Manufacturing a Better World

Cambridge Precision Ltd is currently working with students from the IfM (part of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering). Richard Hefford-Hobbs is the Chairman of CPL and intends to make the very most of his Oxbridge connections, in order to advance and influence the future of manufacturing; creating academic/industrial partnerships.

CPL has an absolute commitment to quality, in every aspect of the business, and invests in technology, engineering and people “in order to keep the company at the forefront of innovation, aligned with those who are setting the agenda for the 21st century”.  At the heart of the Cambridge innovation community, CPL works closely with the University of Cambridge, with a mutual ambition to develop life-changing products and services, build better businesses, create meaningful jobs, and improve the environment for the future. From a digital manufacturing base in St Neots and a strategy office in Cambridge, CPL serves a number of market sectors including Med-Tech, Detection-Security, Robotics and Audio technologies.

The IfM MPhil course in Industrial Systems, Manufacture and Management (ISMM) is a postgraduate programme designed to equip numerate graduates, primarily from Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths backgrounds, with the skills, personal development and industrial experience to be immediately effective in their early careers in industry. As part of their studies, participants undertake projects with leading industrial patrons, who provide opportunity to future “movers and shakers” in manufacturing systems – clearly an altruistic and practical benefit for all involved.

The Directors of CPL were enthused by an opportunity to engage with bright young minds of those on the University of Cambridge, ISSM course, and to consider their new perspectives and so offered placements to four students.

In February of 2020, CPL invited four impressive and innovative students to engage in a two-week project which will hopefully have far-reaching benefit for the host company, the students, and the manufacturing sector. Two teams were given the task to appraise the CPL stores area, with an objective of releasing floor space and identifying options to improve the workflow of Goods-In and Dispatch. 

Team A: George and Kaya, looked at physical opportunities for reducing the movement of the parts around the stores area and how this could be reduced by moving the packing workstations next to the inspection benches.
Team Alpha:  Moustafa and Georgie, looked at the use of digital technologies and their role in increasing inter-departmental collaboration, communication and data collection, in order to assist standardisation, categorisation and waste reduction.

The two teams bunkered down in the first months of 2020 and have experienced the very harsh demand of delivering to contract, whilst weathering the reality of social, political, economic and environmental influences. Never could have an academic standpoint have been given a more “real-world” perspective. The turbulence of the first few months of 2020, has produced a fertile learning environment for all!  “My two-week project at Cambridge Precision Ltd. was extremely interesting, particularly, to witness such a high focus on quality, deeply rooted in the culture of the company. During our project, we aimed to improve the workflow and facility layout of the stores and dispatching unit. As part of our analysis, we manually gathered data on all 1600 storage boxes and measured every small detail of the building”. George Melman, ISSM student.

After two weeks of observation and analysis, the teams delivered a presentation to key management representatives at CPL, and their detailed recommendations are now being reviewed by senior management team and the executive.

This project is just the start of a serious collaboration between CPL and the Institute for Manufacturing.  It represents the beginning of an academic/industrial partnership that will produce meaningful personal, industrial, commercial and global advantage.

Watch this space; much more to follow …