Gloucestershire defence technology company, L-3 TRL Technology, has become only the fourth ever business to be awarded a coveted SC21 gold award for manufacturing excellence and industry best practice.
Achievement of the gold award requires world-class performance in quality, delivery, and a culture of sustainable improvement. TRL have been independently assessed as gold level performance (>500) in all three areas of the SC21 framework:
• Manufacturing excellence (544)
• Business excellence (570)
• Relationship excellence (800)
Launched in 2006 by industry body ADS, the SC21 framework was introduced to transform and improve the quality and management of supply chains throughout the UK’s aerospace, defence, security and space sectors. The scheme aims to accelerate the competitiveness of businesses at the forefront of technological development, taking performance to the next level, and helping them to sustain and grow.
Supply chain excellence plays a vital part in boosting the UK’s leading position within the global aerospace and defence markets, in which the UK is number one within Europe, and globally second only to the US.
Commitment to improvement
Since the launch of the scheme, over 700 UK businesses have registered for SC21, demonstrating their commitment to improving quality and performance across the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors. During that time, just four businesses have demonstrated the improvements necessary to win the coveted gold award.
Andy Barnes, Vice President Operations at L-3 TRL Technology, was presented with the award today at the SC21 Task Force meeting in Dublin. The event was attended by representatives from the UK’s and Ireland’s aerospace and defence industry.
“Receiving the gold award is a huge honour that recognises the determination and hard work of our 300 staff” Andy says.
L-3 TRL worked closely with SC21 strategic partners, TPT Consultancy & Training Ltd, in their journey to achieve recognition. After assessing TRL’s performance against each of the assessment criteria, TPT provided valuable feedback and identified areas for improvement.
Tom Townsend, Managing Director at TPT, says: “TRL have taken the SC21 programme very seriously. In fact, few businesses have the tenacity and determination to get to where they are today. Their approach is world class, in all areas, and they genuinely deserve the award.
“Taking part in SC21 involves getting your strategy right within the business and deploying that strategy successfully – something TRL are incredibly good at. They have good corporate governance and a strong culture of improvement – both important elements for the assessment process.
“TRL’s score of 800 in the relationship excellence diagnostic demonstrates an inclusive approach. They use a collaborative approach in all aspects of their relationships, working with suppliers, customers – even sometimes competitors – and this gives them a competitive edge. Their ability to partner with other businesses to achieve their goals, rather than trying to do everything on their own, is a major strength.
“While some businesses are excellent in certain areas but weak in others, TRL excel in all aspects of their business. They are leaders in their field, and it’s been a pleasure to work with them.”
A progress success story
L-3 TRL registered with the SC21 framework in 2013 – the same year it engaged with Investors in People. Initial assessments and feedback from both TPT and Investors in People enabled the business to quickly identify areas for improvement, and develop plans to address these.
Since 2013, employees throughout the business have worked hard to streamline processes, and to improve efficiency, productivity and performance.
“We employed an independent survey organisation to carry out employee and customer satisfaction surveys to highlight further opportunities for improvement in our dealings with staff and customers,” says Andy. “The results led us to focus on improvements in our internal communication and staff engagement, as well as aspects of our customer service.
“To enable us to improve our initial assessment rating we needed to align our long-term strategy and improvement targets with our short-term objectives. We introduced strategic policy deployment and developed our key performance indicators, under-pinning these with driver measures. We began to link employees’ personal objectives through policy deployment, so staff could see how their goals and areas for improvement aligned with the company’s strategic objectives and performance.
“This was an important step in bringing everyone from senior management to new recruits on board – and improving engagement – and it’s clearly paid off.”
The benefits of SC21
Membership of SC21 has many benefits for businesses in the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors.
As well as identifying areas for improvement, completing SC21 assessment helps benchmark UK businesses against their peers and competitors, and provides formal recognition for the improvements made year on year.
Businesses involved with the scheme benefit from positive relationships with customers and suppliers alike, and collaboration with the other businesses committed to the SC21 code of practice.
Overall, the industry continues to become increasingly effective and efficient, and more able to compete at the cutting edge of the global marketplace.
One step ahead of the competition
President and CEO at L-3 TRL Technology, Greg Roberts, says the award represents “a strong commitment to quality and a dedication to excellence throughout the business.”
He continued: “I’m delighted with the award, and very proud of the commitment to excellence demonstrated by our team. As a company at the forefront of technology, we have always strived for improvement. This accolade recognises our dedication to industry best practice and lean manufacturing, and shows that L-3 TRL Technology is leading the way in an increasingly competitive market.”
Despite their success story, L-3 TRL Technology won’t be resting on their laurels. “SC21 is all about sustainable improvement,” says Andy Barnes. “We can never stand still – we will continue to improve our business in order to maintain our competitive position.”
Detailed information about the SC21 scheme can be found at www.sc21.org.uk
About L-3 TRL Technology
With 30 years of experience at the forefront of technological development, L-3 TRL is an official supplier to Her Majesty’s Government, and part of the Cyber Growth Partnership (CGP). Our cutting-edge, best-of-British technology is accredited and approved by CESG, and we have achieved two Queen’s Awards for innovation.
Based in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, the company produces innovative products that safeguard people and information around the world from terrorist threats.
For more information, visit www.L-3com.com/trl