A case study in implementing the Productivity and Competitiveness (PAC) framework in the Automotive Sector.

The activity focussed on productivity and quality improvement and was underpinned by the NVQ level 2 in Business Improvement Techniques. It was achieved using techniques including effective teamwork, problem solving, 5C/5S, standard operations and visual management.

“The PAC exercise enabled us to dramatically improve our QCD measures, namely Not Right First Time (NRFT), Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and Delivery Schedule Achievement (DSA) for our main product group. This product represents 65% of our turnover.”

Peter Henderson, Managing Director. Valve Train Components Ltd

The Customer

Valve Train Components Ltd (VTC) is one of the leading suppliers of valve collets and synchromesh sliding keys to the global automotive market. A first tier supplier to many of the world’s premier automotive companies, it manufactures over 300 million valve collets per annum and exports to more than 20 countries worldwide. VTC, based in two modern manufacturing facilities in Lichfield, has some 30 employees and an annual turnover of £3 million.

VTC is a member of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The Customer’s need

VTC had identified potential for additional sales of its products, and was aware, as an accreditied TS16949 company, that it should look to increase capacity by improving its existing Quality, Cost and Delivery (QCD) performance before investing capex.

Furthermore, whilst not stopping their customers’ production lines they were in delivery arrears to several companies and were under constant cost down pressures.

The IF Solution

SEMTA to demonstrate how a combination of a “Learning by Doing” process intervention, coupled with employees achieving a National Vocationa qualification (NVQ) in Business Improvement Techniques could yield sustainable improvements in productivity that could be measured on the bottom-line. SMMT IF convinced the company to buy a PAC activity to achieve the dual benefits of bottom-line improvement, together with the creation of upskilled employees who could use the practical skills acquired during the “Learning by Doing” activity to implement and sustain continuous improvement, and gain NVQ Level 2 qualifications.

Overview of PAC Structure







The “Learning By Doing” Process, (b), linked to a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) (c)

Return on Stakeholders’ Investment

Industry Forum’s Seven Measures of QCD Competitiveness







Reduction in build time of a high volume product

Before After
Not Right First Time 25,300 ppm Less than 1,000ppm (0 ppm for Aug 2007
Overall Equipment Effectiveness 73% 83%
Financial Benefits
Value of additional units and improved NRFT performance £50.4k
Value of reduced downtime due to tool breakages £80.2k
Total £130.6k

Upskilling for Sustained Continuous Improvement

Achievement of NVQ Level 2 in Business Improvement Techniques for some members of the team.


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