Remous is this year building a new 784m2 factory in Sherborne, Dorset, to bring its three current operating units together under one roof.
“We have bought the land and have finally got the planning permission,” says managing director Alan Bunter. “Moving from three locations into one can only allow us to be more efficient.”
The company occupies a main factory in Milborne Port, Somerset, that was built in 1985 and which is now restricting the company’s growth. It also runs a nearby warehousing unit and a digital print operation in Sherbourne itself. Jobs frequently need to be moved between sites, creating logistics problems and adding to the company's operating costs.
“We have designers in one place, large format in another and litho printing and finishing separate from that,” he says. “This industry is so hard to make money in that anything that can save half a percent makes a difference.”
The company will take the opportunity to make the new plant a smart factory, expanding the Accura MIS which already tracks production and delivers updates to shop floor terminals. “We are already extracting data and providing reports and updates via screens on the shop floor, tracking jobs and what needs to be done to get jobs out on time. Because the information is all the screen, staff do not need to ask anybody.”
Bunter envisages optimised workflows for packaging, books and other products so that employees understand the sequence of steps each product has to go through. It will also integrate with the Remous Quality Certificate that is built around a kaizen approach with feedback loops to ensure consistently high quality across production.
“We are looking to the future with this investment. Across the industry around 20% of printers are trying to push forwards, while 80% are continuing in the way they always have. We are trying to be part of the 20%. It’s going to be short term pain for a long term gain.”
Building work is planned to begin in March with the construction of the factory which includes a second floor for offices due for completion in October. There will be 210m2 of space between offices and meeting rooms on the first floor and reception area and 425m2 of production space on the ground floor. The factory will be part of the high profile Barton Farm development close to the main A30 Sherborne to Yeovil road.
Remous currently runs a B2 Komori Lithrone as well as Ricoh cut sheet digital. The decisions about what to bring to the new plant have still to be taken. With the pressure to turn work faster and to handle shorter print runs, Bunter says everything is open. “We have been appraising inkjet,” he says. “So far there has been a mismatch of opportunity. This is about streamlining, getting down to the bones of what we do.”
One piece of equipment that is certain to move is a Horizon folder that IFS supplied at the end of last year. It has replaced a 20 year-old Stahl. “We haven’t bothered replacing it before because the need for folded sheets decreased when we installed our StitchLiner.
“But now customers are asking for more complex folds with shorter lead times and we need to hop from one job to another and makeready times are crucial. With the Horizon we can run one sheet to set caliper and then select the fold pattern and the machine does what it says.”
“Moving from three locations into one can only allow us to be more efficient," says Remous managing director Alan Bunter about the building of the Somerset company's new smart factory across the Dorset border in Sherborne.