NAMRC Feature – Agility System at NIS Ltd

Following the recent successful installation of the Agility System at NIS, we are proud to have been featured in issue 26 of the NAMRC publication.

Integrated engineering specialist NIS Ltd is transforming its business with support from the Civil Nuclear Sharing in Growth programme.

Based in Chorley, Lancashire, NIS was founded in 1983 to provide bespoke engineering and fabrication services for a range of demanding markets. “We’ve been servicing the nuclear industry since then,” says Richard Penrose, NIS managing director. “We provide design and manufacture services into nuclear and also some industrial clients, for special purpose bespoke equipment.”

Comprehensive quality

One of NIS’s biggest hitters has been the introduction of a new quality management system, based on the Agility Systems software platform, which was fully rolled out in January.

“We took the opportunity with the advent of the enhanced ISO 9001:2015 and the forthcoming ISO 19443 to revamp the whole quality system, and go very firmly for a process-driven rather than procedural-driven approach,” says Penrose. “It’s been quite a large piece of work to get that done, because it’s challenged everybody to look at how we really document everything we do in the company.”

A key advantage of the new system, says head of quality assurance Ian Peri, is that it provides clear links between processes and documents. Linking processes to standards will help process owners save time in identifying and completing the necessary paperwork, allowing them to take more responsibility, and avoiding duplication of work.

“It’s extremely comprehensive – there are no limitations to what standards we can put in there,” Peri says. “In the first year, we’re aiming for a 20 per cent reduction to our documented process. If we can roll that on for three years, we can make a significant step to make the system lean and more effective for the user.”

Process and capabilities

The improvements made with CNSIG support can be seen across NIS’s factory. The firm operates around 5,000m2 of production space at its Chorley site, including a dedicated workshop for stainless steel with a 20 tonne crane and large plasma welding machine. Other specialist facilities include a semi-clean room, large customisable test rigs, and a 20 metre testing tower.

Process improvement has been driven by the introduction of 5S methods and visual management tools, with streamlined processes cutting the time spent handling incoming goods and kitting-up for new projects.

“It’s been fairly transformational – visually, the work areas are much more defined,” says Marsden. “The manufacturing area is still evolving, but the engineering and other areas of the business have really embraced this. We’ve now all got the thirst for it and realised there’s so much more we can do. We’re now working with some of the other CNSIG participants to look at embracing some of the things they’ve done on visual management.”

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