Neoperl offer advice and guidance to business looking to re-open at online Manufacturing Forum

Patron Member Neoperl lead the recent Manufacturing Forum in partnership with the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce to share experience and best practices with the sector.

Neoperl sponsor all Chamber Manufacturing Forum’s as they are passionate about working together with local manufacturing businesses to learn and develop whilst encouraging sharing of best practice across all companies in the sector.

The manufacturing industry has faced its own share of Covid-related challenges and has had to rely on innovation and adaptability in order to continue to operate safely. The most recent Manufacturing Forum held virtually Wednesday 20 May, focused on how businesses within the sector should be adapting, prioritising the safety of workers and ensure the workplace has all appropriate measures to continue to operate their day to day activities whilst shielding their staff.

The first virtual edition, saw Chamber Patron Members Neoperl UK, offer their expertise and experiences on the best practices that not only manufacturing businesses should be implementing, but all businesses who are looking to reopen also.  Kevin Gates, Managing Director of Neoperl shared insight into how they have managed to continue operations safely during the pandemic by adapting and excelling in the field of health and safety.

With locations in multiple countries, the global company already had experienced the effect of the crisis before it reached the UK, it was this experience that was used to produce a pandemic protocol using first hand experiences with some differences varied by country due to legislation.

How they have continued to work safely:

They set up a dedicated task force to deal with daily, short-term and mid-term topics and have placed high importance on clear communications with employees using intranet, posters and mobile messaging app Microsoft Kaizala, which has seen around 150 staff members download the app which is reserved for important updates. Clear and consistent communication with suppliers are also very important. Kevin Gates, Managing Director, Neoperl UK, said: “Clearly the focus throughout has been to keep our staff safe and protect our supply chain for our customers, so clear structure communication channels were another important feature, using different media across the business, like electronic display screens in the factory and a mobile messaging app for offsite/home workers.”

Other practical measures implemented by Neoperl include; staggering break times and taking away chairs from areas to encourage social distancing, working from home when necessary and moving their production machines 2 metres apart.

Also highlighted was the importance of auditing and carrying out regular H&S checks including updating risk assessments and recording and monitoring different issues raised.

Kevin Gates, Managing Director, Neoperl UK, added: “Adapting our business to keep running and supplying has taken a lot of work by the team, especially our QESH manager, Jim Barnett who ensured that we approached it as we do any health and safety process in the UK, with risk assessment, assess, implement, supervise and review.”

The main points form Neopoerl were that of transparency and making sure communication is clear and records and practices are kept up to date. Although delivered as a part of the manufacturing sector, there are a lot of strategies that are relatable to any business on how to adapt, which is needed during this time where businesses are starting to return to their premises.

Kevin also featured in the Worcestershire LEP’s Making Connections podcast series as part of a manufacturing panel discussing the challenges and adaptions that Neoperl made once lockdown started and how they have become to adapt to safe working. This episode and more can be found on the Making Connections webpage here.

Sharon Smith, Chief Executive of the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Whilst the manufacturing forum revealed a number of key industry specific aspects that manufacturing businesses should be following, I feel all businesses should follow in the footsteps of Neoperl and replicate their innovation and adaptability, as it is this that will allow businesses to operate productively during the restart and recovery phase, whilst having the interest of staff safety at the top of the agenda.”

To receive updates of upcoming Manufacturing Forum’s please contact the Events team: events@hwchamber.co.uk.

For further information on the guidance and support available in order to assist businesses in returning back to work please visit the Coronavirus Business Support Hub.