Enginuity Future Skills Hub

Enginuity Future Skills Hub

Engineering and manufacturing is rapidly transforming, making it hard for employers to know what skills they need to keep pace with change.​ ​The Enginuity Future Skills Hub aims to demystify the skills, trends and transitions reshaping industries within the UK’s engineering and manufacturing sector.

Barrs Court Engineering: Data Analysis and Visualisation Case Study

Barrs Court Engineering, a precision machining and fabrication company based in Hereford, has embraced digitalisation to enhance productivity and streamline operations.

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Led by Managing Director Toby Kinnaird, the company, which has 8 additional full time staff, implemented new production software, with support from Made Smarter, as part of a £1.9 million digital adoption push to drive growth in the West Midlands. The Barrs Court project aimed to boost productivity by collecting and analysing data, reducing repetitive tasks, saving time, and improving traceability and control. 

The transition to the new software took place over 18 months, with a phased approach to rollout. As part of phase 1, back-office staff received training from external facilitators, with Toby using checklists inspired by Atul Gawande's "The Checklist Manifesto" to ensure consistency and to aid adoption. Existing processes were streamlined to simplify data input and encourage compliance. 

The key outcome of the software was the ability to collect and visualise data in real time through a dashboard accessible to everyone. Previously, data was scattered across separate spreadsheets, hindering accessibility and analysis. To ensure buy-in from shop floor colleagues, Toby emphasised the benefits of data collection for business improvement rather than individual monitoring. 

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Phase 1 focused on training and process refinement, followed by phase 2, which involved cascade training to quickly upskill shop floor colleagues in the required skills for successful adoption. As well as an understanding of the software, specific skills introduced included data inputting, data analysis and visualisation.  

Despite the desire for immediate adoption of all functionality, Toby recognised the importance of small steps for the best possible chance of success. Within six months, all colleagues were proficient in using the new systems, leading to further improvements such as the installation of a big screen on the shop floor for real-time production updates. 

The introduction of the new data package has significantly increased productivity, enabling the company to handle more complex clients and a greater volume of business. It has also automated traceability and control, simplifying previously burdensome processes. The ability to generate reports instantly has expanded market opportunities, particularly for clients requiring traceability assurance. 

Moreover, problem-solving skills improved across the team, enabled by enhanced data visibility. The culture shift towards embracing change positively has facilitated discussions around other productivity initiatives. Toby concludes that ultimately delaying change only makes implementation harder in the long run. 

Overall, Barrs Court Engineering's adoption of production software marks a significant step towards Industry 4.0. The investment in software and data analysis has proven beneficial, driving productivity improvements and positioning the company for continued growth.