Inside Welsh Industry Events Inspire Businesses to Achieve Excellence Through Innovation

Inside Welsh Industry Events Inspire Businesses to Achieve Excellence Through Innovation

Representatives from small- and medium-sized Welsh businesses were inspired to achieve excellence at the first three Inside Welsh Industry (IWI) events held in October 2014.

These events are part of an ongoing programme funded by the Welsh Government and organised and delivered by Kinetic Cubed Ltd. They gave informative insights into how three larger Welsh companies have already achieved excellence by implementing innovations in such areas as lean management, leadership and employee engagement.

After observing the innovative techniques in action, delegates attending the events were inspired to improve their own businesses.

The Road to Lean at Toyota

The first IWI event was held in Deeside, North Wales at Toyota’s engine manufacturing plant. Delegates from all over Wales listened to a presentation on Toyota’s lean management techniques before touring the company’s assembly line and casting department. One attendee summed up the visit as ‘an excellent introduction to lean manufacturing’.

In particular, delegates were interested to learn how Toyota trains and empowers its employees. The company uses such tools as ‘Kaizen’, which enables each employee to suggest how standardised work processes could be improved, and ‘Andon’, which allows an employee to stop the production line if he or she sees something that may affect the quality of the vehicle being manufactured.

The event inspired delegates to think of ways in which their own businesses could be improved by the implementation of lean management tools, with implementation being driven by employees rather than managers, as it is at Toyota.

The main areas for improvement identified were:

  • changing company culture,
  • better training of employees,
  • empowering all employees,
  • managers spending more time on the production line or shop floor.

Innovation in Operation at Sony

The Innovation in Operation event at the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed, Bridgend, was described by attendees as ‘a great opportunity to see best-in-class leadership’ and ‘a very informative event showcasing the good manufacturing going on in Wales’.

Delegates from all over South Wales gained insights into Sony’s approach to continuous innovation and toured Sony’s production facility, which was named Britiain’s best factory in 2013. For many delegates, the factory tour was the most useful part of the event, enabling them to see best practice in action.

Delegates were inspired to improve leadership, staff engagement and communication at their own businesses. They were impressed by how much Sony had invested in developing the skills of its employees and how the company communicated clearly through multiple media. Sony’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy, which includes using only renewable energy, was also of interest to the delegates.


Inside Welsh Industry Events Inspire Businesses to Achieve Excellence Through Innovation HSBC

Best Practice in Employee Engagement Event at HSBC Bank

Delegates attending the Best Practice in Employee Engagement event at HSBC Bank’s Contact Centre in Swansea found it useful to compare their own organisation’s employee engagement practices with HSBC’s full-scale, best-practice employee engagement programme. The event was described as ‘an excellent opportunity to share ideas on best practice and benchmark with others’.

Delegates learned that HSBC has a dedicated employee engagement team, including a careers advisor. They heard that employee engagement is a year-round activity that is led by directors and managers.

The event gave the delegates many useful ideas for improving employee engagement and motivation at their own organisations. Delegates were particularly inspired by:

  • the allocation of time to employee engagement activities,
  • the structured programme that recognises and thanks internal staff and volunteers,
  • no-cost and low-cost ways of engaging employees.

The overall aim of the IWI events is to foster a spirit of cooperation and innovation amongst Welsh businesses to the ultimate benefit of the Welsh economy. Attendees at these first three events valued the opportunities to learn from other companies, exchange ideas and meet new business contacts. They were encouraged to make positive changes to their own businesses and move further along the road to excellence.

Future IWI events include Super-fast Broadband – New Technologies for Your Business Growth at BT in Cardiff on 27th November 2014 and a new programme of events starting in January 2015.

To find out more, visit Business Wales’ Inside Welsh Industry page. Book a place at an IWI event for just £20 plus VAT per person.

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