Airedale Springs

Established in 1945 Airedale Springs Limited is a family owned business engaged in spring and wire form manufacture from their 6 story mill in the heart of Yorkshire. Producing a wide range of products in quantities from millions of small springs for thermostats to one off bespoke large shutter springs found on large cranes.

“manufacturing in the same building for over twenty years with more space than needed does not encourage anyone to use that space effectively. Space was cheap, inefficiencies in processes were not and it took the introduction of Lean Manufacturing to draw our attention to the savings that could be made if we organised our production facilities more effectively.”

Tim Parkinson, chairman

Overview & Achievements

Overview: In 2009 a planned move to a green filed site was delayed when the developer placed the project on hold due to the housing market recession. Chairman Tim Parkinson recognised this not only impacted on the business, but the negative effect on his team’s morale and invited Ian Pearson of Lean Business Solutions Ltd to develop a project to improve the business and engage the team to make the “Best of a bad job” using matched funding.

Achievements: All employees attended customised training in Lean Principals, 5S and Team working which kick started their Lean Journey resulting in the following Achievements:

  • Visual daily management meeting at the work place “Gemba” to review KPI’s and daily issues.
  • Teamwork and lean principals training and subsequent projects created new layouts incorporating U shape cells for hand finishing operations to create flow.
  • Visualisation and development of key performance indicators (KPI’s) in the production areas
  • On Time in Full (OTIF) delivery performance improved from 85% to >94%)
  • Key process improved by 40% reducing run time by 2 days.
  • Space optimisation improved by 20% (8500sqft space saving)
  • Work place organisation implemented through a structure 5S training and project based activities

Tim Parkinson, chairman of Airedale Springs Limited said “Without much effort we disposed of over 35 redundant machines, 5 tonnes of old paper records and closed down one of the floors, as a result freeing up more space, improving internal communications and workflow and reinvesting the proceeds from scrap metal. Other productivity and investments plans have taken place covering new CNC equipment, updated CRM and production control programmes. The Lean Business Solutions method of introduction of Lean principles and 5S opened our eyes and enabled us to introduce new methods of working to suit the needs of today, not the needs of the past.”

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