FAQ

Section 1 - Quality

  1. How do you control process capability?
    Answer: The Company controls its processes by identifying and planning all procurement, storage and manufacturing activities and the provision of a suitable working environment. The company ensures adequate provision of suitable tools and equipment and their maintenance, the provision of suitable trained and qualified personnel, the use of documented work instructions where their absence would impair quality, effective supervision and the maintenance of suitable records of any quality-related process.
  2. How do you respond to rejections?
    Answer: Any product found to be non-conforming is clearly identified and documented procedures are followed to ensure that such product is not used until an appropriate disposal decision has been made. Where the proposed method of disposal would involve acceptance by the customer of the non-conforming product, the matter is reported, for concession, to the customer and the details of any concession documented. A detailed documented flow chart covering the above has been developed called "Quality Processes QP 09 Non-Conforming Product Procedure" and can be found in the Quality Processes manual. (Non-Conforming Product Procedure QP09)
  3. In terms of percentage what is your in process reject rate?
    Answer: Our continuous improvement objective is to ultimately achieve a 0% process reject rate.
  4. In percentage terms how much re-work is there?
    Answer: Re-work is monitored and recorded on an individual basis and reported in the Internal Monthly Quality Data, All Customers report. The report contains information on the following:
    • Non conformities by month annual rolling bar graph
    • Individual rework details
    • Action to rectify list
    • YTD defect by cause bar graph
    Re-work is estimated to be significantly lower than 1%.
  5. Do you have a quality policy and is it clearly communicated?
    Answer: Yes BS EN ISO9001:2008, with a circulation list of controlled copies to all key functions within the organisations, giving access to all employees and business partners.
  6. Describe your quality philosophy.
    Answer: The Directors of PCML are fully committed to reviewing and improving the quality of the service offered in the precision machining, assembly and finishing of components to customer drawings, to ensure customer needs and expectations are fully satisfied. The quality objectives of PCML include producing complete solutions to customers' manufacturing needs from concept through to production in the most cost effective and efficient way and on time. PCML recognises that its continuing success and reputation depends on the quality of the service it offers and that BS EN ISO9001:2008 provides an internationally recognised standard for quality systems, against which PCML's own quality System can be judged.
  7. Do you have a full set of quality procedures covering all departments and are these fully understood by all personnel?
    Answer: PCML Quality Processes cover the following key departments and functions:
    • Company management
    • Marketing including Sales
    • Procurement
    • Manufacturing
    • Quality
    • Documentation
    • Goods in/out
    • Customer service
    • Non conformance
    • HR including Training
    • Audit and management review
    • Corrective & preventative actions
    • Inspection
    • Calibration
    Copies of PCML Quality Processes are circulated to all key functions within the organisations, giving access to all relevant employees and business partners.
  8. How do you ensure adherence to quality systems and procedures?
    Answer: Management Reviews of the quality system are carried out at planned intervals and are identified on the Internal Audit Programme. The management review considers the overall suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of the quality system, including the setting & review of quality objectives and any opportunities for improvement. The company also maintains and operates adequate facilities and procedures for the identification, collection, indexing, filing, storage, maintenance and disposal of quality records. These records demonstrate achievement of the required quality and the effective operation of the quality system and include relevant sub-contractor quality records. Finally, external consultants BSI and KW Consultants are employed to ensure complete adherence to quality systems and procedures.
  9. Define the course of action to be used in the event of a non conformance.
    Answer: See Quality processes, QP 09, Non-Conforming Product Procedure (Non-Conforming Product Procedure QP09)
  10. Do you employ modern manufacturing techniques e.g. TQM, Kaizen, FMEA etc.?
    Answer: We Employ Lean Manufacturing to eliminate waste in all areas of the business.
  11. Which national/international accreditations do you hold?
    Answer: ISO 9001:2008 Precision Machining & Assembly & Finishing Components To Customers Drawings. (ISO 9001:2008 Certificate of Registration)
  12. Have you ever had to recall goods from a customer?
    Answer: Yes as part of our containment policy, which is detailed in our Quality Manual, 8/12, Corrective & Preventative action and Quality Processes, QP12 Corrective & Preventative Actions.
  13. How do you measure the cost of quality?
    Answer: For our business, quality is a critical success factor to achieving a competitive advantage. Measuring the cost of quality is also essential in ensuring we obtain an acceptable return on investment. Conventional cost accounting systems do not appear to provide a true indication of the cost of quality and its impact on profits. Total and complete customer satisfaction is the ultimate measure of the return on the investment made in Quality. To measure the Cost of Quality we look at the necessary investment required in terms of capital plant depreciation cost, labour cost, materials cost, any rework cost and ultimately any cost of scrap, in order to achieve total customer satisfaction.
  14. Can you show us your quality improvement plans?
    Answer: PCML has developed and operates a Continuous Improvement strategy, which focuses on ways of improving product quality and customer delivery times. To address the issue of improving product quality PCML continues to invest in the following:
    • Personnel recruitment
    • Process development
    • Outsourcing
    • Production capacity
    • Employee training
    • Customer training
    • Technology
    We are happy to discuss our quality improvement plans with you in more detail.
  15. Describe your quality audit system.
    Answer: PCML carries out a programme of planned and documented internal quality audits to test whether quality activities comply with planned arrangements and to determine the effectiveness of the quality system. The internal audit programme is prepared and carried out by suitably trained internal quality auditors. Written reports of relevant audits are prepared and copied to personnel with responsibility to initiate or control appropriate action. (Internal Auditing Procedure QP11)

Section 2 - Delivery

  1. How do you monitor arrears to customer requirement?
    Answer: Using our Production Management Information System ProgressPlus, we produce Delivery Analysis Reports for Individual Customers that:
    • Allows and controls deliveries of multiple orders on one note
    • Generates Certificates of Conformity if required
    • Highlights deliveries that are not invoiced
    • Allows entry of late delivery reason codes
    • Generates delivery performance reports
  2. How do you measure the accuracy of order quantities delivered to customer requirement?
    Answer: See 2.1 plus visually reconciling the Delivery Note with the original Works Order.
  3. How do you measure the accuracy of date adherence delivered to customer requirement?
    Answer: See 2.1
  4. How do you monitor the accuracy of release paperwork despatched to the customer?
    Answer: Using our Production Management Information System ProgressPlus, which is a totally integrated system that produces all paperwork associated with a customer order.
  5. Do you have an ongoing lead-time reduction programme?
    Answer: We operate a Strategy of Continuous Improvement covering Quality, Value for Money and Delivery, which for the latter involves ongoing investment in the following:
    • High technology production capacity facilities for increased productivity and output
    • Capacity Planning Development for more effective & efficient production scheduling
    • Categorisation and clustering type of work for increased efficiency
    • Categorisation and clustering employee experience types for increased effectiveness and efficiency
    • Operational Skills Development for increased productivity
    • Automated facilities and processes associated with manufacturing and production e.g. tooling crib to increase efficiencies
  6. Please show us your production control procedure.
  7. How do you plan and control your manufacturing operation?
    Answer: We start by carrying out a feasibility evaluation which considers the following key issues:
    • Is the product or component adequately specified?
    • Can the product be manufactured to the specified drawing tolerances?
    • Is adequate capacity available?
    • Can the product be manufactured without incurring any unusual:
      • Costs for capital equipment?
      • Costs for tooling or gauging?
      • Alternative manufacturing methods?
    • Is Statistical Process Control required on the product?
    • Is the product marked as critical for inspection?
    • Does the product require Production Engineering input?
    • What if any changes are recommended?
    • Is a design revision required to effectively produce product as specified?
  8. Give examples of situations where you have worked with a customer in order to streamline your logistical relationship.

Section 3 - Value for money

  1. Demonstrate how you have reduced cost whilst maintaining margin.
    Answer: We operate a Strategy of Continuous Improvement covering productivity in all key business functions including Operations, Finance, HR and Marketing. This involves ongoing investment in the following areas:
    • Personnel development
    • Process development
    • Outsourcing
    • Production capacity
    • Customer training
    • Staff utilisation
    • Production capacity facilities
    • Capacity planning and scheduling
    • Investment in automation
  2. What is your understanding of Total Acquisition Cost (TAC)?
    Answer: Products should be designed to optimise the supply chain and create competitive advantage. TAC is the sum of all supply chain costs associated with the delivery of a product or service to your customer.
  3. How do you set machine rates, labour rates and how do you allocate overheads?
    Answer: Based on ROI and contribution to fixed costs needs, coupled with on the job experience combined with the integrated Job Costing facility in our Production Management Information System ProgressPlus, which automatically applies rates and overheads.
  4. Do you or will you provide detailed cost breakdowns to customers?
    Answer: We operate a reciprocal "open book" policy with all participating customers.
  5. How do you absorb internal cost increases?
    Answer: By focusing on Lean Manufacturing strategies combined with increases in efficiency and productivity.
  6. How do you absorb raw material cost increases?
    Answer: By focusing on Lean Manufacturing strategies combined with increases in efficiency, productivity and waste reduction.
  7. How do you absorb bought out cost increases?
    Answer: We aim to mitigate any significant bought out cost increases by developing long term partnership relationships with our key strategic suppliers.

Section 4 - Design and production engineering

  1. Are you able to offer design input to customers?
    Answer: Yes we provide consultancy, design and prototype manufacturing services, initially this may include working with the client to test out new product concepts, new product design and development work, or to redesign existing products.
  2. What testing facilities do you have?
    Answer: Vacuum Testing, Electrical Continuity Testing, Hardness Testing, Non-Destructive Testing Facilities.
  3. Describe the range and capability of you manufacturing engineers?
    Answer: PCML's highly skilled and experienced Manufacturing Engineers enable us to turn customer concepts into working solutions quickly, respond rapidly and effectively to customers' production needs, produce consistently high quality results and machine complex and difficult to handle components. In addition we are able provide consultancy, design and prototype manufacturing services. Here PCML's full range of expertise is applied. Initially this may include working with the client to test out new product concepts, new product design and development work, or to redesign existing products. The complex design of many products also requires PCML to apply their innovative work holding design, development and manufacturing capabilities to the full. Jigs & fixtures often need to be capable of handling small batch production runs with up to 4/5th axis machining capability for a range of materials including biocompatible plastic, stainless steel and titanium. Our in-house design facilities can handle files from a wide range of computer aided design software. Prototype and Rapid Response manufacturing is carried out in a dedicated facility using high precision manual and CNC machine tools. Utilising our extensive experience, we have helped to develop a number of innovative world-beating products for OEMs in the UK, including surgical implant devices for Surgicraft Limited and commercial inkjet printers for Inca Digital Printers Limited.
  4. Show examples of improvement to customer products instigated by yourselves.
    Answer: Here are some examples of how our partnership development strategy has helped create improvements to customers' products: Partnership Development Award.
  5. How do you control engineering change?

Section 5 - Managing operations

  1. Do you have a manufacturing strategy?
    Answer: Our manufacturing strategy is based on the business organising its manufacturing capability into three distinctive categories of work in which PCML is involved, for increased efficiency:
    1. A category work
      • Research & development
      • Prototyping
      • One off or small batch volumes
      • Very high skill level
    2. B category work
      • Complex components
      • Initial proving if Cat. C component production engineering
      • Repeat business
      • <10 components
      • Mixed Programmer/Setter/Operator skills level
    3. C category work
      • Simple components
      • Well proven production engineering applications
      • Repeat business
      • >20 components
      • Mixed Setter/Operator skills level
  2. What is the range/capability of your in house manufacture?
    Answer: View our plant list.
  3. Do you have a planned maintenance schedule?
    Answer: View our planned maintenance schedule for our primary plant and equipment.
  4. Describe the rationale behind your facility layout.
    Answer: The rationale behind our facility layout is based on the following:
    • Ability to develop small, highly focused and motivated teams
    • Ease of being able to monitor and measure the productivity, efficiency & effectiveness of smaller profit centres
    • Ability to link distinctive categories of work with relevant & appropriate skill levels for increased efficiency
  5. How do you monitor manufacturing performance and is this displayed on the shop floor?
    Answer: We collect data and produce the following graphs which are kept up to date and displayed in individual manufacturing cells.
    • Cumulative Monthly Deliveries
    • Customer Delivery Performance
    • Customer Non Conformity Performance
  6. What are your measures of performance and how do they relate to improvement activity?
    Answer: PCML key performance indicators:
    1. Reject Rate: Target to 0% process reject rate.
    2. On time Delivery: Target to achieve 100% on time.
    The above KPIs are key drivers of PCML's Continuous Improvement Strategy.
  7. What is the split between value added and non-value added hours worked?
    Answer: A significant majority of the hours worked involve value adding activities.
  8. What is the percentage plant utilisation?
    Answer: Currently plant is fully utilised using our current shift patterns.
  9. What is the percentage labour utilisation?
    Answer: Currently labour is fully utilised using our current shift patterns.
  10. How do you control stores (stock booking, rotation etc.)?
    Answer: Using our Production Management Information System ProgressPlus, which is a totally integrated system. (Information ProgressPlus can produce to enable us to control stores.)
  11. Do you operate continuous improvement?
    Answer: Yes, please contact us for a copy of our current Continuous Improvement Strategy.
  12. Are you a profitable company?
    Answer: Yes, please contact us for a copy of our latest set of published accounts.
  13. Do you run improvement projects and how are these managed?
    Answer: Yes, managed by the Team Leaders.
  14. What is your approach to customer satisfaction?
    Answer: PCML is a Marketing Orientated business; customer satisfaction is the primary goal of the business. Consequently we have developed and operate a Customer Care strategy whose objective is total customer satisfaction. Please contact us for a copy of our Customer Care strategy document.
  15. How do you manage procurement?
  16. Have you a good Health & Safety record? What % of time is lost to accidents?
    Answer: Excellent, an insignificant amount of time is lost to accidents. Please contact us for an up to date copy of our Health & Safety Policy Document.
  17. How stable are your industrial relations?
    Answer: Very stable, staff turnover is insignificant.
  18. What is your rate of absenteeism?
    Answer: Insignificant, employees are highly motivated and are normally absent only due to circumstances completely beyond their normal control.
  19. Do you have a training plan?
  20. Do you have a business vision, strategy and implementation plan?
    Answer: Our business philosophy, at PCML is clear; we believe that to be truly successful in business, we need to focus on three key areas, which we know are crucially important to our target markets:
    • Firstly, we need to develop a reputation as a company that delivers consistently high quality products on time, at truly competitive rates and to the highest specification.
    • Secondly, we need to be totally customer and supply chain focused at all times through a highly motivated workforce of skilled personnel.
    • Thirdly, we need to stay at the forefront of manufacturing technology, by developing effective partnerships and investing with like-minded equipment, consumables and service providers, if we want to provide our customers with the very best service, both today and in the future, whilst at the same time stay ahead of our competitors.

    PCML Key strategies:
    • Key Account Management Strategy
    • Customer Contract Management Strategy
    • Integrated Internal Communications Strategy
    • Skills Development Strategy

    Our business vision and strategies are implemented annually though our overall business plan, which comprises of individual business plans covering Marketing, Operations, HR and Finance.

  21. What is your organisation structure?
  22. How much experience has your management team?
    Answer: Extensive experience gained across a variety of sectors in a range of organisations covering all the key business functions of:
    • Corporate Management & Strategy Development
    • Marketing
    • Operations
    • Human Resources
    • Financial Management
  23. Have you ever had to resort to legal action with a supplier or customer?
    Answer: Not to date.