On-site radiographic testing of our PCHE pressure vessels is now significantly more efficient, with overall production rates also raised, thanks to ongoing continuous improvement activities and the co-operative and professional response of our long-term radiography partner, Caparo Testing Technologies (CTT).
Heatric’s two massive, bunker-like radiography bays are among the largest civilian examples in the UK. Metre-thick walls of solid concrete and 62-tonne concrete-filled steel doors are so strong that the cells double as blast-proof rooms for pressure testing. CTT has sole responsibility for operating these bays safely for both gamma and X-ray emissions. The company has provided a dedicated, structured team to ensure the safe and effective operation of the facility since the first bay was commissioned in 2013.
As part of Heatric’s supplier engagement programme the two companies work together systematically to improve productivity. Good communication at all levels, from shop floor to boardroom, is recognised as an essential part of this process. Improved communications, along with enhancements to the range of data collected and collated by CTT during radiographic testing, has now resulted in an inspection process much more closely integrated into the full Heatric workflow.
“Integral to the success of what is, after all, a strategic partnership is an awareness of the importance of early and full communication with the aim of breaking down any lines of demarcation that may have existed,” says CTT’s managing director Andrew Ward. “Our discussions highlighted the need to pay more attention to how this could be achieved. The various improvements we have made have resulted both in a closer working relationship and an improved ability to meet the strict KPIs placed on us by Heatric.”
The benefits are already significant, says Heatric’s subcontract buyer Ian Mcphail: “We have new key performance indicators (KPIs), improved forecasting of testing needs, and a new structure of daily, weekly and quarterly meetings where we discuss further improvements, gauge progress and monitor the appropriateness of KPIs; all of this has helped us make substantial improvements in radiography response times, staff planning and reporting quality.
“The Heatric procurement team is using the supplier engagement programme to evolve the way we do business with all key suppliers. We are seeing very positive results, including an important strengthening of working relationships.
“It has been a particular pleasure working with CTT in this way. They respond positively and professionally to our improvement ambitions and have quickly adopted a number of our continuous improvement mechanisms, including daily layered accountability processes and the various training programmes we have designed to support health and safety as well as operational effectiveness.”