Press Releases


New research reveals four key actions to strengthen process resilience

Second report from Resilience Index research commissioned by RS Components focuses on manufacturing process

London, UK, 15 September 2021:

Independent research commissioned by RS Components (RS), a trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE: ECM), a global omni-channel provider of product and service solutions, has uncovered four key actions that senior engineers should consider taking to build process resilience across their organisations.

The findings are presented in the second report in The Resilience Index* series - The Resilience Index: Process - How a focus on process can build better resilience and drive productivity. If taken, these actions will help protect companies, push them to think and act differently, and establish a culture of continuous improvement, which will be the foundation for future process improvements, stability, and transformation.

The four actions are:

1. Continue to innovate. The UK is ranked third in the world and first in Europe for innovation (measured by patent registration 2000-2015). With a strong research and development heritage, it is vital UK manufacturers continue to invest in process improvements across all areas of their operation.
Senior engineers should seek to build a network of peers and partners (such as RS Components) to help understand the opportunities and challenges offered by emerging technologies.

Keeping an open mind to new ways to solve problems is key. While tried and tested methods can be the best, in many cases new technologies can support solving the problems in a cheaper or faster way.

Looking to invest in small scale, reversible pilots to understand the benefits of emerging technology, without the risk of being at the bleeding edge of innovation, is also a practical option to boost process resilience through innovation.

2. Build capacity back-up. Many companies still need to improve the reliability and robustness of their processes by building in redundancy support so systems can withstand unpredictable and unplanned failures. There must be prioritisation of the duplication of critical components or functions of a system to increase reliability. However, being efficient is still important, as carrying too much overhead will also impair resilience.

Redundancy planning must be risk based. Analyse processes and risk assess what could cause issues and the financial impact of them occurring. Then insure against them through building process redundancy, investing, improving asset reliability, contingency planning, and building partnerships.

3. Think differently about outsourcing. Outsourcing strategies need to focus on the benefits that can be gained alongside potential cost savings. For example, outsourcing can increase quality and innovation or make processes more efficient, for instance, by outsourcing control of the site’s inventory to experts. Strategies should carefully consider if outsourcing decisions free-up enough internal capacity to help the organisation concentrate on core competencies or allow for quicker adaptations or transformations. The default position of taking processes in-house to drive cost efficiencies needs to be continually challenged, and the holistic benefits of a strategic outsourcing approach closely scrutinised.

When reviewing processes ask deep questions about why and the benefit of doing it in-house. Could there be great advantages from outsourcing?

4. Continuously improve. Invest in a commitment to build and embed a continuous improvement culture, and the relentless identification and eradication of losses or inefficiencies. Crucially, acknowledge that small, iterative changes over the long-term will have a compound effect on processes. As an ongoing obligation, it requires active leadership from the top to empower bottom-up improvement.

Examine basic processes and aim to incrementally enhance efficiencies and effectiveness. This can be applied to single or multiple processes within the organisation, including procurement strategies; stock holding; energy conversion and consumption; proactive maintenance regimes across the plant, or even workforce patterns. Taking small improvement steps can make a big difference over the long-term – but it requires a proactive, can-do attitude with total company buy-in.

Learn more about the different continuous improvement techniques, such as Lean and Six Sigma and develop a strategy to build a continuous improvement mindset in operations.

Richard Jeffers, Director of Maintenance Solutions at RS Components, comments: “It is estimated that transforming manufacturing resilience in the UK could add £26bn of productivity value to the economy, and it’s clear, that strengthening process resilience has an important role to play in achieving this.

“The report shows how senior engineers should view improving process resilience not as a start stop programme, but one that builds a culture of continuous improvement. Establishing this will underpin all areas, drive forward innovation and help businesses to begin to think differently about how to address and implement process change and progress.

“At RS Components, we aim to support senior engineers seeking to improve their company’s resilience through a culture of continuous improvement with a suite of customised services and solutions. Acknowledging that our customers will be at different stages on their continuous improvement journey, we offer bespoke services and support to suit individual needs, so, no matter what stage they are at, engineers within any industry can strengthen their process resilience and reap the rewards that brings.”

For a copy of The Resilience Index: Process report, visit: https://www.rs-connectedthinking.com/en/operational-efficiency/insight/the-resilience-index-process 

Ends

*The Resilience Index is a comprehensive and unique investigation of six datasets from the past 20 years covering manufacturing investment, productivity, and employment to track resilience across some of the UK’s most prominent industries.

Notes to Editors
All Index figures benchmarked against 2016 resilience figures for the whole of the UK economy.
The following data sets have been used in the Resilience Index:
• Plant resilience, indicated by levels of business investment per hour of input based on ONS economic data (www.ons.gov.uk/economy/economicoutputandproductivity/productivitymeasures/datasets/industrybyregionlabourproductivity)
• Process resilience, indicated by levels of output per hour, based on ONS economic data (www.ons.gov.uk/economy/economicoutputandproductivity/productivitymeasures/datasets/industrybyregionlabourproductivity)
• People resilience, indicated by Safety levels, based inversely on annual reductions in rates of fatal and non-fatal accidents, recorded to RIDDOR guidelines by H&SE (https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/tables/index.htm#riddor); Skills shortages, based inversely on vacancies recorded by the Labour Force Survey (https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peoplenotinwork/unemployment/datasets/vacanciesbyindustryvacs02); participation in training, based on rates of training participated in over the last quarter, recorded by the ONS’s Annual Population Survey (https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/query/construct/summary.asp?mode=construct&version=0&dataset=17).
• For each sector and manufacturing subsector, the figures for each indicator were then indexed such that the highest figure of any year of any industry is equal to 100. An average of all the people indicators is taken for each economic category and manufacturing sub-category and reindexed such that the highest score is equal to 100.
• An average of the Plant, Process and People indexes is then calculated for each economic sector and manufacturing sub-sector. The overall UK average of these averages calculated and weighted based on the hours' input of each sector. All figures are then reindexed such that 100 is equal to the UK average for 2016 (the year which adjustments for inflation in "real price" figures are currently based on).

Please note the following adjustments were made to the data:
• The accident reduction index was calculated by first indexing the number of accidents within each sector and manufacturing sub-sector for 2001 to 100. These scores were then inversed so that a reduction indicated an increased index score. These scores were then indexed the highest score across all sectors in all years equalled 100.
• Similarly, vacancy scores were inversed so that a lower number of vacancies is indicated by a higher index score.
• No manufacturing subsector data was available for accidents between 2001-2014, and so was interpolated based on sub-sector trends for 2015-2019 and the manufacturing sector trend for 2001-2014.
• No finance sector data was available for accidents between 2001-2014, and so was interpolated based on finance sector trends for 2015-2019 and the services sector trend for 2001-2014.
• No data was available on training between 2001-2004 and so was estimated based on the average of 2004-2009 data. Training data was based on job type rather than industry type and so industry figures were estimated based on the most typically prevalent job type.
• No manufacturing subsector data was available for vacancies and so the overall manufacturing sector index was used for each.

About RS Components

RS Components is a trading brand of Electrocomponents plc, a global omni-channel provider of product and service solutions for designers, builders and maintainers of industrial equipment and operations. We stock more than 650,000 industrial and electronic products, sourced from over 2,500 leading suppliers, and provide a wide range of product and service solutions to over 1.2 million industrial customers. With operations in 32 countries, we trade through multiple channels and ship c. 60,000 parcels a day.

We support customers across the product life cycle, whether via innovation and technical support at the design phase, improving time to market and productivity at the build phase, or reducing purchasing costs and optimising inventory in the maintenance phase. We offer our customers tailored product and service propositions that are essential for the successful operation of their businesses and help them save time and money.

Electrocomponents plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in the year ended 31 March 2021 reported revenue of £2.0 billion. Electrocomponents plc has nine operating brands: RS Components, Allied Electronics & Automation, RS PRO, OKdo, DesignSpark, IESA, Synovos, Needlers and Liscombe.

For more information on RS, please visit the website at https://uk.rs-online.com/web/

Editorial Contact:
Aakriti Kaushik
PR Manager – UK and Ireland
RS Components
aakriti.kaushik@rs-components.com 

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Janice Fenton
Account Director
Publitek
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