Tata Steel is one of Europe’s largest steel producers and serves key markets including construction, automotive, and packaging. Its primary steelmaking site in Port Talbot, South Wales, employs around 4,000 people and is home to two blast furnaces capable of producing five million tonnes of iron each year.
Like many manufacturers, Tata Steel is continually looking for ways to improve procurement efficiencies while keeping an eye on costs. Each year, the steelmaker recruits up to 30 manufacturing apprentices. Every apprentice requires a set list of site-approved tools and equipment, including electronic cutters, hammers, hacksaws and chisels.
Totalling 44 items, each tool had to be purchased individually and then stored and assembled as a kit by Tata Steel stores personnel, before being distributed to the new starters. This was a time-consuming, costly, and labour-intensive job, which sometimes led to an inconsistent mix of products across the workforce.