As one door closes…
MöllerTech UK Ltd is part of the MöllerGroup, a family owned company, which has existed since 1730
With the group headquarters located in Germany, MöllerTech UK has been based in Cwmfelinfach in South Wales since 1998. “We are a tier one supplier providing interior trim, centre console and rear trunk components and assemblies to the automotive sector,” says managing director Clayton Harding. Working with customers that include BMW, Honda and Toyota, the business records a comfortable turnover of approx. £35 million.
“In total we have approx. 2300 employees worldwide with a €300m turnover generated from six automotive plants (two based in Germany, two in the US, one in the UK and one in China), as well as two non-automotive plants alongside our HQ and technical centre also located in Germany. Additionally we utilise a CAD centre in Romania,” highlights Clayton. Within the UK, the business has a diverse product range supplying all interior and exterior injection moulded parts with and without complex assembly, delivering by manifest or in JIT/JIS concepts.
“In the last two years we have been on a ‘Kaizen’ journey finding a way to provide the best possible condition for our members, working on creating a five star environment where our people are seen as our most valuable asset besides our customer. With a vision to implement a simple ‘one piece flow’ concept in the plant, we have had to challenge every process we have, and break it down to the simplest process condition with simple self-made solutions,” explains Clayton.
As a leading provider of parts to major manufacturers, the company’s understanding of innovation within the plant is no longer in the conventional sense, as Clayton continues: “Our aim for the future is to eliminate the highly complicated, over engineered solutions and replace them with simple machines and equipment that offer the best return on investment. In the past we were heavily influenced by high investment needs of complex ‘Poka-Yoke’ equipment that only took the responsibility of quality away from the member. We need to do this to be able to handle the market volatility; as we need to be profitable when the market is up and profitable when it is down.”
“As we know from the figures, the market has been on a positive trend in the last 12 months, and we have successfully launched the new Mini platform, which has had extremely high volume. Out of this situation we took advantage to prepare our future, setting very challenging targets through our Kaizen activities to work on every area of the business,” explains Clayton. Following the 2010 implementation of the strategy in two of the German plants, it was in February 2013 that the UK business launched its own Kaizen motion. “We have successfully created a culture of ‘action driven people”, he adds.
“We identified in 2012 that we needed to drastically improve our flexibility, material flow, quality performance and reduce the need for additional investment of a new assembly hall,” continues Clayton. “We have a stable customer base for the next few years and new potential coming forward. As a result, we are not looking at the future in a block strategy but breaking it down year by year to ensure we can adapt to the ever changing needs of the customer. We need to follow the market and we believe the strongest suppliers will be the ones that can react quickly to the market change and be flexible enough to handle the change in the shortest time frame,” he points out.
Recognising that a robust supply chain not only supports the goal of achieving good quality and delivery but also supports the company’s vision, Clayton highlights: “Suppliers no longer have a PPM buffer and ultimately it is the supplier that pays the price for bad quality. It is for this reason that we have to ensure that not only are our internal processes capable of delivering the required expectation but we must also ensure our suppliers can achieve this. It’s all about ‘quality mind set’ in every aspect of the process including the cultural factors of people, process and part.”
In January 2015 MöllerTech UK was awarded the EEF regional award for business efficiency for South Wales and the West Country, and later awarded the National EEF Future manufacturing award for business efficiency for the whole of the UK. “As the representative voice of manufacturing in the UK, the EEF award is recognition of what we have achieved through our MöllerTech approach and strategy and is due to the commitment, drive and tenacity of all our employees. We will continue to compress our processes to take the next step of innovation within the plant, focusing on doing things that we have already done better and making them simpler. What we have achieved to date is only the start of our journey,” concludes Clayton.
MöllerTech UK Ltd
Products: Interior parts for the automotive industry