A Shell Chemicals' subsidiary located at Lydney, Gloucestershire, Vencel Resil manufactures Jablite polystyrene roofing and wall insulation which is widely used in the building industry. It employs only 15 people on a small site, yet nevertheless contrives to show a sales turnover of £2.5 million. The factory also stands out on account of its high value added per square foot, and the rate at which it turns over its inventory - 60 times a year.
The secret lies in good process technology and simple, robust systems. Pellets of raw material are expanded into large blocks which are cured for 24 hours, then slit into sheets by heated wires. As for controls, 'We've got the day-by-day meter readings since we opened the factory 10 years ago,' remarks factory manager Ray Bonser.