Metal Assemblies to embed Aston Business School academics' knowledge to improve the gathering and use of data to succeed in the competitive automotive sector.

The Company

Metal Assemblies Ltd (MAL) produces press metal parts, machined components and welded assemblies for the automotive supply chain with over 60 years’ experience in the sector. Its customers include Toyota, BMW, and Nissan, and MAL offers design review and feasibility advice to reduce product complexity and lower production costs. 

The Problem

MAL’s production data is collected and processed manually, so decisions can only be made in hindsight. The company doesn't have the expertise to access, collect or manipulate management information in real-time to support planning and decision-making to take full advantage of its investment in machinery.

“What none of those things [robots and data systems employed at MAL] do very well is talk to each other, so we still rely an awful lot on manual data mining. Somebody literally has to go through things and work out patterns and trends, and that is very labour intensive... and it means the business is slow to react sometimes or it goes off in the wrong direction because we don’t interpret the data properly.” Iain Collis, Managing Director, Metal Assemblies Ltd

The Solution

For the company to benefit from adopting new technologies, MAL will need to adopt new management techniques and cultures. The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) will allow access to Aston University’s practical experience and expertise in systems thinking, process improvement, productivity, and the adoption of new technologies. These complementary skills will close this knowledge gap and help to achieve MAL's long-term goals. 

Team Aston

The KTP from Aston will feature Dr Donato Masi, Senior Lecturer in Operations Management at Aston Business School. Dr Masi specialises in sustainable operations and supply chain management, and his research is focused on how digitalisation and the emerging Industry 4.0 approach can enhance the sustainability of operations and supply chains.

Dr Masi will be supported by Professor Ben Clegg, Head of Operations and Information Management at Aston Business School. Professor Clegg has worked extensively with organisations that have wanted to increase their productivity through smarter use of people, processes and technology.

“We thrive on the challenge of bringing wider academic knowledge and practice into companies and organisations to create impact. More broadly, we will act as a change catalyst and bring objectivity into the company… to make them work more efficiently, more productively.” Professor Ben Clegg, Head of Operations and Information Management, Aston Business School

Next steps

The KTP is expected to complete in late 2022 – look out for more updates by following us on Twitter and checking our webpage

For more information about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships or an informal chat, email or call 0121 204 4242.