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Westwood Works 1903-2003

Departments at Westwood Works

A manufacturing company is a very complex organism with many different skills and activities directed at the process of turning raw materials into marketable products. This blend of efforts also changes over time as new technologies and up-dated management thinking are brought to bear on the organisation in an attempt to improve efficiency. This Section attempts to describe something of the complexity that existed at Westwood Works. We hope that it gives an insight into how individual departments not only worked together but changed over time as they assimilated new skills and new technologies.

It is important to note that Westwood Works was not a mass production factory, the process plants it sold to many industries around the World being made to order. The factory, therefore, was geared up for small batch production, with batch sizes of components generally in the tens rather than the thousands.

It is usual to describe a manufacturing company in terms of "the works" and "the offices" or "white collar" and "blue collar" workers but no company can be truly successful if such categorisation is allowed to get in the way of a free flow of ideas and co-operation across all aspects of working life. Although the terms and conditions of employment were often different for "Staff" and "Works", such was the management style and the culture of Westwood Works that little evidence of any hard boundaries was evident either in work or leisure activities.

It is perhaps true to suggest that all activity on the site started from work carried out in the offices design, sales, etc. but without a skilled workforce to turn these ideas into items of production machinery with which customers could make profits, there would be no business.

No attempt has been made to divide the following list of departments into "Works" and "Offices". Although starting and finishing times might have provided a logical division, we consider that this arrangement better reflects the true atmosphere that permeated most of the life of Westwood Works.

(For more information on each Department, please click on the links).

The Departments:

(In alphabetical order. The nomenclature is that generally in use at Westwood).

Apprentice School/Training

Baker Perkins was renowned for its training, both for engineering apprentices and commercial trainees. After being in the forefront of developing on-the-job five-year apprenticeships, Baker Perkins were the first to sign an agreement with The Amalgamated Engineering Union for four-year apprenticeships for craftsmen. In the late '60s and early '70s Baker Perkins had 1000 apprentices under training in its UK factories.
(See Training)

Blacksmiths Shop

One of the oldest and most skilled crafts in engineering. Little changed from the early days of the village blacksmith, here were fashioned, effectively by eye, such things as large mixer blades too complex in shape to be produced on a machine tool.
(See Westwood Works in 1923 and Life at Westwood Works)

Boiler House

Where steam was raised for space heating and for process work in the Experimental Department for example.
(See Site Facilities and Maintenance)

Blackodising

A proprietary method of pre-finishing components before assembly. Particularly used on Printing presses.

"BOMS" - Board of Management Services

Carried out research and wrote reports in support of the Main Board Directors. This activity was used as the first experience for new graduate recruits to the company who were considered to have senior management potential.

Canteen

On-site catering facilities.
(See Feeding the Three Thousand)

Cashiers

Responsible for all of the petty cash transactions on site.

Commercial Office

This is from where the world-wide sales force was administered. Daily contact by Company representatives and agents with customers both old and new, at home and overseas, resulted in a steady stream of orders into the organisation. For each potential order, relevant pricing was discussed with the Estimating Department, costs and methods of transport with the Shipping Department and financing options with the Finance Department. The result was a Quotation that, after agreement with the Customer, became a Contract. The major change in this activity over time was from hand-written Customer records to computerised market data bases.
(See In the Offices)

Computer Department

Baker Perkins was an early user of computer-based business systems with the installation of an English Electric Leo KDF 6 Data Processing system in 1964. Used at first for payroll work, producing wage and bonus slips, its operation was extended to include factory production control, costing and general accounting procedures. A second machine was installed at the end of 1969. The space taken up by these computers nearly two floors of the 1933 multi-storey block - would, today, house many hundred PCs and the computing power of each was perhaps not even equal to one of today's desk-top machines.
(See In the Offices)

Corporate Planning

In the '50s, the "Future Development Committee" was set up. This was a group of Directors and senior executives charged with determining the direction and future goals of the Company. After the major Group re-organisation in 1963, there was a move to the preparation of a rolling 5-year Corporate Plan on which the budgets and business development plans of the Group Companies, Divisions and individual departments throughout the organisation were based.

CPO Central Production Office

Part of the Production Engineering Department, the CPO was responsible for planning and controlling the flow of work through the manufacturing facility. It attempted to balance factory loading in order to optimise efficiency. At first the necessary scheduling was managed using a series of cards held in long boards ranged along the walls of the CPO office but this work was gradually taken over by the new computers being installed from the mid '60s. Up until the early 1950's, "Section Fathers" (See below) played a key role in expediting work through the factory
(See The CPO, In the Offices and CPO Social Events)

Customer Demonstration Department

Part of the Experimental Department where process machines were tested and demonstrated to potential customers. In the early days this was a relatively simple affair with little more than a couple of mixers, bread moulders and a drawplate oven. Later, a range of the latest equipment was available on which could be produced all types of sophisticated food products. Tests were usually conducted under conditions of high security, the food business being highly competitive and customers were anxious that information about their new products and processes should be kept from their competitors. As multi-million Pound orders could depend on the results of these tests, a high level of trust between the Company and its customers was fundamental to its success.
(See Westwood Works in 1923 and In the Works)

Cutter Shop

Where the biscuit cutters and biscuit moulding rolls used in a biscuit process plant were produced. A template of the biscuit design was made and this was used to engrave the same design many times into the surface of a cutter or moulding roll. At first, this was a lengthy process controlled by hand but later, computer-aided-manufacturing technology was used to cut several impressions at once automatically.
(See In the Works)

Customer Services

The original Spares and Field Engineering functions were combined in later years to form a focused "Customer Services" operation.

Despatch/Packing

Westwood equipment was sent to factories all over the world. This meant long sea voyages and often extended periods of storage in a hostile environment when it reached its destination. Each machine had to be carefully protected and packed in large weatherproof wooden crates that were made in the Packing Department. Spare parts were despatched by rail and Parcel Post in the UK and an increasing volume was sent by airfreight, necessitating special lightweight packaging. From the late '60s, equipment began to be shipped in the, then, new standardised containers that are now such a commonplace feature of maritime freight traffic. After packing, the Despatch Department then carried out the transport arrangements organised by the Shipping Department (see below).
(See Westwood Works in 1923 and In the Works)

Directors Garage/Vehicle Workshop

Where the Company limousines were kept and serviced. Its position on the site changed over the years.
(See The Company Chauffeurs and Getting to Work).

Drawing Office

Where designers and Draughtsmen produced the working drawings and specifications used by the Machine and Fitting shops. It will be seen from the photographs that not a lot appeared to change in the Drawing office from the earliest days of Westwood Works up the mid 1970s. This was when the first Computer Aided Design (CAD) equipment was installed and drawing boards, pencils and paper gave way to electronics. By the early 1980s Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) had become the norm and designers were able to commit their designs to tapes that were used directly to operate the new generation of numerically controlled machine tools. It was then that the Drawing Office moved onto shift work for the first time.
(See Westwood Works in 1923, The Drawing Office and In the Offices)

Drawing Office Archives/Print Room/Reprographic/Barcro

Provided a service to the Drawing Offices including storage and retrieval of all working drawings, printing copies of drawings on demand and committing key drawings to micro-fiche, 35mm film and other long-term storage media. Original copies of drawings were held for 12 months and then destroyed. Back-up copies of all drawings were held in Customer Services.
(See Westwood Works in 1923 and In the Offices)

Electro-Plating

Where special finishes (e.g. chromium plating) were applied to Machine parts. In WW2, this department had to learn new skills building up worn or otherwise undersize parts to standard by hard nickel deposit.

Estimating Department

Responsible for producing all quotations sent to customers by the Commercial offices.

Experimental Department

Where development work was carried out on ideas for new machines or processes. Parts of this building were strictly out of bounds to most employees. It was here that Customer demonstrations and, on occasions, trials of a customer's new products were carried out (see above)
(See The Experimental Department)

Field Engineering/Service Department

An incredible collection of Engineers who erected, commissioned and serviced plant and machinery in customers' factories all over the world, often in difficult environmental conditions.

Finance

The controllers of the purse strings. As well as the day to day management of the company's financial resources and ensuring that the Company met all of its statutory obligations, the Finance Department were intimately involved in the preparation of Management accounts, Departmental yearly budgets and in the Corporate and Divisional Business Plans of which the financial dimension cash flow, investment and, particularly, calculations of Return On Investment (ROI) were of vital importance. The Company's high level of export business placed special emphasis on the Finance Department's management of foreign currencies and exchange risk.

Fitting Shop

It was here that the components manufactured in the Machine shop (see below) were assembled, together with "bought-out" items such as electric motors, drive belts, etc., to form unit machines or complete lines of process plant. Although components were manufactured to exacting standards the skills of the Fitter were needed to ensure that the assembled machine ran smoothly before it was despatched to the customer.
(See Westwood Works in 1923 and In the Works)

Foundry

Another highly skilled and rather dangerous job. Forming the "moulds" from sand using "patterns" (see "Pattern Shop" below) was a painstaking task. In particular, the cutting of the "runners" and "risers", which ensured that the molten metal reached all parts of the mould evenly, took years of experience to master. In the early years, "green sand" and "loam" were used to form the "moulds" but, by the '70s, resin-bonded sand came into general use for some applications, notably "core" making. Huge electric furnaces were used to melt the metal and pouring this into the relatively small opening in each mould was not a job for the faint-hearted.
(See Westwood Works in 1923 and In the Works)

Foundry Laboratory

Carried out a metallurgical analysis of all metals being cast to ensure the correct chemical composition for the designed end use.

Goods Inwards

Where all "bought-out" components and consumable supplies were received, inspected and stored before being incorporated in to the process machines being built in the Fitting Shop.

Heat Treatment

A highly specialised department that modified the physical characteristics of particular components to meet designed standards of surface hardness, etc.

Hollerith Department

In pre-computer days, "Hollerith" cards were punched with information about an employee's clocking-on/clocking-off times and these cards were passed through a form of calculating machine - pre-loaded with each person's pay rate, etc - which worked out their weekly or monthly pay. As this was in the days before direct payment of wages/salaries into bank accounts, this information was then passed to the Salaries and Wages Department where the appropriate sums were put, in cash, into small brown envelopes to be handed out on "Pay Day". (See "Salaries and Wages Department" below and Clocking-On).

Industrial Design

In a new approach to design in the '60s (?), Baker Perkins employed a small group of mainly art-school graduates, trained as 3D Product Designers, to help create a new generation of process machines. Talking with customers to discover how equipment was actually used then with sales and marketing people to define specification targets for ease of use and maintenance, safety and hygiene, the group then worked with design engineers and production experts to propose solutions that would work to the highest standards, be easy to manufacture, be competitive and have a low lifetime cost of ownership for the customer.
(See In the Offices and The Drawing Office)

Inspection

Usually individual "cells" of skilled craftsmen sited within specific departments whose job it was to ensure that components were manufactured within the tolerances for dimensional accuracy and surface finish stipulated by the designer. All finished machines were of course inspected before being allowed to leave the Fitting Shop.

Orders and Invoicing

Part of the Finance Department responsible for sending out invoices for payment in line with the agreed terms of each contract, for paying creditors and for pursuing debtors.

Laboratory and Metallurgical Department

A rather hidden away part of the Works where, among other activities, tests were carried out on raw materials to determine their suitability for particular applications.
(See Westwood Works in 1923 and In the Works)

Lithographic Department

Most of the company stationery was printed here and held in the Stationery Store. Only one person from each of the other Departments was designated to collect stationery from the Store.
(See The Lithographic Department)

Machine Shop

The Machine Shop was where raw materials were turned into components for later fitting into the unit machines that would in turn form part of complete process plants. Typical machining operations included - Turning, Milling, Boring, Gear Cutting, Drilling, Shaping, Grinding and Engraving, these machines being usually grouped by type in separate bays. The biggest change in the machine Shop over the nearly 100 years of Westwood Work's existence was the way in which machine tools were powered and controlled from the lineshafts and pulleys which were in existence right up to the end of WW2, the integral drives of the late '40s, '50s and '60s, to the numerically controlled machines of the '80s. In later years, machine tools tended to be put into "Group Technology Cells" where all of the machines necessary to make a specific class of components were grouped together.
(See Westwood Works in 1923 and In the Works)

Maintenance

The department which ensured the smooth running of the whole site, from the performance of individual machine tools to the fabric of the buildings and the supply of public utilities. They were also involved in the preparation for, and installation of, any new equipment brought on to the site.
(See Site Facilities and Maintenance)

Manufacturing/Works Office

Administered the operation of the company's manufacturing assets.

Marketing/Market Research

Carrying out detailed research exercises, both using statistical information and field research, to determine exactly what the Customer needed and then making proposals as to how the business might be organised to meet these perceived needs at a profit. This activity was given a boost in the early '70s with the formation of "Bismark" (Biscuit Division) and "Bakemark" (Bakery Division).

Marking-Off

A "Marking-off" table was a feature of most machine tool bays. Here components received "setting-up" marks to aid efficient machining, especially in the case of castings.

Materials Control

It was realised at the beginning of WW2, that materials would be difficult to get hold of. A Materials Control Department was set up based on the premise that if the sales representatives could sell products they ought to be good buyers. With a main Board Director in charge the venture proved a great success. This activity later became known as "Purchasing" (see below).

Medical Department/Surgery

On-site dispensation of first-aid in the event of accidents and help and advice in cases of illness. All employees were subject to a medical examination as part of the job application process and some employees were given annual medical checks.
(See On-site Services for Employees).

Metal Spraying

Where undersized components, particularly shafts and spindles, that had failed inspection were salvaged by spraying with metal in a lathe. The component would then be re-machined to the correct size.

Methods Department

Began in around the mid '50s carrying out work study projects in the factory, following these through into the original design and having the drawings amended where necessary, all with the aim of improving ease of manufacture and reducing costs. This activity developed through the '70s into the Standards Department (see below).

Model Shop

As previously stated, most of the machines sold from Westwood were made to order. Certainly, it was not always possible, often for competitive reasons, for a prospective buyer to see a complete process plant before signing an order. In these cases, the company's model maker, Jack Randall, made a highly detailed, large scale model, showing the new equipment in the customer's factory.

Paint Shop

All finished machines were painted prior to despatch. Some components were also painted before assembly where their position within the final product made post-assembly painting difficult.

Patents

Ensuring that all new engineering designs and process developments were registered and protected around the world against competitor copying and that the company's Trademarks and copyright were not infringed A close watch was also kept on the competition's own patent applications.
(See How it Started).

Pattern Shop/Carpenters

A highly skilled operation making the wooden patterns that were used in the Foundry in the manufacture of castings to form the sand moulds which were then filled with molten metal (see "The Foundry" above). The dimensions of the patterns had to be carefully calculated to allow for the shrinkage that occurred as the metal cooled. Boxes were also made in which the 'cores' shapes inserted into the moulds to form holes and voids in the finished castings were created using a special type of sand.
(See Westwood Works in 1923 and In the Works)

Pensions

Administration of the Company Works and Staff Pension Schemes.

Personnel/Human Resources

A change of title over time did not change the essential responsibilities of this function. These included man-power planning, Industrial Relations, Personnel Records, advertising for and interviewing potential recruits, employee training, maintaining competitive Terms of Employment and salary/wage scales and the creation/monitoring of career paths for potential senior managers. Because of the high percentage of export sales from Westwood Works, learning foreign languages became an important part of the Training activity with in-house courses as a regular feature.
(See In the Offices and Training).

Photographic/Publicity

An in-house resource producing photographs of company products, product brochures, press releases, company films and the company newspapers. "Group News" and "Contact" (later "APV News"). Another very important task was the organisation of the company's stands at the many Trade Exhibitions that took place around the world each year. This was another service that was contracted out in later years - to a company formed by the ex-employees of the Department.
(See Group Newspapers and In the Offices)

Plant Engineering

Responsible for maintaining the company's manufacturing assets, planning the introduction and installation of new machine tools and technology while ensuring that conditions on-site at Westwood met the highest standards for health and safety.

Plate Shop

A very noisy place where sheet metal, angle iron and strip metal were cut, rolled and bent, welded or riveted, into diverse shapes from machine outer covers to complete baking ovens.
(See Westwood Works in 1923 and In the Works)

Postal Department

This was the entry point for all mail into the company which was then sorted and delivered by internal 'postmen' to individual departments. The Postal Department was often used as the first job experience for new commercial trainees as it provided a useful overview of the company organisation. All out-going mail was weighed and franked with the correct value before being collected by Royal Mail at the end of the day. Inevitably their busiest times were at 9.00 in the morning, when sorting took place while departmental managers clamoured for their mail on time, and again at the end of the day with secretaries often having to scamper down the stairs with a late-dictated letter that just had to catch the last post. Three delivery and collection rounds took place from each department every working day.

Power House

From where both AC and DC electrical power was distributed around the site.
(See Westwood Works in 1923, Lithographs and Site Facilities and Maintenance)

Production Engineering

Worked with the Drawing Office and the Ratefixers to determine the most cost-effective combination of manufacturing and engineering design for each potential design application. This was carried out before the drawings were finalised so as to ensure a smooth transition from concept to finished component.

Purchasing

The Department responsible for purchasing all "bought-out" items to the specifications drawn up by the Drawing Office. Although always seeking to buy at the best possible price, their decisions had to be based on a balance between price, quality and delivery security.

Rate Fixing

Determined the length of time it would take to carry out individual machining and fitting operations. These calculations formed the basis for determining the rate of bonus to be paid to operators.

Reception

The Company's important first point of contact with the outside world. A Commissionaire was on duty to welcome visitors and a Receptionist smoothed their path into the organisation. The Receptionist also maintained the Visitors Book (a very important part of the on-site Safety procedures), kept the Chauffeurs' Appointments Diary, advised "Security" which flags should be flown on that day and performed some typing tasks when time allowed.
(See The Company Chauffeurs).

Rough Grinding

Where the "runners" and "risers" were ground off castings as received from the Foundry prior to sending them into the factory for machining.

Safety Office

The department responsible for all aspects of safety on site, ensuring that the Company complied with the Factories Acts and the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Acts in liaison with the Factory Inspectorate. Always on the look-out for potentially hazardous situations or dangerous practices, the Safety Officers carried out monthly inspection on all cranes, hoists, lifting tackle, etc., while arranging for suitable safety clothing, goggles, footwear, etc., to be available when needed.

Salaries and Wages Department

Responsible for the payment of monthly salaries to the "Staff" and weekly wages to the "Works" and the deduction of stoppages Income tax, National Insurance, Pension Contributions, Sports Club and Manor House subscriptions, etc. Up until around the mid-'60s, both salaries and wages were paid in cash, in small brown envelopes but around this time salaries began to be paid directly into employees' bank accounts. Wages were paid weekly in cash right up to May 1990, after which they too were paid monthly into bank accounts as part of the "single status" preparation for the move to Paston.

Sales

(See Commercial Office above)

Secretariat

Looked after the "legal" side of the business, ensuring that contract documents, Terms of Business and Conditions of Employment met legal requirements. Managed the distribution of the Company's shares. Ensured that the activities of employees, the performance of equipment sold and the company's assets were adequately covered by insurance.
(See The Holdings Building).

Section Fathers

Were senior administrative staff in the Central Production Control Office, each with specialist knowledge and responsibility for the requisitioning and progressing of a defined range of products, e.g. Bakery unit machines, ovens and proovers, laundry machines, C&C machines etc.

A Section Father was, therefore, a specialist liaison officer for converting order paperwork in to Work sheets, who, whilst responsible for safeguarding against technical mistakes co-ordinated working between the Order and Invoicing department and the Works via the Specification department.

They were qualified by long experience and had considerable authority to intervene in problem situations in collaboration with the shop foremen and they were generally recognized as important people injecting their specialised knowledge and experience into the administration side of the manufacturing process.

Security

This function was responsible for policing and controlling entry to the Westwood site by day and by night. The development of this activity, its other responsibilities and its organisation are covered in some detail in Security.

Shipping

This department used its expertise in comparative shipping and freight insurance costs, together with knowledge of tariffs and excise duties around the world, to ensure that the products manufactured at Westwood reached the Customer by the shortest, safest and most cost-effective route.

Spares

The provision of spare parts is an essential part of any manufacturing business. "Spares" reacted to requests (sometimes very urgent) from customers anxious to keep their equipment running and, where possible, met the demand from stock. On occasions space had to be found in the busy Works manufacturing programme for 'break-down spares' to be made and air-freighted to customers anywhere in the world.

Standards

During the '70s, liaised closely with the Factory Inspectorate in London and produced the "rule books" used by the Drawing Office to ensure that new designs were to agreed national and international engineering quality and safety standards. Also responsible for interpreting the potential impact of changes in Government legislation on the design and operation of equipment produced at Westwood.

Stationery Stores

Where all office supplies paper, pens, pencils, typing ribbons, etc., were kept and distributed as required in response to a signed requisition from the relevant departmental head.

Stores

They were many different Stores scattered around the site, primarily for raw materials Steel and other metals (in the form of sheet, bar, plate, tube, angle iron, etc) together with some castings - but also for some finished items purchased from other suppliers such as electric motors, switchgear, nuts and bolts, drive belts, gearboxes, etc. Items were drawn from these stores using Specification Sheets prepared by the Drawing Office as part of the design process. Patterns were stored close to the Pattern Shop. Other stores existed for tools, overalls, consumable items cleaning essentials, hand cloths, lubrication oils, etc from which the workmen drew their requirements on demand.
(See Westwood Works in 1923 and In the Works)

Sub-Contracts

This department acted as something of a safety valve for the company. Not every component was made at Westwood. On occasions the factory workload dictated that some work was farmed out to other manufacturers. This worked both ways in that, if orders fell off for any reason, work could be undertaken for other businesses.

Telephone Exchange

In the early days this was a "plug-in" switchboard, housed in what was a small storeroom, and worked by five female operators and a supervisor. (A photograph can be found in "Inside the Offices"). Making the necessary connections for external and internal calls was a rather complicated process. Telexes had to be phoned through to them for onward transmission. In later years, telexes were superseded by faxes that could be sent from machines sited in each office. The original "plug-in" switchboard was replaced by a computerised version some time after 1981. The Holding Company building had its own small, computerised switchboard installed in the mid/late '80s.

A more detailed description, written by Liz Scarr, of the original Telephone Exchange can be found in Reminiscences.
(See In the Offices)

Test Bed

A section of the Fitting Shop where process machines were hydraulically tested and inspected after erection, prior to sending to the Despatch Department.
(See In the Works)

Tool Room

Where special cutting tools and jigs used in the Machine and Fitting shops were manufactured to very high levels of precision.

Travel

Organised all travel arrangements for employees visiting customers and group companies around the world, including the provision of new or up-dated passports, visas, etc.

Typing Pool

Before the age of universal computer literacy letters were dictated using either shorthand or cumbersome Dictaphone machines. Wax cylinders or recording belts from these machines were sent to the Typing Pool where around 30 ladies spent their days typing out finished letters. Hand-written reports and other material were typed-up by copy typists. The required number of copies was made using carbon paper (No photo-copiers in those days!). Any mistakes, or changes of mind, meant that the letter had to be sent back for correcting or re-typing. All of these ladies had to spend time in the Personnel Training Department, only being allowed into the Typing Pool after reaching a satisfactory standard. Later, these activities were carried out by a Departmental Secretary using a Personal Computer and a photo-copier.
(See In the Offices )

Welfare

Concerned with the well-being of employees, particularly in times of illness, personal stress, misfortune or difficulty.

Working Instructions

The preparation of "owners manuals" for every unit machine and complete process plant that the company sold. These covered how the equipment should be used, fault-finding and the fitting of spare parts.

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