British Valves Continually Improving

Welcome to the latest edition of Valve User magazine!

BVAA Director, Rob Bartlett

It’s no coincidence that my Comment in this issue reflects the front cover photo, and the subsequent story on page 72. Indeed, there’s so much continual improvement in the British Valve industry at the moment, it’s pretty hard not to talk about it!

Valve User was created primarily as a vehicle for BVAA members to promote their companies’ new products, but more and more we see members using their opportunities to promote the huge improvements they are making in what are already rightly considered world class businesses.

In the bad old days, ‘improvements’ was usually a management euphemism for initiatives that came without consultation with the workforce. It is so refreshing to see company staff, from all levels, backgrounds and disciplines, play a pivotal role in the development of new factories and services these days. And they’re making an excellent job of it too!

When I was a lowly QA Engineer, it used to be trendy to quote ‘Kaizen’ as if it were some deep, mystical martial art or a heightened state of awareness, but contrary to popular belief the word didn’t have any particular connection with ‘continuous’ or indeed a ‘perfection’ philosophy. It just meant literally ‘improvement’. The continuous nature of improvement in an industrial sense however really comes from the companies and individuals they employ and the attitude they adopt. Making it sound a bit exotic probably helped its adoption, but it’s grounded in a desire and willingness to improve, for our own and our customers’ sakes. The appointment of ‘Improvement Managers’ is a most welcome development, something inconceivable to me when I struggled to implement the forerunner of ISO 9000 in my company.

Look around the British Valve industry at the moment and you see an industry at the top of its game. Order books are robust, but then so are the technical and commercial requirements companies are obliged to meet in order to get a chance to win – and then expedite - those orders. You really need to be ‘world class’ these days to even get a chance of quoting. But there is a constancy of purpose inherent in the British Valve industry. As well as meeting customers’ current needs, we’re all striving to anticipate and meet future requirements too. Continuously!

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 24


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