The ECCSL successfully concluded the ‘Productivity improvement and cost reduction in the SME apparel manufacturing sector; to increase opportunities for European investment partners or export’ programme, with the selection of five champion companies. The selection of the champions from the SME sector demonstrated to the industry what improvements can be made. The display of achievements allowed other SMEs to learn from the champions’ experience.
At the final workshop held on 19th December 2006 at the Ceylon Continental Hotel, the Lead Consultant of the project, Mr John Haycock identified commitment, willingness to learn, perseverance, and prepared to get the basics right as the key elements, which constitute a champion from the rest.
Consideration was given to the understanding of the KPIs by the company and the accuracy of the data provided. How the information was used by the company to improve their performance was also assessed as well as the discipline of returning the reports to the ECCSL against the agreed timetable.
At Workshop 6 and during the visits by the consultants to the company at the beginning of the Implementation Phase, an Action Plan had been developed which included the areas for focus and where possible quantitative targets. The achievement of these targets was not the only criteria used in the selection of the Champion Companies as some of the companies had set themselves more challenging targets than others. However progress against those targets was considered as an important indicator of the performance of the company.
Each company was visited by at least one consultant on five different occasions for a total of ten days and during those visits an assessment was made of the commitment of the factory to the overall aims of the project. The willingness of the senior management to become involved and their openness to suggestions made by the consultants reflected directly on the results that were achieved.
The implementation of revised practices and procedures agreed with the consultant between their visits, also give a clear indication of the commitment of the company.
All of these factors were assessed and considered when selection of the Champion Companies was being made.
At the final workshop, the champion companies made presentations under five different topics, which best emphasized their champion status. The five topics were ‘Lean Manufacturing’, ‘Reducing Indirects’, ‘Style Feeding’, ‘Process Layout’, and ‘Training & Development of Employees”, respectively.