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Our manufacturing heartbeat

But what is it really like to be part of this company? Here are some of the things that matter most to us. By no coincidence whatsoever, these are the things that also make us a world class manufacturing company - and a great place to work.

Safety First

For us, health and safety is an integral part of ‘operational excellence’. In the last decade, we have steadily reduced the number of ’lost time’ accidents and our health and safety performance has been consistently well above industry norms; 65% of our sites had no lost time accidents in 2010. We use an external audit to drive best practice across the group, supported by online reporting systems, detailed measures and indicators (including both lost time and incident rates), behaviourally based training programmes, recognition awards and intra group consultations. Of course, our target is zero accidents and occupational illnesses, and we are determined to achieve it.

Great design saves lives

Needlestick injuries are a major danger to healthcare professionals, not just because of the risk of puncture wounds, but also because of the serious infection hazards associated with blood-borne pathogens. Rexam’s new fully passive Safe’n’SoundTM device provides effective protection against the risks of being pricked by a used needle, thanks to a protective sheath which activates automatically once the medicine has been administered. With 510(K) approval from the Food and Drug Administration, this product meets current regulations - and will be sold - in both Europe and North America.

Earn your black belt

Ten years ago Rexam embraced Lean Enterprise as a primary route to operational excellence. Since then we have built a community of over a thousand people who are committed to continuous improvement. Over that decade we have delivered nearly £300m in efficiency savings, and we are now applying Lean thinking and Six Sigma methods throughout the enterprise. Having seen and delivered the benefits of Lean Enterprise internally, we are now ideally positioned to benchmark our performance externally and objectively against the best in the world; the next stage of our journey is to compete for the Shingo prize for Operational Excellence. As well as offering a platform for growth and innovation across our business, Lean Enterprise offers immense scope for professional development: Rexam Business School offers a range of training programmes and exams up to and including Black Belt certification.

Spirit of the shift

In May 2010, Guatemala suffered two natural disasters within days of each other: first a volcano erupted, then the country was hit by tropical storm Agatha. Mudslides destroyed homes and hundreds of roads were closed. Our plant, a joint venture with Envases Universales de Mexico, resumed production within 48 hours - an extraordinary effort by an exceptional team. The plant was back to producing 3m cans per day at 90% efficiency. The plant manager Leopoldo Munguia has no doubt about the reasons behind this apparently miraculous bounce back: "There is an incredible bond between the people here, a visible pride in what the team does. This team will do anything it can to meet commitments, to keep customers satisfied and support each other."

Isn’t a can just a can?

Beverage cans have been around for many, many years, so you might think they couldn’t be improved any further. But during 2010, we further applied techniques to make our cans lighter (lightweighting) at our Winston Salem plant in the US that saved 6,500 tonnes of aluminium in the first year. The new can is leaner and greener to make but, although we are using less aluminium, there is no loss in quality, production efficiency or customer approval. When we make an advance like this in one part of the business, we are very quick to share the benefits. So the process improvement that was pioneered at Winston Salem was adopted from the outset in the new factory we built at Belém, Northern Brazil.

Talent on the move

Career mobility is good for the business and it’s good for the individual. By moving around the business, tackling new challenges and broadening their skills, Rexam managers develop the knowledge and flexibility to keep the business ahead in a fast changing world. That’s why over a third of the people in our talent pools get a promotion or a change in role any one year - and that figure is rising steadily.

Focus on fundamentals

The picture tells the story.

Total efficiency gains 2008-2012

Chart showing Beverage Cans and Plastics Packaging total efficency gains 2008-2012; Year: Beverage Cans, Plastic Packaging; 2012: 19, 7 (total 26); 2011: 22, 5 (total 27); 2010: 20, 7 (total 27); 2009: 23, 5 (total 28); 2008: 14, 5 (total 19)

Dark blue, representing Beverage Cans Beverage Cans
Ligh blue, representing Plastic Packaging Plastic Packaging

Pulling together

After the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, Rexam people from around the world donated money to the relief fund and their contributions were matched by the Group. The donations came from the heart, but we were also able to use what we know and what we’re good at to provide targeted aid; by partnering with some of our customers in the pharmaceutical and beverage sectors, we supported the delivery of nutrition and medical treatment where it was most urgently needed.

The Rexam story

How we do it

Achieve best performance

By leveraging operational and business best practices across the Group we enhance our performance and improve our environmental performance year on year.

Find out more about our story

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