Kirsty Wainwright, a bioscience graduate, was presented with the prestigious award after successfully championing the Operational Excellence programme at Scottish Leather Group’s NCT Leather and W J & W Lang tanneries.

After Kirsty implemented a line-side manufacturing hub – where employees on the shop floor gather twice a day to discuss gains in line flow, overall equipment effectiveness and quality – the team has been highly motivated to improve quality, safety, cost and delivery. This has resulted in a 30% increase of production throughput of hides in some areas, in addition to reduced overtime and the halving of waste sent to landfill.

On her daily Gemba Walks, Kirsty discusses the latest improvements with colleagues, just one aspect of her managerial style which has won loyal support and helped her to inspire the team around her to achieve the best possible results.

The judges commented: “Kirsty single-handedly led and deployed operational excellence in a tough environment. She recognised the power of communication, built momentum and achieved genuine buy-in from a once skeptical workforce that has led to some fantastic results. Kirsty personifies the ethos of the Manufacturing Champions Awards: showing manufacturing is an exciting, interesting place to be, where you can achieve anything.”

On receiving the award, Kirsty said: “I was really excited to be recognised alongside the other finalists, so to win was a lovely surprise. I am very proud of the achievement, it’s great recognition for the good work our team does on our operational excellence programme and great motivation for us to continue doing so.”

Kirsty was presented with the award in Manchester, after beating other talented individuals from Coca Cola, Fujifilm, Jaguar Land Rover and BAE Systems Naval Ships.