Milliken sponsor the 'creative' category at the Made in Bury Business awards, however, did you know they joined us as a guest speaker at the Made in Bury Business Academy 2016? The Made in Bury Business Academy is a funded initiative delivered by Made in Bury Limited, sponsored by Bury Council and thebestofbury.
Now in it's second year, the Academy offers workshops and on-going support for Bury businesses who have been trading for under two years.
The Made in Bury Business Academy members arrived at the Milliken plant for a guided tour of a global business with a local base right here in Bury.
Milliken are proud to demonstrate to visitors how they have transformed a traditional textile mill into a world class manufacturing operation, and kindly offered this tour when they came to the Academy as our guest speaker.
Built in 1864, the Wellington Mill has always been a textile plant, however, its products and processes have advanced from the traditional cotton processing to modern man-made textiles including the application of chemical coatings to fabric rolls and industrial laser part profile cutting.
The tour began with a warm welcome to the factory by David Bradley, Plant Manager and a safety talk where we were asked to remove all jewellery and to collect a high-vis vest before leaving the room. The talk included the history, culture and variety of products Milliken make - for example, did you know Milliken make flame resistant clothing?
The walls of the meeting room are covered in framed certificates from various prestigious awards ceremonies across the UK. Known previously as a business that would stay out of the limelight, a change of leadership within the business, has seen Milliken compete for numerous awards with the view of testing itself externally against the best businesses in the UK.
One of the more surprising awards was the UK Fashion and Textile Award where they won the ‘CapitB UKFT Let’s Make it Here Award.’ Did Milliken win a fashion award I hear you ask? Yes, yes they did.
The tour around the plant started with sizing and beaming. We then met Janet the HR manager at Milliken who showed us how Milliken engage with their staff, we saw images of employee’s enjoying themselves at the MIBBA’s, graphs and charts of development, accidents at other factories around the world, the in-house awards and also images of the event Milliken throw for retired employee’s.
The number of awards Milliken have won is remarkable but when we discovered they have internal awards yearly to encourage and motivate their staff we were in awe; how can a global business still care about keeping their staff happy!
We carried on around the plant to weaving, scouring, coating, the warehouse where we met Carl the senior warehouse associate who showed the Academy members how they track orders and determine which job needs to be completed first. Carl also told us about the charities Milliken are part of and how they helped raise money for a young boy who was born with severe Cerebral Palsy.
We carried on to the inspection area where we were shown Milliken’s final process, where they use technology to help inspect the fabric before it leaves the factory. This is not only more effective than the human eye but it also means images can be accessed at a later date if there were any problems.
The stores were another huge eye opener, Alan the storeman has developed the way in which they store equipment. Each product has a drawer space and a specific number and letter, Alan will then scan the item’s replenishment scan card before it leaves the store room ensuring the computer knows when a product needs replenishing. This system is colour coded for items that look similar but would damage machinery if used in the wrong machine, as Alan opened a draw with ten replica bolts we understood why this efficient system was life changing for the business. Scan cards are also used around the plant ensuring Alan can replenish stock on the floors after an item/equipment piece is used.
We finished the tour by visiting the risk management zone and the slitting process in the slit tape cell.
The feedback from this tour was insightful and we would like to thank David and Milliken for a fantastic tour.
“Myself and a few other members of the MIBBA recently took a tour of the Milliken Factory in Bury. I did not know what to expect as I knew they were a multi million pound company but I was not sure how what they do could transfer over to my sector (Digital). Well, I was amazed by what I learnt. They are an incredibly lean company and to get an insight into how they achieve the product output has really made me look at the efficiency of my business. I learnt a lot whilst I was there and would highly recommend you go should you get the chance.” Josh McNicholas - Visual Loves
“I really enjoyed the visit to the Milliken factory. Having grown up surrounded by mills in Oldham and aware of the historical importance of spinning to Lancashire, I was keen to see a modern operation. It was evident that the business is aware of the need to continually innovate, whilst delivering excellent standards on an on-going basis. I was really impressed with how the organisation values input from staff from all parts of the business and strives to ensure staff are a crucial part of new projects and ideas. A morning well-spent, thank-you.” Natalie Qureshi
Find out more about this funded Academy programme by emailing Natasha firstname.lastname@example.org 01614478814.