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Fiat contract boosts fortunes of UK manufacturing plant

Fiat contract boosts fortunes of UK manufacturing plant
Schaeffler UK's Llanelli plant has received a significant order from Italian automotive manufacturer Fiat for the supply of 11 million mechanical tappets per year. This is the first time that Schaeffler's UK plant has worked with Fiat. 

Established in 1955, the Llanelli plant manufactures high precision engine components for the automotive market. The plant currently employs 202 people and is an autonomous subsidiary of the multi-national German-owned Schaeffler Group.

Roger Evans, Plant Director at Schaeffler (UK) commented: "This contract is a significant achievement for the plant and further demonstrates the high levels of quality and service that we are providing to customers. This contract represents a further vote of confidence from the Schaeffler Group in our abilities to manufacture tappets for worldwide consumption. It also shows that in these troubled economic times, UK manufacturing can still prosper against lower labour cost economies."

Schaeffler supplies assembly plants in Italy and Brazil with top shim mechanical tappets for Fiat's 'FIRE' type engine, having invested significant time and money in new production machinery in order to meet this opportunity.

"Shortly after starting production, Fiat came to Schaeffler and asked if we could support them by ramping up to almost double the volume of tappets that had been planned since the start of the project," confirms Richard Hall, General Manager, Commercial for Schaeffler UK's Automotive Division. "The team at Schaeffler UK were committed to helping Fiat and through the flexibility and determination of everyone involved, we were able to satisfy Fiat's request within only a matter of weeks."

Investing in its people has always been a high priority for Schaeffler UK. Since a culture change programme was introduced to the Llanelli site in 2001, the plant has seen some formidable improvements. Nearly all operators have now achieved NVQ Level II in Performing Manufacturing Operations. Many operators have also requested to proceed to NVQ Level III and all employees at the plant have now undergone training in 5S Workplace Organisation Training. There are currently seven engineering apprentices plus two graduate trainees working at the plant.
 

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