Brexit and Bottlenecks

November 23, 2018

Has Brexit increased your manufacturing costs?


If you import materials for production, then the answer is probably yes!

UK manufacturers typically rely on imported materials and components. Despite the boost that sterling depreciation can have on exports, many of our customers are feeling a more significant pinch from the rising cost of imported materials. 

Price pressures are rising and we’re all feeling the impact.

As a result we are frequently asked the question: "what can our business do operationally to maintain a healthy margin?"



By applying key operational improvement principles, we work hard with our customers to offset increasing material costs without significant capital spend. We achieve this by:


  • Improving productivity

  • Increasing labour efficiency

  • Streamlining office processes

  • Getting the most out of your current plant and facilities




Improving these areas will have a significant impact on your bottom line and in addition, most of the work we do can be written up as an R&D tax credit. This means you can claim back 26% of our fees and your own staff cost within the project. Combined with regional funding you may be able to achieve tangible results for less than you think.

Contact us to find out about funding options available in your area.


Identifying and dealing with bottlenecks


Bottlenecks are key causes of poor productivity. A bottleneck is any stage in a process where the time taken is greater than the demand placed upon it. Producing accurate load charts of all the task times during the production process is essential to identify and quantify the bottlenecks.

In this example load chart, the process times of stages 2 and 4 exceed the demand level making them bottlenecks. 


Starting with these bottlenecks, improvements can be made by following the steps below, shown in order of priority.

1. Remove non-value-added time. Analyse the bottleneck process to determine non-value adding time, and aim to reduce this as much as possible (via the 8 wastes).
2. Relocate work where feasible. Work can often be distributed from the bottleneck to other non-bottleneck resources, smoothing the process flow and increasing throughput.

 3. Increase available work time. Consider targeted overtime or shifts on the remaining bottleneck stages to ensure they keep pace with non-bottlenecks.

4. Invest in capital. If after implementing steps 1-3, process time still exceeds demand; consider new, automated or additional machinery that will speed up the bottleneck tasks.

 The short term aim of this approach is to considerably increase productivity and/or efficiency, with a long term goal of better informing your capital investment decisions.

Free health check


There’s no such thing as the perfect manufacturer. Everyone can become more efficient and increase profit. There are always opportunities to reduce your operational costs and there’s no better time to start than now!

Let us show you how your business can make improvements and increase your savings. We would love to visit you on site for a complimentary half-day health check.


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