starbank_240px.jpgThe client

Starbank is one of the UK's largest laminate panel manufacturers.  It operates from a 3-acre manufacturing base with over 70,000 square foot of production floor space and

The challenge

Phil Darbyshire, the son of the founders, joined the business after college in 1988 and in 2002 took sole control as managing director.

With this growth came the realisation that the company needed management and leadership structures in place as well as development programmes to underpin the organisation, providing firm foundations for continued growth.

The solution

The initial recommendation was to implement a Strategic Management Development  Programme. Festo worked with Starbank to develop a Balance Scorecard, starting with the management team then rolling it out through the organisation. DISC profiling was conducted with senior managers as an exercise in self-awareness.

Then during 2009 and 2010 Starbank, in conjunction with Festo, put half of its employees through a training programme, focusing on lean manufacturing, This took the form of a business game.The results were surprising. For example, within the company there was a perception that product machining was causing a bottleneck. Yet on investigation it was found that the machine was only operating at half-capacity because it was deprived of raw material. The bottleneck was the movement of raw material within the building, not the machine itself!

Duncan Middleton, consultant at Festo who conducted the training programme comments, "The training gave a great opportunity to see Starbank in action. We really saw the management development and OISC profiling come into play There was a much more conciliatory approach to discussing sensitive issues and people really worked together,"

And the result? According to Phil, "We used the training as a basis for reorganising our production process from start to finish. We continue to fine tune how we operate but it's made a fundamental difference to our business,"

Client benefits

And the return on investment? Well, in August 2010 the company matched its highest turnover for a single month.

"We did this with approximately 25% fewer production staff and without the need to invest in more space or machinery This simply wouldn't have been possible before," says Phil. With these savings on infrastructure, profit has also shot up considerably leaving the company leaner and fitter With the order book full and with untapped markets still to explore, the future looks bright.


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