Best Practice Visits

Best Practice Visits: 7 September 2016

Delegates at the conference are invited to participate in a programme of Best Practice Visits taking place the day before the main conference.

These visits will help delegates get under the skin of some of Scotland’s most successful manufacturers, sharing their experiences under themes such as leadership, technology and innovation, and supply chain capability.

Booking is now open, click here to book your Best Practice Visit. 

Best Practice Visit hosts include:

Tokheim, Dundee
One of the world’s largest providers of fuel retailing solutions
Visit Theme: Technology and Innovation

Visit Host: Ken Scobie, General Manager, Operations, Tokheim UK

Visit Summary:

The visit will start at 09.00 and finish at 13.00.   A light lunch will be provided.

Delegates will meet Ken Scobie (General Manager), Steve Boyd (Director of Continuous Improvement), Andy Barton (Director of Manufacturing), Gordon Hume (Materials Manager), Mike Gilbert (Engineering Manager) and Jake Short (Customer Care Manager).

With a focus on demonstrating how innovation in all parts of the business is aligned to business goals, visitors will hear presentations on Tokheim’s approach to leadership for continuous improvement, developing and deploying LEAN tools, generating production flow, a case study on process development and an engineering case study featuring the development of a new petrol pump range.  Presentations will be followed by a tour of the manufacturing site.

Safety Information:  Safety shoes are advised but not compulsory, and safety glasses will be provided.

Visit Location: Unit 3, Baker Road, West Pitkerro Industrial Estate, Dundee DD5 3RT.    Visitors should enter through main reception and meet in the Innovation Room.


Brand-Rex, Glenrothes
A leading developer of cabling solutions for network infrastructure and industrial applications

Visit Theme: Leadership
Visit Host: Business Continuous Improvement Leader, Gary Aitchison

Visit Summary:

The visit will start at 09.30 and end at 14.30.
Catering: A finger buffet lunch will be provided.

The delegates will meet the following Brand-Rex Operations Team – Paul Richardson (Operations Manager); Gary Aitchison (Business Continuous Improvement Leader); Hassam Hernandez (Production Manager); Ian Darlison (Operations Engineering Manager).

They will see a cable manufacturing plant that has undergoing significant transformation from re-positioning machines and processes to workplace organisation / 5S activity throughout along with our Customer Experience Centre and R & D Labs. They will hear how a restructuring of support staff and investing in leaders through training and coaching has delivered significant improvement to the look of the factory but also Operational KPIs / Cost Reductions. They will therefore learn that investing in people and their skills coupled with an empowered approach to leadership can have a positive impact in their business.

Safety Information:  The Factory tour will be approximately 1 hour with a large distance covered.  To enhance the tour, it would be preferable for delegates to bring safety shoes. This will allow the tour to be taken from the main safety walks and closer to the processes.

Visit Location: Brand-Rex Ltd, Viewfield Industrial Estate, Glenrothes, Fife, KY6 2RS
Car Parking is available
Delegates will need to sign in at reception on arrival


Highland Colour Coaters, Cumbernauld
Providers of a range of metal finishing services for steel and aluminium

Visit Theme: Supply Chains
Visit Host: Managing Director, Geoff Crowley

Visit Summary:

The visit will begin at 13.00 and finish at 16.00.  A light lunch will be provided.

Highland Colour Coaters operate a jobbing coating service to manufacturers in a range of industries in Scotland and Northern England. Processing about 50 orders a day, arriving on over 40 vehicles a day and comprising about 1500 items daily. All of this with less than 50% visibility of tomorrow, and no visibility beyond that. But worse, the daily variability of volume arriving unannounced is from 0 to 300% of the mean. Most orders are required within a 3-4 day window from receipt to despatch, and about 10% change their delivery requirements within that time, and about 25% requiring 24 hour service.

In amongst that confusion, the business operates profitably, delivering most orders on time. The site visit will look at the operation and see how order can be brought about from confusion, how manufacturing techniques can be adapted to suit such chaos, to bring some semblance of order.

  • Hosted by MD Geoff Crowley, you hear from the Production Director and Customer Services Director
  • Short presentation on the company and some of the issues in supply chain management, from a company that sits in the middle of somewhat disorganised construction and manufacturing supply chains that don’t communicate well.

 Delegates will gain an appreciation of the issues faced; what the company does in their situation, and how they might adapt some of that to their own situation.


Safety Information: You will be provided with safety glasses, hard hat and high viz vests on arrival.  Delegates are requested to wear sturdy flat shoes – please note that no sandals, high heels or open toed footwear can be worn.

Visit Location: Tower Road, Cumbernauld
No onsite parking available, however there is adjacent street parking. For best space availability turn left after entering the estate onto Tower Road, and go to the end of Tower Road.


Guala Closures, Kirkintilloch
Market leader in the production of aluminium and “non-refillable” closures

Visit Theme: Innovation / Continuous Improvement / Sustainability
Visit Host: General Manager, Ken Moran

Visit Summary:
The visit will start at 12.00 noon and end at 16.00.   A sandwich lunch will be provided.

Guala Closures UK (GCUK) is part of the global Guala Closures Group which manufactures and supplies closures primarily for the spirits and wine industries worldwide. Guala Closures is the world leader in the manufacture of non-refillable closures producing over 13bn closures sold in 100 countries. GCUK has 2 plants located in Kirkintilloch and supplies customers in the alcoholic beverage industry.

During the visit, delegates will meet Steven Houston, Operations Manager; Stuart Giles, Business Engineering Manager; Stuart Johnson, R&D& Design Manager; Kevin Pirie, Quality Manager and Ken Moran, General Manager.

The visit will include a general overview presentation followed by a plant tour including injection moulding & high speed assembly.

The visit to GCUK will outline the company’s strategic approach to generating sales growth through product, process and materials innovation. An overview of the methodology employed to translate the medium term 3-year strategic view into practical actions, and how this integrates with continuous improvement and employee involvement, will be outlined with reference to simple examples. Guala Closures has embarked upon a structured Sustainability programme and the main elements will be presented. The plant tour will include injection moulding of novel materials, a view of high speed assembly machines and introduce recent innovative capital investments designed to realise the medium term way forward.

Safety Information: Delegates will be provided with hard hats, high vis vests and ear protection

Visit Location: Guala Closures UK, Old Mill Park Estate, Kirkintilloch, Glasgow, G661ST
Post code for Sat Nav: G661ST
Parking is available within the car park and  on the road opposite the plant.
Please report to the main door and ask for Karen Cleland


Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), Inchinnan

The AFRC supports manufacturing innovation in business and industry by helping companies to de-risk and accelerated the introduction of new technologies, new materials and new processes.

Visit Theme: Technology & Innovation
Visit Host: David Jones, CEO

Visit Summary:
The visit will start at 11.00 and end at 13.00.   A buffet lunch will be provided.

By visiting the AFRC you will get a chance to see what’s available in Scotland and the UK in terms of access to industrial scale manufacturing technology.  Visitors will learn from exhibits we have on technology in digital manufacturing as well as having the opportunity to see our world-class advanced forging and forming technologies.

AFRC, as part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, offers the opportunity to manufacturing and product design companies to test out new way of manufacturing in a collaborative environment.  During the visit you will gain an understanding of the potential that is available through engaging with businesses and using our industrial scale research facilities to carry out research that is close to industrial needs.  It will also allow visitors to understand how to engage with the AFRC and the wider High Value Manufacturing network across the UK.

Safety Information: Delegates will be required to read the Health and Safety leaflet on arrival and will be given a Health and Safety briefing before the tour commences.     High-vis vests and safety glasses will be provided.

Visit Location: AFRC, 85 Inchinnan Drive, Renfrew, PA4 9LH.
Postcode for Sat Nav: PA4 9LH

Bus Transport from Glasgow City Centre may be provided depending on demand. Please contact if you wish to request.


Mitsubishi Electric Air Condition, Livingston

Visit Theme: Automation and Technology
Visit Host: George Paterson and Jane Gibson

Visit Summary:

The visit will start at 09.30 and end at 13.00.
Catering: Tea and Coffee on arrival followed by a buffet lunch

Delegates will meet Mitsubishi Automation specialists and production staff.
Delegates will see the latest in automation technology being used in fully automated production and the latest in “Pick to Light” assembly system. Also energy management systems.

Safety Information: PPE will be provided

Visit Location:  Mitsubishi Electric, Nettlehill Road, Houston, Livingston, EH54 5EQ
Please meet in the main reception area


Ivan Woods & Sons, Ballingry 

Visit Theme: Improving Productivity, Circular Economy, Innovation
Visit Hosts: Malcolm Woods, Director, Ivan Woods and Sons and Kirsty George, Industry Development Coordinator, Scotland Food & Drink

Visit Summary:

The visit will start at 10.00 and end at approx 14.00.
Catering: Tea and Coffee on arrival followed by a lunch

Winner of the Scotland Food & Drink ‘Environmental Sustainability’ Award 2016, Ivan Woods & Son is a family run business that was established in 1970. The company is a market leader in the preparation and supply of fresh and pre-prepared fruit and vegetables to the catering trade. Ivan Wood & Sons has a custom built, modern, fresh preparation unit where the company produces high quality fruit and vegetables daily to fulfil bespoke customer orders. The company’s productivity journey has centered around their approach to the circular economy with fantastic relationships with local farmers, progressive technologies in waste management and extensive plans to expand their business to include an eco-building.

Delegates will hear from Director Malcolm Woods and tour the site to understand how fantastic relationships with local farmers, progressive technologies in waste management and innovation has helped Ivan Woods & Son become a more productive business.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understanding of how embracing circular economy practices can lead to a more productive business
  • Inspiration from highlighted technologies and business owners story to investigate new approaches to their own businesses
  • Understanding of the new Productivity Plan and the Scottish Manufacturing Action Plan
  • Motivation to implement change and learn more about improving productivity within their organisation

The visit, during the Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight, will also be used to launch the Scotland Food & Drink Productivity ‘Call to Action’, and delegates will hear more information about the initiative and other work surrounding it.

Safety Information: PPE will be provided

Visit Location:  Ivan Woods & Sons, Eastfield Fresh Produce Unit, Navity Farm, Ballingry, Fife, KY5 8LR


Visits will include an in-depth tour of manufacturing facilities, themed presentations and the opportunity to quiz business leaders on strategy, implementation and the highs and lows of their manufacturing journey.