19 July 2001 | Liam O'Brien
Britain's beleaguered shipyards have turned to a major industry-wide initiative for savings on their annual £3.4 billion procurement spend.
The Shipyard Improvement Programme, started by the Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers Association this month, aims to implement best practice at the UK's 50 yards.
The £5.8 million programme, which includes a £2.8 million government grant, aims to improve many of the industry's acknowledged outdated purchasing practices. Collective purchasing and e-procurement are two possible areas for development.
The scheme includes an examination of business strategies in light of procurement methods, implementation of continuous improvement techniques and training in purchasing.
Smaller yards are expected to see the greatest benefit from the venture, which benchmarks efficiency at the beginning and end of the manufacturing process. The initiative is based on programmes adopted by the Society of British Aerospace Companies and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
The programme was trialled at several shipyards, including Gravesend-based L&M shipyards, where it resulted in a general overhaul of purchasing.