UK: MANAGEMENT TODAY - BEST FACTORIES AWARDS 1993. - Engineering Industry - Commended - SIV UK.

Engineering Industry - Commended - SIV UK.

SIV, an Italian company (although now 50% owned by Pilkington), makes 'Sicursiv' vehicle windscreens. Like this year's Engineering Industry winner, its UK subsidiary is Coventry-based. Also like Premier Exhaust, it makes a virtue of simplicity. The complexity level of the operation - which was originally a sales office but evolved into a small manufacturing operation in 1990 - is indeed very simple. The company takes raw glass windscreens from its Italian parent, attaches fittings, lugs, etc, on two robotised assembly and curing lines, and delivers the products to Rover 'just in time'. 'Simplicity was one of our objectives,' says managing director Marco Sbabo. 'We would make it simpler still if we could.'

In spite of its small scale and simplicity, SIV possesses some of the best systems and manufacturing practices seen in this year's competition. The judges were greatly impressed by the planned maintenance system, which is highly visible - being located right on the factory floor - and which is carried out as far as possible by operators themselves (or 'associates' in automotive industry-speak). Related graphs, which are kept up-to-date by teamleaders, track all downtime - planned and unplanned. SIV systems are generally state-of-the-art in the automotive industry: for example, cell manufacture, with widespread use of colour coding, and self-billing in place of invoicing. Three-quarters of the workforce have spent time working alongside their opposite numbers on the tracks at Rover and Unipart. Many have also visited Honda and other suppliers. There is extensive use of training, and the calibre of management and workforce is unquestionably high. Definitely a model of how to do it.

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