Injection moulding specialist Polymermedics has found an unusual way to train its staff: sending them to inspect other leading manufacturers in Cornwall and Devon.

Colleagues from the moulding floor to the boardroom formed small inspection teams, and visited one of six manufacturing sites, as part of the St Austell company’s annual team building and training day.

They were trained to evaluate operations quickly, using the Rapid Plant Assessment (RPA) process developed by R Eugene Goodson of Michigan Business School.

Sites were scored in eleven categories, including safety and cleanliness, movement of materials, maintenance and teamwork.

The six manufacturers work in fields as varied as book binding, distribution and aerospace. In Cornwall, the teams toured Bott, Caterlink, DP Engineering and TJ International, while those venturing into Devon assessed Hellerman Tyton and Pipex.

Each host manufacturer received a copy of the team’s findings – identifying strengths and highlighting potential improvements and cost savings.

Polymermedics managing director, Dave Yallop, explained: “Every year, we use our anniversary to close production for a day, and challenge ourselves in a new way to build team spirit. It’s a fun way to learn something new.

“This year’s task gave our colleagues the chance to look critically at a manufacturing process, and identify how it could be better – more reliable, or more efficient. Obviously we hope that will prove valuable now they’ve returned here, and contribute to our ongoing development in future.”