Bensons Control Panels

Normanton manufacturer increases their productivity using fully funded high growth support from the Strategic Growth Programme

Benson (Controls) Limited, established in 1966 as a service company for oil and gas boilers. Shortly after forming the business, the company began to make control systems for boilers, and soon pivoted to focus on that activity instead.

The family-run business has always aimed to ‘do the good things right’. The business has been led by the second generation since 2018, Helen Culloden (MD) and her brother Matthew Barton take their responsibilities to the heritage and employees seriously. Their vision has seen the company embark on a series of improvements to the facilities, the working practices and technology.

The business has made ongoing investments since 2018. They previously gained a digital grant which helped the company to invest in an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system, the data from this is now being used to transform internal processes and deliver productivity gains.

To continue their business growth activities, the business reached out to the Strategic Growth Programme (SGP). SGP was able to provide the business with 8 days of fully funded business coaching from Paul Molloy and his team at Fleure business consultancy.

This support included an initial business diagnostic review using the market leading tool GROWTHmapper®. The results of the diagnostic were useful for the ongoing development of the management team. The GROWTHmapper® report helped to illustrate the benefits of change.

Matthew Barton MD of D. Benson (Controls) Limited stated, “We operate in a global market, our products are sent into four different sectors. The changing market conditions force us to grow and make improvements to be competitive. This project has helped us to boost both quality and throughput performance.”

We were determined that any actions in this process should be practical hands-on learning and the work with Fluere delivered for us in that regard. The process involved a very thorough skills and competence audit at inception and post project.”

The business wanted to form a set of KPI that could be developed from the bottom, up!. Including an end-to-end view on quality throughout the design-production-delivery process. With agreed standards at critical exit and entry points across each manufacturing process.

The starting point was ‘problem identification’ and a collective review of root-cause for each issue. Fluere started this process with an audit of D Benson Control’s existing processes and standards.  The results were eye-opening and laid the foundation for a 2-day workshop of LEAN thinking and how the business could embed the continuous improvement mentality into the organisation.

Nick Palmer, Strategic Growth Manager for SGP commented, “Visiting Bensons Control Panels has been a reminder of the relevance of LEAN thinking and continuous improvement to any organisation. Helen and Matthew are great role models for proactive, compassionate employers who want growth to deliver sustainable benefits for all stakeholders. I am grateful to Paul Molloy and his team at Fluere who have made this project work so well.”

The continuous improvement mentality continues after the end of the funded support. The business has embraced the mentality and are appreciative of the benefits of the support. Previously, there has been significant knowledge ‘tied up’ in the heads of key individuals. That knowledge is now documented in the form of standard operating procedures that the teams have come together to create. The skills and competence matrix conducted during this project, have been invaluable to this exercise.

After project completion, the business now tracks and use ERP data week on week, month on month, giving ‘visibility’ on their processes.

The team continue to find lots of suggestions for improvements, there have been lots of ‘small wins’ especially around time, that have made a significant difference in the aggregate. Our people are commenting on the positive impact and reduction of interruptions.

Matthew Barton MD of D. Benson (Controls) Limited commented: “The project has been a positive change for the company. The leadership team feel that staff are more engaged in the process. We want to continually improve, and we are committed to any opportunities for our team to learn more.”

Following the fully funded support from SGP the business has taken on one new employee so far and expect more employment opportunities to follow. They have created lots of new standard operating procedures, and this documentation is helping to improve their processes and standards.

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