Continuous Improvement

When I moved to Unipart as an operations manager responsible for picking and packing panel for distribution to Rover car dealerships and repair body shops, I was a bit alarmed to see that my target key performance indicators were not set for the year – they increased every quarter. This was my first introduction to “continuous improvement”.

Most managers of manufacturing, distribution and even building jobs understand there is room for improvement in their operation.  For example, obvious indicators are errors, issues reported by customers, having to bring in a team on Saturday to work on something that is overlooked, and staff pointing out supplier problems they have to put right.

Less obvious are those opportunities to deploy resources more cannily so there is less hanging about.

The Challenge

Whether the opportunities are obvious or less obvious, taking steps to turn these into positive results can be challenging.

The challenge is to find time within the working day to work on identifying actions to move the operation forward.  However, there is real “gold” to be found with improvements usually leading to both lower costs and happier customers; and it is worth blocking some time in your diary to do just that.

Many small business manufacturers have sophisticated machines and planning systems, however they often don’t have job tracking software to track jobs as they flow through the operation.  Information on how long each process step is taking, quantities of work in progress, and material levels can provide valuable insights allowing resources to be deployed more efficiently, ensuring priority jobs are managed through.  Also at a basic level, managers can report with confidence to both senior managers and customers.

This is where Vos Voco can help

Our system uses standard android/apple devices which cost about £100 each. Data is retrieved from a PC through our website. Better still, the system is very configurable, so quite quickly a “bespoke looking” system can be in-place and in-use.

Working with our customer, we break the operation into elements.  QR codes are attached to either jobs or work stations, which when scanned, allows the operative to capture the data needed in a few seconds.  Recognising that connectivity can be poor; our system can be used offline.  The Vos Voco system is quick and easy for operators to use, and processes spanning different teams/companies are made as frictionless as possible.  Unlike most job management software, Vos Voco can be applied to other challenges around the site – all with a single licence.

Cost, time and expertise can be barriers to getting started.  Vos Voco takes these problems on directly.  Time leads to higher implementation costs.  We think the best way of keeping costs low while getting up and running quickly, is to come in, walk through the problem with you and implement the solution.  Later you can take over further implementations and changes.  Our licence fee is based on company size – so customers can solve further problems (such as collecting quality data) without any incremental monthly charge.  For micro customers, the rate is £50 per month.

As a possible alternative, Vos Voco is an active partner of the Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring programme led by Cambridge and Nottingham Universities, which has developed a low-cost job tracking solution.  The Shoestring programme and Vos Voco share a common goal – simply to help small manufacturing businesses to use low-cost technology to bring about real improvements in their operation.

Get in touch

If you are keen to move your operation forward by tracking jobs through your operation it would be worth contacting us. Vos Voco can turn your ideas into reality without troubling the finance director, while having a flexible tool you can use repeatedly.

Call us on 01295 330808 or email

Derek Silby
CEO and Founder, Vos Voco

Posted on September 9, 2021