lean manufacturing qualification on trial

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Related tags: Industry, Manufacturing, Lean manufacturing

Confectionery firm Swizzels Matlow is one of the first companies to test a qualification for the food manufacturing industry based on the principles of lean manufacturing.

The Sector Performance Standards in Food Manufacturing Excellence were developed by food and drink sector skills council Improve in 2009, after significant consultation across the leading companies in the sector. These standards have been used to inform development of Units of Assessment which will be awarded as a Proficiency Qualification by the Food & Drink Qualifications (FDQ) Awarding Body.

The qualification will be accredited on the new Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), which will replace the National Qualifications Framework from January 1, 2011.

Food Manufacturing Excellence is a qualification that offers a mix of competences to suit employers' needs. It contains a mixture of change management, improvement tools and techniques and other supporting competences that seek to sustain a lean culture and its application within food and drink processors.

Swizzels Matlow training and development manager Tony Salt, who is a keen advocate of lean, has been working on the qualification with Improve since last July. "There is huge potential within the food and drink industry for a qualification that combines hygiene and food safety regulations with the application of lean techniques," says Salt. "Teams have been selected to roll out the techniques and we will work with a training provider to see how a qualification fits in with the scheme. We expect the pilot to last three months."

"This is a very exciting development for the food and drink industry," says FDQ Awarding Body director Angela Long. "Many organisations that have introduced lean techniques into their culture have seen huge benefits financially.

"The establishment of a recognised lean qualification, likely to produce real savings for businesses, will help to encourage companies to continue to invest in staff training and development. I am very much looking forward to seeing the results of the pilot at Swizzels Matlow."

Related topics: Confectionery, People & Skills

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