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The operations of four North-West companies have been significantly enhanced following the delivery of an innovative business improvement skills course, jointly funded by the State Government through Skills Tasmania.

The Elphinstone Light Weight Truck Body Project allowed 14 manufacturing industry employees from Elphinstone Pty Ltd, Southern Prospect, ISOTech Engineering and The Engineering Company to up-skill, and introduce efficiency practices back at their own workplaces after successfully completing qualification MSS40316 Certificate IV in Competitive Systems and Practices.

The project training was delivered by industry experts Productivity Improvers, with the Australian Maritime College,  (RTOID 60131) as the Registered Training Organisation for the qualification and funding.

Elphinstone aligned the learning initiative with an order it had secured from Grange Resources to design and build a new light weight tray for the miner's Caterpillar 789C haul trucks, which cart iron ore at the Savage River mine on the State's West Coast.

Elphinstone Pty Ltd Managing Director Kelly Elphinstone said over six months, students had learned about the methodology behind lean manufacturing and how to implement a lean culture in their own work areas.

"By aligning the Certificate IV course with this prototype project, we were able to eliminate waste and identify efficiencies from the design process onwards, adding value and reducing the costs to the customer which gave us a competitive edge against larger firms interstate, and most importantly, allowing the work to stay in the region,"  she said.

"We also wanted to ensure we engaged our supply chain partners who weren't already on the lean journey. As a result, the companies involved were able to take advantage of an opportunity to up-skill and learn about improving workplace efficiencies, which they could in turn implement back in their respective businesses."

Throughout the duration of the course, ISOTech Engineering Manager Wade Purton applied the curriculum by relaying what he learned back to his workplace team.

"My role was the dispatching and receiving of our goods, so when we machined parts for Elphinstone, I looked at lean processes in our engineering, packing and delivery, even rearranging our workshop and internal systems to simplify the whole process," he said.

The students were presented with their Certificate IV in Competitive Systems and Practices at a ceremony attended by the Minister for State Growth Matthew Groom last week.

"You should feel proud as well as excited to be involved in a cutting edge industry that is globally relevant and I think it has a very exciting future," Minister Groom told the recipients.

"Applying lean principles has become a foundational requirement for global competitiveness and I can't see a reason why we can't be pursuing advanced manufacturing activities here in Tasmania that really are the best in the world."

Australian Maritime College Associate Professor of Vocational Education and Training Peter Whitley shared his experience in previous occupations as a boilermaker welder and miner, encouraging the Certificate IV recipients to continue aspiring.

"Over the course of life I have learned that you have to take on knowledge, and it is all about how you then use it to progress yourself and the companies you work for. Machines don't create innovation, people create innovation," Associate Professor Whitley said.

A video produced for the Tasmanian Advanced Manufacturing Industry highlighting its superior ability to deliver projects globally, was also shared at the presentation event.

Article reproduced from Published on: 23 May 2016 2:37pm

Kelly Elphinstone explains why it was important for Haulmax to be part of the Big Picture Tasmania campaign -

Peter Whitley shares his work and educational journey with Minister Groom and students.

Chris Temby from Southern Prospect is presented with his Certificate IV in Competitive Systems and Practice by Peter Whitely, AMC and Minister Matthew Groom.

Wade Purton from IsoTech Engineering receives his Certificate IV in Competitive Systems and Practice.