Memorandum by the Process Industries Centre
for Manufacturing Excellence (PICME)
PICME & PROCESS INDUSTRY PRODUCTIVITY
The UK process industry faces particular challenges
in improving its productivity. The technical challenges of the
transformations it achieves within a tight regulatory environment
add a degree of complexity not faced by physical assembly based
The PICME report on the process sector competitiveness,
based upon information within the DTI Benchmark Index, shows that
leading UK process sector companies can achieve high levels of
performance which compare well both on a European and world stage.
However it also demonstrates that the UK has
a large number of process manufacturers who are not making the
grade. Tackling this long tail offers the prospect of 30 per cent
output increases and 20 per cent cost reductions for the UK. Worth
To tackle this issue the Process Industry trade
associations set up PICME in late 2000 as their Industry Forum
PICME has had considerable successdespite
the lack of supply chain pressure for improvement when compared
with other sectors such as automotiveas the table shows.
The benefits have totaled over £50 million so far.
|Plastic||Changeover||11 hr 30 min
||1 hr 40 min|
||9 hr 40 min||3 hr 40 min
|Fine Chemicals||Yield Lead time
||81 per cent 5-7 days||90-95 per cent 28 hrs
||1 hr 6 min|
To get this far since October 2000 has involved substantial
resources from within the DTI, with Industry paying a commercial
price for the service and contributing on top an almost equal
amount of in kind contribution.
The PICME report supports the case for an expansion of the
project to cover additional areas of process manufacturing in
the UK which because of the DTI structure are not put together
automatically based on manufacturing logic. In PICME's case the
packaging sector (eg paper, board) and the food processing industry
are not currently covered despite having identical manufacturing
improvement issues as the report illustrates.
Unfortunately the opportunity to build on the base established
by PICME and other Industry Forum Adaptation projects may now
be missed. Creation of new regionally based teams with the same
remit as the Industry Forums is now well advanced but there has
been no effective consideration of the way in which this will
impact on hard pressed UK manufacturers.
Key issues which need to be resolved include:
How to prevent duplication of activities wasting
the limited support availableeg duplicated infrastructure,
duplicate recruitment (with consequent bidding up of salaries
in a limited talent pool in the UK);
Avoidance of confusion and frustration amongst
potential beneficiarieswho already find the support network
Damage to existing successful programmes (for
example there is no indication that the DTI Benchmark Index database
will be the tool that the new regional teams will use for problem
diagnosis resulting in poorer quality data for future studies).
National v Regional Support
Even the long tail of process companies who could improve
are used to accessing know how from across the UKthe process
industries are capital and knowledge intensive and therefore are
used to working nationally or internationally. Their ownership
is increasingly also international. PICME is only one of a number
of new initiatives which benefit from and need a national focus
to be really effective in reaching out to this very important
UK industrial sector.
PICME hope this note and the report even at this late stage
can be of assistance to the Select Committee in reaching its conclusions
about what needs to be done to improve UK Competitiveness.
Chief Executive Officer
10 April 2002
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