Continuous Improvement at KKI: driving long-term benefits for customers and staff

The aftermarket team designed their workspace for maximum efficiency

MD of KKI, Denis Westcott and Mr Takashi “Ike” Ikegaya, President and Founder of Nihon Koso cut the ribbon on the new machining centre
Choke and control valve manufacturer Koso Kent Introl has come a long way since it was first founded back in 1967 by Ed Singleton. Ed has long since retired, but the philosophy for quality that he first established is as strong today as it ever was.

Overseeing this culture, with its focus on continuous improvement, is the responsibility of Tim Capewell, Improvement Manager at KKI. Since 2010, Tim has been dedicated to ensuring that people, process and systems are as efficient, effective and productive as they can possibly be, and that waste is minimised. The company is already operating to internationally-recognised quality standards (KKI has held ISO/TS 29001 since 2010; ISO 9001 since 1996; ISO 14001 since 1999; is SIL-3 Capable (certified by ABS Consulting); and has API Q1 accreditation), but recognises that there will always be room for improvement across its operations.

In his time on the continuous improvement programme, Tim has been focused on empowering the workforce. Identification of potential areas of improvement have originated from staff members as have – crucially – ideas for determining and implementing solutions.

From the shop floor on all three manufacturing sites to the sales and engineering teams in head office, everyone has been involved in, and has benefited from the programme. And naturally, these benefits extend externally to customers; allowing greater throughput and an even more responsive and high quality service to be provided.

The findings of the programme have resulted in ongoing investment in manufacturing infrastructure, including a new machining centre, which was installed earlier in 2012. The new machines allow automation of processes, and the re-allocation of skilled workers to more productive tasks. And far from creating redundancies, the resulting effect has been the expansion of the workforce; in the last quarter of 2012 alone, 17 new appointments were made to support the company’s growth plans.

Tim reports into KKI’s MD, Denis Westcott who, along with the entire KKI Board, sees this programme as fundamental to KKI’s ongoing success.

Tim’s work, and the inputs from the workforce ensure that Kent Introl’s reputation for quality continues to be upheld four decades after Ed Singleton first decided to set up the company.

As a footnote: Ed is still involved in the business in his retirement, occasionally acting in a consulting capacity.

Furthermore, a collection of his white papers will be published in book form in 2013. It must be very satisfying to see that the groundwork for quality that he laid over four decades ago is still being built upon to this day.

Koso Kent Introl
Tel: 01484 710311

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 24

Summer 2020 // Issue 53
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