signed off much as I would love to go travelling around the world!
So, if you think you’re the “holy grail” and have managed to implement improvement tools such as 5S and standard work in difficult circumstances, let me know and I’ll arrange an exchange of ideas.