The following is excerpted from an article by Chloe Holmes in a recent edition of the North East Times Magazine about the Hartlepool, U.K., plant’s achievement in the internal TMD Friction program honoring its facilities  which exhibited major improvements.

HARTPOOL, U.K. — TMD Friction in Hartlepool has beaten off competition from manufacturing plants around the world to win two global group awards for continuous improvement.

Every year the TMD Friction Group hold the Kaizen Awards to celebrate the success of projects implemented which have made a difference in terms of productivity, health and safety or training.

There were four awards given out in total, with Hartlepool winning two – both categories the plant had entered, Best Use of Tools and the top award, Best Kaizen Project.

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The project submitted was for a multi-employee led program to improve overall equipment effectiveness. The project saw a six per cent uplift in productivity as a direct result of the Kaizen improvement techniques, which was recognized by the judging panel who selected the Hartlepool plant as the winner of the top award.

It is the second time in four years that a Hartlepool project team has walked away with the top award.

Michael Findlay, UK engineering excellence manager at TMD Friction, said: “Our success has given us such a good foundation to build on, and since winning we have put a further 70 people through Kaizen programs to improve various areas of the plant, including the shop floor and office, who have all undergone development training specifically to build on their understanding of the philosophy.

“Historically the top award has gone to an Original Equipment plant outside Europe, where they are generally more mature in their adoption and implementation of the Kaizen approach. So, for Hartlepool – an aftermarket site – to once again be chosen ahead of all other global sites is testament to the fantastic things going on here.”

Tom Russell, UK operations manager, said: “This award win – the second time Hartlepool has been recognized at the very top level – demonstrates that the plant is leading the way in the successful implementation of Kaizen improvement techniques. These techniques and processes are playing a significant part in the facility’s continuous growth and ambition to become thebest performing site in the TMD Friction Group portfolio.”

TMD Friction is one of two UK production facilities in Hartlepool and has been making parts for the passenger car aftermarket since 1974.

It now employs 449 people in the North East.

The company, which manufactures aftermarket brake pads for 95 per cent of the models sold in Europe, including emergency services vehicles and many of the major distribution small trucks and vans, moved to its current base on Oakesway Trading Estate in 1998.

The past 12 months have seen 52 new products introduced at Hartlepool and two new flagship customers added to TMD Friction’s portfolio of automotive manufacturers.

To read the entire article, click HERE.