Quality stamped throughout

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Let’s talk briefly about quality; one of the key facets that has shaped our ethos and driven our approach. Back in the late 1980s and pre-devolution, the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) spent a lot of time and money, wooing overseas investment to Wales. This included the mega corporations of the South East Asian economies who had come to dominate the electronics market. Companies like Sharp and Sony, Panasonic, Aiwa and LG all set up manufacturing operations in Wales (or elsewhere in the UK) and we were there to supply them.

These companies all required super tight dimensional accuracy and high aesthetics from their laminates and high gloss polyesters, alongside exemplary service. After all, these products were destined for our front rooms and bedrooms, products such as VHS recorders, CD players and Hi-fi cabinets. So we embarked on a rigorous programme of training: TQM (Total Quality Management) via Crosby Associates. Statistical Process Control (SPC), Lean manufacturing techniques, ISO 9000 (BS 5750 at the time, for those with an encyclopaedic knowledge of quality management system evolution).

We also worked closely with the steel producer. In each instance this was British Steel/Corus, the organisation that gradually became today’s primary supplier, Tata (we remain an approved distributor to this day). This meant being the conduit for key pieces of information, providing data and feedback from our processing, and managing the difficult task of matching customer production schedules to mill production runs. We learned a lot.

With many of the original team still working at Capital, it’s that experience of these markets that still drives how we do things, how we view things, how we assess products and how we support our customers, from panelling and cladding to complex manufacturing.

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