Business students tour JCB and Emma Bridgewater factories
28 February 2014
Seventh Form A-level Business students were given the opportunity to tour JCB’s backhoe production line and the Emma Bridgewater factory.
The production line at JCB illustrated many of the concepts that the group had been studying. The line demonstrated advanced flexibility, through which customers’ exact specifications can be accommodated as part of JCB’s continuous production. Pupils were intrigued to find out about the scope of JCB’s global markets and to see the production process being managed in real time. Quality assurance was clearly central to JCB’s production and careful checking was apparent at every stage in the process.
Emma Bridgewater provided an excellent contrast, being much smaller in scale and a much more delicate, handcrafted product. The labour-intensive nature of slip casting, decoration and application of litho prints was very clear, as was the skill of the workers. The factory was a striking place to visit with racks of work in progress in various stages of completion at every turn. Quality as an issue was illustrated in the factory shop; the different selling prices of the best quality finished goods and seconds was an eye-opener for students. At the same time, the commercial reality of needing to realise some of the value for all fired products was well illustrated.
It was an excellent day and a valuable experience for all the students.