How commercial and voluntary organisations treat their staff significantly influences their effectiveness and their bottom line. 
In any organisation there are people responsible for other people. In some, everything runs smoothly, staff are settled, they know what they’re doing and are happy to be there. 
In others there is an undercurrent of distrust, a feeling of resentment, chaos, high workforce turnover, disillusionment. 
I know which type of organisation I’d want to be associated with, but how do you reach that ideal? 
 
MAT is delighted to announce that we have agreed a collaboration with Matthew Humphreys of Phoenix Red. 
 
As a specialist engineering consultancy in the manufacturing and process industries, MAT have had a long history of developing bespoke solutions and process improvements, along with project management, and process automation design in these industries. MAT is unusual because they focus on a more general approach rather than specialise in particular skills, which means that clients don’t need to be able to define their problem to source specialist help. 
 
This collaboration will enable the team to demonstrate an even wider understanding of different industries, but adds further depth to our mechanical engineering and production line optimisation capabilities. 
 
With the recent media outburst to the revelation of senior government members in untenable positions, it is fair to say when we see the term 'Workplace Relationships' we automatically think of dramatic affairs or horrible bosses! For us at MAT it has made us think about how crucial ALL relationships are within the workspace.  
 
Whether it is between managers and CEOs or engineers to Human Resources the more positive the relationships are between a company’s staff the more that business will benefit.  
 
But it is hard to understand how effective those relationships are working and if not how to improve them. 
 
 
"I Need Some Help, Please!” 
 
We’ve had a number of discussions about mental health – not only last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, but also ongoing ones as part of our collective knowledge and understanding. 
 
 
At MAT Ltd we take sustainability seriously and look to improve both our own business and factor it in when consulting our clients. We know that it's important to try and make or take more sustainable options if they are available; MATL's office is mainly run with power from our solar panels, which also put back into the grid, we also have a small log burner fire here in the office for those chilly winter days, which our resident office cat Tilly also enjoys thoroughly! 
 
One of MAT’s construction industry clients had some concerns about building a plant which included mechanical and electrical equipment. Their specialist expertise didn’t include industrial processes and they wanted to ensure they provided the best for their client. 
 
This is their story: 
A small energy company had been developing a process to generate electricity from biomass and domestic waste. With external investment they had proved the concept and they now needed to scale up from a pilot plant to a commercial operation 
As is often the case, they had the process knowledge and vision, to develop the concept, but to design, build and operate a commercially-viable plant required particular skills and experience to make that transition. 
They recognised this fairly early on, but without good communication and information, this was not an easy road. Which is where MATL came in. 
 
This is their story: 
 
A company producing high value pharmaceuticals had been experiencing customer complaints about 
their bulk product packaging which was splitting open at the customer sites, resulting in too-frequent 
clean-ups, contamination and wastage of the product itself and loss of confidence by the customer. 
 
They had attempted to track down the cause of the problem, but struggled to pin it down. 
This is their story: 
 
A bulk handling port had a loose material handling system constructed to feed biomass to the power generation industry. It was a new process to them and handled a different type of material. 
 
There is pressure to keep the plant in operation as it costs their client for delays which in turn result in financial penalties, but the maintenance team are used to a less dusty and less hazardous material so fault-finding is basic and relies on quick fixes. 
 
This is their story: 
All UK water supply and treatment companies are required to invest in their assets regularly to modernise and increase efficiency and provide the best service to their customers. This requires planning in advance for a 5-year cycle and includes upgrades to infrastructure, renewed equipment and improvements in the treatment processes, since many treatment plants have been in use for more than 50 years, possibly longer. 
 
The industry is used to this cyclic approach, but some water companies are questioning whether they make the best value and look to improving the definition and communication of what they need to do. 
 
MAT Ltd were engaged by one such Company. 
 
This is their story: 
 
A medium sized component manufacturer is running a mostly automated plant producing plastic components. There are plant operators, mostly semi-skilled, and there is a maintenance and breakdown department which responds to call-outs and their priority is to keep the plant running. 
 
One of the maintenance team has a reputation for being able to get things running quickly and is really enthusiastic, and that means he is usually the one called out. Being so busy, he doesn’t have time to log what he’s done, so it’s a mystery to the rest of his team 
 
In reality the same thing kept occurring, so he hadn’t fixed the problem, only the symptoms. 
 
The Plant Manager could see this, and had some idea of what was happening, but was reluctant to address this out of concern for offending a genuinely valuable employee, but he was aware that it was becoming frustrating for all. 
 
This is their story: 
Click on this text to edit it. 
We were invited to talk to the owner of a small business which manufactures products from locally-sourced fruit. The company has a variable workforce with only a few key people, and saw opportunities to develop its productivity and some new product lines. Not only did the owner not have time to focus on making this change, but he didn’t really know how to go about defining it or what options were available. They didn’t know who could help them articulate the problem or manage a solution. 
 
This is their story: 
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