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Stewart Group Holdings rolls out companywide training and quality assurance programme

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Stewart Group Holdings, the leading UK manufacturer and supplier of technical plastic moulded products for the, auto, aero, technical, professional catering, packaging, home and gardening sectors, has introduced a radical companywide staff training and quality assurance programme.

Every employee at the Banbury-based business will receive 5S training. All managers will also be trained to yellow belt level in Six Sigma, with a large number being taught to the higher black belt standard.

In addition to 5S and Six Sigma, senior managers and engineering staff will receive tuition in the principles of Kaizen. 

Stewart Group Holdings offers onsite fork lift truck training, with licences certified by the company’s internal full time trainer.

Speaking of the initiative, Richard Butler, Group CEO of Stewart Group Holdings, said: “5S, Six Sigma and Kaizen are part of the complete continuous improvement culture we have brought into the business since we moved to Banbury. These standards are internationally recognised and proven at global businesses such as Motorola, General Electric and Toyota. Our training and quality assurance programmes provide us with a strong, skilled and disciplined workforce which will grow with the company.”

5S is a workplace organisation methodology. Its name derives from the Japanese words, seiri, seiton, seiso, seikatsi and shitsuke. These translate respectively as sort, systematise, shine, standardise and self-discipline. Through 5S, employees learn about and raise their awareness of the importance of order, cleanliness and tidiness in the work environment. By standardising and sustaining good practice in 5S, people at Stewart Group Holdings maximise productivity by accelerating work flow, reducing waste and getting rid of clutter.

Six Sigma is a suite of techniques for continually improving manufacturing and business processes. With the emphasis on identifying causes of defects and variations, Six Sigma impels managers to reduce waste, costs, pollution and process time while increasing customer satisfaction. Expertise in Six Sigma is recognised through the award of Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt and Champion status. By developing tools and managerial skill in Six Sigma, Stewart Group Holdings maximises the value, quality and reliability of every product that leaves its factory.

Kaizen, the Japanese word for good change, refers to continual improvement in every function of an organisation. Accordingly, it involves every employee in an effort to boost efficiency. Kaizen, however, looks beyond productivity and seeks also to enhance working conditions and employee self-esteem. People are encouraged to experiment on their work using scientific methods, spot waste and eliminate ineffective practices. By implementing Kaizen, Stewart Group Holdings is able to motivate and retain its skilled workforce, enhance efficiency and continually improve the quality of the products it manufactures.

In January 2014, Stewart Group Holdings gained ISO/TS16949 certification. This recognises the company’s management and control systems and allows the company to guarantee repeatability in the quality of its products.

Stewart Group Holdings offers an extensive portfolio of products across its three specialist divisions of aerospace, automotive and medical industries. Additionally, it is the brand leader in plastic gardening products and a longstanding supplier to the housewares and catering business sectors.

For more information, visit www.stewartcompany.co.uk.


Stewart - backgrounder

Stewart is the UK market leader in the manufacture and supply of technical plastic moulded products for the gardening, home and professional catering sectors. The company offers an extensive portfolio of products ranging from garden planters and propagators, to food containers and specialist storage products. Three specialist divisions also work across the aerospace, automotive and medical industries.

The company employs 70 permanent staff and 30 seasonal workers at a purpose-built 178,000 sq ft facility in Banbury, Oxon, which opened in September 2012. The factory and distribution centre includes state of the art machinery giving Stewart a world class advantage over its UK competitors.

It enjoyed a turnover of £13 million in 2010.  

Stewart is headed by CEO Richard Butler who built his career in the technical plastics and rubber sector and has worked for leading manufacturers in the aerospace and automotive sector.

Originally established in 1945 the company was the subject of a BIMBO (buy-in/ management buyout) in June 2011.  ECI, the mid-market private equity specialist, invested £12 million in the company in a deal that valued the business at £17 million.

Stewart Garden produces grow your own products, watering, pots, propagators and garden accessories and sundries. These are available in over 1600 outlets across the UK and Eire including major DIY outlets such as Homebase and Wilkinsons and garden centres across the UK such as Dobbies and Klondyke/Strikes, The Garden Centre Group and some 600 plus independent garden centres.

Stewart Garden plays an active role in the gardening and leisure industry through its membership of:

  • GIMA – the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association
  • Gardenex – the Federation of Garden and Leisure Manufacturers Limited
  • HTA – the Horticultural Trades Association

Stewart won the House Beautiful Best Product Garden Category in 2005 and the Klondyke Dry Goods Supplier Award in 2010. The company was a GIMA Awards - POS Finalist in 2009, and Best of British Finalist in 2011. It’s Heat and Grow Thermostatic Propagator was top in the Which? Gardening Best Buy test on windowsill propagators 2011.

Stewart Home provides food storage and homewares products. These comprise of the Refine, Essentials and Seal Fresh food and drink storage collections, offering hygienic storage in a wide range of colours and shapes.

Stewart Catering supplies the Gastronorm and Seal Fresh food storage ranges to the catering industry and specialist cook shops via wholesale and cash and carry outlets.

Other Stewart divisions are:

Stewart Aerospace

Stewart Automotive

Stewart Medical

Each division of Stewart is BS ISO 9001-2000 and TS16949 accredited and operates from the company’s manufacturing, warehousing and distribution centre in Banbury, Oxon.

For more information visit www.stewartlimited.co.uk

For editorial enquiries, pictures, interviews and samples, contact Emma De Maio on 07921 160 134 or email emma@redheadpr.co.uk