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The aggregation of marginal gains


PPC manufacturing operationsGiven the overwhelming success of British Cycling, both at the Olympics and the Tour de France, businesses have naturally been looking at how such dominance is achieved. Much of the success comes down to the ‘aggregation of marginal gains’ philosophy that team principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, has instilled across both Team Sky and the Olympic programme.

Put simply, it means that rather than looking to gain one big advantage in a single area, the team looks at every process and procedure and how each one can be improved, even if by a small amount. And marginal gains stack up – in a sport like track cycling finding 5 seconds in a short race might be difficult. But finding a gain of half a second is much more likely – discover ten of these and you have your 5 seconds.

We’re following a similar philosophy at PPC when it comes to our manufacturing operations. We’re already ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified, so by continually analysing every process, we are able to look at ways of improving them.

Recent improvements made at our UK manufacturing facility include:

  • Through state of the art tooling and improved work practices we have significantly increased production throughput speeds and reduced set-up times
  • Due to our rapidly growing volumes and increased profile we have developed direct strategic relationships with Tier 1 industry suppliers
  • We’ve added production staff, enabling us to move to a two shift system so increasing our capacity and flexibility
  • We have implemented the Cognidox Document Management System which has given us a central electronic portal for all of the information relevant to running our operations.  Readily available to all our staff, it ensures that they work from the most up to date and approved operational procedures. The system is easy to manage and update leading to adoption right across the business.

The advantages for our customers are clear – we’re now able to deliver orders in half the industry average lead time, benefiting customers through quicker delivery and even more competitive products based on our patented fibre protection technology.

Like British Cycling and Team Sky we’re not going to sit back and rest on our laurels. Expect a continuous stream of further improvements in the months and years to come, enabling us to deliver quality, innovative products to our global customer base cheaper and faster than ever before.

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